playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

A.P.I Review: NHL Faceoff 99
Developer: 989 Studios OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-2 Player
Game Type: Ice Hockey Memory Card 1-6
Review Date: PAL: April 1999
NTSC: Oct 1998
Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

NHL Faceoff '99 finally arrives on PAL format boasting an all-new 3D game engine that uses an impressive polygonal graphic environment. With 25 percent more more polygons per player and twice the amount of textures of last year's edition, NHL Face Off '99 features 3D players with real texture mapped faces that capture the true appearances of hundreds of NHL Stars.

New Motion Capture animation features moves from San Jose goalie Kelly Hrudey and Anaheim winger Scott Young. Every subtle and personalized move has been incorporated to amazing detail, as wingers blast vicious slap-shots, defensive men dish out brutal checks and goalies make flashy butterfly saves.

Sound & Vision

The graphics for Faceoff 99 are excellent. 989 Sports motion captured real NHL players on the ice and used them to develop the graphics. The look and feel of Faceoff '99 is very smooth and extremely realistic. I thought the attention to detail was great too. For example, each arena has its own look and feel that you can associate with the real arena, championship banners hanging from the ceiling, etc. You can even hang out and watch the Zamboni clean the ice between periods.

The only real problems I had were the lack of player detail on upclose shots (i.e. between plays or after goals) and the scantiness of crowd detail. But I'm just nitpicking here because the overall graphics are excellent. 989 Sports did a fine job in making a fast yet very clean and smooth game for the hockey genre. These graphics blow away any that I have seen in the hockey field for the Playstation. You can even see the boards and glass shake when you lay on a big hit.

One of the features that I really enjoyed was the TV style presentation. Instead of staring at a motionless screen during stoppages, the developers added cutaways that really make the game flow and keep your attention focused on hockey.

The sounds and effects are extremely realistic also. The developers have added a very professional play by play call from the Devil's (Boo, they suck) Mike Emrick and ESPN's Darren Pang. They do a really good job in keeping up with the pace of play. Background and crowd noises are excellent too, you get the standard home team chants and a very realistic silence when the away team scores. I felt that the sounds of NHL Faceoff '99 were extremely well done and very realistic.


NHL Faceoff '99 builds on an already existing design and adds new ideas and features to its gameplay. The basic controls and movements are a lot like NHL '98 and are very natural and easy to learn. When you get into the more complicated offensive and defensive moves, things get a little bit more difficult, but if you play the game enough to care about these things you are obviously not a rookie and are willing to spend the time to master them.

I was glad to see the icon passing and switching. This feature allows the user to pass or switch control to a particular player much like the passing feature in the football genre. A big problem that I have with some sports games is not getting the exact player I would like when switching control, this feature resolves that issue.

The additional of dual shock this year also enhances the gameplay. Every collision, every contact with the puck relays a nice vibration through the controller. It further immerses you into an already absorbing game.

There are plenty of camera angles to choose from making it easy for even the pickiest of players to find a comfortable view. You can even change the game speed if you so desire.

As with past years you have the option of exhibition, season, and playoff games with every NHL team and many international teams to choose from. You can create players, trade players, and sign free agents to make a "Super Team" all within roster restrictions of course. There is every stat imaginable on record and everything can be saved to a memory card.

I found the playability of NHL Faceoff 99 to be very comfortable, smooth, and easy to learn. It is my favorite sports game to date and is sure to create many bouts between competitive friends.

You can't go wrong with NHL Faceoff 99. The excitement and realism of this game will keep you interested for a very long time. You can choose any of the existing NHL teams (including the Nashville Predators) as well as international teams, and you have a multitude of options to play with. I truly believe that this is the hockey game of the year. If you enjoy any type of sports games on the PlayStation console, you're guaranteed to enjoy this one too.

GRAPHICS: 18/20 Obviously 989 put a lot of time and effort into this one. The graphics, the animation, the TV style presentation, the play by play commentary, all make NHL Faceoff 99 the most realistic and exciting sports game I have ever played.

The ability to play exhibitions, seasons, playoffs, trade players, create players, and sign free agents keeps this game interesting all the time. This game never gets boring and it is even more fun when you have multiple users. Plain and simple, THIS GAME IS GREAT!!!
SOUND: 9/10
VALUE: 19/20


GRAPHICS: 15/20 Anyone who has participated in a session of Faceoff ice hockey over the past couple of years should have decided by now whether the visual style is to their liking. To these gamers I say that the '99 version has been improved by almost 25%. However the slight graininess of the players and stadium remains evident.

The game speed certainly lives up to expectation as the pace never lets up... fast and furious all the way. The puck is definitely more prominent that in past hockey games but doesn't seem to travel the expected striking distance.

Overall the '99 version is a vast improvement over past efforts and the inclusion of Analog control saves getting bruised thumbs with continuous play.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 17/20


    GAMES        Get your PSX games HERE!