NHL 97 is an ice hockey video game by EA Sports. It was released on October 31, 1996 and was the successor to NHL 96. It is the sixth installment of the NHL series and the first to be released on both PlayStation and Saturn. A Panasonic M2 version was in development and slated to be one of the launch titles for it, but never happened due to the cancellation of the system.
NHL 97 uses a full 3D engine, with motion captured polygonal players (PC/PlayStation/Sega Saturn versions only, the Mega Drive and SNES versions retained similar graphical values to previous games, but with further enhanced animations). Each goaltender has his own custom-painted mask and the original artwork can be seen inside the game with a special "Goalie Mask Viewer". NHL 97 also introduces play-by-play commentary, provided by well-known announcer Jim Hughson.
For the first time since EA Hockey, national teams were added, but only Canada, the United States, and Russia have their own teams while the other two are selections of the best European players. NHL 97 introduced a skills competition, allowing the user to pick players to compete in drills such as hardest shot, goalie 2 on 0, and accuracy shooting.
This was the first year of the "Third Jersey." Teams that have third jerseys for NHL 97 are Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins & Vancouver Canucks. These were the first teams to try out the third jersey.
In addition, each team in the game has one player with a special skill. Examples are Joe Sakic's (Colorado Avalanche) "wrong-footed wrist shot" and Rob Ray's (Buffalo Sabres) ability to check an opposing player while still controlling the puck. A glitch allows players to score 100% of the time when shooting down by taking a shot against the boards at the hash marks of the left circle in the bottom zone.
There is an option to enable or disable fighting, though certain players will not get into fights.
Along with the PC, Mega Drive/Genesis and SNES versions, both the Saturn and PlayStation versions made their debut. The shot speed in the PlayStation and Saturn versions is so slow that some skaters can beat a slapshot down the ice.
Enter = START
← → ↑ ↓ = LEFT / RIGHT / UP / DOWN
Q W E = X / Y / Z
A S D = A / B / C
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