Review by Apathetic Aardvark

Reviewed: 12/15/02 | Updated: 05/03/03

A good game hurt by glitches

NHL Hockey '95 is taken from the 1994 NHL season, when the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup. The game tries to recreate how the teams finished that season, being accurate with team and player ability. NHL 95 has several playing modes including; full season, playoffs, and shootout. Since you can play an entire season, playing every game with every team if you so desire, you'll have plenty of games to choose from. You can also let the computer play the ones you're not interested in if you’d like.

Players play for the teams they ended that season for. Teams are given ratings which is essentially an average of how good they are. These ratings go from about a 49 to an 80. You can only use teams and players from 1994, though you can create a limited amount of players with the Create player feature. This feature is pretty cool actually, but it's far too easy to create a player with better stats than nearly any other player in the league. In addition you can trade players as you please, even getting the leagues opinion. You can shorten the length of the season and view players’ stats in several categories.

The controls respond at different speeds for different players, dependant somewhat on their stick handling ability and speed. This is realistic of real hockey and makes you think faster when using players that aren’t as good. Goalies are easy to move; once you get the hang of them. If you can’t seem to figure them out they can remain on auto (computer controlled). The automated goalies remain automated until they get the puck, when it is your duty to either pass it off or hold onto it for a face off. The bad thing of automatic goalies is their lack of AI. Almost any goalie can be fooled every time you do a wrap around the net shot.

One disappointment is the lack of fighting in the game, it is hockey, there needs to be some. Players can also get injured by hard checks putting them out of commission. The injuries seldom last over three games, so don’t worry about season ending injuries if you're afraid to turn them on. Penalties such as off sides can be very annoying to people unfamiliar with hockey, but they can be shut off. There are a few glitch areas on the ice as well. From these areas there is a huge chance that a goal will be scored from anyone who shoots it at the location.

The graphics are about what you would expect in a hockey game. The lines, nets and puck are easy to find and follow up the lines. Team logos appear all over the ice. You can break the glass on occasions as well. The players all look pretty much the same on the ice. The camera angle is pretty high up so the players are small as well. Player portraits in the pre-game analysis aren't bad though. Fairly simple any way you cut it though.

The intro theme was well done. Teams also have fight songs that I'm sure you've heard if you've ever seen a hockey game. Sadly there are only a few of these and they last only a few seconds each. The bulk of the game is spent hearing the Boos and the Ahhs of the crowd. There are not a whole lot of other sound effects either. Officials call plays dead with a whistle. Pucks get shot or passed make sounds too. What do you expect though, it is a hockey game. Glass shatters and players collide into boards. Not a whole lot in this area though.

Scores: For those who prefer numeric data.

Music: 3/10
Sound: 4/10
Graphics: 6/10
Control: 9/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Challenge: Below average. Even playing as the worst team, the Ottawa Senators, beating a much better team isn't much of a problem. This is due mostly to bad goalie AI and glitched shooting spots. If you avoid these the challenge is better, but it is still far too easy to dominate the time of possession and usually the game.

Numerical Overall Average: 6/10
Personal Average: 6/10

This is a pretty fun game on the whole, but if you want to play the entire season it can take a substantial amount of time, especially with the full length periods. The game is rather dated now, but it's still pretty fun. It's quite cheap due to its age and it's a good play.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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