Much like Double Dribble, this game was all about the digitized voices and graphical flash making a splash at the time it was released (which was 1988).

Yeah, and like Double Dribble it hasn't aged all that well. Although this one is a little more playable, and has a wider range of teams to choose from.

But in the end, it's just too simple and it's too easy to exploit the computer's stupidity.

Yeah this has to be the easiest hockey game I've played, even on the upper difficulty settings you'll probably trash the computer like 15-0 nearly every time you play.

You can pick from ... I think it was eight teams, most of them from major hockey cities in the U.S. and Canada. I'm not sure if there's really a difference between them other than colors though, because there's no ratings.

Basically there's just exhibition games, or you can play a tournament where you knock off the other teams one by one for the Konami Cup or whatever.

The gameplay is nice and smooth, it was a big step forward for sports games at the times and still holds up pretty well. Unfortunately, the computer makes too many dumb mistakes and you can basically walk down the ice with the puck and score every time you get it. It's also too easy to block shots with that little arrow thing that they use to show where the shot is going to go on the net.

Yeah while a solo game is usually an avalanche of points versus the hapless computer, a two-player battle is often decided by one score the whole match.

Fighting in the game is pretty broken. Basically, you initiate a fight by bumping into a guy repeatedly. Then you switch to some close-up mode that is kinda like Urban Champion. I think Konami meant for there to be some skill involved as you can block and alternate between head and body blows, but what it really boils down to is whoever gets in there first and mashes the A button on their opponents face the fastest.

Oh yeah, and then there's no penalty for the winner ... but the ref drags the loser's carcass off the ice for a few seconds. It's too easy to wipe out the opponents defenses cheesily by exploiting this.

No other penalties seem to be called except icing, you can totally bump a guy from behind and trip him too.

The amount of digitized voice used is impressive for the NES, guys have like two or three different screams of pain when they get knocked on the ground. You'll quickly get tired of that though, especially hearing "Rape the Pads!" or whatever every single time you pass the puck.

Hmm, the one other thing about this is that it lets you play a few seconds of Gradius if you care to between periods ... I mean literally like five seconds though, and it's not even the real game, it's like some limited mini handheld version or something.

It's kinda fun, but I'd really much rather play one of the NHL games.

Videos :

Gameplay Video
Blades of Steel : The Music Video (touching)