scratch my back with a hacksaw! Hockey is back baby,
but at what price? As we bask in the fallout of an
NHL season lost, hockey fans from all over have been
trying to fill the icy void. The average fan has moved
on to other sports, while hardcore puck fans have
stayed true and tried to find their own personal hockey
most cost efficient road to revisiting hockey is to
play video game hockey. In 2005, Gretzky Hockey stepped
back into the gaming limelight after a 7 year hiatus.
Fortunately the PlayStation 2 rendition was a thousand
times better than either title found on the Nintendo
64. Now it's time for the Great One to blast his way
back to the PSP.
of the Clones
Gretzky NHL 2006 wavers a bit between true hockey
simulation and arcade style hockey. To try and make
the game more interesting, developers Page 44 Studios
included a brand spanking new mode called "Wayne
this mode your team is rewarded upon performance.
Move the puck up along the ice with breakout plays
and score goals for your team and you will be awarded
"99 Time Points." Once your point total
reaches, you guessed it, 99 the Great One himself
will hop on the ice on behalf of your team. This is
beneficial because you'll have a 6 on 5 player advantage,
but freakin Wayne Gretzky will play on your team!
You'll be able to use him and his amazing talents
to score goals and ultimately rock the casbah.
With no 2004 - 2005 season there isn't much to base
a 2006 title on, especially stat wise. As a gamer
and avid hockey fan, myself and many others don't
want to play the same game as we did last year. To
avoid the repetition, Gretzky 2006 has been stuffed
full of new modes.
same game modes that we've come to know and love are
back. Season mode, Exhibition and Online mode have
laced up the skates once again. Gretzky's new title
does offer up some tasty little vittles in the way
of game modes.
44 will be using the PSP's Wi-Fi capabilities in the
Infrastructure Mode. What's cool about this mode is
that you'll be able to connect and play with other
Gretzky 2006 players nationwide.
Gretzky Challenge will challenge you to be as good
as the Great One himself. During gameplay (we're not
sure if this means Season mode or Exhibition as well),
you can earn special points by breaking Wayne Gretzky's
actual NHL records. These points can then be used
to unlock more jerseys and also playable versions
of Gretzky himself.
Hit The Hockey Stride
Unfortunately it seems that most hockey games have
hit their stride. There really isn't much of a way
to elaborate on gameplay, like EA has done in their
Madden football series. The result is the skeletal
structure of a hockey game with pretty lights and
ornaments that we call innovative game modes. Maybe
someday we'll see the ultimate hockey game, but until
then we'll just have to play with the PSP's Wi-Fi
and players across the country. Awesome.
Wayne vs. Wayne Mode - Prepare for fast-paced, arcade-style
action where gamers can activate Wayne Gretzky and
play with or face him over the course of a heated
game. Achieve "99 Time" and Gretzky will
become a temporary playable teammate.
can add him for a six-on-five offensive attack or
attempt to defend against him in the same formation.
For the ultimate line-up, gamers who activate Gretzky
five times in one game are able to have five playable
versions of Gretzky on the ice at the same time.
Game - Artificial Intelligence (AI) picks evenly
matched teams at random for a quick game on the
- Gamers can select their favorite team and face
off in a variety of epic rivalries. Choose from
any NHL team to participate in a classic match-up.
Mode - Assume the role of GM and the responsibility
of franchise ownership including the ability to
draft, sign, and trade players from NHL teams and
play the regular 82 game season.
Mode - Gamers can compete against friends or other
hockey fans in head-to-head play via wireless multiplayer
Hoc Mode - Two or more PSP systems can communicate
directly via Wi-Fi connectivity for regional/local
Mode - Gamers can link to a network through a wireless
local area network (WLAN) access point for multiplayer
Challenge - Through successful gameplay, players
can earn points by breaking Gretzky's actual NHL
records and utilize those points to unlock hidden
items including jerseys, teams, and playable versions
of Gretzky from his days as a member of the Edmonton
Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers.
Audio Commentary - In-depth action and intensity
is highlighted through game commentary delivered
by the great Mike Emrick and Darren Pang.
NHL Gameplay - Utilize the shot aiming option to
guide the puck past the tenacious goaltender. Set
up a perfect one-timer with the give and go and
load up the slap shot meter to beat the goalie with
& NHLPA Licensed - Play as or against all NHL
teams with access to every player and arena.