Tuesday, October 11, 2022

NHL '94 on the Sega CD

NHL '94 on the Sega CD
Sega CD Summer is out! This is the sixth entry in the Sega Tote Series

Sega CD games were often just Sega Genesis ports with "enhancements" like video clips and better music. There weren't many cases in which developers used the system to its full potential.

NHL '94 certainly doesn't reinvent the wheel. Effectively, it's the Genesis version of the game with some video clips, better sound, smoother animations, and voiceover intros from Ron Barr from EA Sports. 

It had a rockin' opening.

A lot of gamers of a certain age have fond memories of NHL '94, and for good reason. The game is incredibly fast and fun. The controls are spot on. It has great music and atmosphere. It's just a fun time, even for gamers who aren't hockey fans.

There are few things more satisfying than connecting on a one-timer, pushing one past the goalie, and hearing that siren go off.

Well, except for maybe the roar of the crowd after a check sent an opposing player over the boards.

This was, without a doubt, one of my favorite Sega CD games. My brother and I played this all the time, always using the St. Louis Blues to embarrass the CPU. Brett Hull's slapshot could kill a man.

People always talk about Jeremy Roenick in this game, and for good reason, but the Blues were our team of choice. I loved the organist's rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In," which played during faceoffs during home games.

While the gameplay was perfect, the game itself was not. NHL '94 didn't have a season mode. You could play individual games or the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That's all you had. I'm actually surprised my brother and I didn't map out a full season of exhibition games, keep records and cumulative stats, and then end things with a run toward the Cup.

On the other hand, the game didn't have fighting as some of its NHLPA series predecessors did.

NHL '96 for the Sega Genesis

I eventually upgraded to NHL '96 a little later. This was another great hockey game, although it's not as iconic as its '94 counterpart. This version has fighting, which you can switch off. Other features lacking from its predecessor include a full season mode with saves via battery backup and the ability to create players.

Honestly, you really couldn't go wrong with much of anything EA Sports released during the 16-bit era in the mid-90s. The NBA Live series featured some fantastic gameplay, the Madden series had its share of iconic games, College Football USA '96 was incredible, and the Triple Play Baseball series had its moments.

They all played better on the Sega Genesis, of course.