Genre: Sports Developer: Radical Ent. Publisher: Accolade Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
Something that comes naturally with living in Michigan, in the late fall as football season comes to a close, is the yearning for some hockey. That first snowfall comes, and we all want to get out there with our Carhartts and put on three jackets and ice hockey skates and hit somebody! The frozen faces, the bruises from the frozen puck, the snow banks for benches and terrible ice conditions make for an experience that is something that can only be experienced and felt on a pond in the dead of winter. Playing Brett Hull Hockey ’95 recalls none of these things. Al Michaels lends his legendary “voice” to this game, but it can’t save it. It’s like Patrick Roy’s last game as a Montreal Canadian if you’re a big Habs fan.
Let’s jump right over the boards and right into this one. Right off the bat there are some things that I like and some things that I don’t. The title screen looks average, while the music is putrid. It’s like they just took out their little sixteen-key MIDI keyboard and plunked out something that they thought was catchy. What I do like about the intro and menu screen is that a flashing red light is the cursor. Points for originality there, but other than that, it’s a pretty bland intro screen and menu. Real team names aren’t used, but Accolade paid for the player licenses.
Taken as a whole, this game comes off as a two-bit attempt at a Sports Talk Hockey game that fails to deliver on any level. After choosing your team there is a screen where Al Michaels tells you how good teams are on certain things such as skating, shooting, defense and “aggressiveness.” How you can gauge a team’s aggressiveness, I’ll never know. On top of that, Michaels tries to do his best Ron Barr impersonation, but since there’s no way to do that voice correctly on the Genesis, it comes off as blasphemous to us Ron Barr faithful. That stinks because Al Michaels is a first ballot hall of famer in the sports casting world.
When you get into the game, things go from bad to laughable. First off, what’s that view? I kind of like it, looks like it’s a view from the $5 college night seats in the twenty-seventh row of the third bowl, the “binocular seats.” But on the ice, that’s about the only good thing that Brett Hull has to offer. Woof, is this game bad. The blue lines aren’t even blue, they’re some kind of teal! Anyway, this game plays much worse than another game I previously reviewed, NHL All-Star Hockey ’95 but somehow reminds me of the skating motion of Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars.
One thing that it has that is original is the view perspective. Correction: it is both original and irritating. It’s original in that the view of the game takes place from the twenty-ninth row of the third deck of an arena and irritating in that the “scoreboard” slides in and out of view depending on where on the ice you are, and other assorted reasons that I can’t figure out. I know it shows up alongside a little text screen on the corner when you score or there is a penalty. It tries to sneak on the screen sometimes when you’re skating down screen, which looks tacky.
By far the most confusing thing in this game is whatever they pass off as a line change system. I should warn you, DON’T TRY TO MESS WITH THE ON/OFF OPTION AT THE BOTTOM!! It’ll pull your goalie. I seriously think that that line change mechanism is exactly like a broken part of a toy you can’t find the other part to in a pile of good toys in a Goodwill (Poundland, second-hand store). I have seriously spent at least four or five periods worth of time trying to figure it out with little or no success.
If you can’t tell, I just don’t like Brett Hull Hockey ’95 in the least bit. There are so many things wrong with it, so many broken facets, that it completely destroys what little it has going for it. Even the god-like “voice” of Al Michaels can’t save this game, and boy oh boy is the voice in this game devastating. It’s like Sega needed to write a letter to Accolade:
Do you know why there wasn’t a Sports Talk Hockey?
“Infield in, infield out” ad nauseam.
P.S. Didn’t you learn your lesson with Bubsy?!
I digress. Al Michael’s voice is incredibly disjointed and, frankly, stupid. There’s no need for it to be in the game since it adds nothing to the experience other than a “wow, that’s bad” experience. There’s nothing here that anyone remembers, so why would I want to play it? This game is awful, like the seats they make you sit in to watch it! Overall, this might be the worst hockey game I’ve played on the Genesis, and I don’t like it one bit.
SCORE: 2 out of 10