NHL 96

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NHL 96
NHL 96 Coverart.png
Developer(s) EA Tiburon (SNES)
High Score Productions (MD)
Pioneer Productions (DOS)
Probe Entertainment (GB)
Publisher(s) EA Sports (Genesis, SNES, DOS)
Black Pearl (GB)
Series NHL series
Platform(s) DOS, Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, Game Boy
Release Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • NA: September 1995
  • EU: October 26, 1995
Genesis
  • NA: September 1995
  • EU: 1995
PC
  • NA: October 31, 1995
Genre(s) Sports - Ice Hockey Sim
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

NHL 96 is an ice hockey video game developed by EA Canada. It was released in 1995. This game was preceded by NHL 95, and was succeeded by NHL 97.

A PlayStation version of the game was announced,[1] but later cancelled because it did not meet Electronic Arts' quality standards.[2][3]

Game cover[edit]

The cover of the game features Steve Yzerman and Scott Stevens, then team captains of Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils respectively, the two teams of 1995 Stanley Cup Finals.[4] It is the last game in the series to include more than one player on the cover in North America.

Inclusions[edit]

Major and double minor penalties were included in the game. The PC version is the first game in the series to have multiple cameras, using EA's "Virtual Stadium technology". The Virtual Stadium technology uses 2D sprites on a 3D environment. The song "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited is used as the game's main theme (for the PC version, the game music is by game composer Jeff van Dyck).

Although the Quebec Nordiques had been relocated to Denver as the Colorado Avalanche prior to the 1995–96 season, circumstances prevented the new franchise from being added to the EA game, and as a result, the club still appears as the Nordiques. Fighting was also included, with three new animations for a fight ending; knocking the losing player on his back, injuring him to cause him to squirm on the ice, and by pulling the losing player to the ice with the jersey over his head while being able to still throw punches.

The game offered two options for season length. The numbers of games are either 48 or 82 games.

Game modes[edit]

NHL 96 has typical modes to play: Exhibition Mode, Season Mode, and Playoffs Mode.[5] The "special ceremony" ending can only be reached by completing the game in Season Mode.[6]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 7.75/10 (Genesis)[7]
GameSpot 7.9/10 (PC)[8]
Next Generation 5/5 stars (Genesis, Super NES)[9][10]
4/5 stars (PC)[11]

GamePro gave the Genesis version a resoundingly positive review, applauding the new moves, the return of the fighting feature, the improved opponent AI, and the fluidly animated player sprites. They also remarked that "it beats the pads off its SNES counterpart",[12] which they gave a less positive review for, noting that it has muddier graphics and less content than the Genesis version.[13] The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly also gave their approval of the Genesis version, particularly praising the improved opponent AI.[7] A critic for Next Generation commented that the game took the basics of NHL 95, "arguably the best sports simulation product ever", and added new features which served to only improve upon the gameplay of the series. He concurred with GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly that the opponent AI had been improved, and was also pleased with the more detailed player graphics, new sound effects, greater strategy with new ways to score, ability to create players, and more complex fighting mechanics. He concluded, "The only thing possibly wrong with this game is that every other sports game in your library may pale in comparison."[9] Contradicting GamePro, he said that the Super NES version has sharper graphics and more animation than the Genesis version, but agreed it to be slightly inferior overall due to the less smooth gameplay and AI.[10] GamePro awarded the Genesis version 2nd Best Sports Game of 1995 (and effectively best hockey game of 1995, since the first place winner was a football game).[14]

Reviewing the PC version, Hugo Foster of GameSpot criticized that the games are too frequently scoreless, and that success and failure seem to be largely random. He added that the game "is still fun to play", and praised the fluidly animated graphics and the precise controls.[8] Next Generation's reviewer was likewise less enthusiastic about the PC version than the console versions, but his complaint was with the graphics and extreme slowness of the SVGA mode "on even high-end 486s." However, he gave the game an overall strong recommendation for its realistic features and many special moves.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inside Look: NHL '96". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (76): 251. November 1995. 
  2. ^ "Madden '96 in '97?". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (80): 121. March 1996. 
  3. ^ "EA Delays 32-Bit Madden, NHL Until Fall". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 16. 
  4. ^ Crash The Net. "NHL '96". Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  5. ^ GameFAQs. "*_NHL '96_* (Super Nintendo)". Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  6. ^ "Buyers Beware". GamePro. No. 94. IDG. July 1996. p. 15. 
  7. ^ a b "NHL Hockey '96 (Genesis) by Electronic Arts". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (75): 124. October 1995. 
  8. ^ a b Foster, Hugo (September 12, 1996). "NHL '96 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Slapshot". Next Generation. Imagine Media (10): 125. October 1995. 
  10. ^ a b "NHL '96". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 189. November 1995. 
  11. ^ a b "NHL Hockey '96". Next Generation. No. 13. Imagine Media. January 1996. pp. 163–4. 
  12. ^ "NHL 96 for Genesis Reigns on the Ice". GamePro. IDG (85): 82. October 1995. 
  13. ^ "NHL 96 Second-Round Pick on the Super NES". GamePro. IDG (85): 84. October 1995. 
  14. ^ "Editor's Choice Awards 1995". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996. p. 26.