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1-8 Players

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

April 1997


Setting the Scene

Roll up, roll up, its time for another beat-em-up on ice as Sony bring to us the latest in their Faceoff series. With no clear leader in this genre, can they secure the top-spot with what they describe as "The most realistic ice hockey experience that you'll have without putting on some skates".

Well here goes with another sports simulation for us couch potatoes. Were else could you score the winner whilst slurping on a six-pack?


NHL Faceoff is a 3D television-view ice hockey game that has been fully licensed with the NHL and the NHLPA, meaning that the programmers can include all of the official players and statistics to make the game as realistic as possible.


The introduction is a short mix of video footage and computer generated images showing skaters scoring, fouling and injuring in true NHL style.
The options screens are all slick and easy to use.
The in game graphics are functional without being spectacular. The rinks are all well presented, with the home team logo featured under the ice and advertising boards all around the rink.
The player graphics look fine for the most part, but get very blocky when the camera zooms in close. The refections of the players on the ice is very realistic, as is the texture of the ice its-self.
In order to keep the game running as fast as possible, there seems to be little animation in each of the players, but to be honest everything moves so quickly that its hard to notice (other than when the players celebrate after scoring a point or start fighting with each other).

Another nice touch is the perspex screen around the rink that stops the puck entering the crowd. When the camera goes behind the screen, it really looks like you are staring through tinted plastic.

Sounds and Effects

Most companies who produce sports simulations seem to miss out on the opportunity that great sound gives to the atmosphere of any event. How often have you stood in a crowd and felt high with the awesome sound of a big crowd. Sony seem to have spent some time on getting this element of the game just right.
All of the sounds within this game are crisp and bright. The referees whistle is shrill and high pitched, The noise of the skates on ice is the most believable yet and the crowd cheers for the home side and boos at the visitors. Even the commentator has the sense to keep quiet unless he really needs to speak.

You will find yourself gritting your teeth as you "crunch" opponents into the walls and jumping to your feet when the puck hits the post with a "Ting" and rebounds out to your opponents feet.

The crowning glory in the aural department is the organ which plays short bursts of all of the well known tunes heard at hockey matches. The sound that they have used fills the whole room when played through your hi-fi, you can visualize how massive it must be as it churns out tune after tune.
Well done Sony - Others please take note.


It took me quite some time to master the number of controls that are needed to play this game well. After an hour or so, my fingers and thumb felt like they had just finished an army assault course.

I struggled over and over again to score against the computer on the easiest setting and found myself throwing down the controller in frustration vowing never to play again. I decided that the only way that this review would ever get written was if I took a new approach. The second joypad was thrust into the PSX as I invited a victim to partake in a little two-player fun.

What a difference this made. We turned off all of the annoying options such as offsides, icing and injuries and got down to basics like passing, checking and of course shooting. One by one we learned how to use all of the button combinations and within half-an-hour we were both scoring with the kind of jaw dropping shots that would make the all-stars envious. We teamed up to take on the computer and after a shaky start preceded to "thrash" the computer 8-7 (well, erm).

Five and a half hours later and we were addicted. we both agreed that the fighting option was rubbish and seemed a total waste of time, so we switched it off in the options screen. This prompted us to go through the rest of the options to test out exactly what the game had to offer:

Edit Player, Trade Player, Create New Player, Release Player, Sign free Agent, View Player Ability(each player has 11 separate categories)
Period length(5,10,20 mins), Penalties(on,off), Line Changes(on,off, auto), Offsides(on,off), Two Line Pass(on,off), Icing(on,off), Difficulty (rookie, veteran, all-star), Player I.D (name, number), Fighting(on,off), P.A Announcer(on,off), Sound(on,off), Player Photos(on,off).
Team: most goals in game, most goals in period, most shots, most penalty minutes.
Player: most goals in game, most goals in period, most shots, most penalty minutes.
and more....
Exhibition, Practice, Season, Playoffs (East/West conferences).
Camera angles (4), Edit Lines, Incident Report, Team Matchup, Goalie Settings( Auto/Manual), Controller Setup, Team Strategy.
Up to 8 human Players can play simultaneously via multi-tap adapters, 26 teams to choose from.
So, as you can see, there are many options and settings to play with.

Value for Money

You can see from the list above that the game has enough variety to keep you interested for a long time.

As with most sports simulations, the multi-player modes are what will keep you coming back over the long term. This one provides a fantastic evenings entertainment for 1 to 8 people.

Once you overcome the initial learning curve when playing against the computer, you will thoroughly enjoy the one player mode and unlike many, this game is as much fun against the computer as it is with friends.





This is the kind of game that could convert people who have never watched the game. The only small flaw is in the player graphics, but this is more than compensated for by the fast flowing action, wonderfully atmospheric sounds and most importantly of all, the fact that it is so much fun to play!
Well done Sony, and roll on Faceoff 98!











A wonderful 2-player game that is easy to get into, but hard to master.








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