NHL Breakaway 98 featured the following modes including Exhibition, Practice, Shoot-Out, Playoffs, and Season.
The game featured all 28 NHL Teams from the 1996-97 season, the 1997 All-Star teams, and various international teams.
The season mode gave players the option to play the entire 1997-1998 NHL Schedule, random 82 game schedule, 41 games, or a 25 game season.
Team Management was a strong point for NHL Breakaway 98. The game allowed players to hire and fire coaches throughout the season. Each coach gave the team various bonuses including things like improvement in skating, speed, shot power, and goaltending. This type of RPG element really added to the season mode in the game and was a precursor to what later hockey games would do.
Like many other games at the time, players could make trades, sign players and create their own. Players could also create prospects and use them in their season mode. These prospects could be sent to the "minor leagues" in order to have their stats increase.
The game also featured a semi-robust create-a-player for the time. It allowed users to create their own players by picking a position, hometown, and other specifics. The game also allowed users to allocate a variety of points to specific talents. These included...
- Stick Handling
- Defensive Awareness
- Offensive Awareness
- Shot Power
The game also featured different types of referees. This option could be set to random. Some games would have a referee that was very strict on all calls. They may call more penalties and not allow the player to take as many hits, etc. Other referees would look the other way and allow for bigger hits to occur without calling penalties.
The create a player was extremely robust for the time. It allowed for over 20 different categories that players would put stats and points into.
Every player in the game wears a visor/shield on their hockey helmet. In real life, only the American Hockey League (AHL) requires this.
Keith Tkachuk (Captain of the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-1997) was on the cover of the game.
The game featured a PA Announcer that would make statements throughout the game promoting various made up products, telling the crowd about upcoming games, and letting various people know that they are wanted at the help desk.
The "Glow Puck" also made an appearance in the game. This was something that FOX Sports started for their real NHL broadcasts on television. The puck would glow in the game to help make it easier for players to follow. The game also featured the "Puck Trail" which would give the puck a glowing tail to show where it was headed. This was another FOX Sports concept.
Dave Lang has stated that he and Tom Carbone included slideshows of themselves and their exploits in a Junk.BIN file that could only be accessed with a never-revealed code. As of April 30, 2013, the slideshows have been found via GameShark (which can be seen here), although the codes to access them have not.