NHL Open Ice

Sport 1996 Windows GT Interactive Hockey

Modern hockey arcade with good pseudo 3D graphics.

This game reminds me of the older arcades that used to feature capture animation models. I think in particular of a game of basketball, which was quite fast and featured very good animations but was by no means a true animation. In the spirit of these games, NHL Open Ice offers a very fast passed arcade gameplay, with the same sprites that are based on real stances captured from real players. Of course, the limited number of frames per animation cycle is quite small, and that cool Street Fighter effect ensues, but given the speed of the game, this is by no means a problem. The game includes some NHL teams of the 1995 season, so if you care for that kind of thing it's a plus. However, the players are not realistically modeled, so it only makes a difference at the level of the icons displayed at times when a player scores or when he's involved in another game situation. And this is probably the biggest problem of the game, scoring. There isn't much of a strategy to putting the puck in the goal. So, it can feel highly frustrating to manage to play a good game, to the level that the gaming can allow it, only to find out later that the game decides almost randomly when a gal I scored. But, then again maybe there's something of that in the real game as well, though, at least in this region I would have loved a better control of the action and of the outcomes.

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