NHL Powerplay Overview

Sanctioned by both the NHL and the NHLPA, NHL Powerplay ’96 for the PlayStation features all the players and teams from the National Hockey League’s ’95-’96 season. There are three modes of play: Exhibition, Season, Playoff, and World Tourney. The Exhibition mode allows you or you and up to four friends to play a customized single-game matchup, using any of the available teams.

The Season mode gives you the chance to play an entire 82 game NHL season, including the NHL Playoffs, and Stanley Cup Championship. This includes overtime games, ties, and player injuries. The Playoff mode enables you to bypass the regular season grind and head straight for post season play. The World Tourney mode is similar to the Olympics in that players play for the country in which they were born. Options in this game that hockey fans will be familiar with include penalties, offsides, two line passes, icing, player substitutions, and face-offs. As player-coach, you will be called on to decide your team’s tactical strategies for each game.

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain Review

Crystal Dynamics’s Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is a superb action/role-playing adventure. Originally released for the PlayStation, it’s got all the classic elements that make for a good adventure and is, essentially, the same game as its console counterpart.

In Blood Omen, you play Kain, a bloodthirsty vampire resurrected to serve his dark lord and seek revenge on his murderers, displayed through gorgeous full motion video sequences. The story is so good and the movies so well done that it’s easy for players to immerse themselves in Kain’s world. The voice acting is superb and the script phenomenal — extremely smart. Unlike most games, Blood Omen requires players to think about what is said and what is happening, rather than having the story spoon-fed word-by-word.

The game takes place in the fictitious world of Nosgoth, a huge world, filled with all kinds of items, spells, weapons, and secrets. While the outdoor graphics aren’t earth shattering (they’re top-down 2D and mostly adequate), the dark crypts and castles feature realistic lighting. This Windows 95 version features high-resolution graphics that are cleaner than the PlayStation version, with monsters and people nicely detailed and well animated.

Blood Omen requires a keen sense of observation to find things, so expect to do a great deal of exploring. While exploring, Kain encounters many different enemies including demons, bats and even townsfolk. Townsfolk (humans) are especially important as Kain needs to feed on their blood. If you do not get enough blood, Kain’s life force will drain and he will perish.

Not only is this game action-packed and gory, but there is also plenty of puzzle solving. Some puzzles are basic, push-the-stone-over-the-switch-so-the-door-will-stay-open type, but most are rather difficult. Kain is also a shape-shifter, turning into a bat, wolf, nobleman, or mist, each having a different purpose that must be utilized properly in much of the puzzle-solving aspects of the game.

Unlike the PlayStation version, this PC version hardly ever slows down. Very nice! Even load times are quicker! The one area better on the console is the control. Using the PC keyboard just doesn’t have the feel of the PlayStation controller. Here, controls seem to be a bit more unresponsive and a little more sluggish. Other than that, these two versions are identical, making Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain a solid game that deserves a look, especially if you never played the PlayStation version.

Graphics graphics
While not mind-blowing, the graphics are adequate and look nice in high-res. There’s also some very cool light sourcing in the dark caves, crypts, and castles, with everything animated well, and FMV sequences that are especially well done.

Sound sound
The voice acting is superb; the sound effects — whether it be Kain slurping up his victim’s blood or enemy and ambient noises — excellent and very lifelike; and the music is very good with dark soundscapes fitting the game nicely.

Enjoyment enjoyment
The story is very interesting and quite good, immersing players from start to finish by offering a great challenge, although I enjoyed playing this game a little more on the PlayStation version because it’s just not as fun with a keyboard.

Replay Value replay
There are lots of secret things to be found in the world of Nosgoth, but it doesn’t really warrant a “play me again.”

Documentation documentation
The well-written instruction manual explains everything you need to know about gameplay, using menus, items, and spells.

Rating: 80/100