Arrow-right Camera

New Hockey Game Scores With Trading Feature

NHL ‘96 EA Sports $59.99

The National Hockey League season is far from over, but if you’re looking for the excitement of hockey in your own home, you can get it with NHL ‘96 from EA Sports.

Pretty much any video game system will run this game, and it’s a good one. Previous games from EA’s NHL series have been superior in every aspect of the game, but this game is icing on the cake.

Hockey lovers can play regular games, one-game playoffs, best-of-seven playoffs, a whole season and shootouts like in previous games. The great part about this new game is the trading feature. Players can be traded, picked up as free agents or created from out of the blue.

NHL ‘96 re-added the fighting feature, which had been taken out after the first or second version. For those worrying parents out there, though, the fighting can be turned off. Penalties can be turned off as well, or you can turn them on with or without offsides.

In a regular game, any team can be chosen, and their rank, ability in the power play, penalty killing and goaltending strength is shown. On pause during the game, instant replay and all of the normal stats and line changes are available.

During a season, team stats are given and standings are available. One new function I was considerably disappointed with - “simulate game” - lets the computer determine the outcome of a game. Be warned, this is not a demo function! The computer made me lose almost every time I used it.

When I ended the season halfway through the season to check out the playoffs, I tried using it again in the playoffs and it gave me four losses, knocking me out of the race for the cup. This is an evil part of this game.

To improve shooting, shootout is a helpful and fun game. In five rounds, the best goal scorers from your team try to score more goals than the other team.

This is the most exciting hockey game on any level. With excellent graphics, sound and handling that you hardly have to think about, NHL ‘96 has proven itself as the champion of hockey games.

Grade: A