Wayne Gretzky Hockey
We're back with Wayne Gretzky, now on the Super NES.
In comparison with the Genesis cart, the Super NES does have more vivid graphics resulting in better cinemas, but it still needs more frames of animation to bring this game alive. The sounds did improve in this version, but we need more than sounds to improve the game play value.
I've always liked the hard, bone-crushing hits that I've seen in other games, and you're bound to see some here. Try whatever dirty trick you can imagine on the opposing team. You can inflict some pain here, but watch out for the referee. If you want to really bash some guys, turn on the Aggressive Play. Play.
Handing the puck is a bit awkward, though. You can turn Real Skate on to add to the challenge.
This cart features all of the greats from the league with their '93-'94 stats. Why not trade players and make a dynasty team or edit the team's names and colors? It's all here with Wayne Gretzky on the Super NES.
- MANUFACTURER - Cyganus Entertainment
- DIFFICULTY - MODERATE
- THEME - Sport
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 to 4
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Fighting gamers may find momentary fun in this easy Wayne Gretzky game, but hockey fans will shudder. Since both camps can find more satisfying action elsewhere, this mixed reaction earns Wayne a trip to the penalty box.
On this ice, you'd better be prepared to fight better than you skate and shoot. Defense and offense don't require fancy foot-work or strategy, just repeated checking. Despite its speedy pace, Gretzky lacks everything that requires skill (passing, setting up offensive plays, etc.) in real hockey sims.
Of course, if you want to kick some ice, this game will quench your bloodlust. An Intimidate command lets you pick fights, and you can instruct your team to make aggressive, rough, or defensive plays. With only a punch and an uppercut, though, even the fighting's too simplistic.
In terms of hockey trappings, Gretzky's well equipped. Choose from all 26 NHL teams and 6 international teams, then hit the ice in the usual Exhibition, Playoff, All-Stars, and Season modes. Although the responsive controls let you quickly check, pass, and shoot, advanced hockey features like one-timers and goalie control are noticeably absent.
- During fights, use the uppercut ten as possible for maximum damage.
- Connecting with a Super Check will always get you the puck.
Graphically, nice full- motion-video clips highlight intense moments, and Gretzky's gameplay looks sharp at first glance with large sprites and several nifty views. Once in motion, though, the poorly animated sprites seem to float rather than skate, greatly detracting from the realism. With muffled, unrealistic effects and idiotic music, the awful sound buries this game for good.
At the final whistle, Gretzky gets caught trying to do two things at once -- and fails at both. Steer clear of this confused game.
With Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull already starring in their own Genesis games, it was only a matter of time before Gretzky hit the onscreen ice. The wait was worth it. A ton of features and options combined with gameplay that's fun and easy results in one of the best side-view hockey titles.
ProTip: You have a limited number of Intimidations, so use them in key situations, such as killing a penalty.
The good hockey action is supplemented with the most surprising aspect of this game: violence. The Great One's hockey expertise and sophisticated moves are here, but unlike Wayne's graceful real-life performances, this Genesis game has a vicious side. The periodic breaks for brutal one-on-one fights make this game unique, and a ton of hard-nosed checks add muscle to the normal gameplay.
The great selection of teams and players adds more fun. Study the in-depth player ratings, and then make trades among the real NHLPA-licensed players on all 26 teams. The six international teams that competed in previous Canada Cup tourneys are also available.
This game is easy to play -- in fact, the Just Play option is perfect for hockey novices who don't want to study the manual. For veteran players, slapshots, wrist shots, speed bursts, and one timers are all here, but the offense is overshadowed by the cool defensive options.
Massive body checks, spin checks, and poke checks will leave your opponents seeing stars. Use the Intimidate mode to start a fight and then punch, grab, knee, and kick goons into submission. Who would've expected that a Gretzky game would let you repeatedly kick a fallen opponent in the face?
Ice to See You
Exceptional graphics and sound create a realistic hockey experience. Large, colorful sprites, close-ups of face-offs and fights, and live-action video clips of Wayne himself combine with clear voice-overs, team theme music, and every grunt and groan imaginable to make this hockey sim a top contender.
This game is Wayne's chance to show off his tough side. And though he himself doesn't fight in the game, his game fights its way to the top as a terrific hockey game for both beginners and veterans. Thankfully, a multi- year contract with Time Warner ensures that this hockey fest won't be a one-timer.
