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Olympic Hockey: Lillehammer '94


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Been too long since completing something, so I figured I'd put the more ambitious projects on the back burner and bang this one out. After getting the most and least recent [as of 2022] versions of the Olympic hockey tournaments, figure there is no harm in bouncing around a bit. So, for the next retro review...

Presenting:
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Released in late January 1994, and with the Olympics no longer doubling as the World Championships, this was one of two international tournament ports for the '94 season, and third game overall in this incarnation of the game engine including the original NHL game.

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3rd party developer Team 1920 is continuing to partner with the IIHF and featured 1994 Olympic mascots Kristin and Håkon on the splash screen.

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Prior to the banning of official National Team iconography by the IOC, team logos are allowed to be featured. The IOC did make sure however that there was no shortage of ensuring that you know that this is an Olympic game by making sure their Rings emblem got in there too.

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The official broadcast sponsor for this year's games was CTV in Canada, with lead presenter Rod Black getting the nod to present the games here as well.

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While the Lillehammer logo's "snow drift" was copied over to the team banners, the Olympic Rings logo got copied over to everywhere else. Just in case you might have forgotten what game you were playing.

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All teams play out of the same two arenas in Lillehammer and Gjovik, and the 1994 Olmpics "hockey player" logo that was featured at center ice is adapted well here.

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More Rings for the Stars.

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Obviously a tournament mode for the Gold Medal is featured in the game. With only 12 teams taking part, some teams are given a bye in the first round. A cleaner look with blank bye rounds would have been nicer for this, but it is clear that the limitations of the game engine influenced the presentation.

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Each team gets full player cards, plus a bonus. In addition to the twelve teams that competed at the Olympics, teams from Great Britain, Japan, Latvia and Poland, [that competed against eventual winner and final qualifier Slovakia in the pre-qualification tournament in Sheffield] are available for exhibition and a "Re-write the Road to the Championship" style mode. While not originally featured in Playoff mode in the demo copy sent for evaluation, it seems the sneaky devs went ahead and unlocked them for the the final release.

Final score: 3/5 Rings
- A bit of a lazy art asset swap, but still has the same solid game play of a main EA release of those days.

Olympic Hockey - 1994 Lillehammer.bin

EDIT: Upgraded the non-qualifier's attributes to match the more "arcadey" [faster] feel intended for this game.

Olympic Hockey - 1994 Lillehammer 1.1.bin

Edited by von Ozbourme
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Excellent work. I tested it and it plays wonderfully!

Lillehammer, when Olympic hockey was for the amateurs. It was the last Winter Olympics before the "NHL / pro players" experiment in the Olympics started. Lillehammer is an anomaly in that it is the only Olympics to occur only 2 years after the previous Olympics and was the first Olympics to not be in the same year as the Summer Olympics. Between 1924 and 1992, the Summer and Winter Olympics were always held in the same year and which was referred to as the "Olympiad". That changed with Lillehammer in '94.

Lillehammer '94 has a special place in my heart as I was very into the Olympics back then. There was a Sega Genesis game called Lillehammer '94 which got a lot of play, but of course that great game didn't have a hockey mode. So we can consider this the spiritual add-on to Lillehammer '94 for Genesis!

That is great that you included the pre-qualification teams Great Britain, Japan, Latvia and Poland. I see how the tournament works. If you select any of the pre-qualification in the first game of the tournament, it becomes a 16-team tournament, but if you select two Olympic teams in the first game of the tournament, then there are only 12 teams with 4 teams getting byes. This will be fun. Thank you very much!

By the way, what "more ambitious projects" are you working on? I've been meaning to apply the Medium Goal (a variation of the smaller goal mod) to some roms to make it harder to score and more skillful. This would be a great rom to make adjustments to and reduce the size of the goal.

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Awesome stuff as always, it's great seeing those logos on the team select screen, and the subtle little nods that it's actually a closeup of the jerseys and not just the logo.

Lot of nostalgia for this tournament for me, being in the UK. First live hockey I ever got to watch, and I always remember that shootout. (Sorry, still too soon?)

I saw some magazine reviews from the time mention this is the only video game related to the 1994 Winter Olympics thats worth a damn ;)

 

Edited by EagleXIII
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On 8/28/2022 at 5:39 AM, Brodeur30 said:

By the way, what "more ambitious projects" are you working on? I've been meaning to apply the Medium Goal (a variation of the smaller goal mod) to some roms to make it harder to score and more skillful. This would be a great rom to make adjustments to and reduce the size of the goal.

Thanks eh!

Actually the "ambitious project" is supposed to be NHL '95 based thing, but I've been running into a lot of glitches and instability linked to the nature of the 34-team mod. The annoying thing is that I could probably just drop the eight additional teams and go with the original 26-team version, but my head canon has already determined that I must have 34 teams. [even if eight are unavailable to use in season mode]

I'm curious about the medium goal. I.... think [?] I used the mod were the puck-to-boards collision is closer, [I usually use a 2 instead of a 5 setting] but to be honest I used one of my default "a bunch of mods already applied to this one" ROMs and I kind of forget if that one was in there. If i recall correctly, the puck-to-boards collision distance also affects the puck-to-net collision, so I guess I'm wondering if that's what you are referring to, or is there a way to reduce the net size, while not having the pucks bounce off an invisible wall a foot off the boards.

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On 8/28/2022 at 6:44 AM, EagleXIII said:

(Sorry, still too soon?)

...grumble. Even if we win, shootouts are a dumb way to end a hockey game.
I know why the IIHF did it. Same reason they used to switch ends halfway through the 3rd period. Ice and environmental conditions on outdoor rinks meant that they needed to be fair and the ice wouldn't be able to hold up to endless overtimes. But hey, indoor rinks and artificial ice meant we don't have to worry about that! And other than needing to make sure that the game ends on time so the area can be clear for the next game that was already scheduled for later that day... Well that's not exactly going to be a problem in the Final now is it? ah...Sorry. </rant>

On 8/28/2022 at 6:44 AM, EagleXIII said:

I saw some magazine reviews from the time mention this is the only video game related to the 1994 Winter Olympics thats worth a damn ;)

Oh cool! Need to see if I can find one of those old magazine articles! :P

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11 hours ago, smozoma said:

Tony Hand only rated 52? He scored more pro goals than Gretzky or Howe! :)

Ooooh.... uh. He was slumping?

Actually thanks for pointing that out. [It always bothered me when I see the wiki page that says WHL legend, Guyle Fielder is the " fourth-leading scorer in professional ice hockey history, behind only Gretzky, Jagr and Howe". Completely ignoring that Hand outscored
One Word Awesome | Bren.us
and the citation is just North American biased]

As the Olympic pre-qualifying teams were basically 90% the same as their World Championships rosters, I might have just borrowed the stats I already made. But as my IIHF '94 mod was intended to be in line with the default NHL '94 ratings, [where tournament leader Paul Kariya was only rated a 70 overall] this ended up meaning that most players were average to weak by comparison. [Something I departed from in subsequent years] I decided to give the field a speed/agility bump to make the game more fun, but.... kind of forgot to do that with the four non-qualifiers.

Patched version added to the original post.

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