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NHL Hitz Pro Review

Developer: Next Level Games Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date: September 23, 2003 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

First, allow me to say that you should not compare my review with the prior NHL Hitz series reviews, in which NHL Hitz 20-02 (9.5/10) and NHL Hitz 20-03 (8.8/10) were both reviewed by Shawn. Even though the rubric scale is the same for both of us, I seem to judge sports games a little more harshly than Shawn does.

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Hitz has always had a place in my heart, due to its over-the-top game play, which brought both newbie gamers (my dad) and experienced gamers (me) together. While Hitz Pro allows you to jump in and play immediately after purchase, it does feel much more sim-like than previous installments in the series.

Hitz Pro comes packed with a few different modes, including exhibition, franchise, season, pick-up hockey, and hockey school. While all of the official NHL teams are available, one surprising part that I found was that Canada was the best team and only had an overall rating of 85.

Hitz Pro allows users to begin playing right from when they open the package. One reason for this is the simplicity of shooting goals. I beat Andrew 19-7 thanks to the simple controls and the fact that his goalie was pathetic. The offensive controls can be run down like this; pass with A, deke with Y, shoot with X, and guard puck with B. The defensive controls can be run down like this; select a player with A, deke with Y, check with B, stick check with X, and block puck with B. As in previous versions, there is a turbo button, which can be used with R, allowing you to speed past your opponent(s). Of course, the main difference between this version and previous versions is the fact that you have five players on the ice (excluding the goalie) and you can turn on penalties.

Now it is time for me to explain the fighting system in Hitz Pro. Fights consist of button mashing a certain random button. The person with the most buttons mashed wins a punch. After 3 punches, they win the fight. The loser of the fight goes to the penalty box, giving the opposing team an advantage.

On the other end, graphics in Hitz Pro could have been better and seem to be worse than in previous versions. The audience doesn’t look as real as they did in previous versions, although there are more people in the stands, but again, a lack of variety in the crowd is disappointing.

Hitz Pro does have good sound effects however. The crowd does get involved in the game, making a lot of noise, the sound of skates on ice, and pucks being hit are all refreshing in a hockey game. Players being slammed against walls and shattering glass are also pleasant sounds in a hockey title. A final noticeable change is the music, which is not as heavy metal as it was in previous versions. Anyway, be sure to rent a copy of Hitz Pro today and if you enjoy it, go ahead and pick it up at your local retailer.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide