NHL Hitz 2003

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NHL Hitz 2003
North American cover art for Xbox
Pictured: Chris Pronger
Developer(s) Black Box Games, Exient Entertainment (GBA)
Publisher(s) Midway Games
Designer(s) Daniel Rosado (supervisor)
Series NHL Hitz
Platform(s) Xbox, PS2, GameCube, GBA
Release date(s)
  • NA September 16, 2002
  • PAL November 1, 2002

Game Boy Advance

  • NA October 31, 2002
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Multiplayer

NHL Hitz 2003, also known as NHL Hitz 20-03, is a hockey video game developed by Black Box Games and Exient Entertainment, and published by Midway Games. The game was released on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, as well as Game Boy Advance. It's the second game of the NHL Hitz series. The Game Boy Advance version has the possibility of being linked with up to three other systems for four player link up play.

Thanks in large part to its fast-paced, 3-on-3 style of hockey that is rare in other NHL titles, Hitz 2003 has experienced a steady increase in underground popularity over the years despite being over eleven years old.


Players have the option of playing three periods in one, two, or three minutes in length. To begin the game, a center, a winger, a defenceman, and a goalie are picked for each team. Prior to each period, substituting the players or simply leaving them in the game is an option.

There is an option for a mercy rule that will end the game as soon as the team reaches the limit of goal differential. As an example, if the mercy rule is set to five, as soon as a team leads the game by five goals, that team automatically wins. It can also be set to one goal, similar to overtime. Another nuance to the game is the option to make players who lose fights leave the game.

The game is also meant to mainly be a hard-hitting, arcade-style game with wildly exaggerated player movements and actions. For example, players can check other players through the glass and into the stands, but won't stop play. Also, goalies can actually stick-handle the puck around, and take a shot on the other net, sometimes scoring.

Also, the rosters are shortened to mainly starters and fan favorites (such as Tie Domi and Bob Probert), with far fewer free agents.

There are also many mini-games to play.

Franchise mode[edit]

The tournament is to complete goals in the game to get experience points, which are like stat points. When you win more, you get better equipment, like sticks for accuracy and power, goalie pads for better rebound control, and more. You create a team with the goal of joining the NHL. You start off picking the team, logo, etc. then create seven players. As you progress, beating teams will result in the teams getting harder, but at the same time your team will improve too. When you start winning games, three more players will eventually ask to join the team, and you can customize them. There are eight rounds with 5-6 teams in each one around the globe. In the last few rounds, you'll face NHL teams and players and will be awarded with the trophy if you emerge victorious. You are faced with a worldwide quest, taking on teams internationally in places such as Brooklyn, Maui, Monte Carlo, Stockholm, and Montego Bay.


Like most other NHL games, a season mode is available. If the player-controlled team qualifies for them, a full playoff schedule will begin. This time, however, there are more individual awards made by the creators. There are also end-of-season awards created by the makers of the game, such as trophies for the player who wins the most fights or delivered the most hits.


NHL Hitz 2003's popularity has steadily increased despite being over twelve years old. Due to its "pick up and play" controls and fluid graphics, many gamers and bars have formed private leagues years since the games release. Uniform league rules include a four goal mercy rule which allows for a more fast-paced and frantic gameplay. With its increasing popularity amongst hardcore gamers and casual gamers, the game has become increasingly difficult to obtain. Used copies of the game found on eBay are becoming increasingly difficult to find and have been steadily increasing in value, although you could get lucky and find it cheap in a used games bin at your local game store.

Because of its overwhelming cult status with gamers and NHL fans alike,[citation needed] Microsoft has made Hitz 2003 backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.[1]


Chris Pronger is the cover athlete of NHL Hitz 2003.[2] The game includes a 'making-of' video showing the game programmers capturing Pronger's likeness and movements for the game.

In the opening clip, the song playing is called "Bombshell" by Powerman 5000. The soundtrack boasts an eclectic line-up of musicians, including Incubus, Drowning Pool, Rob Zombie, Moby, Hoobastank, and the Zambonis.[3][4]


External links[edit]