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September 10, 2004
NHL Hitz 20-03 - Review
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Small screenshots again!
Midway Sports haven't been recently recognised for their 'classic' games, but I must be truly honest, I think we have a classic on our hands, with their recent crazed hockey title, NHL Hitz 20-03. In a game which resembles Wayne Gretskzy's 3D Hockey, on crack, this title has grown on me like stink on a monkey, as Midway take my limp corpse, deliver me a wedgie, and send me on my way, as the sport of hardcore ice hockey is born within my bleeding underwear. Odd, but what can I say? This game is nothing but odd.

The only difference between a game like say ESPN's NHL 2K3, and this, is that this reverts back to the classic three-on-three extremely entertaining hockey action (NHL Rock the Rink, anyone?). One of the few sports games where it's as easy as it looks, and even the worst gamers in the world could pick up and have an absolute ball, this is truly a remarkable game.

Sure, this game may not have an in-depth plot, or a riveting storyline, but this game has more to offer than two Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's put into one and tied together with a triple linked chain, it's that deep with unlockables, and just general destructive fun. I bet you've dreamt of playing a game where slamming any useless loser through a sheet of solid glass is easy enough to do, you can actually manage it? If so, this is certainly your game, as Midway take the sport of hockey to an entirely new level.

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About to go the biff.
With an incredible list of teams, including Canada, Team United States, and even an all-stars team, which is very nearly indestructable. But however, you won't be playing at Madison Square Garden this outing, instead you'll be playing in a prehistoric playground, where you're surrounded by a lush rainforest. Odd, but once again, this game is nothing but odd.

As I mentioned above, you won't find a game anywhere that is easier to just pick up and play than this. This game takes simple to a whole new level. But simple isn't entirely bad, because it allows for even the most experienced players, or even the least experienced to have exciting high-scoring bouts to the finish, and a good ole' fist-fight, which everyone loves.

But seriously, this game is a breeze to learn, although it may take time to master completely. But the general controls are incredibly simple and easy to just glance at once for a breif second, and then get stuck straight into the action. It's simply great. But you'd want to be careful, this game is all about scoring goals, and making sure your pearly whites aren't collected by an airborne puck, but luckily, you have a helmet, otherwise things may have gotten messy. But definitely one of the most enjoyable games, ever.

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The game looks nice enough.
Not to mention the enormous range of mini-games, including a classic one-on-one shootout in the street, breaking building windows from the roof across the way, and a huge list of others, as it just adds so much more to what is no doubt an incredible video game for all audiences.

As far as things to keep you busy, this game offers the most incredible hockey experience in a video game yet, the Franchise Mode. Which is undoubtedly the most complete hockey experience available, anywhere. But on the side of that, gamers can also enjoy the slightly less season mode, with every team and every game to take note of.

As far as issues go, I honestly found none, but that's maybe because I was having so much damn fun to take notice of any?

Graphically, I was quite surprised by this game, I expected because this game wasn't officially liscensed, or by a developer of titanic recognition, that the graphics portion of this game would let it down horribly. But amazingly, the graphics is most probably one of the it's strongest elements, from the incredible camera angles, to the near picture like images on the faces of each individual player, this game is marvellous when it comes to eye candy. Brilliant!

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Slammed into the wall.
And the sound (listen to my immense excitement), don't get me started on the sound. This game has so much to offer already, and now it offers an absolutely incredibly arse-kicking soundtrack to boot. Including personal favourites of mine, Powerman 5000, Incubus and the legend of rock, Rob Zombie. This is on top a list of several more, which is definitely impressive.

But as far as the general sound effects go, the commentary has been known to spark minor chuckling with me, and my family, as they watched idolly. And the sound of razor-sharp blades piercing the ice is a delight to hear, there is no doubt that the sound effects in this game are nothing short of tear-jerkingly beautiful.

There isn't much else I can say about this game, other than it's simply brilliance in a nutshell. Midway have taken their previous game, and idea of hardcore ice hockey, and excelled in every single way possible. They've improved graphics, their general gameplay, they've included an enormous amount of mini-games and unlockables, and a kick-arse soundtrack on top of all that, what more could anyone want really?

And this game would be dirt-cheap by now, I seriously recommend at least picking it up, as a multiplayer game this is a five-star game, but even as a single player campaign, this game is rightfully sensational. If you've got a couple of spare bucks, I could think of nothing better to do than pick up this title. Ignore these ESPN NHL 2K3 and EA's NHL 2003 annual rehashes, go with the game that has proven innovation wins fans, choose Midway's 'classic'. It's simply brilliant.

Review By: Brodie Gibbons

GRAPHICSEerily beautiful, from the glossy shine of the ice, to the smooth fluid animation of each single hockey player, this game is a sight that makes me weep, in the good way, though. Art.
SOUNDWith one of the most amazing soundtracks on a video game, there is no doubt this element of the game makes me keep coming back for more, and more, every single time. Hilarious commentary and sharp ice effects. What more is needed?
GAMEPLAYExtremely simple to pick up and play, but extremely entertaining and rewarding nonetheless. From the depth of the Franchise Mode, to the general excitement of capturing the Stanley Cup, this game offers all the thrills and spills only real hockey can offer you.
VALUEThis title has value oozing out of it's already complete arsenal. With a titanic list of unlockables waiting for the bravest gamer to tackle, and a season mode with beckons, and is just waiting for a second, or third run through, it's easily one of the most in-depth and worthwhile purchaes on the market today, and not only for hockey fans.
OVERALLA spectacular game. 'nuff said.

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