EA Ice Hockey review - Sega Megadrive
Ice Hockey? It's like Football, innit? Well, sort of, except that the action takes place on a rink of frozen water, and instead of a ball, a nice flat circular puck is used as a substitute. Kicking the puck isn't really on, so players have a large hockey stick with which to set the puck in motion.
Two goals are situated at either end of the rink. One of them is your team's and this must be defended. If the other team get the puck past your goalie then they've scored a goal. It's your job to get that circular puck-like item into the opposition's net. You've got to net more goals than the other team to win.
You change ends at half-time in football, and a similar situation occurs in Hockey. But instead of just having halves, the action is split into three periods, with the teams switching ends at the end of each period.
In addition to that over-kill explanation of Hockey for the hard-of-thinking, it's best to remember that Ice Hockey can be just a little bit rough at times...
What the Mean Machines staff thought
EA Ice Hockey is one of those truly classic games that's a unique gaming experience in two-player mode, and even remains exciting when you're up against the computer. I think the biggest hook of this game must be the gratuitous lashings of needless violence. Shoulder charges, overhead slashes and even smacking the puck right into the opposing goalie's face are all possible in this game! If tension's running high, fist fights break out at regular intervals, and there's an option included to make all this fist-related action and blatant fouls perfectly legal! The control method, and just about every form of pass, shot (or foul!) can be managed with relative ease and the inertia of the players on the ice makes for realistic and exciting play. There's also the essential replay option to look over that classic goal. It's speedier and more violent than any other Megadrive game, and ranks along with John Madden Football as one of the greatest sports sims ever produced!
What can I say? Programmers Park Place have done it again, and Ice Hockey is to that violent high-speed sport what John Madden's is to American Football. The game is more straightforward than Madden's, with only two basic controls to get used to, so you can get into the action and play the game without even looking at the instructions. But actually getting good takes a lot of practice. The action is fast and furious, and it's packed with subtle and not-very-subtle-at-all touches. You can deliberately trip and charge opposing players (it's great when you splat them up against a wall) and knock them over by smashing the puck into their faces at high speed. Skating with the puck can be turned into and art form, with your player gracefully dodging and weaving through an onslaught of violence. Shooting past the very competent computer-controlled keeper and actually scoring requires skill, precision and great timing. I also love the way the crowd cheer mega violence and boo the away team if they trip your players! The only flaw Ice Hockey has, and it's a similar one to John Madden's, is the fact that if you choose a very good team - for example the Soviet Union - you can beat other computer teams fairly easily. It's more difficult if you choose a rubbish team like Great Britain and play against a tough one. So bear that in mind if you're a single player. Otherwise Ice Hockey is another superlative sports simulation from EA, and ranks as an utterly essential purchase.
Have your say about this review
Dan - 25 Feb 2009, 16:24 GMT
This was addictive as hell, especially with 2 players on the same side to add a bit of spice - nowt was as satisfying as combining to score a stylish goal. Yeah it did get samey after a bit, but I played it solid for ages and loved every minute of it.
Mazza - 20 Apr 2009, 14:00 GMT
Well said Dan this game was brilliant!! the gameplay although simple was so addictive! i never heard of this until i went to a friends house and he was playing it...wow i thought i need to get it....every shop it was sold out!! weeks and weeks of agony till i eventually got it :) only bad thing about the game is no real ending! no celebrations, or any reward etc when you complete the game
mitzibishi - 22 Jul 2009, 03:19 GMT
deserves the score, even now, one of the best sports games of all-time. bypassing all the money grabbing sequels, by NHL 98 its the perfect 2 player sports game and would recomend it even against 3d ice hockey games....hell even any 3d sports games. its the best!!!
marky - 10 Dec 2012, 02:16 GMT
spent many all nighters playin this one an absolute stone cold classic