NHL Hitz 02

Review: NHL-Hitz 2002

Sports games take one of two directions. They either aim to be the most realistic and true to the game with precise physics or they go to the extreme opposite, and this is exactly what we have here with NHL Hitz 2002. It's made for fun, and it certainly shows.


During play the graphics don't actually stand out to be that great, but cut scenes certainly do show off some impressive character models and icy reflections. Also, effects when a player scores 3 consecutive goals can be impressive as they get shocked with a thunderous bolt of electricity to become on fire. The crowd are fully animated with polygonal fixtures meaning they look pretty impressive and they react accordingly to how well the home team is doing. If winning hats and scarves are flung onto the rink but if losing a loud round of boos is what awaits you. Graphically, it's all pleasing, but not jaw dropping but it's the game play that counts and so the graphics don't charge much disappointment.


Surprisingly impressive is the commentary. It keeps up well with the fast action and is very effective in producing a high excitement factor. It's also very helpful in learning the names of your players as their names are screamed out as they pull off blistering shots. It's certainly a fresh thing to say considering most commentary on sports games really is quite dire and cringe-fully bad. Outside of play your ears will be treated with familiar rock anthems from the likes of Limp Bizkit and others, quite a popular choice in games now-a-days it would seem and it doesn't go a loss here, it fits the game well.


Fast, frantic and very, very exciting. Games last 9 mins, quite a long haul you would think, but it flashes past ever so quickly especially seeing as the action never lays off, not even for a second. Games consist of a four on four basis meaning there's plenty of space to dash around in. Speaking of dashing, you can only do so as long as you don't drain your dash meter. This adds a tactical style to play as you can either go all out in an attacking play or you can save up slightly to catch the computers opposing counter strike. This back and forth play continues throughout, and you will never find the game letting up or being easy for that matter.

The computer responds to how well you are doing and most certainly gives you a hard run for your money every game. They aren't shy on smashing you up the side borders or playing very dirty, and you'd better retaliate as this is where the core of the game shines through. Ice Hockey is all about rough and tough, and this game takes that idea and blemishes it. By pressing 'X' you barge viciously into the opposition, the effects are enough to leave you feeling sorry for them! Produce a 'hit' by the side of the rink and you will send an opponent crashing through the glass suspending them from play for at least a few seconds, very valuable time for you to take advantage. The game pretty much centralises around this idea and is reason for some of you to find the game rather shallow, but that's not all there is to it.


Scoring isn't just a case of getting close to the goal and pressing 'shoot' though. In fact, if you do that you will most likely never score. The most effective way of scoring is producing a play in ice hockey called a 'one timer'. This basically means aiming and charging a shot before the puck reaches the player. It means player awareness is critical and planning your passes must set up a player in a good position for the 'one timer'. Don't worry if you have no clue about any ice hockey details, this game caters for everyone well in play and you will soon feel very at home with play style and scoring ability. At first you will find it very hard, but this only means that as you get better scoring a goal triggers screaming pleasure especially if in the dying seconds of a game. Nothing beats smacking home a strike to win the game, nor does crashing an opponent to the floor for that matter! And that's without mentioning the fights that happen if you target a particular player too much, of which you actually control. Simple controls such as 'hard punch' 'soft punch' 'grab' and 'block' make these simple to get into yet rather difficult to win, and winning is quite critical too as losing retires your player from the game and seeing as in you have to choose your 3 best players at the start of a game, losing one is a costly price.

These can be quite frustrating after a while, but you can turn them off. The only real downfall to the game play might be the difficulty for some of you. It is very hard, but then again very rewarding. One other thing that might get on your nerves is the questions on ice hockey after a match to aid you with credit for the hockey shop. If you know nothing about ice hockey, a guess is all you have and seeing the credit get wasted isn't very pleasing at all.


Once you have familiarised yourself with the controls, it will soon be second nature to be pulling off the 'one timers' and speeding around like a crazed teeth smashing maniac. The whole exhilarating experience of winning a game is enough to drive you to play more so is the fact that most often than not when you lose you'll fell like you should have won pushing you to try it again. A multitude of game options mean there's a lot to keep you interested and the play is simplistic enough to allow new players to get into it straight off the mark whilst the most impressive players will expand on the controls and exploit them to their full potential.


Plenty to do including a massive championship mode through 30, yes 30 teams to earn the biggest award in ice hockey, the Stanley Cup. What's really cool is that you can create your own team in the 'custom team' option and take them through the journey to the cup. There is also a shop which holds many additions to drive you to earn money from the championship mode including 14 different fantasy arenas, All-Star teams, old classic jerseys and even some fantasy character heads. Some extra little funny surprises can be bought too such as a snowman team! Add a skills option of training of multiple increasing difficulty level teaching you from basic blocks, to winning the puck in face offs. Even after you are a pro this will appeal to you as the mini games are quite impressive and can be very tricky.
Introduce multi-player too and this is one game that will keep your Cube warm for some time.

Final Say:

An incredibly fast paced sports game with the intention of causing as many broken bones as possible. A great laugh on your own but with 2-3 friends it becomes an absolute hoot! The single player will take ages to finally satisfy all your needs from the hockey shop and creating your very own team is incentive enough to play through the humongous Stanley cup again. Possibly not for everyone…but most will fall in love with the game play before soon…great stuff.


N-Europe Final Verdict

Knocking the block off some toothless goon has never been more fun! A fun and fast paced ice hockey game.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan5
Final Score



Loads to get
Fast paced action
Create a team


Too hard?
Stupid quizes!
Frustrating fights

© Copyright N-Europe.com 2024 - Independent Nintendo Coverage Back to the Top