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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'NHL Hitz Pro' (PS2/NGC/Xbox) Signs Big Names

by Rainier on Sept. 22, 2003 @ 3:16 p.m. PDT

Midway Sports announced today that NHL Hitz Pro will feature cover athlete Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as coaching legend Scotty Bowman. NHL Hitz Pro, the reinvented version of the successful NHL Hitz videogame franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship September 25, 2003 for the PlayStation2, the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

Lidstrom consults on the game as well as appears on the packaging and cover art for NHL Hitz Pro while bringing his big hits to the game’s DVD section. The 33-year-old Swede is viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL . He is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and most recently, a member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team.

Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, retired in 2002 following his ninth championship season. Today the Detroit Red Wings? continue to benefit from his consulting expertise. Midway’s NHL Hitz Pro also tapped into Bowman’s vast knowledge for insight on audio game tips in the Hockey School Mode.
“We are naturally ecstatic to have two Stanley Cup veterans in Lidstrom and Bowman,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “Their expertise helped tremendously in delivering the added realism that will be the staple of the reinvented NHL Hitz Pro.”

Officially licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA and featuring real NHL teams and athletes, NHL Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports “edge,” but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL features such as 5-on-5 gameplay, league penalties and violations, and live online gameplay for the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system.

The head-to-head online play in NHL Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL team.

Additionally, new gameplay flexibility is built into NHL Hitz Pro to give gamers more control in order to experience hockey the way they like it. Gamers can dial-in the exact gameplay that they enjoy with the new “slider” capabilities. With just a few quick adjustments in the game set-up menu, gamers can change the rules of the game, the speed of the players on the ice and the frequency of checks and fights can be increased or decreased.

NHL Hitz Pro includes an improved AI so authentic that gamers will think they are playing with the NHL pros. Goalie animations feature logic and behavior that realistically capture and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHL action with a new hit-based Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks.

Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and lead their team into the NHL; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers’ hockey skills; and a Multiplayer Tournament Mode allows a virtually unlimited number of online gamers to challenge each other for dominance in multiple tournament tiers.

NHL Hitz Pro Key Features:

  • New Online Play – Head-to-head gameplay, online player rankings and tournaments for the PlayStation?2 computer entertainment system.
  • New 5-on-5 Gameplay – Just the way hockey is played in the NHL , 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position.
  • Full NHL Penalties and Violations – From offsides to two-line passing and cross-checking, all NHL penalties will be enforced in NHL Hitz Pro.
  • 23-Man Player Rosters – 100% legitimate NHL rosters as of July 21, 2003. All players are available and all authentic team lines are ready to score on goal.
  • Real Stadiums – NHL arenas are accurately diagrammed in NHL Hitz Pro.
  • Unique Offensive and Defensive Team Formations – Over 400 unique plays and variations, and NHL team and player capabilities are based on their actual NHL performance.
  • Player Fatigue System – Just as in a real hockey game, the more the player gets checked to the ice, the more tired they become.
  • Line Changes – See your line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up your line to have the freshest players on the ice.
  • Legitimate Stick Handling – Just like the real players in the NHL , glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net, through the use of the right analog stick. NHL Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling of any hockey game to date.
  • Realistic Crowd Reactions – For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate a realistic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a “ho-hum” reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime.
  • New Color Commentary – Midway is adding a second commentator to the booth, veteran sportscaster Harry Teinowitz, and he’ll give you his take on the game as well as the lowdown on some of your favorite NHL players.
  • Upgraded Franchise Mode – The Franchise Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage your team. Draft and trade players at your whim! Choose the offensive strategy and plot the perfect defensive scheme to prevent other teams from abusing your squad. After you create the perfect strategy, now determine who starts, and who gets left behind on the bench in your quest to earn Hero Equipment and join the NHL .
  • Re-tooled Hockey School Mode – NHL Hitz Pro features restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce a young NHL All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide NHL Hitz Pro game tips.
  • Score from Anywhere on the Ice – NHL Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds and deflections.
  • Multiplayer Tournament Mode – Set up tournaments with virtually unlimited number of online players. Up to eight (8) players are supported on each online PlayStation 2.
  • Advanced Options – With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from game speed, shot and pass accuracy, hitting power and goalie skill right down to frequency of poke checks and body checks.
  • Enhanced Fantasy Draft – Choose your favorite team and begin your NHL season from the absolute beginning where all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHL owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch.
  • Improved AI – Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHL Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, you’ll think you’re playing one of your friends.
  • Improved Goalie Animations – NHL Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations in the history of the franchise. From stick saves to butterfly saves and smothering the puck, if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL , he can make it in NHL Hitz Pro.
  • Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior – From poking the puck away from the attacker, to sprinting to the bench with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHL Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL .
  • New Motion Capture Animations – From new checks, slap shots and goalie animations, NHL Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.
  • Killer Soundtrack – New material from some of the best names in the business including Dry Kill Logic, Kazzer, Powerman 5000 and Diffuser as well as gritty, high-energy rock from newcomers Exit This Side and Flipswitch make the NHL Hitz Pro soundtrack a collectors item.

Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy® Advance.

For more information about Midway Games and NHL Hitz 20-04 visit www.nhlhitz.midway.com.

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