Review by ndreamer

Reviewed: 09/22/00 | Updated: 09/22/00

Want action on the ice? Play Ice Hockey

Blades of Steel and Ice Hockey are the main hockey games on the NES and both could stand to learn some things from each other, but Ice Hockey (in my opinion) is the much better game.

Graphics -8-
The players look like real human beings compared to Ice Hockey's cartoonish characters. The rink and stadium are nicely crafted with exit gates, glass boards, and electronic scoreboards. The penalty shot scenes are very well done. The players are shown with equipment (pads, helmet, etc.) and they wear colored uniforms as well.

Sound and music -6-
At each intermission, there's actually an organ playing. Just like in the real games! The other music includes team selection, 2nd intermission, and beating the game. All are your typical NES tunes; not memorable but working well with the game. The commentation consist of two lines and two lines only; ''Fight!'' and ''Takes the pass!'' (the second quote becoming more annoying as you play the game). This brings the score down seeing as how the game could've done without those two phrases. The sound of the puck hitting against the boards is identical to it hitting the goalie's pads. The sound of the blow landing against a player's stomach would've done nicely in terms of the puck ricocheting off the goalie's pads.

Gameplay -5-
This is where Ice Hockey gets the best of Blades of Steel. In Ice Hockey there are 3 different kinds of players each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In Blades of Steel, all the players are the same with no noticeable diversity in skill or speed. This hurts the game immensely seeing as how game after game will result in the same kind of play. In Ice Hockey your opponents come with different players and a different challenge like the strong Czech team or the speedy Polish team. Blades of Steel lacks this diversity since it has the same opposing players in every game. Another deep crevice in the Blades of Steel gameplay is the playing the game of hockey itself.
Ice Hockey: The harder the shot, the higher the puck is lifted off the ice. That's good because it happens in real hockey games. Slapshots cause the puck to elevate; it's a well known and obvious fact!
Blades of Steel: The puck never leaves the ice...never. Only in the penalty shots will you see the puck in the air. Truly a disasterous fault for this game.
Ice Hockey: A shot fired at the net makes the goalie respond with a kick save. Again, this happens in real hockey games. By the way...the goalie will block the puck ***away*** from the goal. That's pretty much a goalie's job.
Blades of Steel: The goalie stands in one stance the whole entire game. You never see him make any dynamic saves (granted you're in the penalty shot mode where you'll also be treated with views of the puck leaving the ice for a change!). Another goalie blunder is the fact that they actually deflect the puck into their own net! Have you seen it?! They just stand there and let the puck hit them in the leg pads and slide into the goal! Frustrating?? Damn straight it is!!

Replayability -3-
I you want to beat the game with a different colored team, you'll gladly play this over again, but don't expect any changes. It'll be the same strategies as before.

Overall -6-
This is a pretty decent hockey game. Nice graphics and a 2nd intermission mini-game (Gradius). But when compared to Ice Hockey the game suffers especially in the gameplay area...which is the most important aspect of any game anywhere.

Worth a buy? -Sure-
Only if Ice Hockey isn't next to it on the shelf.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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