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NHL Stanley Cup (SNES) artwork

NHL Stanley Cup (SNES) review

"I have never really been a huge fan of hockey, although I have always been a fan of sports in general. I have never been a huge fan of hockey, but to say I have never been a fan of hockey at all would be a huge blatant lie. The fact of the matter is, I like hockey. I used to be a hockey player myself, in fact. And while I do consider the game to be rather boring to watch on television, I am still a pretty big fan of it. My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they have been for many yea..."

I have never really been a huge fan of hockey, although I have always been a fan of sports in general. I have never been a huge fan of hockey, but to say I have never been a fan of hockey at all would be a huge blatant lie. The fact of the matter is, I like hockey. I used to be a hockey player myself, in fact. And while I do consider the game to be rather boring to watch on television, I am still a pretty big fan of it. My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they have been for many years. So do not think what I am about to say is all because of some bias I have towards the sport, no it is because I plain out hate this game.

About two years ago, I got a deal at a local Funcoland, which I considered a steal at the time. I had the chance to get a hockey game for the Super Nintendo, with box and instructions, for only a dollar and 49 cents. I thought it would be a great deal, so I bought the game on the spot, along with some other games. I went back to my grandfatherís house (I was staying there at the time, hence the reason I was able to go to a Funco Land in a first place) and hooked up my Super Nintendo, put this game in, and played. I expected this game to blow me away with a fun game play experience, because I had liked all the other hockey games I have played on the Super Nintendo.

However, I started to notice something when I first started playing this game. It really was not that fun, at all. I do not know what it was, but I just hated the game. Then it dawned on me. Nintendo decided to use a rather unique form of camera in this game, which needless to say means the camera sucked in this game. Basically, Nintendo thought it would be such a great idea to use a 3D look to this game. Basically, all of the characters and hockey players would have this 3D look to them, and the camera would zoom in behind them, and stay behind them for the entire game. It would turn around depending on the perspective you were in, and in terms of the direction you were skating in. It seemed like a good idea, to them, I guess.

But why it seemed like a good idea to them, I will never know. I guess they were smoking some serious crack or something. Not only did the view block any form of camera movement whatsoever, (The camera decided to act up a lot, which forced the player to try to figure out how to angle it perfectly. Which means by the time they did that they would probably have the puck stripped away from them) it also made for a tedious time in terms of scoring goals. You see, the camera always stayed behind you at all times. This meant you could barely see ahead of you, and could not see behind you or to the sides. You ended up being forced to shoot the puck very slowly at the goal, or to miss a pass completely because you were unable to see your teammate. It was a terrible idea that was executed very poorly, as well, and you know that makes a deadly combination.

There is not many story line aspects to this game, but what do you expect? It is a hockey game after all, and sports games usually do not feature any main story lines besides ''take your team to the championship!''. So, basically, the story line of this game is to take your team to the Stanley Cup finals and win it. It is simple enough, and I certainly did not expect anything more from the story line of the game.

The graphics in the game are pretty drab and dull. As I have already mentioned, the camera view forces the player to not be able to see what is going on in front of them, or to the side of them, or anything else for that matter. Nintendo wanted to make the game seem like a 3D view type game, but they forgot to realize something. The Super Nintendo could not handle these kind of graphics. Well, actually, they could kind of handle the graphics in this game, after all, they were handled pretty well in Star Fox. But, this is not a space shooter, itís a hockey game, and we all know what kind of graphical effort would be needed in order to make a 3D hockey game for the Super Nintendo.

The character designs in the game are pretty terrible, to say the absolute least. As you may have expected, the camera view causes a lot of the problems with the character designs of the game. The hockey players were meant to have a 3D look to them, which is all fine and dandy, until you realize that the Super Nintendo could not really handle them. Which means the players end up looking pretty dull and lifeless. The jerseys were about the only thing that were different from the players, as they all pretty much had the same design to them. This is disappointing, however it is not even the worst part of the graphics of this game.

Hell, it is not even close to being the worst thing about the graphics of the game. The worst thing about the graphics is the fact that there are a ton of graphical problems present in this game. Slowdown and flash plague this game with no mercy. Slowdown occurs virtually every time you pass the puck or go for a shot. In fact, when you go for a shot, the camera decides to move with you and the puck, which means the puck goes about 2 miles an hour as it heads for the goal. Then the goalie moves extremely slow in order to get to the puck. I felt this was a particularly ridiculous part of the graphics of the game, as the camera view and 3D look again destroyed an element of the graphics.

