Damn, I Thought This Was Going To be field hockey - I was looking forward to a St Trinians simulation, with women running about in gymslips, beating the shit out of their opponents with pieces of wood. Speaking of which, did you ever notice the weird effect that time had on the girls of St Trinians? At 12 they're about three feet tall and three feet wide, with hair that looks like it's been set on fire. They go away for the summer holiday, and when they come back they're slatternly 30-year-old women with stockings and stilettos, and mouths that look like they could suck the top off a fire extinguisher. (Although admittedly they seem to be wearing the same skirts.) But there's nothing in between... Most odd.
All of which has nothing to do with this game, because it's ice hockey, not hockey. Mind you, if a games company wanted to inject a bit of Lara Croft-style madness into a sports game, hockey's the way to go: large-breasted women, short skirts, untrammelled violence... it's got the lot. Alright, so you might have to' give them thighs like prop forwards, but that never did Chun Li out of StreetFightcr any harm.
Ice and easy (ho ho)
Ice hockey, then. Anyone going up against the game-playing meisterwerk they call NHL 98 has to come up with something pretty amazing to get any attention. And while Actuo Hockey is decent enough, it's by no means as good as EA's festival of fun. The graphics here are pretty good (as long as you have a 3D card, otherwise the players look like a shotgunned cereal packet), and when you score there's a nice lighting effect that's a bit like a cross between Holiday On Ice and a sixth-form disco. The controls are simple and intuitive, and it moves pretty quickly (but on anything less than a 166 you'll see more jerking than on a Boy Scouts' camping trip). And it's got the Olympic licence, which means you can play through a complete tournament at Nagano.
On the other hand, the commentary sounds a bit homemade and the player selection can be frustrating - set it to Auto and it makes unwise selections when you're defending; but set it to Manual and you don't even get automatic control of the player with the puck. It's also not unknown for two teams to take to the ice in identical uniforms - which is less than helpful. And putting 'whizz marks' on the puck when it's hit about isn't going to convince people it's moving quicker than it is. Most of these points could be overlooked if it was the only ice hockey game out there. But unfortunately there's no way anyone would want to buy it after having seen NHL 98, which is better in every respect Consequently it's difficult to even give it a Recommended score. And we never attempt anything too difficult.
Download Actua Hockey
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP