“ Manufacturer: Nintendo / Publisher: Electronic Arts / Genre: Sports / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / Max. Number Of Players: 4 / Release Date: 7 March, 2002 „
"NHL 2002" is a video game released for the Gameboy Advance console in 2002 by Electronic Arts. It is a sports title with ice hockey being represented. In the United States, the game received a rating of "E" by the ESRB panel which deemed it suitable for all ages.
The gameplay of this title reflects a standard ice hockey game. The player has access to a a full season mode, a single exhibition match and a versus mode which makes use of an optional game link cable for multiplayer connectivity. It is interesting to note that the multiplayer mode offers up to four consoles to engage in a standard match with two players controlling a specific team. The standard rules and regulations at the time of release were implemented into this game and feature offsides and icing the puck calls. While the gameplay remains true to what one may expect from a hockey match, it is unfortunate that the game suffers from severe slow down in areas of more intense action. When many players are frantically trying to gain the puck I noticed the game grind to almost a halt and this made for a less than enjoyable experience. While these areas are few and far between, they are painstakingly obvious when they do occur.
The graphics are presented from a top down perspective which focuses on the the player's character currently being used. I found the characters to be well drawn and sport their typical uniform colours at the time of release. The finer details such as team logos were missing but sports fans of the National Hockey League would be able to differentiate between the teams with ease. The arena is well drawn and all lines and circular areas are present. The soundtrack, however, is less than inspired. The game features almost a "click" sound when making a move with the puck. This does not seem appropriate for the hard hitting action. There are a few voice snippets in the game but they are often repetitive and only occur when a character is receiving a penalty call.
Overall, NHL 2002 is an average ice hockey title which I would be hesitant about recommending to prospective buyers. Its minor gameplay flaw combined with otherwise standard graphics and audio make for a mediocre gaming experience.