"A stick to the face? How about a skateblade to the groin?"

There aren't too many arcade hockey games in existance. Blades of Steel is only other hockey game I know of that was in arcades, but Hit the Ice skates circles around it.
Hit the Ice is your no-holds-barred / 3 vs 3 / beat'em up / take a swing at'em with your stick / verbal threat shouting kinda hockey game. I first discovered this gem in my favorite skating rink in 1991. I fell in love after one period of play.

Set-Up: 9
The game setup is similar to the NBA Jam format where teams go head-to-head in a 2 vs 2 matchup. Hit the Ice teams consist of 2 skaters and a goalie, making it 3 vs 3.

Sound and Music: 9
The sounds are very clear and accurate in Hit the Ice. You can hear the players skating and the sound of the puck sliding along the ice is even included. Also audible are the sticks when they impact the puck, moans and groans of players who get clobbered in any kind of way, and the insults the players shout at each other. After a goal is scored, the buzzer sounds and the crowd goes wild. Listening to this game as you play greatly increases the feel and fun of the game.

Graphics: 10
Unlike Blades of Steel, the players are HUGE, muscular and highly detailed (the ref, however, is as thin as a broom handle). The entire uniform is outstanding as you can easily see the graphic beauty of pads, helmets, skates, masks, and sticks. Each player and his uniform is even slightly shaded to show where light hits them. No to mention....yep, you guessed it. Reflections! You gotta have those to even be considered a good hockey game. There's a difference between playing on ice and playing on a giant slab of white cardboard. Hit the Ice also features ice with skate marks on it. Before each game starts, the players of both teams can be seen on the jumbo-videotron screen standing in center ice facing the American and Canadian flags that hang high in the rafters. This scene is so absolutely cool. Moving your player around results in him leaving a trail skate marks. An ultra realistic addition that most people overlook.

Gameplay and control: 10
This is where Hit the Ice really delivers. The game can be played by up to 4 people and anyone can jump in at anytime. The 3 man teams can be selected from a player list that features 12 characters (8 skaters and 4 goalies). Each skater has their own special defensive move that can temporarily leave your opponent in agony. Trips, body slams, head-over-heels bone crushing hits, hacking, slashing, spearing, elbowing and all out knock-down, punching, crunching action is on the menu of unsportsman-like conduct. Do these moves too many times to your opponent and a fight breaks out. Nothing says 'fun' like grabbing a guy by the jersey and re-arranging his face with your knuckles. The goalies can make remarkable saves with styles such as the double-leg slide, butterfly position, kick save, glove save and diving saves. If the goalie makes a save that is spectacular, the jumbo-videotron screens shows his head close up as he gets a kiss from a VERY admiring female fan. During the intermission, the player has the option of buying the ultimate sports beverage of all-time...the Power Drink! (fanfare and thunderous applause). This drink not only gives your team the advantage of a faster player, but now that player can shoot a slapshot at 300 mph! Any goalie in the way of such a shot will be unable to stop it and knocked into the goal for further humiliation.

Replayability: 9
With so many players to choose from you'll have to come back to play again.

Overall: 9.5
This game is graphically and audibly intense! Coming with this game is a sense of action as well as humor. This game is made by Williams, a manufacturer of quality games. I love this game and so will you.

*crack!*

''Okay, somebody help him off the ice. Don't forget to get his arm on the way out. It slid over by the Zamboni.''


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/01, Updated 08/12/01


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