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This is a hockey game, but you won’t only be a hockey player, you’ll also need to guide your team. This includes everything, from standardized game plans (attacking maneuvers) to actually punching opponent’s teeth out on ice.
You will need to purchase a franchise including your own hockey team. With that team you will play games, but remember once the game starts, you’re only one of the players!
Unlike most team sport games, where the player closest to the ball or puck is the one you assume control off, here you select a player you play (during interruptions of play you can select a different one). Your team mates will act according to the game plan set out before the game (that’s the coaching part of the game).
You can though, if you want to select that another human player helps you out (so two players will be human controlled and one computerized), but you won’t be able to control both yourself (coo many keys, to fast gameplay). Oh yeah, I don’t know though, why there are only three players in a hockey team though. Probably something to do with the handling of the game (more players, more complicated gameplay and controls – and it would really spoil the game to complicate it any further).
There are different difficulty levels and different rule types of play (and you can even turn the fights off if you’re a non-violent hockey fan), which directly influence the behavior on ice. I suggest you start off with the easiest (rookie mode) and Australian set of rules, just so you get the feel of the game.
The graphics as mentioned are astounding for the year 1989 and the smooth animations were just amazing. The game is fast paced (which is just perfect for a hockey game) and the animations are able to follow the high tempo nicely. Whenever an important event occurs (such as a fight or a direct shot at the goal) the picture will switch from an overall view to the side view).
The sounds may be somewhat more primitive, but the solution was nicely done. The simple yet effective chanting organ music which accompanies hockey matches is used (technically primitive, but perfect for setting the mood).
Overall I’m not a bit surprised to see it’s a Canadian made game. The makers of it probably really love hockey, because you can just see it in every aspect of the game that somebody took the time to make it as good as possible.