CPU not hard enough? Try this.


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Alright, I was playing around in NHL 97 (modded to be 12) for Genesis and I was getting sick of winning games on All-Star difficulty by scores of 5-0. The CPU rarely presses much of an attack, and most of their goals are flukes or accidents.

As an experiment I decided to take two teams, crank all their offense awareness to full and see if they couldn't pose more of a challenge. The result, suddenly the matches were much more even, and the CPU was scoring more actual goals. However it was still bugging me how quickly they fell to their defensive zone the second I regained control of the puck. This gave me another idea.

I went took the same teams and put all their Defence awareness to zero, while keeping offense at max (i didn't change any other skills) and I promptly lost my next game 7-0! Turns out that the Defence ability causes the CPU to spend more time taking defensive stances and protecting their zone. If you turn it off, then they still play their positional hockey, but they are infinitely more agressive at both ends of the ice.

At the same time I never felt this had a detrimental effect on my team as my CPU was also improved. It always felt like it was my skill level, not my computer teammates, that was failing me.

I've now played more games I've proven that while difficult, it is possible to win. And if you turn the game difficulty down to Rookie, then it plays between the difficulty of Pro and All-Star.

To summarize:

Regular Offense Ability & Regular Defence Ability = Regular Difficulty

High Offense Ability & Regular Defence Ability = High Difficulty

High Offense Ability & Low Defence Ability = Insane Difficulty

I have not tried this on 94 or on a SNES copy, but there are enough similarities that there is a good chance the principle is the same.

Also worth noting, I was using Slapshot67's NHL 12 roster copied over to 97, so all my base stats were rather low but well balanced.

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Would be very interesting to see if this works at all on 94! Wudnt 0 defensive awareness lead to a lot of breakaways when the CPU idiots go charging up the ice even though there's not the pressure on the puck to do it though? Hate when they do that!!! lol

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It might add to a couple more, but I found that they weren't so much charging up the ice, as much better at getting in front of my passes, and they would go right after my player on the boards. They wouldn't actually charge up they ice till they had the puck, but even then they were generally good with passing it. Still, hard to say how this would affect 94.

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Hmm I bet this would have an even more pronounced effect in NHL '98 for GENS because of the buggy two-line pass rule.

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Alright, so I've tried it on NHL 94 and I've found similar results. It's not as drastic a change, you won't suddenly find that the CPU is walking all over you, but they definitely are a bit better at setting up and scoring goals.

I've attached two test versions of NHL94 that I used to look at this. In both ROMs I modified only Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and have labeled them as such.

In Test 1 both teams have maxed out offense awareness and zero defence awareness.

In Test 2 both teams have maxed out offense awareness and maxed out defence awareness.

Let me know if you notice the difference.

NHL \'94 (test1).bin

NHL \'94 (test2).bin

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I tested out #2 with maxed out off and def awareness. Here's my suggestion:

You should make a team with 99 for EVERYTHING. I scored on a breakaway after about 12 seconds and stopped playing. Awareness doesn't really make a big difference, as Philly and Pittsburgh aren't very good teams in other stat areas to begin with. For a good practice rom, the cpu team needs to have 99 for speed, agility, shot, passing, etc. Also, don't forget the goalie!

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  • 10 months later...
  • 3 months later...

2 on 2 roms have led me to the ultimate challenge.

Try playing 2 or 3 on 5 against the computer.

Just set your team to 2 skaters in NOSE and leave everybody else with 5.

Fun and challenging.

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