`NHL 2001' glitches will disappoint true hockey fans
Scene Video Game Reviewer
The start of the "NHL 2001" season is a time of action and excitement. Goalie Patrick Roy gets his skates sharpened up, ready to pass up Terry Sawchuk's record for wins by a goalie (447). Philadelphia's Brian Boucher prepares to fall from grace, because his time in the spotlight is about up.
Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr gets ready to prove once again why he is the greatest player in hockey, while the world continues to wonder why Washington's pitiful Peter Bondra is still playing at all. San Jose's Bryan Marchment and New Jersey's Scott Stevens both get psyched up to be goons, because in all fairness, they are goons.
But the most important thing for hockey fans is the release of Electronic Arts' "NHL 2001" for the Sony Playstation.
"NHL 2001" provides tons of new features, like the inclusion of expansion teams Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild (unfortunately, both are very bad).
The game also features updated rosters, new team rankings, and the NHL challenge, which allows you to create your own player and then give him attribute points based on feats that you accomplish during the course of the hockey game.
This NHL challenge option allows you to imagine that you are playing alongside your favorite NHL player, or to have a team named entirely with expletives. Of course, if the latter is the case, the game won't say any names when you score a goal. It is disappointing, I know.
However, "NHL 2001" is a disappointment if you wanted a better game than "NHL 2000." The goalies are still stupid, scoring is even easier, the fights still look stupid, there are tons of glitches — and the list goes on and on.
The goalie reactions are sometimes absolutely ridiculous: hanging out way outside of the crease on odd-man rushes and sometimes jumping completely out of the way of the net.
This brings up the issue of scoring. It's ridiculous to think that Dallas can put ten goals on the board against New Jersey, but it happened. Now consider that it happened in 15 minutes! Every tip-in, every breakaway, every deflection found its way past Marty Brodeur. It's hard to believe that a good team like New Jersey can be that awful.
Then there are the fights. There has never been a fight in hockey like there is on this game. Players aren't supposed to stand an arm's length apart and swing at each other — it's not boxing, it's hockey.
They should be grabbing each other's jerseys and pummeling each other while trying to pull the other guy's jersey up over his head. That's a real fight, but all you get from "NHL 2001" is silly fisticuffs.
The glitches in "NHL 2000" are absolutely frustrating. Among the annoyances are the three-minute pause that sometimes happens when a player is sent to the penalty box and the inability of computer-controlled defensemen to keep the puck in the zone when it slides right past them.
The immovable defenseman glitch is the most annoying of all. For example, during one game with Dallas, the defensemen would line up at the blue line and not move at all. It was like Zubov and Sydor were on strike — no matter what, they stayed locked up right behind the blue line, even if they had the puck. This is almost as infuriating as the time that the game locked up when prompted to save, effectively erasing the entire season and sending the player to bed a bitter, bitter person.
If you already own "NHL 2000," and have a great desire to have NHL 2001, my advice is this: wait for the Playstation2 version to come out. You can check this out at www.easports.com.
This version looks unbelievable and will probably have less glitches. Unfortunately, Washington's Chris Simon is said to be included in this version, due to the fact that his band didn't go on tour last season.
If glitches don't make you very angry, and if you have a thirst to play with last season's rookies and revised teams like the Blue Jackets and the Wild, then "NHL 2001" for Playstation will be a decent purchase for you.
All Scene Stories for Wednesday, October 25, 2000