Reviewed by Diane Cote
I love video game hockey as much as any red blooded sports video game player,
but it was not without much trepidation that I approached the port of EA Sports'
sacred NHL 95 for the Game Boy, brought to you by the fine folks at Malibu
Games. How would they be able to port that exquisite piece of hard hitting
entertainment software onto an 8 bit portable platform that features two buttons
and as many colors?
Hey, you know what? Considering the imitations of the platform they did a
fine job. Sure, there are changes I would have made but what you've got
here is a playable version of six a side hockey that you can stuff in your duffel
bag and take on the road with you.
First problem; it's only a one player game!!! Now I don't know who gave the okay
to this little idea but to make one of the most competitive and exhilarating two
player contests a one person experience should be body checked into the boards.
Hockey can not be a one player game, eh!
Second problem; the large player (for the Game Boy, all right, gimme a break, jeez!)
sprites are cool and you do get the feeling that you are in control as your man
deaks his butt up the ice, however, because the players are proportionately larger
on this screen than their 16 bit brethren, there is a greater deal of guess work
involved in passing the puck up the ice. In other words; good luck trying to get it to
the guy in front of the net.
Third problem; now I don't know why this is, but the game is actually worse on the
Super Game boy than on it's portable little brother. There is more flickering and the
weak sound effects are hugely exaggerated. But you do get a modicum of color.
"So what the hell did they do right?", you ask. For starters the players look really
cool. They deak and streak to the net very nicely. And the goalies' dives for the puck
are just as dramatic as they are in the 16 bit rinks.
There are one timers (although I can't get the timing down), drop passes and
finally you have blistering slap shots that can sail into the slot even if you
haven't done that "behind the net, swivel and shoot" move that works in every
other version of NHL Hockey. Yeah, slapping it in from the blue line is pretty
groovy, I must say.
All in all, a decent conversion. I'd say that it has its own feel, coming off the
Genesis' and SNES' versions, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's worth the
30 bucks. It will keep you entertained on those bus trips to the stadium. The
Game boy is still kicking, its been a resilient little bugger, and games like NHL 95
only serve to lengthen its lifespan. It still should of been a two player capable game
though. Tsk, tsk, tsk, eh!
I'm giving NHL 95 6 out of 10