by High Score Productions/EA Sports
It's amazing how every year EA Sports manages to top its previous year's hockey cart. NHL '95 continues the trend with a host of new features that are sure to please any fan.
One of the biggest additions this year is the ability to create players.
Wanting to help my Kings recover from last year as quickly as possible, I shamelessly created a big, fast and aggressive new forward (named after myself, of course) with good endurance and a cannon for a snapshot, whom I then had Los Angeles sign as a free agent. I didn't have many "rating points" left over for categories like stick handling or passing accuracy, but who cares since I put myself on the same line as Gretzky (it's good to be the coach!)?
Besides letting you create new players, NHL '95 now allows you to trade players between teams. Trades can involve up to three players from each team. After performing your own evaluation, you can either propose the trade to the General Manager (who will either accept or reject the deal) or execute the trade on your own authority (useful when duplicating real-life trades that happened during the off-season).
The piece de resistance, however, is the incredibly detailed season mode.
Like other new EA Sports games, you select which games you will play and which the CPU will simulate for each day of the season. You can skip forward through the season by having the CPU play all games up to a specified date.
Detailed player and team statistics for the season are saved in the cart's battery-backed RAM, along with league leaders, the NHL Standings and any players you've created or traded.
Options aren't the only things that have been added or improved. The pace of the game has been increased considerably, resulting in faster, more exciting gameplay. The rinks seem a bit wider and slightly longer, which opens up the action that much more. You can now fake a shot once you've crossed the defender's blue line with the A button, and defensive players will lie down on the ice to block shots. Overall I didn't think the quality of the game's art lived up to the other games in the series, though there is a new face-off window that puts you much closer to the action.
There's a lot less color used in this game versus the previous carts. The players don't seem quite as defined, the uniforms are less vibrant and the dithered shadows can be annoying. Still a great looking game, just different.
About the same as before. The menu music is standard EA fare, but the organ music is perfect. Excellent digitized sounds, especially the scraping of ice when radically changing directions or when a player is checked hard into the boards.
The programmers of NHL '95 have managed to noticeable tighten up the controls without losing that slippery "on the ice" feeling. You can now control backward-skating delenders without having them turn around.
NHL '95 may not be the best cart in the series in terms of graphics, but when it comes to playability no other hockey game today can challenge the superb control this game has to offer. This year's options round out the excellent features carried over from NHL '94, such as goalie control, hot/cold streaks, auto line changes and one timers. One has to wonder what EA will be able to come up with for next year; with the ability to trade and create players, will there really be a need for NHL '96?
The bad boys of the National Hockey League are about to hit the ice for another exciting season of hard-hitting hockey action.
The team at EA Sports spent the offseason making an entirely new and exciting version of NHL Hockey '95. Gamers will find this game the best one yet. It's a new season, not the same old game with a new name. The action is quicker, the defenses are tougher, and this game skates circles around the competition.
Tie up your gaming skates and come with me for a quick skate through the hottest hockey cart to date. This year goals will be harder to come by, and the goalies are harder to beat for good reason. This year the programmers at EA Sports made the goal area smaller and the goalies smarter. They increased the goalies' artificial intelligence (Al). In past years when you tried the wrap-around or that special deak, you could count on a sure goal. Even the move where you moved your star center or winger into the corner of the opposition's goal, and skated back through the crease, and flipped the puck up and over the goalies' shoulder, only works three out of 10 times.
All of your favorite teams are back with their accompanying player rosters, but this year you can play an entire season. The game also has new schedules and complete player rosters.
The goaltenders aren't the only changes that make the game more challenging this year. The computer is even harder to beat when playing by yourself using your favorite team. The computerized defense didn't just eat its Wheaties, the programmers at EA Sports improved on last year's game. The one-timers are in, and the Iceman and I have to buy new controllers; our old ones are still smoking from working on this preview. This game rules and I am currently the NHL Hockey champion of the office.
2006-04-29 Become a hockey star with NHL 95.