Electronic Arts continues its popular hockey series with NHL 96 while including several new enhancements to gameplay. Improved computer intelligence, new player moves, five-minute major penalties for fighting, and multiple difficulty levels are the title's main new additions. Exhibition, playoff, season, and shootout modes are all here and players can still create and trade players, maintain user records, deal with player injuries, and view instant replays. NHL 96 makes full use of NHL and NHLPA licensing to ensure a realistic playing experience.
Remember when you used to play hockey as a kid dreaming about playing in the big leagues? Ok, maybe not all of you wanted to be NHL stars, but for those out there that love to play hockey and video games, Electronic Arts Canada has designed the most realistic hockey game I have ever seen for the PC, NHL 96!
This game brings all the excitement of hockey to your PC! You will finally be able to experience the thrill of playing hockey in the National Hockey League and maybe even winning the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It includes all 26 NHL teams plus the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams complete with statistics from the 94-95 season. There are over 700 NHLPA hockey players and you'll be able to view over 600 full-color player photographs and over 300 Donruss player cards.
From the main menu you'll be able to select from exhibition, season, playoff, and modem. An exhibition game lets you play against the computer or one of your friends and is counted as a single game. Choosing season from the main menu allows you to set up and play through an entire NHL season complete with player transactions, stats, playoffs, and season-end awards ceremony. Playoff lets you skip the season and start playing the playoffs, and modem will permit you to play a game against an opponent through the phone lines or a null-modem connection. You will also be able to select the level of difficulty ranging from Rookie to All-Star. The game can be played by up to four people depending on how many controllers you have.
The SVGA graphics in NHL 96 are amazing as they transform your monitor into a hockey arena complete with spectators, advertisements, ice reflections, logos and textures, and glass panels. Everything resembles as if you were watching hockey on television. There are different camera views to select from and you can even position the camera yourself, making all views possible. With the camera you'll be able to rewind, fast-forward, regular or frame by frame play back. The hockey players are also quite good and are dressed in their appropriate uniforms. Everything is great and comes close to the real thing with even the ice surface being affected by the players' skating. A zamboni will even appear during the intermissions to clean the ice rendering it all nice and smooth again for the players. Other animations you may see are frustrated players storming into the penalty box, bench checks sending the recipient over the boards, and missed slap shots hard enough to break the glass.
Sound is an important part of the atmosphere when attending a hockey game and NHL 96 has it all! The game has an in-game announcer, classic ice hockey organ tunes and rousing CD-quality music. You'll hear an announcement when players score and who assisted, when they receive penalties, how many minutes remaining in a period, etc.., exactly as if you were attending a real hockey game with the same echos and ambiance. If you have never attended a hockey game before, this game provides an accurate account of what a real game sounds like.
Player control is quite simple using either the keyboard, mouse or joystick, and is quite realistic. The skating of the players is well done giving you the impression of actually skating on ice making wide turns, stopping, and handling the puck. A blue star appears under the player who is handling the puck. You'll be able to pass, shoot, check, do give and go passes, one timer shots, one time passing, glove downs, wrist shots, slip checks, even fight, make line changes and a lot more. Calling of penalties, offsides, two line passes, and icing can all be set on or off.
This game is packed with options for you to set up such as editing lines, viewing the scouting report and the starting line-ups. A game starts off with the control set-up menu where you can select your controls and then presents the game just like you would see it on television. You are shown the scouting report, the goalies for the game, the starting line-ups (offense and defense), and then you hear the national anthem (which is only the last line of the song). The face off then starts your game which can have periods lasting from 5 minutes to the regular 20 minutes. Your goalie can be controlled automatically or you may take your shot at goal tending.
NHL 96 is jammed packed with all the hockey you could ever want in a video game. It has extensive statistics with an easy to understand interface for the 94-95 season where you can even view video clips of some of the players during an interview. This game will bring lots of hockey excitement to your little PC.
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