Review by Emptyeye

"A very nicely done NES hockey game"

Blades of Steel was an early Hockey game for the NES. There was no plot (Though you could play Gradius at the end of the Second Period), it was just "Beat the other team". There was a tournament mode where you could try to become the champion in one of 3 different leagues, even though each nvolved the same 8 teams. But let's look at the ratings.

Graphics: 7/10- Even though all of the players looked the same except for uniform color, these colors reflected the uniforms of their real life counterparts at the time the game was made. The characters were also far larger than in any other Hockey game for the NES up to that point, and they moved more realistically too. Finally, there was the crowd, which actually MOVED whenever a goal was scored (Or when a fight started). Great for its day.

Sound: 8/10- The crowd, which wasn't all that realistic, is still pretty cool because it sounded like no other crowd up to that time. They actually whistle! Also, there wasn't much music other than the 2 organ themes that played whenever a goal was scored. The crowd did whistle whenever there was a fight, and there are a few themes that play at certain points, such as at the 2nd intermission or the end of the game. Finally, there was an announcer, although all he said was "Faceoff!", "Fight!", and "Hits the pass!" (I'm not quite sure about that third one. Still, the music is good, and any sort of voice was simply awesome for that time.

Control: 7/10- It's decent, but not great. On defense, you check by just running into the guy. Where you shoot the puck depends on where the arrow is that moves randomly up and down near the goal. Passing is easy--just hit B--but sometimes you pass it to a guy you didn't intend to. Interestingly enough, the most complex part of the game seems to be fighting. You can punch or guard (Though guarding is pretty useless), and you can do each either high or low.

Story: 1/10- "Beat the other team". I'll give it a 1 because there's a Tournament mode where you can try to win it all.

Challenge: Variable/10- It depends on what difficulty you pick. On the Junior level, the computer team is a bunch of pansies. But on Pro they play a pretty tough game. So it depends on what kind of game you'd like to play. Gradius is kind of difficult to survive, even though you only play for about 10 seconds.

Replay Value: 6/10- The Tournament mode ensures you'll play it for awhile, but as with most sports games, it makes a better 2-player game than a single-player one. Even still, winning 3 games in a row (Or trying to) will keep you entertained for some time. Playing a bit of Gradius at the end of the second period is always neat too (While I'm on the subject, note the not-so-subtle ads for other Konami games AFTER you play it).

Overall: 9/10- It's very well done. It's not for the hardcore Sim-fan (There's no stat-tracking, and scores of 10-8 are common), but most other players will find it entertaining. Buy it if you want a quality Hockey game that isn't bogged down by all those silly stats. :P

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99

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