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If you love hockey and are fond of double-digit scoring and nonstop action, Open Ice is a definite must-buy. All others should drop this puck as a weekend rental. You won't get deked.
Like its arcade predecessor, Open Ice offers a host of power-up codes (provided in the manual) for such lighthearted, monotony-breaking modes as Big Head, Baby Head, Huge Head, Big Puck, Unlimited Turbo, Unlimited Check, Super Goalie, Baby Size Body, Increase Speed, and Fast Turbo Recovery. These options give the game a sense of character and add to the long-term replay value (especially since the game is easy enough to be mastered in minutes). With realistic hockey sims a dime a dozen on the Playstation, Open Ice is a welcome and refreshing change.
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM)
This wild, fast-paced, two-on-two (plus the useless goalie) puckfest is fun to play for a short period of time, but becomes pretty boring after a few games or so. If you like this sort of no-holds-barred sports action game, you can do better elsewhere. In particular, Wayne Gretzky Hockey for the N64, made by the same company.
All Game Guide
The game's biggest problem is that its play mechanics haven't evolved since NBA Jam. That there is no option for hot-spots as in NBA Jam Tournament Edition almost suggests that Midway is holding back for a sequel. Where are the individual player statistics? How about a create-player feature? Why is there this sudden feeling of deja vu??
The end result is that you don’t ever feel particularly involved in the matches, as they tend to unfold without needing any help from you. Add this to the nasty graphics and poor definition that cause the puck to be hidden for unacceptable periods of time and the whole thing becomes a rather confusing ordeal, instead of a fun experience. NHL Open Ice? Who gives a puck!