You know NBA Jam don’t you? Of course you do. Everyone loves NBA Jam. With it’s BOOM SHAKALAKA and it’s ‘You’re on fire!’. But what if, you want to play NBA Jam, but don’t like basketball? Maybe you’re a hockey fan? Imagine, NBA Jam, but on the ice.. Sounds awesome right? Well..
Released into arcades by Midway in November 1995, and ported to Playstation (1996) and Windows (1997), 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge brings all the fast paced action that NBA Jam provided, onto the ice, allowing for big checks, ridiculous shots and goal nets that catch fire.
26 teams consisting of 3 or 4 players to select from make up the rosters. However, with the Playstation and Windows versions, the Winnipeg Jets are replaced with the Phoenix Coyotes, as well as various roster moves that happened in between the arcade and console/PC versions, with commentary on all versions, albeit not the greatest commentary, from then Chicago Blackhawks announcer, Pat Foley. (who by the way is a secret character in the game, but more on that shortly)
This game is very fun to play. It’s not the best graphically, but this is more about the fun than the look, even though from the Playstation version I was using, I am positive I could see the likenesses of Mike Modano and Jaromir Jagr, just to name a few. Even in a single player experience, it’s extremely enjoyable, and even though the periods are only three minutes long, this is more than enough time, due to the sheer fast-paced nature. Defensive skills can be left at the door, as this is all about scoring more goals than your opponent.
The abundance of secret characters has continued from NBA Jam, however with a different mix. Gone are Bill Clinton and Al Gore, enter the creator of Mortal Kombat Ed Boon, and ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe. These, as well as many more secret players, can be accessed using the initial system used to keep records of previous matches.
Overall, 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge may not be the best and greatest hockey game in the marketplace, but it could very well be the most fun you and up to 3 of your friends will have with a hockey game. Now if only they made a 2013 version..