NHL 14 players will be able to travel back in time with the game's NHL '94 Anniversary Mode, a special mode to mark that seminal sports title's 20th anniversary, publisher Electronic Arts announced today.
Even today, the beloved NHL '94 is still recognized as one of the best sports games ever made. Developer EA Canada built a version of the old game with the modern NHL 14 engine, so the Anniversary Mode doesn't feature 16-bit graphics. But its presentation takes plenty of visual and audio cues from NHL '94, including blue ice, advertising-free rink boards, star-shaped player icons, the memorable organ-based soundtrack and an EA Sports logo at center ice.
You'll use a throwback three-button control scheme to play: pass, shoot and turbo. An EA Sports representative told Polygon that gameplay in the mode will have more of an arcade feel than NHL 14 proper, with a faster game speed and a higher prevalence of big hits. It will also relax the rules of hockey — no penalties, offsides or icing. Expect to see players break glass with slap shots and body-check goalies.
NHL '94, released on Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and Sega CD in 1993, was the first entry in EA's NHL franchise with both officially licensed NHL players and teams. The Anniversary Mode will feature current NHL rosters, since EA doesn't have the rights to use players or teams from 1993.
However, the company licensed four legends from the early '90s who will be playable in the mode as well as throughout NHL 14: Wayne Gretzky, who played for the Los Angeles Kings at the time; Jeremy Roenick, then of the Chicago Blackhawks; Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins; and gold medal-winning female player Cammi Granato.
You can check out a lovably obnoxious trailer for the NHL '94 Anniversary Mode, which will only be playable offline, above. NHL 14 will be released Sept. 10 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.