The game was very similar to it's predecessor NHL 97. It had similar graphics and animation. International teams were introduced for this game. Real-life sports announcer Jim Hughson returns to do the in-game play-by-play, this time adding commentator Daryl Reaugh. It's the final hockey game to be released on a 16-bit system.
As in the real-world sport of hockey, the object is to score more goals than the opposing team to win the game.