Aug 14 2009
EA Hockey. Arguably (but not with me) the finest ‘real’ sports game on any format. I spent a ludicrously high number of hours on this game, flogging my friends with Luxemburg – the worst team in the game.
This game belongs to that group of games that simulate a sport I care very little about. Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and 1080 Snowboarding are two other members, but this is the stand-out. It was just so much fun in multi-player!
You might have heard the phrase “I went to a fight the other day and a hockey game broke out.” Well, EA created a superb fighting engine which meant that scores could be settled the old-fashioned way – man-to-man. Simple combat moves – move away, move close and head or gut punches – but it still seemed exciting. As far as I know this was the first instance of a fighting ‘engine’ in a hockey game and what a great idea!
Even though they were tiny sprites, I still had my favourites. Player #7 for the Canadians was an ice-hockey terminator – slamming into players like a freight train and getting into fights at the drop of a glove.
The game had a full, world tournament mode (NHL teams came in later games) and was fully configurable. At my house, particular attention was paid to the option to turn referees off, which meant a more ‘free-flowing’ game.
As usual with EA games, there was a sweet spot which allowed you to score more than 50% of the time, but this was mitigated in multi-player, because everyone knew where that spot was.
Despite all the violence, you still couldn’t take a player totally out (not like Madden’s ambulance or Speedball 2‘s “Ice Cream, Ice Cream”) but when the other player’s forward went sliding across the ice and into a wall for the tenth time – tempers usually began to fray
A truly great game and one of my all time favourites.
Kudos to Jason K for giving me all that practice!