NHL Hitz 20-03 - GC - Review

NHL HITZ 2003 from Midway is the latest in their harder, faster, more flashy sports series that includes Slugfest, and Blitz.  Highlighting faster gameplay special effects, and hard hitting action Midway sports has created a game that separates itself from the pack.

HITZ offers several modes of gameplay including mini-games, franchise building, exhibition and season play.  Aside from the mini-games which vary between pretty entertaining (king of the rink) and dull as dirt (3 in a row), HITZ focuses on a 3-on-3 hockey experience.  This creates an exceptionally fast paced game.  It also allows for a much smaller team roster, which comes in handy when going through the franchise making process.  With a multitude of options, stats and appearances it is difficult to pick out the best part of the team making process.  But if I had to put my finger on it I would have to say its the nicknames.  The game includes a huge list of nicknames which the announcers will yell any time your player does anything of interest.  Ranging from mundane names such as Mike to stranger ones like 010110 the game gives you a huge variety with which to customize your character.  I must say hearing the announcer yell "Great hit by Uncle Louis" as my zombie headed enforcer checks an opponent through the glass always brings a tear to my eye. 

Their is a multitude of unlockables from equipment to character models.  In addition to the extensive character creation and mini-games Hitz offers several more unique features.  Individual players or entire teams can go on fire increasing their stats for a set duration.  The other is a pretty complicated fighting system that incorporates several punching options, blocks and dodges.  

Graphically the game is pretty good.  Even though some of the effects are a little bland after a while, the character models are great.  Small features such as the glass shattering when you check people through it or the way the puck lights up on a shot, along with fantastic arenas and models, show the obvious effort that went into designing the feel of this game.

The sound track includes several big name groups that you would expect to hear in a game that goes by the name HITZ.  Just a few of the names are Incubus, Rob Zombie, and Powerman 5000.  In addition, the extensive list of nicknames, crowd sounds, and announcer dialog make listening to this game almost as fun as playing it.

HITZ is a great take on the high paced hard hitting atmosphere of the rink.   

Gameplay: 8
Solid, well done, and fast paced.

Graphics: 8 
Funny at times realistic at others.  A generally good job of mixing style and realism.

Sound: 8
Fun, fast soundtrack that matches the pace of the game.

Difficulty: Medium
Easy to learn but difficulty increases as you advance.

Concept: 8 
It's the same successful formula they've applied to baseball and football.  It's no Mutant League but it does its job.

Multiplayer: 8
Best part of this game is making a team of your friends to play with.  While certain tasks are difficult to complete with more than one player, being able to coordinate your enforcer with your shooter is invaluable. 

Overall: 8
Solid addition to a fun series of sports games.

Great

Gw
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