by Electronic Arts
For six years now, EA Sports has reigned in the world of video hockey. No other title has come close to the success of their NHL franchise for the PC and console systems. Now they're setting up to release the newest update in the EA Sports legacy-NHL '97 for the Sega Genesis.
Although this game doesn't appear to differ much visually from earlier versions, NHL '97 will include all the action that made the NHL series so popular, and will also have a host of features new to this latest version. For example, players will now be able to perform signature moves from the NHL's star players, like Fedorov, Forsberg and Messier.
The game also includes national teams from Canada, America and Europe, as well as Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams, which offer an extended league. You'll be able to build your own top team by trading and releasing players and signing free agents. You can put yourself in the game with the Create-A-Player Option.
Also new to this version is the inclusion of the All-Star Skills Competition, which will offer players the chance to test their abilities in categories like Rapid Fire, Puck Blast, Puck Handling and Shooting Accuracy. You'll be able to take control of the goalie during the Rapid Fire competition and do your best to fend off 30 high-speed shots from the opposition in the Rapid Fire. Or, if you wish, you can streak down the ice to try to slam the puck down the opposing team's goalie's throat in the Puck Blast. The game also includes a 3-on-3 Practice Mode that lets new players get the hang of the somewhat unique controls.
On the competitive side of things, NHL '97 will let you play a tournament with up to 16 different players. You'll also be able to set up fully customized playoffs between whichever teams you choose. Up to four seasons can be played simultaneously, and the game will maintain all-time user records, keeping track of statistics of the best players.
Although it's true that there have been only a few changes overall look of the game from previous versions, NHL '97 should offer up a challenge to diehard hockey aficionados-although fighting is noticeably absent.
MANUFACTURER - EA Sports
DIFFICULTY - Variable
THEME - Sport
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 - 4