CGR Undertow – NHL ROCK THE RINK review for PlayStation

CGR Undertow – NHL ROCK THE RINK review for PlayStation


Every decade has its own style. Its own look, its
own attitude, its own…fonts, they use certain fonts. You don’t even have to have been
there to know about them. In fact, I think it helps if you weren’t there. Because at
the time, I didn’t think the nineties had a style, it’s just what we grew up with.
It was just normal. Now, it’s like… Oh, yeah. That hit was pretty nineties. NHL Rock The Rink is, just about as nineties
as it gets. It’s like if you had a checklist of your favorite nineties sh*t, this game
would fill up most of it. It’s loud, it’s extreme, it has attitude, it’s in 3D, it’s
all there. This game couldn’t be more nineties if it came with an X-Files VHS and a Creepy
Crawlers play set, it’s ridiculous. It’s also ridiculously awesome. Be jealous of the nineties. And our X-Files VHSes, and Creepy Crawlers
play sets. Ducks fly together. Anyway, speaking of great hockey players,
this is a hockey game. And it’s from an era when sports games were allowed to be fun,
which is another nineties thing. Because this is an NHL game, where players catch fire,
and do crazy backflip shots, and interfere with other players with impunity…oh, wait,
that last one actually happens, in the NHL. It’s called interference, Gary Bettman. Why don’t you call it? Maybe you like boring
hockey, where 87 freaking points gets you a scoring title and everyone plays like the
New Jersey goddamn Devils—I don’t. Play this. Learn from it. Actually, don’t, this is even worse. So this game’s just completely freaking
awesome. And it’s pretty much like, if you took the foundation of EA’s NHL games, and
again, you added a lot more fun. Which isn’t to say EA’s NHL games aren’t fun, they
are. It’s just that this is a different kind of fun. It’s simpler, more “arcadey,”
more…violent, probably. And more obnoxious, too. Funny, ‘cause that hit was like the most
obnoxious commentary ever. Sounds like a nineties Mt. Dew commercial.
Which is actually fitting, ‘cause the game plays like one, too. It’s fast, it’s extreme,
people are getting hurt…people were always getting hurt in those commercials, I didn’t
understand it. Anyway, the game plays great. And it’s simple, too, so it’s very accessible.
It definitely has the feel of an old-school sports game. In fact, it even has three player types, like
the NES game Ice Hockey. There are small guys, medium guys…and fat guys. You can probably
guess which guys drank the most Mt. Dew. Of course, being old-school also means there’s
usually not a lot of modes. Single-player, multiplayer—usually, that’s about it.
But there’s actually some cool stuff going on here, the coolest of which…is the NHL
Challenge mode. Here, you get to put your fictional team, up against real NHL teams.
And as you beat them, you unlock them. Which is pretty cool. Not only that, you also
unlock power-ups, too. And you use them to basically level-up your team however you want.
Offense, speed, defense, stuff like that. So it’s cool, it’s got a bit more in terms
of modes than you might expect. More Rockettes, than you might expect. A lot of sports games from this era haven’t
aged well. I mean, pretty much every used game shop has a bargain bin, and pretty much
every one of those bargain bins has the same sports games stacked on top. Madden ’99,
FIFA ’98, NBA Courtside with Kobe Bryant…sometimes, sports games can feel disposable. Replaceable.
You don’t need to keep the old ones. This old one doesn’t belong in the bargain
bins. It plays great, it’s fun…it runs way better
than I expected it to, it’s insanely fast…and it looks decent, too. At least, as these games
go. Soundtrack is a tad obnoxious, but that’s the point, it’s supposed to be. It was the
nineties. Sure, they had their flaws, but they were also fun. Which is why this game
fit right in. Huge thanks to our good pal Tyler from Bluffton,
Ohio, for sending it to the show. It’s NHL Rock The Rink, for the original PlayStation.

27 thoughts on “CGR Undertow – NHL ROCK THE RINK review for PlayStation

  1. This game kicked so much ass. 😀 The intro music was Celebrity Skin by Hole. Awesome Song 😀

  2. Oh wow, a 3D sports game that is fun? I've never heard of this before!
    (Oh wait, I forgot about the Mario sports games… Some of them are pretty cool…)

  3. I remember when this game was thought to be the spiritual successor to Mutant League Hockey, but with an NHL license. The Mutant League thing really didn't matter (outside of some odd character design decisions), because the base game was– and still is– a lot of fun.

    I'd personally rank NHL Hitz & NHL Open Ice over Rock the Rink, but I enjoy playing all three.

  4. I remember working in the electronics department at Wal-Mart and buying this game, Gundam Battle Assault 2 and ECW Anarchy Rulz from the bargain bin.

  5. "This was when sports games were allowed to be fun."

    Ah, I remember those days. Back when every sports game to come out wasn't a goddamn coach simulator. I didn't demand that you know every single possible thing about the sport and players in order to play it. Back when even if you didn't care for sports, you could pick up a sports game and have fun (NFL Blitz, NBA Jam, This game..)

    This game is pretty much the Hockey version of NFL Blitz.

  6. This game got so hard towards the end of the story mode I remember countless nights of being 8 years old, furiously screaming at my TV over the slightest screw up.

    That's how you know you're invested in a game.

    Haven't felt that in a long time.

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