NHL 96a game by Electronic Arts, High Score Productions, and Tiburon Entertainment
Just when you thought it was safe to go back out on the ice, EA comes up with another average NHL title for the SNES. The fifth time isn't a charm as this game slightly lags behind the Genesis once again.
Although '96 is relatively similar to last year's version, it has a few new tricks that previously were only available on the Genesis version. It does have Exhibition, Season, Practice, Trade, and Create Player modes, but direct playoffs and shootouts were left out once again.
ProTip: Circle the opposing net and look for a teammate crossing the crease for a one-timer.
What are Mark Messier and Scott Stevens gonna do without playoffs? But at least these guys are in the game, along with all the other pros and their respective teams.
And finally, after listening to the cries of fans everywhere, fighting is back on the menu. The only problem is the fights are dull and hard to control. If you want great fighting, step back in time to the days of NHL'93.
Nothing but Net
Above-average controls make NHL '96 easy for most pros, even when set on the expert skill level. New moves like a quick stop and a 360-degree spin add to the game-play, and one-timer passing has been implemented to complement one-timer shots. But why pass when you can zip right past your opponents and put one straight through the goalie's pads?
- Be careful near the crease. Get in the goalie's way, and you'll wind up in the box with an Interference call.
- Checking a player into the penalty box or benches takes him out of the play.
The graphics measure up to this year's Genesis version, but they're not as sharp. With detailed sprites and several new animations, it's not that big a leap from last year's colorful look. However, the fights look more like wrestling matches as the players smother each other.
The sounds of NHL '95 were like listening to the game from the locker room, and in '96, it's more like the parking lot. A snappy new opening tune and voice feature try to cover for the weak Pong-like sound effects that include muffled groans and gunshot checks.
Fights go quickly and are hard to control, so know your moves ahead of time.
Back in the Freezer Followers of the NHL series will debate whether the '93 and '95 versions are better than the '94 and '96 versions. If you already own '95, keep skating past '96.