NHL Stanley Cup is a hockey game developed by Sculptured Software (which later became Acclaim Salt Lake City). NHL Stanley Cup had the licence to use the logos and names of all 26 NHL teams as well as the Stanley Cup itself. However, lack of a licence from the NHLPA prevented use of actual player names.
NHL Stanley Cup employed a unique, 3D perspective where the camera was positioned behind the back of the puck holder. This allowed the player to see down the ice, all the way to the net. If the puck is taken by the opposing team, the camera rotates around to position itself behind the new puck holder.
Game Modes and Options
The game had three difficulty settings, including Junior, NHL, and NHL Pro. Other options included different period lengths and turning penalties and line changes on or off. The player could also choose between playing a single exhibition game, a best-of-seven series, or a complete season. During season mode, the game kept track of player and team statistics. The player could choose not to play particular games and instead have the outcome determined by the computer. At the end of the season, the player could qualify for the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup.
Apart from the unique camera angle, the gameplay in NHL Stanley Cup was fairly standard for its time. When the player has control of the puck, they can skate, shoot, pass, or dump the puck into the opposing zone. When shooting, the player could actually aim shots to specific parts of the net or choose to fake a shot. On defence the player can perform poke checks, hip checks, and shoulder checks. At any time, the player can make line changes or choose to pull the goalie.
The rules of the game conformed fairly well to the standard rules of actual NHL hockey. Players could be called for a variety of penalties, and would be sent to the penalty box accordingly.
One of the more noticeable gameplay flaws was the players ability to score almost score at will, when approaching the blue line in the middle of the ice, the player could hit the button to dump the puck effectively popping it up into the air over the goalie's head.