Description official descriptions
After the award-winning NHL 98, EA worked to improve what was considered to be one of the most complete ice hockey games in the market. Along the usual and almost obligatory NHL roster updates, the International mode first featured in the previous version was expanded, allowing players to choose IIHF rules and rink size.
Graphically, the arena is more detailed with more rinkside features, and ice reflections, player faces were improved and stand more seamlessly into the model, enhanced motion capture result in better animated hits (with the ability to break the glass with a well-placed body check making a return), shots and saves, and finally an higher polygon count complete the graphic enhancements to the game.
As graphic changes aren't enough to make a game better, gameplay was also tweaked, with computer players being smarter, both in offense and defense. Shooting was tweaked (slap shots are easier to pull, players no longer skate in circles to do some backhand shots and must be facing the goal to shoot, particularly in one timers) and a new special move brings dekes, spin-o-ramas and the kind of moves Jágr, Fedorov and Selänne pull when one-on-one with the goalie. However, if the player gets too close to the crease, the referee might want to review the play in the new video goal judge, so the player must think twice before trying to pull a "Brett Hull". For newcomers to the sport, a new Beginner mode allows players to get used to the ice without having to concern with penalties or an overly strong opponent.
The season mode was also improved, with the players now having streaks that affect either positively or negatively his abilities. Debuting the Nashville Predators, players can either choose to play with their initial roster, or do a fantasy expansion draft.
Credits (Windows version)
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Average score: 88% (based on 39 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)
The attention to detail in reproducing the feel of network sports really floored me. Maybe I haven't been playing enough sports games in recent years, but the camera angles, wipes/fades/dissolves, occaisional stats that pop up, and the targeted announcer commentary were impressive.
The basic controls were simple to figure out. You can play entire games with just button A for passing and button B for shooting.
Finally, the puck had a darkish halo around it, which was a nice computer-game touch that made it really easy to see where the puck was (unlike real hockey broadcasts).
While the basic controls were easy to figure out, the more complex ones, such as a third button for player selection and a fourth button for "special", were unclear as to how they worked exactly. For example, the instructions clearly stated that the third button selected the player closest to the puck, but repeated pressing of this button kept switching the active player all over the place. And after a good 30 minutes of playing, I stlil haven't figured out what "special" does.
Another "disappointment" was fighting--more specifically, the lack of it. I played with a friend for over an hour and there was just no way we could get into a fight. I know that in real life, fights are uncommon, but it still would have been nice to specifically cause one.
The Bottom Line
Considering that this game is now $14.99 at Best Buy, I'd have to say that it is, indeed, a "best buy". It's surprisingly fun, even for non-sports-fanatics like myself.
Windows · by Trixter (8962) · 1999
It looks and plays very well, even if it is very unrealistic at times. If you're a hockey fan, you can recognize all the players' faces, even the not-so-famous players! It's from '98, but it's highly playable today in 2002. I enjoyed the different stadiums and music in each, not to mention all the NHL and world teams! (Fights happen randomly only with two players who have high intensity and aggression levels, to answer the other reviewer's complaint... play using Colorado and Claude Lemieux will get into fights or Washington's Chris Simon... only a couple of examples!)
The AI is inconsistent and varies too widely according to the difficulty level. You can easily score 8-10 goals per period on beginner, 4-6 on rookie, but it's very tough to score 3 or more goals on pro level. It's a bit annoying, but it never stopped me from completing a season.
The Bottom Line
Over-the-top, block-rockin' boarding puck action. For more strategic, realistic play, try Fox NHL Championship 2000 (it's not as well-produced as NHL99, but the AI is fantastic).
Windows · by M B (15) · 2002
NHL 99 features Eric Lindros on the cover. Lindros was with the Philadelphia Flyers when this game was released.
The original release of this game (and other EA Sports games as well) contained a 6-button joypad in the box.
- Computer Gaming World
- April 1999 (Issue #177) – Runner-up as Best Sports Game of the Year
- PC Player (Germany)
- Issue 01/1999 - Best Sports Game in 1998
Information also contributed by Roedie
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Brian Hirt.
Nintendo 64, PlayStation added by Kartanym.
Additional contributors: Patrick Bregger.
Game added September 21, 1999. Last modified January 20, 2024.