Reviewed on PC

NHL 2001

Reviewed By: Garrett O'Hara

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: EA Sports
Price Range: $45-55
Learning curve time: 30 min.
Age level: 6+
ESRB Rating: Everyone
System Requirements: 700 MHz recommended, good 8MB 3D card

Genre: Sports
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Logo for 'NHL 2001'
"Remember, Marcus of Queensbury Rules!" … "Better break this up before the crowd stands with an ovation!" … "Close your eyes, kids! This could get ugly!"

With those words, commentator Jim Hughson along with Bill Clement, analyze the fights between players depicted in EA's newest NHL game, "NHL 2001". And let me tell you something. What a blast!

I'm a hockey player myself, despite living in Yuma, Arizona and I truly enjoyed this game for its perfect mix of arcade-style fun and realistic graphics and strategy. The game really stands out with the graphics, which are pretty hard to believe during the introductory video, but are realized once you get into the gameplay. The game also includes the new face technology that lets the user put his or her face into a player using a scanner or digital camera. The faces already built-in represent just about every major player in the NHL. The quality of the face work varies. They really did a good job on Joe Sakic, Brett Hull, Derian Hatcher, and others, but a few were quite erroneous. Chris Pronger and Keith Tkachuk can hardly be recognized on the ice except for the number and name on the back of the uniform. Ironically, they did a great job on the faces of the goalies, which can hardly be seen for obvious reasons.

I'll bet that the biggest thing that keeps parents from letting their kids play this game is the fighting. It's extremely mild, and actually quite humorous. Unfortunately, there is one code that will let players bleed. I won't mention that code here, for I know that kids will be searching. Nevertheless, it's easy to find.

Screenshot from 'NHL 2001' The sound is excellent. As long as you have the good speakers and the right video and sound cards, you're in the stands cheering. Unlike most of the previous sports games with commentary, starting with the historic Sports Talk Baseball, this is the best I have seen. Most, if not all, of the player's names are recorded at varying intensities so that Jim Hughson won't sound too much like a robot. Bill Clement, doing color commentary, does an awesome job as well, though play analysis could use some work. The flow of the commentary works just like any hockey game on TV, with the exception of advertising, storylines, and intermission reports. The PA man is the same as most of the EA Sports games, making humorous comments such as "Please refrain from hurling drinks and/or shot-puts onto the ice." Player names are also recorded for the game's PA system.

The player creation feature is just about the only weak feature of the game. It's way too easy to create a super-player, and the face importation could use some work. It looks like the picture if you follow the directions, but the colors can become too pale or dark. My face, when imported, looks like an albino with brown eyes!

If you're looking for clean fun without death and blood, “NHL 2001” is a good choice.

Year of Release—2000

I've collected the EA sports NHL series since 1996 for the PC, nothing out there rivals the excitement and realism of hockey. I've played hockey for 20 years but even my friends (who don't appreciate the game) find the graphics and sound captivating. Unfortunately my son (4 yrs old) now loves to play it and I'm no longer the only one wanting on the computer. I do advise you shutting the “fighting option” off for children, although the fighting scenes, just like real hockey, are fake and only serve to feed the male ego anyway. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Bruce Crowe, age 26

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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