My plate is full of hockey games this time of year, and the NHL-brand series has always been a hot ticket item for me...at least since the 16-Bit era. Since then, I've seen powerful systems unable to capture the same enveloping atmosphere and gameplay of the earlier games. NHL 98 provides a glimpse into the future of the series while not living up to the high standards I've placed on hockey games. For starters, the polygons are horrible. I understand the advantages of polygonal animation over bitmap animation, but I spent more time trying to locate the puck than enjoying myself. The gameplay is pretty stable once you look past the chunky hockey players and into the heart of the game engine. I feel the buttons weren't used very efficiently, as if the engine were really meant for three buttons--like the Genesis' controller. I had a good time playing NHL 98, but a bad time focusing on the action. No matter what camera angle I chose, I couldn't get a bead on what was going on. Still, NHL 98 is a solid hockey game with little new to offer other than updated statistics for your favorite players. If you're jonesing for the greatest EA Hockey game, this isn't it. I prefer NHL 93 or 95 myself. If you've already turned in your old 16-Bit systems though, NHL 98 for the Saturn won't let you down.
Finally, EA has delivered the definitive hockey game that the Saturn so badly needed. By far, NHL 98 has the best combination of realism and gameplay that I've ever seen in a hockey game. The action happens at breakneck speeds, the control is precise and the 3-D graphics are excellent. And as is true with all EA games, there are tons of options and features. If you're a hockey fan and have a Saturn, it's a no-brainer--buy NHL 98.
NHL98 may be the last hockey game for Saturn owners, but it's certainly the best. It's obviously not as polished as the PS and PC versions, but EA made just enough cuts (you can't see the refs, the scoreboard is gone, etc.) to keep the game as exciting and fun as the aforementioned versions are, without sacrificing much of the gameplay. The frame rate is choppy, and the animation isn't perfect, but otherwise this is still a great game.
This game. Just screams, "No-effort-port of the PlayStation version." The shortcuts the programmers took are painfully obvious (like the invisible referee). The frame rate is also horrendous. But on the bright side, the game is light-years superior to All-Star '98. NHL 98 moves faster, plays better and sounds terrific. It's just too bad EA didn't take the time to perfect this game for the Saturn--it could've been much better.
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode Multiplayer (Hotseat)