The World Championships Series


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The reconning is taking over now as we see the release of:

IIHF 96 [Final Cut Edition]

  • Full licensing is in full effect with the change over to center ice sweater logos.
  • Uni colours are adjusted for period correctness.
  • Most player names were already fixed by this point, but I think there were a few I missed so those are good now too.
  • Speaking of missed, fixed the part where Team Austria used to say "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim" on their team photo when you win the championship with them.
    [I get the backwards name of the Ducks, but oddly the Avs and Coyotes had a separate bits for their names too. Found the Avs before, they are all fixed now]

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IIHF 96 F.bin

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I guess the story would be that the double dipping wore thin, [and lacking an extra-teams mod] so there was no "Championship Edition" for '96, meaning fans had to wait for the new year.
Still not a fan of this one, but at least it's better now.

IIHF 97 [Final Cut Edition]

  • Following the new licensing trend, center ice logos are modeled after sweater crests.
  • Some uniform colours also corrected to period correct styles.
  • Again most names were already modified for display. Fixed a few that didn't quite work.
  • Fixed Team Austria's "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim" Championship banner.

Some things that are still not quite ideal, but are above my pay grade coding-wise.

  • Team Select still has weird rankings because I can't figure out how to edit the rating numbers.
  • The team "city" name being a three letter ISO code due to how it's integrated in various places in the game. Not a horrible workaround, but could have been better.

[Not quite] a perfect ten.
 

IIHF 97 F.bin

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The final of the Final Cuts is finally ready for the finale.

IIHF 98 [Final Cut Edition]

  • Most teams already had national program center ice logos, but they all do and they are actually period accurate.
  • Uniform colours are also more period accurate now.
  • A couple player names that slipped through the cracks were shortened for formatting constraints.
  • Fixed Team Austria's "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim" Championship banner.
  • A couple other minor fixes that I can't remember right now.

Note that still unresolved are:

  • Team selection ratings thing.
  • ISO team name thing.
  • Simmed season performance not matching player ratings thing.

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IIHF 98 F.bin

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With the Final Cut editions out of the way, it seems it is time to release the next installment in the series. And it gives me the chance to make another retro review so I'm going to take it.

With EA outsourcing the development of the SEGA Genesis version of NHL 98 to THQ while they concentrated on the fancy new PlayStation and PC versions, Team 1920 still took care of the Genesis conversion for IIHF 98. However, when EA started work on the '99 installment of their hockey franchise, it would only see a release on the Playstaion, PC and N64. This would not normally have been an issue, however the team was unable to procure a dev kit for the new systems and EA seemed to have forgotten they were still around; as evidenced by the fact that EA had not yet attempted to buy 1920 out, before they started neglecting the small production company.

With nothing else going on at the time, the team decided to take matters into their own hands and do what they do best; make a Genesis game.
And 'cuz they say... 2000 zero zero, game over, oops, out of time. So tonight I'm gonna party and play...

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After two years without a title screen athlete, the developer made the decision to feature eventual #2 overall scorer and #1 fan favourite, Finland's Teemu Selanne.

The game was again based on the '96-'98 game engine and would feature the improvements that appeared in the '98 version like switching team controllers, line coaching, goalie changes/injuries and less predictable AI. Also, after a year of forgetting to do so, Fighting majors are again assessed a 10 minute misconduct.

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As the dev team was not a fan of the dark, and in some cases quite ugly, graphics style they were constrained to in '97 and '98, they took the opportunity to go for a much lighter scheme, while taking every opportunity to change as many assets as possible.

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Not wanting to reuse the team selection "Flag in a circle" logos for yet a fourth year in a row, and to emphasize their full licensing agreement, National Team sweater logos are now featured in place. The new team name font that debuted in IIHF 98 does make a return, while the menu titles get a new jumbotron dot matrix light styling.

While the top 26 ranked teams did not change from the previous year, the five unranked teams were switched out in favour of some less highlighted teams from the bottom five in 36th placed South Africa [making a return for the first time since IIHF '93], 37th ranked New Zealand, 38th place - 2nd year participant - Turkey, 39th overall Greece and 40th place rookie Iceland.

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To spruce up the playoff bracket, a rink style background was added, reminiscent of the ice surface in IIHF '94.

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For uniformity [and limitations] of the season mode logos, a clean new set of flag logos were added similar to what the IIHF would use on their website 20 years later! The full contingent of uniform logos would be carried over to the center ice area.

The "Champion is you!" picture and winning team photo were carried over from the previous year however because the dev's art director was already going quite batty and just couldn't be asked to spend any more time on those things. The team selection rankings also still posed a challenge that was only overcome with mockery, but it's funny to wonder if perhaps Canada is ranked 6th in tape usage because their 26th ranked stick boy has been eating it.

That said, I'd give it a perfect 5 out of 7.

 

IIHF 99.bin

Edited by von Ozbourme
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Love the new menu design for 99. You've really gone above and beyond working on these, dude.

The only thing that could make it absolutely perfect would be a 16-bit version of Jeff Van Dyke's original soundtrack.

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I usually only play '94, but I'm trying out some of these newer editions.  I'm finding it hard to score goals in, for example, the IIHF 99 ROM.  Does anyone have any gameplay videos or just goal-scoring tips?

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