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Best NHL Video Games

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The NHL games were pretty decent on the Genesis, though I liked Mutant League Hockey the most. :)

Edited by digdugnate

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I liked NHL 95 on the Genesis the best. Also really liked it on DOS Pc's. Love to find a copy of that again. My other go to is the PC version of 2002 which I believe was the last to have "face in the game", a feature that I wish would come back. The PS4 has a camera, you'd think uploading your own face would be possible.

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I liked NHL 95 on the Genesis the best. Also really liked it on DOS Pc's. Love to find a copy of that again. My other go to is the PC version of 2002 which I believe was the last to have "face in the game", a feature that I wish would come back. The PS4 has a camera, you'd think uploading your own face would be possible.

i second this. NHL 95 on the Genesis is hands down the best Hockey video game ever made.
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On the Genesis, it seems like 94 gets all the love nowadays, but I recall my friends and myself being angry about the removal of the fighting and blood that made multiplayer a lot of fun in 93. They added the one timer to 94 though, which was great.

 

95 was good, but 96 was better. They revamped the game engine, brought back the fighting and made it better, improved the AI dramatically which made for challenging single player games, and added all sorts of little details, things like the rusty hinge sound effect when the door to the penalty box is opened. They ended up using the same engine from 96 with barely any changes other than roster updates for the final 2 games of the series on the Genesis, 97 and 98.

 

That said, 95 was good, but they went in more of a simulation direction for 96 while 95 played faster and felt more arcadey. So I can understand why some may prefer that gameplay style to that of 96.

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I'm trying to think of an NHL game that I DIDN'T really care for? A large portion of the EA series has been good. I even enjoyed Sega's 2K series of hockey games. Even NHL Hitz was fairly enjoyable for what it was. I think my favorite though was on the PS1, NHL Faceoff 98. Granted, I haven't played it in a while, and it has probably aged poorly, but I invested a nice chunk of teenage adolescence in that title. The gameplay was fast and the announcing (while sparse) was fun as well. I had the Gortan Fisherman era Islanders running like a well oiled machine!

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Three come to mind, one for realism and two for just being arcadey fun. Real -- NHL 1994 which was the gold standard for fans for a very long time. Then arcadey- NHL Hitz 2002 (3on2, fights, no penalties) and plays fantastic which I happened to work on a little in the day, but also earlier yet on NES/GB Blades of Steel.

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I'm not really a hockey fan, but everything I know about hockey I learned from NHL '94 on the Genesis.

 

I definitely enjoyed Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel on the NES.

 

I went through a brief phase of paying attention to hockey in the early 00s due to a friend, so I played a bit of one of the NHL games on the Dreamcast an it was fun, but I wasn't a big enough fan to play much. I like one of the NHL Hitz games on the Gamecube as well.

Edited by BydoEmpire
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I have NHL 98 for the Saturn, but don't really play it much.

 

Back in the day I had one of them for the Playstation, but can't remember which one. I remember I would cheese games by getting ahead, then getting the puck and going behind my goal and just kind of circling around the goal. The players from the other team would never come down to get me and would just kind of circle around at the blue line, so I could run out the clock of almost an entire period. Of course, that kinda killed the fun, though...

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NHL 95 for DOS. Man I loved that game! Played it for hours. I loved checking the referee and getting a penalty for "abuse of official."

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I like all of the EA Sports NHL games on the Genesis, but NHLPA 93 and NHL 94 are my favorites. I like the gameplay of 93 better (you can make their heads bleed out with a big hit!), but 94 has more features and a slightly better roster. 94 on the Genesis is basically the "NES Tecmo Super Bowl" of hockey games, and receives yearly roster updates via rom hacks and also has a big tournament following to this day.

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I heard NHL 2019 has a hidden "God" mode where you can score indiscriminately and at will against any team. They call it the "Matthews-Tavares-Marner" mode :D

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For arcade action, the earlier EA games were great. But back in the day, the combo of Wayne Gretzky Hockey 2 with Hockey League Simulator 2 for DOS was my go-to. The graphics were ass, even for the time, but the gameplay was great and playing a season was fun.

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On the Genesis, it seems like 94 gets all the love nowadays, but I recall my friends and myself being angry about the removal of the fighting and blood that made multiplayer a lot of fun in 93.

 

Yeah, was that 93? I had both 92 and 93 while I was in college in a dorm so I always forget which one had the blood and fighting. We had a thing where nobody won unless they won both on points *and* penalty minutes. And bonus points if you knocked out the other team's best player.

 

There was also a way in that game that you could go up and down the line of spectators during a fight and knock down the guys from the other team. You could get more penalty minutes that way, plus it was really funny. I'm thinking you either had to play co-op or more than 2 player (not sure that was possible, though) or maybe you could just switch players during a fight.

 

At one point we got bored with playing the game properly so we tried to just see what the max number of penalty minutes you could get was, plus what would happen if you got too many guys knocked unconscious or sent to the box. Turns out there's logic in the game that just stops handing out penalties if you have only three guys left. We played a lot of three on three hockey that year!

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I got into hockey for a little bit and really enjoyed Blades of Steel on the NES. Have to admit, I don't care for the vertical top-down view of the popular 90's NHL games. The scrolling bugs as does the limited view. Much prefer more of a static, side view when it comes to hockey and basketball. The more of the playfield you can see at once before scrolling, the better.

 

And modern 3D hockey or basketball games, forget it. Can hardly keep track of who's got what or who you're supposedly controlling in those games. :lol:

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Played pretty much all of them from Ice Hockey (NES) to last year's NHL (XBox One). Best of the bunch (in my opinion from from a realism point of view) was NHL Championship 2000 on PC. Community mods kept it up to date for many years (maybe still) and nothing else felt as close to the actual game.

 

 

The 2K series was pretty great also, but they would never fix that damn franchise bug that kept bringing it down year after year.

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NHL Hitz 2003 for Gamecube. Great fun!

 

 

From what I remember, NHL Hitz 2003 was actually a step down from its predecessor. It's been a while since I've played it, but I specifically remember some of the appeal was gone.

 

Nothing revolutionary about 2002. Just a simple, arcade-style hockey game that didn't take itself too seriously. Close-up fights, hot spots, individual & team fire, one timers, cheat codes. It was classic Midway design and it worked well. Tim Kitzrow's voice was a good fit, too. " Weight! Tkachuk! Pronger! ". 2002 doesn't get enough credit for how fun it was (and still is). I think it went under the radar thanks, in part, to the popularity of games like NFL Blitz, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and NBA Street. Hockey being the least popular of the 4 major sports in America also played a role, I'm sure.

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My favorite hockey games include NHLPA '93 and NHL '94 on the Genesis/Mega Drive, Backyard Hockey on the Nintendo DS, and NHL Hitz 2003 on the GBA.

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