June 21, 1995 in Food

Skate Into Hockey Video Games

Jim Schaefer Detroit Free Press

Yo, hockey head! Feeling left out of the Stanley Cup pursuit? Not satisfied simply watching the games on television? Craving the chance to check someone into the glass?

Today, we offer the next best thing: Video games for hockey freaks.

Here are four offerings from the local video store. They are all decent, so we won’t rank them. Such video games typically rent for $4 for three nights, two days.

Depending on which game you choose, you can lead the offensive charge as Detroit Red Wings’ Steve Yzerman, zip up the ice as Sergei Fedorov, slap the puck from a charging New Jersey Devil as Paul Coffey. Even play as a surfer dude or a chain-saw-wielding mutant.

With these, you can do it all, and then some. So sit back, relax and fasten your fighting strap.

Brett Hull Hockey (Super Nintendo Entertainment System): Yeah, yeah. So it’s named after the St. Louis Blues’ scoring machine. Get over it, because this game is real hockey. “Brett Hull Hockey” by Accolade is even made in Canada, where hockey is king.

The game, for one or two players, features real teams and their stars. There are several reasons why this one is better than most: The players are easier to control, the view zooms in on the action, and Al Michaels calls play-by-play. There’s also solid checking, fun music and crowd noise. When the action heats up, “We Will Rock You” pounds out from the speakers.

ESPN National Hockey Night (Sega Genesis): The ice looks like ice. The uniforms look authentic. The arena almost matches the real thing.

“National Hockey Night” by Sony Imagesoft has better graphics than other games and allows you to change your viewing perspective to side or overhead. This game is good for your pre-Stanley Cup party because up to four people can compete with a multiplayer adapter.

You pick real National Hockey League teams, but the players are not named. You know your favorites only by numbers.

Just like real hockey, the fans can be heartless, booing your goalie when the other team scores.

Street Hockey ‘95 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System): This is not professional hockey. This is in-line street skating with oddballs. Your players are surfer dudes, hippie chicks or rappers.

My goalie had dreadlocks. This is the truth.

“Street Hockey ‘95” by GTE Interactive Media has great graphics and music. You and up to three of your friends pick one of six courts for your game and master up to 20 special moves for each character. Players scream, crash and taunt opponents (“Give it up, baby!”).

It’s definitely a cool way to get fired up for the cup.

Mutant League Hockey (Sega Genesis): And you thought Stu (The Grim Reaper) Grimson was violent. The Red Wings enforcer has nothing on these guys.

If you can’t stop your opponent with a check, swing wildly with a chain saw. Depending on how high you set the “Death Index” before starting play, you’ll either make him recoil or reduce him to a bloody pile of bones. Feel free then to skate unmolested to the goal.

But in “Mutant League Hockey” by Electronic Arts even the ice is unsafe. Over there is a fire, in another spot, a shark slowly circling. Watch out for the deep hole that just opened up.

This game is amazingly violent. And fun. With an adapter, up to four players can maim, slay and, yes, even score.

The fans don’t throw octopi; they throw weapons.

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