This was actually the first great hockey game for the old console SNES, or Super Nintendo Super Famicom, which I played til my fingers bleed. (Bryan Adams anyone..?) So going from this solid old console game ten years ago to playing it on PC today, really puts the game to the test.
What thrills me the most is the detail level of the game. You can choose a straight quick exhibition or a long gruelling play-off. It introduces the ability to control line changes yourself, even set up the lines exactly as you'd like. In the breaks between periods you get to see highlights from other games, and every goal that's scored tells you who did it and who assisted it. This may not sound special compared to todays games, but this was ground-breaking at the time.
The graphics are fully functional, and things like players celebrating at goals, referees showing penalties with hand-signals and breaking the glass behind the goal, really is great. What some people can find annoying at first is that the ice is more blue than white, but after playing it for a while it's not a problem anymore. The sound has stuff like crowd cheers, national anthems and goal buzzers, which all adds up to a nice feeling.
The main thing of this game though, is the excellent playability. Whether you control your player by keyboard, joystick or even mouse (!), it still feels like you're really on ice. It's not as easy as just turning swiftly and accelerating quickly, you have to get a feel for how to best manage the skating. When you do you'll want to start setting up first-time slapshots when you pass a team-mate. This is an effective and a bit tricky technique that'll help you win games.
This game opened the way for all of EA Sports:s later releases upto this day. So far there's been 12 sequels, but I'd put this one up against any one of them. A must have !
Now for the first time PC owners get a true Hockey simulator - real NHL teams and logos, all 550 players of the NHLPA coupled with the most realistic gameplay ever created. Pick your team and simulate the actual 1993 NHL season or create a league of your own with up to 24 human participants. Digitized speech and over 70 pieces of digitized organ music bring authentic NHL arenas to life. Combine this realism and depth with the proven gameplay of EA SPORTS Hockey and you've got the definitive Hockey simulator for the PC.
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