Actua Ice Hockey 2
There's only one case in which messing about on skates isn't intensely annoying and dull, and that's when you're waving a dangerously curved stick, carving ice with razor- sharp blades and performing a violent waltz in pursuit of a puck. Of course, there's the argument that ice hockey is a pointlessly boring sport, but the people that think that have obviously never been to a real game. While there may be minority interest in ice hockey in this country, there's no denying that NHL '99 was a great game. Unfortunately, Actua Ice Hockey 2 glides along somewhat less gracefully.
Although the players look more realistic, their movement is less fluid and controlling them is less intuitive than in EA's effort. Actua's gameplay is faster and more hectic than NHL, so you can't build up play with passing, and tactical thinking is out of the question. It's more a case of pressing the buttons frantically and finding out what happens.
Less attention has been paid to your surroundings than in NHL For example, the ice has none of those nifty reflections and you don't leave skate marks as you whiz around. The ice rink also feels a lot smaller than those in NHL And while Actuals commentating and overall presentation is by no means poor, it falls short of EA's standards.
Special mention must go to some of the bugs we found in the version sent in for review, such as the impossibly fast goals the CPU scores from face-offs, and how the goalie seems to totally freeze at times. If you're a 'proper' ice hockey fan and follow the NHL, you'll probably scoff at the lack of real-life team monikers and players' names. The rest of us are left to rue the lack of British teams, which might have proved more of an attraction than the TFI Friday adverts seen during matches.
As with many other above-average sport games, Actua Ice Hockey 2 is fun for a while but is knocked out of play by superior competition.