Every night can be hockey night with NHL 99
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Toronto Computes,
NHL Hockey 99
Electronic Arts Canada
For Windows PC, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation
Every year, as the leaves turn colour and drop from
the trees, every
true-blooded Canadian knows its hockey time again?even if the season
stretches on and on to June.
And every Fall, the intrepid hockey fans at Electronic
the update of their classic computer and video game, now perhaps as
a classic as Lord Stanley?s cup.
NHL 99 is available for PC, Nintendo 64, and
PlayStation, and gives
virtual-sports fans all they could ask for to play along with this
season. Of course, it?s updated with new lineups, but also with the new
changes to the rules and ice. As well, the program (at least on the PC)
offers new level of detailing? for example, at the start of each
the ice shimmers and reflects. As play continues, it looses its sheen,
until between periods, the Zamboni restores its smooth surface. Talk
paying attention to details!
Our 14-year old game-testers, Joey and Frankie, looked
at NHL 99, using
a Sony Playstation and a Pentium 166 with a 3DFx graphics accelerator.
They discovered that the other-side of the increased details is hefty
requirements. The two year-old P-166 is NHL 99?s minimum CPU, for
(though it will play without a graphics accelerator).
The boys commented on the increased realism in the
game? more interaction
with the audience, empty seats in the stadium. Frankie felt that the
cheering made the game seem ?more pumped up?. In previous versions, the
stick sometimes became transparent, while punches sometimes went right
through players? heads. Not in this year?s version. They were also
that this year, players can choose whether to fight or not. They were
however, that the fights remained one-on-one. No group pile-ups, and
real life, no bruises.
A nice addition is the new coaching mode. This lets
defensive and offensive drills, improving skills before playing a
game. In addition, there?s a beginning play mode for new players.
Of course, there are the standard single game and series modes, with
series along with the NHL season.
It?s easier than ever to keep your eye on the puck?a
new grey circle
surrounds it, making it stand out against the ice.
Joey liked how users can pick their starting position,
change it as gameplay progresses. He commented that it was too easy to
score in the so-called hard modes?at least in the PC version. Both boys
agreed that the gameplay on the PlayStation more accurately reflected
With its non-stop movement and action, ice hockey is
perhaps the ideal
sport for simulated gameplay. And with NHL 99, Electronic Arts has
another season to its winning streak.