Hat Trick is an extremely disappointing title for the 7800. This is a game firmly entrenched in the fast-action genre of sports games. There are no attributes for the team members, no season of games, and no game stats. If you enjoy simple games, you will be pleased that the only thing to do in Hat Trick is move your player and press the button to shoot (or steal) the puck.
The problem with Hat Trick is that it is too simple. Part of this might be due to the small playfield. The entire rink is shown on the screen. While other Atari games used near microscopic player graphics to deal with this, Hat Trick uses players that are huge compared to the size of the rink. This doesn't make for a lot of maneuvering room or meaningful strategy. It also means that a shot from anywhere on the screen can potentially score (including shots deflected by your goalie.)
Another factor that keeps the game (overly) simple is the one-on-one nature of the game. This eliminates many of the options that can make even a poor hockey game seem fun. Look elsewhere if you are interested in features like passing and power plays.
One saving grace of Hat Trick is that it allows for two player competition. The computer opponent is laughably bad. While preparing this review, I watched the computer play several games against an inactive human opponent. After three minutes of play, the computer might have scored only once (and often managed to inadvertently scored a goal or two for the human player!)
It is too bad that Hat Trick doesn't measure up to its looks. The graphics are reasonably attractive and the sound is better than the average 7800 title. However, the game play just doesn't rise to the same level. Underneath the attractive facade is a game as simple as many of the early Atari 2600 titles.
One final note: if you do play Hat Trick, do yourself a favor and finish the full three minutes so you can watch the amusing zamboni routine after the game! ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide
Colorful depiction of a hockey rink. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide
The musical fanfares sound good but threaten to become annoying after a while. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide
This rating is for two players. Playing against the computer rates a notch or two lower. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide
Once you've seen the zamboni, you've seen the best this game has to offer. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide
Adequate for a simple game like this. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide