In 1993, things were just getting rolling for terrorism. A truck outside the WTC blew up; the Unabomber bombed a bunch of people; Cheers ended. Also, Kim Campbell was elected Prime Minister. For all of the 18 seconds she was incumbent, I remember thinking, “She sounds like she’d taste like tomatoes.” 16 years later, and Canada still hasn’t elected anyone whose last name sounded more like dinner to me. That’s where progress gets you. Nowhere.
Meanwhile, EA released NHLPA Hockey ’93, no doubt to wild applause and gesticulation. It strikes me that this is another one of those games that attempts to look like a different kind of sports game (see NFL Quarterback Club ’96) while still managing to be the exact same sports game as every other sports game. Actually, I think that this criticism is anachronistic, since this was actually the FIRST NHL game by EA. Well, neato! With that in mind, I think I should probably do a proper review of this game.
I’ll start with the bad and move to the good. The players control like sludge. One of the most satisfying moments in any hockey game is when you clock some dude really good, but I was only able to do that once; you have to get a real running start and most of the time the dude gets out of the way. You can hit them from a standstill, but it never does anything to them. They just go, “Uhhhhhggg” and keep on skating like it never happened. Trying to actually get the puck is pretty much impossible. The game seems to think that you should only be able to steal the puck if you are directly in front of the guy, you press the right button about eight times, and stroke your right ear. No matter; the goal tending is impeccable. I was able to rely on my goalie to stop pretty much everything most of the time. Which is good because, as usual, there is no way to defend anything. Either team can walk through the defensemen like they were M.C. Hammer. Passing and scoring is too much to expect. I found that the best strategy was to take shots from the blue line. The goalie seems to save things based solely on ratio, so just keep shooting.
On the good side, the puck physics are solid. The sounds the puck makes when it bangs into the boards are awesome. It does what a puck should. But really, the best part of this game is that I beat the fuckin’ Leafs! First period, Ottawa down two nothing. They rally in the second period to tie it up. 50 seconds left in the second and they score to get ahead. It’s 3-2 Ottawa. In the third, the Leafs tie it up like the snakes they are. Overtime: Ottawa puts it in after 3 minutes to win.
That’s right bitches.