- This spin check is a great way to take out more than one player.
- Of the three play styles, Roughest Play Ls the most effective because you control the game by controlling checking.
- Use this rough move in a close fight: When your opponent attacks, press Up and hit Button C.
- For the ultimate matchup of NHL stars, play Team Canada vs. Team Russia.
Wayne Gretzky is one of coolest hockey players on ice, and now he's going to slap an NES game your way. THQ's Wayne Gretzky Hockey is the NES version of the popular personal computer game of the same name. Actually, the Great One only shows up on the box art and on the raster of the Los Angeles team, but you do get hockey action based on pro hockey strategy and 10 National Hockey League teams with actual team rosters.
You can play against the computer or a friend. Additionally you and a friend can join the same team versus the computer. There are practice, normal, and play-off games. However, "play-offs" doesn't mean "tournament". It's just a regular three period game with a sudden death, overtime tie-breaker. Other game options include four time periods up to 20 minutes long and three speeds
Graphics on Ice
Don't expect the glitzy look of Blades of Steel. The graphics here are just average. You get an overhead view of the horizontally scrolling action, but even though you don't see the entire rink all at once, the game's easy to follow.
You have to play this game to appreciate it. The onscreen action is fast and smooth. After a while your players seem to glide across the ice.
ProTip: You're a fast skater, but you must use angles to intercept opposing players, not speed.
Now, Blades features fun, arcade style hockey, but Wayne Gretzky's requires you to really dive into the sport. If you don't understand the relevance of the Blue lines or the Neutral Zone, you'll get called for Offsides and Icing more times than you can shake a hockey stick at. But even if you've never checked out hockey before, the documentation provides enough detail for you to follow any NHL match from now on.
Teamwork is essential. Even though you can switch control to any player any time, don't try to do everything yourself. Your computer teammates are no slouches. They set up passes for you, play defense, and score, too!
- Hit B to call for a pass, but catching it isn't automatic. You have to be open and you have to go get it.
- You'll score more frequently if you shoot for the corner of the goal rather than dead on.
Do the Crime, Do the Time
Unlike some hockey games, Wayne Gretzky Hockey, to its credit, doesn't glorify fighting by forcing you to throw punches. Charging, tripping, high sticking, hooking, slashing, and spearing are other true-to-life penalties that dump you into the penalty box. Also, penalty calls go both ways when you play the computer.
If you tap A gently when you check an opposing player, you can sometimes cream him without drawing a penalty.
Gretzky's features realistic hockey, but it lacks a few niceties. A multi-team tournament feature would bump up the overall challenge, and it's a shame you can't substitute players to recreate your favorite hockey lines. If you're a Blades of Steel fan consider Wayne Gretzky's a step up into the actual sport of hockey. If you're a bonfire hockey nut, this could be game for you.
This is a single- and multiply-players video game was created by Midway Games and in 1996 released for the Nintendo 64 console. It is notable that this game was the first ever 4-player game for the Nintendo, 64. The game was secondly released as Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey'98, and soon after in an Olympic version. The players are not sprites, but polygonal.
The game featured a more unrealistic arcade-style unlike the more realistic hockey game play seen in the series of Electronic Arts' NHL. It features such move as "power saves" - the goaltender briefly transforms into a brick wall, or "power shots", which would set the net on fire and also "power checks" - sends an ambulance across the top of the screen.
Barring a players' strike, baseball spring training will begin soon, and before long the boys of summer will head onto their home fields once more. Meanwhile, another sport is nearing the end of its season. The National Hockey League's 80-game schedule soon concludes, giving way to the lengthy run of playoffs that decide the Stanley Cup. Team defenses are just now starting to jell, and the most durable play-makers are vying in the scoring race. February is hockey's equivalent of the dog days of August, as the real contenders begin to show their stuff.
Two new releases attempt to capture these very different sports. One is a new offering for PC compatibles previously available only for the Amiga. The other is a major revision of an existing game. Both are accurate simulations of their respective sports.
Wayne Gretzky Hockey (Be-thesda Softworks) first appeared last year on the Amiga, and that computer's superb graphics made up for the fact that the game plays perhaps too realistically. The challenge for the PC version, obviously, was to match the graphics of the Amiga version as closely as possible. Considering that the best graphics card supported is EGA, the PC graphics are good. They would have been better, however, with full-color VGA.
