Monday 2 April 2018

Hockey Rage (Gizmondo review)

Developer: Chairman & Board
Publisher: Fathammer
Released: 2005

Hockey Rage is a sports game that was only released in the UK and Europe.

It features 16 national teams and the modes on offer are Single Game, World Cup (beat five teams to win) and Multiplayer (play against a friend via Bluetooth). On Offense, you can pass and shoot, while Defense allows you to body-check; both sides of the puck allow you to speed boost when necessary. The game gets off to a fantastic start by providing you with an option to clean the entire ice while driving a Zamboni; it's strangely relaxing and the ability to beat your record time while listening to classical music is genius! The actual gameplay is not so good, as the Wide angle is too zoomed out and it's tough to spot who has the puck in crowded areas; it also doesn't scroll far enough ahead and your player will often outrun the camera. The Close angle is better, although it suffers from the same scrolling issues and it's not easy to see who's available to pass to up the ice. The A.I. is pretty dumb and many times your teammate will casually wander into an offside position as you're skating the puck towards the blue line; they're also useless at checking opposing players and the goalies are regularly caught napping. If you can try and work your way around some of the above, there's an average hockey game here, and scoring on a breakaway or a one-timer following a face-off is just as fun as ever. It's certainly basic (e.g. no advanced options such as line changes and team management), but the responsive controls allow for precision passing, shooting and defending, and the ice physics are spot-on. The polygon graphics, lighting / reflection effects and animation are all excellent too, and the hilarious player voice clips give the game a fun personality.

Hockey Rage is very simplistic, but if you're looking for a fast-paced 'arcadey' take on the sport you could do a lot worse than this. To be honest though, it doesn't really do anything particularly well and the various A.I. and camera issues become even more magnified the deeper you delve into the game.

Random trivia: A version was also released for the Symbian mobile operating system in 2005.

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