Ducking in and out and tapping the jab button will keep your opponent busy. If you move in closer, you can try to really connect with a hook or a haymaker. On the top of the screen you'll see the strength meters for you and your opponent. If you can connect on your opponent more than he can on you, you'll knock him down first. Unfortunately, you'll both end up in the penalty box for fighting. This is the best fight game going on the N64 (and in between fights, you can even play a little hockey).
Actually, it's not the easiest thing to get in a fight. I've only gotten into two so far. According to the Instruction Manual, you have to slam into an aggressive opponent with one of your aggressive players. You'll want to check the statistics and trade for an all-out aggressive team to get in plenty of fights. Otherwise, you'll eventually see a few, especially when you really get into the game.
NHL 99 includes all the official teams (including the new Nashville Predators) and most of the current players updated from last year's rosters. It is licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA. Other features that are new to this year's version include Quickstart and beginner modes, coaching strategies by Stanley Cup winning coach Marc Crawford, and some international play.
You can choose the quick start option to jump right into a game. This is a good option for beginners, allowing you to get into the action without being confused by the multitude of choices that can be made. The main things that are dropped from this mode are penalties and the ability to switch strategies on the fly.
When you are ready for the full game, you can choose from beginner, exhibition, season, playoffs, tournament, and shoot-out. Season mode lets you play the exact season as it was really scheduled by the NHL.
Shoot-out mode is not only good to practice for eventual ties, but also to practice your approach on the goalie when you break out in the open. You need to get the goalie leaning one way and bring the puck back the other way to get it past him. Controlling your own goalie can be tricky, but it is worth the effort if you enjoy better control over every aspect of the game.
When controlling the player with the puck, you have plenty of moves at your fingertips. By tapping the Z or L buttons, you perform a Spin-o-Rama. The A button passes, and the DOWN, C combination will give you a burst of speed. The control stick allows you to move around or aim your shots.
When you control the player without the puck, you have a few different moves to make. The A button allows you to switch to the player nearest the puck. It is important to switch frequently, get in position to push down C, and slam into players from the other team.
On offense or defense, you can press LEFT, C to access a quick change menu to switch between four different approaches. This is useful, as you cannot control every player all the time. Your strategy will help you know what the computer-controlled teammates will do.
When you play against the computer you have three different difficulty levels to choose from (Rookie, Pro, and All Star). Once you get the feel for the game, you'll find that Rookie mode makes it far too easy to score. By switching to Pro, your opponents will be playing about the same speed you are. This, too, will become beatable with time, and you'll want to move to All Star level. In All Star mode, opponents move faster than you do and it is much more difficult to get the puck in the net.
All modes and levels allow you to trade players from one roster to another. While it compares the strength levels of the (up to three) players involved in trades, it will not prevent you from doing the most unbalanced trades imaginable. If you want all the best players from the various NHL teams playing on your favorite team's roster, it will take a few simple trades. After I made some trades, I found it a little difficult to change the lines in the game. Neither the manual nor the help in the game explains what the acronyms for each line stand for.
If you are a big hockey fan you will probably appreciate the number of penalties that could be called in the game. Of course icing, 2 line passes, high sticking and fighting are included, but the game also includes boarding, charging, cross checking, elbowing, holding, hooking, interference, roughing, slashing, spearing, and tripping. If your opponents get stuck in the penalty box, make sure you take advantage of the power play and score some goals. Even though they will get more defensive, make sure you keep the puck near your opponent's net.
As with all season-based games, you can choose to save or not to save. So if you are willing to put in the effort, you can have the impossible perfect season for the new Nashville Predators. This game supports the Rumble Pak, the Memory Pak, and four-player modes. It's got great music and the crowd effects really help you feel like you're at a real NHL hockey match.
This game is a blast. I would recommend this game to anyone that loves to play great sports games. It offers continuous action in an addictive flavor. The added effect of full scale fistfights is fun. I also enjoyed blazing around the ice with the speed burst button. Like most sports games, this is more fun against other humans than against the AI. This game is definitely worth playing, especially against your friends in 2 on 2 mode. You'll also find the announcer highly entertaining, it's the voice of NHL analyst Bill Clement, and he says some funny things.