Review by Shady
"One of the best."
A few years ago, when video game rental stores were selling all of their old and used Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games, I picked up NHL Hockey '94. I paid $9.99 for it, which I thought was a great deal at the time. I then kicked myself when I looked at a Funcoland sales sheet and found out that I could have bought the game for 25 cents. After taking a few minutes to get rid of the pain from kicking myself repeatedly, I decided to play NHL '94. I was hooked from the very first minute.
NHL '94 is one of the easiest hockey games to pick up and play. Once you learn the basic controls (B-pass, C-shoot), you'll be able to play with the best of 'em. If you want to get into more advanced stuff, you can pull off quick one-timers and blistering slapshots. And if that still isn't enough for you, you can manually control your goalie and try to stop everything that goes your way. Or you could lose the game on purpose. But what's the fun in that, really?
NHL '94 offers a few different modes of play. There's an exhibition mode (which is strangely titled as ''regular season''), two different playoffs modes, and a shootout mode. There's no real season mode, no matter what the game calls its exhibition mode. The difference between the two playoff modes is that one is sudden death, whereas the other is a best-of-seven series. The shootout mode is a shooting contest where players take turns trying to score goals against each other. All of the modes of play are good fun, but the addition of a real regular season mode would have been fantastic.
Although the players don't move horribly fast, NHL '94 acts like a speedy game. Part of the reason why the game seems so fast is because the rink is so small. If you were to repeatedly press the turbo button while you skated from one end of the rink to the other, you would be there in no time. I'm not complaining about the small rink though - it allows more detail to be put into the game. Players can now bodycheck their adversaries into the penalty box, into the glass, or onto their teammates' box. Fans will get out of their seat and pound the glass. A zamboni will drive around during intermissions. The addition of all these little details really adds to the game and makes the overall experience even better.
NHL '94 has all of the players and teams from the 1993 NHL season, including the expansion Florida Panthers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Teams and players all have different player ratings, meaning that some teams/players will be better than others. There are also hot/cold streaks that affect players during the game. Considering the game's age, the sheer amount of options EA Sports included is amazing. Folks, this is better than many of the newer hockey games. No doubt about it.
Visually, NHL '94 isn't too bad. The rinks, although they are tiny, are full of little details like lighting effects and the proper locations of the face-off circles. The players all wear helmets and the proper padding - they even have different home and away uniforms. The only visual problem I noticed was some pixellation in the players. It's nothing horrible but it's a problem nonetheless. As for the audio, well, it's pretty well done. The crowd cheers/boos when someone gets called for a penalty, the siren sounds off when a goal is scored, orchestra music plays in the background, the list goes on and on. The coolest aspect of the sound is that there are over 70 pieces of organ music and the music varies with each arena. Excellent.
NHL Hockey '94 is a very good game. As I stated earlier, it is even better than many of the newer hockey games. Although it's lacking in some game modes (where's the season mode?), the actual play of the game makes up for it. There is just so much to do and every bit of it is fun. If you are a hockey fan and don't mind parting with 25 cents, then BUY NHL '94. Just don't get ripped off like I did, okay?
Best Feature: Playoffs mode.
Worst Feature: No season mode.
Graphics 7/10 - lots of cool detail, but a bit pixellated
Sound 8/10 - great orchestra music, nice crowd noise
Gameplay 8/10 - loads of fun to play, even to this day
Control 7/10 - a little wobbly on ice, but still great
Replay Value 8/10 - addictive; you'll come back for more
Challenge 6/10 - varies with each team
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/02, Updated 07/07/02
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