#711 – Wayne Gretzky Hockey

                 

                                           “This Game is For Advanced Players”? I’d say This Game is For No One.

 

                                  

                                                                     Where’s Gretzky? WE CAME FOR GRETZKY!

 

PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous

PUBLISHER: THQ

DEVELOPER: Bethesda Softworks

GENRE: Sports

RELEASE DATE: January 1991

 

“What the hell’s going on?” is not a phrase one wants to utter during any game, let alone a sports title that demands quick reflexes and precise timing. But Wayne Gretzky Hockey allows – indeed, encourages – such florid exclamations, thanks to the offensive graphics and questionable play control. The hockey games are played from a top-down view, allowing you to see all the players on the arena from a God-like placement. This viewpoint would be a blessing, if the sprites weren’t all smaller than my thumb. Once the game begins in earnest and players from both teams smush together to get the puck, there is no telling what’s happening, but rest assured, it will result in fouls on your end. Making the players pint-sized feels deliberate: no doubt if the sprites were larger, the game wouldn’t move as speedily as it does. But what’s the point of speed if you can’t decipher the actions of your team? The player you control is highlighted by a gentle flickering, adding further to the eye strain. Pressing ‘Select’ will switch between the players, but never the player you wish to play at that precise moment. Switching players feels sluggish compared to the in-game speed, and by the time you’ve reached the player you wish to use, the puck will be far elsewhere. As for making a goal? I doubt Wayne Gretzky himself could shoot and score, even on the Novice setting. The great hockey legend may have sold his name to THQ for a quick profit, but I’d wager he wasn’t impressed with the results.

 

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