The music in the game is fairly non existent for the most part. You get some basic music featured in the title screens and other options and mode screens of the game, but you do not get actual music during game play. This might be a good thing because if you had music chances are it would either be so annoying that you would want to put the game on mute, or it would distract you while you were actually trying to play the game. So, maybe it was not such a bad idea on Nintendoís part to not include music during the actual game play. As for the music featured in the game, it is pretty basic yet still sounds pretty good, and you still get all the regular themes during the game that you would come to expect from a hockey game, for instance, the national anthem plays at the beginning of the game.

The sound effects in the game are pretty good but not perfect. About the only sound effects you will actually hear during the actual game and actual game play are the sounds of the players banging and smashing into one another. These sound effects actually sound highly effective, and they sound exactly like you would expect them to sound. Of course, they are not perfect, but they are just about the best part of an otherwise incredibly boring and meaningless game. I liked how there was no announcing in the game, because the announcing in some other hockey games have been pretty bad, and I shudder to think how announcing in this game would have been, considering how bad the rest of this dumb game is.

Control in the game is not that good, at all. I think the biggest problem with the control does not come from the fact that the Super Nintendo controller significantly affects the control. No, the main source of the problems with the control in this game come from, you guessed it, the camera. See, the camera moves around with you at all times. This meant you could barely see ahead of you, and could not see behind you or to the sides. You ended up being forced to shoot the puck very slowly at the goal, or to miss a pass completely because you were unable to see your teammate. It got really stupid and pointless after a while because chances are you will soon get tired of missing passes or not being able to score goals.

I am not going to talk about how the camera affects game play just yet. First, I will point out all the modes and stuff about this game. The main feature of this game is the fact that there are several different modes for you to choose from. You can do an exhibition game, which is basically a mode where you choose your team and choose your opponent, then face the opposing team with the team you chose in one game. Or you can choose the season mode, which quite frankly is boring because it means you have to play this game for more than ten minutes if you hope to accomplish anything. I also did not really get into the other modes of the game, but I will say that the game features full NHL Team and NHLPA licenses, so you get all your favorite players and teams to choose from in this game.

Now, I might as well talk about how the camera ruins what could have been a solid game. If Nintendo had decided to just make a normal regular game which has you in a camera from the top view perspective, and you just head up and down the rink trying to score goals, then maybe this game would have gotten a higher score from me. Instead, it gets the lowest possible score it can get, a one. Why? Because the camera system is the most illogical, pointless and stupid one to ever be featured in any video game, to say the absolute least, in my opinion. The camera decides to focus behind you at all times, which makes doing much of anything next to impossible. It is a shame too, because I really wanted to enjoy playing this game. Instead, all I got was a dumbed down version of any other hockey game. It is an absolute shame, too. I wish this game would have had a better camera system, because then I might have enjoyed it. Stupid Nintendo!

Therefore, the game has next to none replay value whatsoever. If you suddenly have a mental breakdown and go against my words of advice and decide to play this game, I bet you will play it for less than five minutes before you have the desire to move onto bigger and better things. Like any other damn hockey game on the Super Nintendo. To say I hated this game would be an extreme understatement. This game went into my closet about twenty minutes after I played it. Well, not really, because it went into my uncleís closet, and unless he cleaned it out, which is doubtful, my copy of NHL Stanley Cup is still there. And I donít really give a damn. That shows you about how many times I am ever going to play this dumb game again.

This is one of the most challenging hockey games, no scratch that, this is one of the most challenging video games I have ever played, period. There is absolutely no redeeming quality to even playing this game, so there is no point of playing through this challenging game. The thing that makes the game so challenging is, yeah, you guessed it, the camera view. It just completely makes doing anything in the game an extremely difficult and challenging chore. Things that should be simple and basic in hockey games, like passing and shooting, are made extremely difficult because of the camera system. And defending is next to impossible, as well. This is because you can only see a limited view ahead of you, so good luck trying to defend against a breakaway or whatever.

Overall, I felt this was a horrid game, and one of the worst video games I have ever played in my entire life. I felt there was no redeeming qualities to this game, at all. Everything that could have gone wrong with this game, went wrong. The camera is the main glaring point of the game, but it is not the only flaw. The graphics are pretty bad and the music and sound effects are not perfect. And there is not nearly as many modes in the game as I expected. But make no mistake about it, there is one thing separating this game from getting a score of five or six, and that is the camera. Maybe the next time Nintendo decides to make a hockey game they will take all of these flaws under consideration and improve them dramatically, unless they want me to give that game a score of one, as well.

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Community review by psychopenguin (April 09, 2003)

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