Review by BrandonJ33

"Konami's hockey title shoots and misses"

Blades of Steel was released by Konami in 1988. The game features 8 teams, with noticable differences being just the standard pallete swipe. Players are not named and have nothing to seperate them from their teammates. They all move at the same speed. Blah...

When the machine is cut on, the title logo slides into view and the game's announcer gives a slightly enthusiastic opening cheer by saying, ''Blades of Steel!'' The game's speech is decipherable, but decidedly unclear.

Three different gameplay options are selectable; 1-Player exhibition, 1-Player (3-game) tournament, and 2-Player exhibition modes are included. Games are played on either junior, college, or pro difficulty levels. None are too hard to win on. After taking a 1-0 lead, stalling for the rest of the game is easily possible. Whenever opposing players hit your goaile, they fall to the ground. Making the defender repeatedly run into your goalie, while standing behind your net, is a piece of cake. All games are played with the standard 5-on-5 setup.

Gameplay 4/10

''Score and stall'' would have been a more suiting title. In order to aim your shot, a small arrow shifts up and down right beside the net. When you pull your stick back to shoot, it's evident from the get-go that it's going where that arrow is pointing. This makes 2-player games a chore to play through. Passing is poorly done. For example... Say you are skating down the ice and have to fellow teammates in front of you; one too your upper right and one to your lower right. If you want to pass to the guy that's further away, it's impossible. It'll go to the closest guy every time. This leads to more-than-healthy frustration levels. It's funny to see the referee literally drag players to the penalty box after a fight.

Sound 5/10

Speech is nice, but it's of poor quality and used WAY too much. It can be said that *Blades of Steel* has in-game commentary. The problem is, the only three phrases used are: ''Face off!,'' ''Fight!'' and ''with the pass!'' After every pass, the announcer says the game phrase. No variation of the sound is used. The opposing teams have different ''Arrgh!'' sounds when they are knocked to the ground. Music is done well and saves this category's score.

Replayability 3/10

With ''score and stall'' gameplay, what's the point? 2-Player contests are amusing at best.

SUMMARY

A better hockey game is available for the NES and it's name is *Ice Hockey.* If you want some good old-school hockey gaming, then check that title out, rather than this merely average game. *Blades of Steel* just doesn't stay fun for very long.

BEST FEATURE- Fighting
WORST FEATURE- ''Score and stall'' gameplay


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 04/19/00, Updated 04/19/00


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