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NHL All-Star Hockey ’95 – Sega Genesis

NHL All-Star Hockey ’95 – Sega Genesis


     Platform: Sega Genesis

     Developer: Radical Entertainment

     Publisher: Sega

     Release Date: June 1st, 1995

     Genre: Sports, Hockey

     Nerd Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by THEbipolarBear


As the first truly retro game I have reviewed on Nerd Bacon, NHL All-Star Hockey ’95 is anything but disappointing. Despite the fact that the game is a couple years older than I am, it still holds the ability to entertain me and a friend for hours – a trait quite uncommon and extremely valued in our current couch-co-op-derived gaming world. And maybe that is exactly why you are here, at Nerd Bacon, reading a review on an essentially ancient game simply to find a decent game that you and a bro can play together on the same console. In that case, I’m here to tell you through a review composed of the highlights Sega’s NHL ’95 graphics, gameplay, and miscellaneous features that this is, indeed, a game well worth the money.

In this zoomed box, you can clearly see your player's stick and movements.

In this zoomed box, you can clearly see your player’s stick and movements.

Picked up along with the original Madden Football and boxing game on a three dollar trip to a local retro store, Sega’s NHL ’95 was definitely the forerunner of my newly founded Genesis collection – in fact, it’s in my console now. I have played and very much enjoyed EA Sports’ NHL 15, so I’ve experienced the graphics that could easily be confused as a real NHL game along with the over 9,000 crowd models. When I look upon the 16-bit graphics and amorphous crowd of Sega’s NHL ’95, I both appreciate what developers have been able to accomplish in two technology-packed decades and admire the functionality of 90s’ 16-bit games. Where modern gamers utilize 1080p at 60fps to perfect their face off strategy,  90s gamers were provided zoom-in boxes and rock-paper-scissors-type mechanics to stay in on the action. Both games, 20 years apart, come prepared for when the sticks are dropped and the gloves are off with an awesome fighting feature that is nearly significant enough to account for an entirely separate game. And even when gamers throw their controllers and truly loathe their incompetent goalie, both NHL games allow their player to sub out their goalie – a genuinely humane act for the betterment of the gamer community.

There are two type of punches and a grapple mechanic, in which you can regain health

There are two types of punches and a grapple mechanic, in which you can regain health

Frankly, the graphics are terrible. But before you discredit this review and say things such as “Kids these days can’t appreciate games like we used to! They can’t even tell the difference between a mushroom and a Goomba,” let me clarify. The graphics were state of the art in 1995, but all developers knew that 16-bit graphics weren’t the final destination of video games. In fact, graphics weren’t even the end-all, be-all of the game’s quality, contrary to the beliefs of many pampered gamers of today. The point of games made in the 90s and Sega’s NHL ’95 was to be a vehicle of friendly competition and living room entertainment, therefore making the graphics obsolete to the overall impact of the game.

Successfully decking a player in scoring position is slightly less satisfying than beating Rainbow Road.

Successfully decking a player in scoring position is slightly less satisfying than beating Rainbow Road.

Proudly boasting their multiple 10 goalie animations and instant replays...

Proudly boasting their multiple 10 goalie animations and instant replays…

The gameplay is easy to learn and surprisingly hard to master. Since it only utilizes three buttons and the directional pad (not including the “Start” button), nearly anyone of any age can play this game at a decent level. However, with different strategies on both sides of the puck and other time-sensitive aspects of gameplay, Sega’s NHL ’95 is not won by luck but rather skill. For example, for face offs, the player hits “B” and a direction to make a swipe for the puck, giving him the responsibility of both the aim of the pass and the timing of the move. This pass can be used to set up a two-on-one situation and, with a well-placed pass and a quick shot, can be a debilitating strategy to use against your opponent.

All in all, Sega’s NHL ’95 cannot compete with EA’s NHL 15, but it can offer a lot of fun for casual gamers and retro-junkies alike. The simplicity of the game is refreshing, but it contains enough content, such as all of the NHL teams, a play-off modeled single player, plentiful fights, and even instant replays to keep gamers intrigued and the cartridge in the console. So if you did come here in search of a “cost-efficient but still entertaining” alternative for overpriced sports games, go on and head over to your local retro gaming store and pick up a Sega Sports classic.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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One Comment

  1. LifeShowChris says:

    I can remember playing this with friends and praying to get into another fight on the ice. That was the highlight! It never seemed to happen enough.


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