As for the game play, well, this is real hockey. The computer can coach both teams, or you can play against the computer or another person. You can also control the hockey players while a friend takes the coaching job, both of you working against a computer opponent. Other options include periods that last 5,10,15, or the full 20 minutes; four levels of difficulty for either player; and several different teams. Rink sizes and ice conditions are standardized (which is a bit unrealistic), but apart from that the choices are yours.
You can even select whether or not to allow fighting. International rules forbid fighting, but scraps are quite common in the NHL, so Wayne Gretzky Hockey includes a very realistic series of fight sequences. (Incidentally, the reason fighting is still allowed in hockey-apart from fan insistence-is that you can't really hurt anybody by throwing a punch while on skates. Trust me, I know.) The screen shows an overhead view that encompasses about half of the ice. The overhead view is the one most commonly used by coaches and the one which television, sadly, rarely employs. This view lets you see plays develop, watch players get into position, and appreciate the flow of this fast, slick game.
You control one of the six players on the ice for your team. By moving a small cursor, you set the player's direction and speed. If you keep the cursor close to the player, he slows down and you gain more control over his turning and stopping. When you want him to skate flat-out, move the cursor farther away.
To shoot, wait until your player has the puck, then press the button and aim with the cursor. Place the cursor on the net for a shot on goal or ahead of a teammate for a pass.
Basically, that's all there is to controlling your players. Once you've mastered the technique, it's easy, but mastery is somewhat difficult to achieve.
If you wish, you can coach the team, either with or without controlling a player on the ice. Coaching options include setting lines, setting power-play and penaltykilling teams for every possible combination (5 on 4,4 on 3,5 on 3, etc.), and changing lines (includ-ing.pulling the goalie) while a play is in action.
You can build teams from scratch using the team editor, but this requires a solid knowledge of each player's capabilities. Wayne Gretzky Hockey offers a wealth of statistics, and it creates more as the game goes along. You can either play with the stats yourself or let the program handle them for you.
Team disks for the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons are available from Bethesda Softworks. Each set contains all 21 teams, and the new Hockey League Simulator lets you design a league and schedule entire seasons, complete with playoffs.
Wayne Gretzky Hockey is designed for serious hockey fans. It is a simulation of hockey in the same way that Microsoft Flight Simulator is a simulation of flight. Just as Flight Simulator is more cumbersome to use than some game-oriented, cockpit-view shoot-em-ups, Wayne Gretzky Hockey is more difficult to play than some of the other hockey games available for PCs. Real simulations become more fun after you've worked with them for awhile. Then they become absorbing.
In a review of the Amiga version of Wayne Gretzky Hockey in a past issue of Game Player's (Vol. 1, No. 2), I called it the best sports simulation ever done on a personal computer. The PC version hasn't changed my mind.
I'll say it right up front: Bethesda Softwork's Wayne Gretzky Hockey is the most realistic sports simulation ever designed for a personal computer. That's quite a claim, considering such outstanding competition as Earl Weaver Baseball, Jordan vs. Bird: One on One, and Bethesda's own Gridiron. But the evidence bears out the claim. Wayne Gretzky — like its real-life namesake— must be considered "the great one."
Unfortunately, its excellence may go unappreciated. Over the past few years, I've had several debates with an American friend who claims you cannot understand baseball unless you wanted to play the game since well before you were born. As a Canadian, I know' the same is true of hockey. To really understand a sport, you have to understand the subtleties, and hockey has a host of these. Wayne Gretzky Hockey impressively captures almost all of them, but because hockey is nowhere near the most popular sport in the US, this accurate simulation could easily go unnoticed.
Former Montreal goalie Ken Dryden has written that, while football is a game of possession, hockey is a game of transition. Winning requires a team to shift instantaneously from defense to offense and back again. Wayne Gretzky simulates this transition beautifully. As the coach, you must mix your plays (four are available) to move effectively into your opponent's zone. Once there, you must pass the puck often to set up a good scoring opportunity. But in the meantime, you must watch the puck constantly, because if the opposing team gets it, they can break away before you can react.
Only two teams are available on the game disk: the 1972 Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Additional team disks are coming, but until they arrive, you can create your own teams. This requires a good working knowledge of the sport, though, and it could be intimidating. I could spend pages praising Wayne Gretzky Hockey. It's not perfect — I can't wait for the game to allow full-season play, and more teams will be an improvement — but this is a truly great game.