Review by Braben

"Easily the best hockey sim on the Nes."

Although Track & Field is Konami`s better known sports game for the Nes, they also made this gem called Blades of Steel, a terrific and totally badass hockey simulator that easily ranks among the Nes`s best.

Graphics:
Nothing much to say, maybe that they look realistic, but aside from that they are standard, all the players look exactly the same, they only have different colours and there is only one playing field. During the ``Street Fighter`` moments the graphics look really cool, stiff but big, detailed and badass.

Music:
There isn`t any during the matches aside from that typical tune played at the beginning of each match when the two teams enter the field or when someone scores.

Something curious is that there is an announcer, and what is even more curious is that he keeps talking during the whole match, the problem is that his commentaries get old really fast, he always repeats the same two or three words every time we do something. I know this is a nice touch for a Nes game, but honestly, it would have been better if they had removed it completely.

Gameplay:
As simple as effective and fun. We have a button to shoot, another one to pass, etc, everything very standard, the only interesting feature is that if we hold the shot button we can make a more powerful and faster shot.

We have the possibility to play an exhibition match or directly a tournament with three different difficulties. There are like ten teams more or less, all of them cities from the USA. As far as I have seen, there isn`t any difference between the teams aside from their outfits, which is not a really a big difference, a real pity.

Probably the most innovative feature in the game, as well as the reason why a lot of people likes this game so much are the ``Street Fighter`` moments, yes you have read well, Street Fighter, this means that sometimes you will be able to kick your enemies butt`s exactly like they do in a real hockey match, and everything in a fighting game style, with one character at the left side of the screen and another one at the right. The first time I saw this I said ``whoa, what is this``, then I started to kick ass very badly and my love for this game was complete. It is a great add, it works and it is useful aside from being fun, it is not just a stupid feature to make the game more appealing, that is why it works.

But above everything, like in most sport games where something next to a ball is involved, what makes this one a winner is the auto-pass option, this little feature, at a first glance meaningless, is what makes this game so easy to play and at the same time so fun. In Nintendo`s Ice Hockey, the queen of Nes hockey simulators (being this one the king), the only real flaw was that passing was complicated, in Blades of Steel you won`t find that problem.

Oh yeah, there is a two player option too, and there is no need to say that this game a total blast with someone to play with.

Overall:
Blades of Steel is the best hockey simulator on the Nes no matter how you look at it, Nintendo`s Ice Hockey is also very cool and fully playable, one of those extremely simplistic but ultra fun early games, but there is no denying that this one is a lot more stylish an easy to handle.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/04, Updated 07/18/05


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