Review by J Dawg007

Reviewed: 06/13/02 | Updated: 06/13/02

Still one of my favorite sports games of all time, Nintendo did everything right when they made this.

In 1988, Nintendo made this little game called Ice Hockey. For being one of the early sports games on the system, they did a damn fine job. This game is incredibly fun, and there's a lot of variety. There are 7 teams: USA, Sweden, Poland, Canada, Russia, and Czechoslovakia (which is abbreviated TCH). I always used TCH, because I liked their grey uniforms. That seems to be the only difference between the teams, the color of their uniforms. You can really do a lot with this game, since there are 5 speeds, 3 time limits, 4 players on a team (excluding the goalie) that can be changed into 3 different types of player, and a 2 player mode. Wow, if my math is correct (I doubt it is, I suck at math) that means there are 2520 different modes of play. Even if my math is off a little bit, that's a LOT of different modes. As for the three types of players: There's the small skinny guy, who gets physically owned by everyone else, but he's a speed demon who can get down and pull off a quick, yet weak shot. There's the middle guy, who's average in everything, and in my opinion is 100 times better than the skinny guy. Then we have the big fat guy. This guy is huge, and pretty much pushes people around just by touching them. He shoots at about 600 MPH, too, making him a decent choice if you want a bully. My team usually consists of 4 average guys, since I usually dominate with them. I'd stay away from using the skinny guys, unless you like speed. The gameplay is very good here, but there's one thing a lot of people may find frustrating (I find it challenging). There's manual goaltending, AND you always control him. Meaning when the puck is in your zone, you're both moving the goalie, and one of your guys around. It's a bit confusing, but always focus on the goalie, and worry about blocking the shot. The game is presented very nicely, as the rink has all the little faceoff circles, a crowd, etc. The music is awesome in this game. The tune that plays when the game is going on is really catchy, and doesn't get annoying. The Zamboni music is cool, too. I think I'll stop there, since it's time for the breakdown.

Graphics: 8/10
The players look odd, but they look good, so it's ok. There's not much of a crowd, but it's there, and done decently. The puck looks pretty good, too. A very nice effort with the graphics earns an 8.

Audio: 9/10
The music, as I said, is great. The sounds are good too, when people hit each other, or the puck is shot, or when the crowd starts cheering. It's all done very nicely, and I think they deserve a 9 for their work.

Challenge: 8/10
It's a fairly easy game, but the goalie control makes it a lot tougher. The net is about 3 times bigger than the goalie, so you have a lot of ground to cover, and don't worry if you give up one goal... it's when you give up 8 or 9 that you should be concerned. You can adjust the speed, which can make it harder or easier, depending on the player. It gets an 8 since I found it a bit easy, while others will find it hard.

Gameplay: 9/10
This game is just incredible. Some of the real hockey rules are included, including icing, and fighting penalties. You won't find any offsides or minor penalties though. Fighting is pretty cool in this game, everyone piles together and start beating the hell out of each other. Every so often you'll see players fly out of that little pile, and eventually the ref comes in and pulls one guy out, who gets the penalty. Fighting can occur in a few spots, but the one I remember distinctly was right in front of the net. All you have to do is mash the buttons, and you should avoid the penalty. Everything goes smoothly in this game, which gives it a 9.

Overall: 9/10
It's almost perfect, but it lacks a couple things that I'm picky about. They could've at least had offsides in the game, and made it 5-on-5 hockey, but it's ok. This game will always be one of my favorites, and if you give it a try, it just might be one of yours, too.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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