Ice Hockey By Nintendo Nintendo Entertainment System
This game is one of my all time favorite sports games. It does what it sets out to do, create an exciting game based on the sport of Ice Hockey. I remember when I first purchased this game, when I was but a wee lad, there seemed to be two groups of gamers: Those that played blades of Steel and those that played Ice Hockey. I was of the latter.
I?ve found very few sports games that have rivaled the relative simplicity of Ice Hockey. This isn?t a simulation, you don?t control the virtual lives of a roster of players. You don?t try to take your team to the Stanley cup while making tons of money. Nope you just try to get the puck in to the goal while avoiding the other team. You do get to choose your players, but there are only three types: The tall, skinny fast guy (but weak) guy. The short, fat, slow (but strong) guy. And the average, medium in all abilites guy. Of course you only have four slots to put your three players in to. However you can put any combination of the three types that you want. Want a strong but slow team? Four fat guys. Want a fast but weak team? Four skinny guys. Or even the mediocre team, not good at much of anything, four average guys. Myself I preferred two fast guys, one slow guy, and an average guy. That seemed to be the combination that took me straight to the top of the world league.
This is a good single player experience First you pick what country you want to represent, then you step on to the world stage to fight your way to the top, world cup style. Being a patriot I choose the USA. (USA USA USA!) My boys in blue had one harsh rival: Switzerland. This country, this place that stayed netural in every war imagibale, beat me every way I can think, until I finally over came them. I felt proud that day the Swiss fell to my mighty hockey sticks! The multiplayer game is best with the cheats activated. With a fast input of directions and button pushing you could have your puck sail around the arena, bouncing everywhere. You can also have everyone go to warp speed, faster then they are in the regular game for a speed induced trance state of gameplay. This is the first game I ever really enjoyed the multiplayer aspect. Sure it is only two players, but we?d hold tournaments. It is that much fun to play against the other person, to rub it in their face when you won and sob quietly in a corner when you lost. I?d recommend this game, even today, as a game to play against another person.
The graphics are very cartoony. They were a step above some of the other sports games for the time, but not what you call realistic. The graphics seem influenced more by Japanese style animation then any real sense of human anatomy. All the characters animate well, their movements smooth even for the old grey box. There is slowdown from time to time, but that was to be expected when much movement was on screen in almost any 8 bit era NES game.
The sound is simple but effective. You have the slap of the puck, the roar of the crowd, the sound of success at a goal. Everything is well done, especially for an 8-bit game. Even in the 80?s sound, at least for Nintendo, was a factor when they designed their games and many of the sounds in Ice Hockey are memorable today. Much like the bounce in Mario and the item acquisition sound in Zelda.
This is still a fun game, especially in multiplayer. It?s simplicity is what brings me back to the game, yet beneath that simple exterior there is more then you think going on. Although there are only three guys to choose from, deciding how to set up your team is both easy and fun. If only some modern multiplayer sports games could be this exciting t play against another opponent.
There isn?t a bad thing in this game. From the goofy way the characters are drawn to the relatively non violent gameplay. Sure it is hockey, you do fight, but it is represented in a way that is more group struggle the one on one bashing. There is no blood, even the fights are cute non-bloody affairs. The hockey puck never smashes into the audience and the players never loose teeth. The whole family could get together to play this one; from the 3 year old kidling to the 90 year old grandpappy and no one would be offended.
I highly recommend this game even to modern audiences. This is what retro gaming is about; fun, well designed games that the whole family can play. If you can find a copy, pick this game up and plug it in. Make your self a tournament ladder, spend a month with the whole family and see who wins. I think everyone would be better for the experience.