Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 07/08/01 | Updated: 07/08/01

Oh my GORE, oh my GORE.

NHL 95 was released in mid-to-late 1994 for the Sega Genesis. NHL 95 was developed and published by Electronic Arts, or EA for short. NHL 95's prequel, NHL 94 is considered by many to be one of the best hockey games in history. NHL 95 isn’t held in such high regard because one of NHL 94’s best features, the frequent fights, are virtually nonexistent in this game.

The graphics in NHL 95 are pretty damn good. The character models all have fluid animation, everything, from swinging the hockey stick, to checking an opposing player against the boards, looks great. Some people compain about the character models looking the same, I say, what did you expect? The game is now eight years old, these graphics were amazing for their time, the problem with some other reviews of this game is that the game is compared, graphically to PlayStation or N64 hockey games, that’s a big no-no in my book. The rinks used in the game, and the arenas themselves look great. There’s a nice transperancy effect on the glass in the game, and the seats of the arena are chock-full of fans, sure they might not be the most animated bunch in the world, but they got the job done. Oh, if you play the game, and you really can’t stand their lack of activity, just wait until the organ music blares... There are points in the game that look absolutely breathtaking, for example, when the referee drops the puck, the screen is split with one, rather large part of the screen displaying a close-up, highly detailed face-off between two players for control of the puck. Also, on the rare occasion that a fight occurs, the entire screen is focused on it, the fights are done in a close-up shot just like the face-off, only the fights have more animation, and the characters are larger.

The sounds in the game are beyond belief. NHL 95 has some of the best music and sound effects ever heard in a hockey game. The organ music used throughout the game is true to the sport, if you watch a game on TV, the music plays, and the crowd gets more excited, this draws you into the game, the same things happens in NHL 95, the organ music starts playing, and the crowd starts to chant, this brings you further and further into the game, you will be sucked into this game the second you hear the organ music blaring. Not everything musical is magical in NHL 95, the menu music is pretty crappy, it’s just some generic music that does nothing to heighten the experience. The sound effects in NHL 95 are second-to-none. Everything, from the drop of the puck, to the sound of a player’s body crunching against the glass, sounds authentic. Overall, the sound is amazing, the only fault to it is the menu music.

The gameplay in NHL 95 matches real hockey to a tee. Even though the lack of fighting is a bit of a disappointment, it doesn’t detract from the game all that much. The gameplay is fast-paced, there’s always something going on, and you always have to be on your toes when you play this game. Players can, and will, steal the puck from you if you don’t guard it well, you will miss your shots on goal if you don’t plan them out just a little bit, and you won’t win the game without some kind of a strategy. You’ll love this game for these reasone though, the fast-paced nature of the game gets your blood pumping. You’ll really want to guard that puck with your life, it will become the most important thing to you. You will do whatever it takes to get the puck back from your opponent just in case they squeak by and steal it from you; and you will have the desire to plan out your game because you will WANT to win the game, it will become the most important thing to you.

The control in NHL 95 is flawless. All of your hockey needs are covered with three buttons, this is one of the few games that actually benefits from the three button design of the Genesis’ controller. You can do anything you want with the A,B, and C buttons. You can check your opponent, you can shoot the puck into the goal, or you can whack your opponent in the head with the stick, the choice is up to you. No matter what you want to do, the controls will never hinder you, they are as responsive as you’re ever likely to find in any hockey game.

The challenge in NHL 95 is variable, but in general, the game isn’t all that hard. You’ll have a hard time with the game no matter what though if you don’t plan your games, if you just go out there, mash some buttons, and expect to win, you’ll find yourself on the short end of the stick awfully quick unless you start to plan.

NHL 95 is packed to the gills with replay value. There are tons of modes in the game to keep you occupied, and the game’s silky-smooth gameplay will have you coming back for more years from now.

If you have doubts at all about buying this game, you shouldn’t, well, that is, unless you own NHL 94 . You can find the game for about $5 anyway, so you have nothing to lose.

Despite the lack of fighting, NHL 95 is one of the best games you can play on the Sega Nomad. The graphics are just as good as they appear on a TV screen. The blurriness of the screen isn’t noticable during gameplay, but it is during the menus, so be sure that you know your way around the menus before playing it on the Nomad because the text will appear blurry on the Nomad. The sounds of the game, namely the amazing organ music, are retained faithfully on the Nomad. The music will still get you into the mood to play the game and it still enhances the feel of the game. The gameplay is still as razor-sharp as always, and the control is still flawless.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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