NHL '94

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NHL '94
NHL '94
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cover art
Developer(s) EA Canada and High Score Productions (SCD, SNES, MD)
Park Place Productions (DOS)
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Designer(s) Michael Brook
Series NHL Hockey
Platform(s) Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD, DOS
Release date(s) Super NES:
  • JP April 8, 1994
  • NA October 1993
  • EU March 31, 1994
Mega Drive/Genesis:
  • NA October 1993
  • EU 1993
Sega CD:
Genre(s) Traditional ice hockey simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer
Distribution CD/Game cartridge

NHL '94 is an ice hockey game by EA Sports for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo and Sega CD, as well as the first release of the "NHL Hockey" series for PC/DOS, simply titled "NHL Hockey", without the "94" in the title. The game is officially licenced from the National Hockey League and NHL Players Association. Being the third game in the NHL Hockey series media franchise, it was released in October, 1993.[2] NHL '94 is included as #47 on IGN's Top 100 Games of All-Time[3] and is named All-Time Greatest Sports Video Game by Boston.com and various gaming forums.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

NHL Hockey (DOS) gameplay.

Just like its predecessors -- NHL Hockey and NHLPA Hockey '93 -- NHL '94 was designed to give gamers the most realistic hockey experience possible. The game maintained the series' signature vertical camera angle, which offered the player distinct gameplay and strategic advantages over contemporary side-view hockey games, and kept the 2D sprite character models of NHLPA '93 (albeit with some new animations). While today such a lack of graphical change from year to year would be criticized by players, the NHLPA '93 framework was regarded as the most groundbreaking hockey engine ever made—meaning that NHL '94 was able to build on the basic aspects of the game, such as the isometric rink view and basic controls. However, NHLPA '93 lacked such features as goalie control, shootouts, penalty shots, bench and board checks, saving player records, flip passes and auto line changes. By programming a substantial number of realistic hockey features, the programmer of NHL'94, Mark Lesser, along with the crew at EA Sports, was able to turn the game into one of the most widely acclaimed sports games ever made, and a game that still has an extensive cult following to this day, such as NHL94.com

Many improvements were made to the engine by EA between 1992 and 1993. Notably, NHL '94 introduced the "one timer", an authentic hockey move where a player shoots the puck directly off of a pass; NHL '94 's one-timer was in fact so devastating that it would become the scoring method of choice for most players. However, other techniques such as "the duper" and "the move" remain quite popular and effective scoring tactics, not to mention the sometimes used b-button shot and the somewhat controversial garbage goal (Rumpke goal) technique. Because of NHL 94 's (mostly) realistic and action-packed gameplay, the game is almost universally considered the best hockey game of its generation, and is frequently mentioned in "all-time top sports game" lists.[5]

New features[edit]

Key features in this game are the ability to shoot a one timer, better all-around control of players, being able to save your records,[6] as well as the four modes - Regular Season, Playoffs, Best of Seven Playoffs, and Shootout. There are no international teams, but both all-star teams are present. Also introduced were team-specific organ songs played at the start of periods and after goals—examples included the Hartford Whalers' trademark "Brass Bonanza", "Halte-là! Les Canadiens sont là!" for the Montreal Canadiens, When the Saints Go Marching In" for the St. Louis Blues, "The Sabre Dance" for the Buffalo Sabres, and the Chicago Blackhawks theme song "Here Come the Hawks". "Birthday" by The Beatles is also featured as an organ song after a goal is scored.

Game modes[edit]

  • Exhibition Game
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs: Single Game Series
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs: Best of Seven Series
  • Shootout Mini-Game

Removed features[edit]

Fighting was removed from the game.

Other versions[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 8.25/10

The game was included in the PlayStation 2 version of NHL 06. The port included was based on the Sega Genesis version, but lacked the official NHL rosters from the original title.

A version titled NHL Pro Hockey '94 was released in Japan for the Super Famicom which has all the important text in Japanese including the main menu, the actual hockey players, the secondary (end of period and post-game) menus, and the crowd meter. However the passwords still used ASCII letters and numbers exclusively.

On July 11, 2013, it was announced that NHL 14 would include a NHL '94 Mode, celebrating the 20th anniversary of NHL '94.

Remaining active NHL players[edit]

Only two players from the game remain active:

Reception[edit]

GamesRadar ranked it as the 25th best Sega Genesis game due in part to its realism.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]