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The "best selling pro hockey franchise" is back with the 2004 edition, and it's loaded with more.

Like Madden NFL 2004, NHL 2004 has a deep career mode, titled Dynasty Mode. You take on the role of GM for up to twenty seasons. As GM, you'll have to negotiate contracts, conduct drafts, make trades, sign free agents, make sure your players are getting the training they need, and more. If you're good enough, you may make it into the GM Hall of Fame.

Besides Dynasty mode, you've got the basic game modes; Season, Exhibition, and Playoffs.

The control for NHL 2004 has been refined, allowing for more precise movement than in the previous games. Precise passes, shots, and accurate skating are accomplished by simply tapping the button.

NHL 2004 features a new fighting engine, allowing for more accurate and realistic fights. The right analog stick controls "Bruise Control", which lets you perform different moves by tilting the stick in different directions. Before you get into fights, you'll need to agitate a player, and this is where his Agitation Meter comes in. Losing the game, being checked, making sloppy passes all raises his Agitation Meter, until he is ready to burst and will fight at the slightest poke check.

NHL 2004 contains the EA Sports Bio, which is a feature found on all console versions of EA Sports game. Playing more EA Sports titles, playing them for a long time, and winning special accomplishments (such as your first shutout in NHL 2004 or your first number one finish in NASCAR Thunder 2004) will earn you a higher Gamer Level, and will reward you with bonuses, such as cheat codes and new stadiums. This feature isn't found on the PC version.

In addition to the standard roster of NHL teams, there are thirty nine international teams for you to choose from, such as Germany's DEL or Sweden's Elitserien, plus the usual U.S.A., Canada, and other regulars.

The PlayStation version of NHL 2004 supports online play.


NHL 2004 Windows Goalie fails to stop the puck.
NHL 2004 Windows Puck goes in the net.
NHL 2004 Windows Player is down.
NHL 2004 Windows View from far above arena

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Critic Reviews

Computer Gaming World (CGW) Windows Jan, 2004 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
GameStar (Germany) Windows Nov, 2003 92 out of 100 92
Gamigo Windows Oct 30, 2003 8.9 out of 10 89
Lawrence Xbox Oct 04, 2003 89 out of 100 89
IGN Xbox Sep 23, 2003 8.8 out of 10 88
Lawrence GameCube Oct 04, 2003 B+ 83 PlayStation 2 Oct 08, 2003 16 out of 20 80
GamePro (US) PlayStation 2 Sep 22, 2003 4 out of 5 80
GameSpy GameCube Oct 09, 2003 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Super Play (Sweden) Xbox Sep, 2003 7 out of 10 70


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EA Cover Curse

Perhaps the most severe case of the curse crossing over from the Madden games.

Following his appearance on the cover of NHL 2004, Atlanta Thrashers winger and All Star game MVP Dany Heatley wrecked his Ferrari by driving it off the road at an excessive speed. Heatley suffered a broken jawbone and his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder, was killed in the accident.

Heatley was held responsible for the accident and was replaced on the cover of subsequent NHL 94 printings by Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic.

Modding community

Many years after the game's release, the modding community is still highly active. A forum called "NHL04 Rebuilt" is dedicated to various fan-made modifications, ranging from roster updates for existing leagues, total conversion mods for competely different leagues and even retro rosters. Some aspects of the game, particularly the handling of statistics within the menus, are improved over the stock version as well. It is estimated that 10,000-15,000 people play these modified versions of NHL 2004, which the community leaders attributing this to the very good gameplay compared to other EA Sports' NHL-licensed titles on the PC.
Contributed to by JPaterson (9101)