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3  |  Wayne Gretzky's Hockey (NES): Eat at Joes fun
chick3_16 , 5/29/2003 11:35:02 PM
When a hockey game's most fun element is the scrolling "advertisements on the scoreboard", you've got a bad game. I recently called Blades of Steel the best hockey game ever made. I'd call Wayne Gretzky's hockey the worst hockey game ever made. Don Cherry could program a better game than these guys.

So why is Wayne's first hockey game so bad? Lets start with the graphics. Little round guys with sticks. The "scoreboard" was little more than text on a screen, and a scrolling ad that read stuff like "Eat at Joes" or "Car with licence plate BMPR STMPR, your lights are on."

Speaking of which, does anyone remember Bumper Stumpers? It's a surprisingly addictive TV show I wish they did make into a game. Sadly, not the case.

Back to this (twenty-)third rate endorsement. The game ran smoothly, probably because of the graphics. The most annoying feature of the game was the ability to input your own name. You could be a player. in the NHL next to Wayne himself. Sounds rather cool, right? Of course, any player who touches the puck is you. Now we've got a hockey scene right out of "Strange Brew", minus the organ and the Elsinore Brewery. A player touches the puck, and poof! All of a sudden, he goes from T. Fleury to THRILLHO. Pass the puck away and *poof*, he's T. Fleury again before the whole problems with drugs. THRILLHO passes to...THRILLHO, and he's offside yet again. The offside rule is in full effect in this game, and the game's AI makes it very easy to go offside, again and again.

So what's the verdict? If anything, Wayne has figured out not to put his name on random cheap merchandise like this game. It pretty much looks like E.T., a game that was programmed in 6 weeks relying on a $20 million license to sell it. Of course, it isn't that bad. WG's Hockey actually has a purpose. Still, it wins a close second to worst endorsement ever of a video game. Since this game came out, Wayne Gretzky has put his name on much better hockey games where you can play as a faceless player named "Satan" (in actuality, Miroslav Satan (pron. SHAT-ANN) of the Buffalo Sabres), and has promoted Tylenol, Diet Coke, Ford (honking the Hockey Night in Canada Theme was kind of cool, and it did impress his Greatness), and many charities. Wayne got more selective of the use of his name, and we can all thank this bad game for it, among other things.

So the verdict? The graphics are poorly done, especially for the NES. The sound, I think I forgot how bad it was for a reason. The adding of one's name gets annoying, especially when you want T. Fleury to score, and not yourself. I do give a nod to its great use of Nintendo Logic in that respect. The scrolling messages that appear at the break of every play end up being all the fun this game has to offer. Once the fun of that has worn off (the messages reappear in a loop), then just mail it to Abu Dhabi. Overall, it gets a 3 out of 10, and I'm being generous here.

Coming soon to a store near you: Fatman™ brand emulators. Guaranteed never to run an illegal ROM. And lets not forget Fatman™'s carnivore vegetables. Made with real chicken, tastes like carrot.

It can only go uphill from there.

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