Review by SKilpatrick

"Mario is the walrus, koo koo kajoob... he's in everything man!"

The puck stops here…
I hadn’t played this game in about 8 years and after falling in love with the stat heavy beautiful NHL series on the Playstation I didn’t know if the 8bit game would still do it for me. I was pleasantly surprised. I picked it up and from the drop of the puck to the final buzzer(or whatever it is with Midi) I was having fun. Admittedly, after 3 games I was outscoring the computer by scores like 46-0, but it was still fun to skate around and play. I even got my girlfriend, who is not a gamer, to play a two player match with me and she thought it was fun. I’m turning her into a real NESfan thanks to titles like Ice Hockey that are simple, but fun and exciting too.

Larry, Curly and MO…
In Ice Hockey you get to choose your players… sort of. There are four players on your team and you can choose whether or not you want him to be tall and skinny, average, or short and fat (the fat one looks like Mario). Each has their advantages and disadvantages. The tall one is quick and good with face-offs, but he is weak. The average guy is just that, average. He can do everything reasonably well, but nothing exceptionally. The fat Mario-esque player is a tough guy with a hard slap shot. He is also very slow and is poor at face-offs. There isn’t a ton of variety, but this is an arcade style, score till you drop type of game. Why mess it up by making it too complicated?

All the teams are here, well, give or take…
Actually there are six teams. None of them really have any special features, so pick whoever you want unless you are a diehard patriot. The teams included are the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the(now defunct) Soviet Union. Not really much to say about the teams except that they all sport a little song and their flag and stuff. Nothing to in depth, but then again who wants to wade through all of the, “which team suits my style best” nonsense? Let’s play some HOCKEY!

The “Icing” on the cake…
Once you pick your team and decide which players to utilize you still have more options. You can dictate game speed you can choose how long you want your periods to be. If the game goes to slow for you crank it up to the full 5 on the speed dial and watch the already arcade intense action really heat up. Oh, yeah… once you finish with the options you still get to play the game.

It’s in the game…
Well there aren’t many conventional Hockey standards to worry about. You won’t get called for hooking, or tripping or interference and a goalie will snatch your puck away super fast if you try to violate his crease. There are a few hockey rules that you have to obey. There is icing and if you fight you go to the box. The game is already a simple 4 on 4 match-up so power plays make the crop of players that much smaller. I haven’t been sent to the box too often and against the computer it isn’t really that bad, but against a human things can get rough.
When you’re playing you will notice the one thing that really bugs me most about Ice Hockey. The passing AI is almost nonexistent. I have sent far too many pucks off into oblivion. The sad thing is that everyone seems so dimwitted that the guy I passed with usually recovers the puck on his own. That is the true downside to Ice Hockey. The computer is a joke. I won’t even tell you some of the scores I’ve had in games with 15 minute periods, but you would think it was a basketball game with four Michael Jordans against some high school kids. On the other hand when two human opponents go head to head Ice Hockey is hard to beat for multiplayer fun.

Looks like a hockey game…
I don’t really know what to say. The exaggerated players are really cute and well done and it’s the first time cute worked well in a hockey game I’ll bet. The sounds are adequate and though there are only 6 teams you can tell who you’re using. The goals are a bit large for my taste and the rink is just a tad short, but it looks fine. While you may be able to find a more visually stunning Hockey game out there you might not find one that is as fun as Ice Hockey.
Bottom Line
I remember how much fun I had with this when I was a little kid and despite evolution I still have that kind of fun. I can remember a day when the computer could hold its own against me though and now I can’t really imagine that. This is a solid game and one that I’m going to go play right now in fact.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/07/01, Updated 08/07/01


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