Ice Hockey (VC) Review

So, you’ve played all the big hockey games from Blades of Steel to NHL 2Kx. But the big question remains: have you played Ice Hockey for the NES? Nintendo’s Virtual Console allows you to give it a whirl for only $5. Is the game worth it, or should it be sent to the penalty box?

Considering the limitations of the technology back in the day, Ice Hockey has quite a few customizable features. You can select from six playable teams coming from the US, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Canada and the Soviet Union (have a feeling for the original release date, yet?). Each one of your four man team can be configured to one of three body classifications. Slim bodied players are quick on the ice, but can be easily be pushed around. The heavy class players are slow, but offer the most powerful shots to the net and can also knock down lighter players. The normal class strikes a medium between the two. Game times can be set to 7, 10 or 15 period intervals in accelerated time.

When I first downloaded IH from the Wii Store, I was figuring on a walk in the park when playing this game. After all, I’ve played these games before, and an old game like this should be easy. After about 10 minutes of actual game time, I was handed my butt on a platter. I found myself on the short end of a 6-1 score. (I always thought those Swedes were good hockey players, but I didn’t know they were that good.) I wanted to blame the game controls for my lack of prowess in Ice Hockey, but alas, I had to admit, I totally sucked. I had underestimated my AI opponents, and it wasn’t going to happen again. I faced off for the second game, determined to show this 18 year old game a thing or two. Second game score: Sweden 4, US 3. Sorry, America.

What I found out was this game had a pretty good AI. The opposing players juked me out, passed the puck around my defense, and attempted slap shots when my players were out of position. I got a little more game time under my belt, and was able to do better in succeeding games, but what I found out about this game is that it is amazingly fun and addictive. There aren’t a whole lot of regulation rules or penalties, but considering that this is not supposed to be an ice hockey sim, it holds it own pretty well.

Graphics are done in the old style way of big pixels. The rink looks pretty decent, and you’ll get a kick out of seeing the non-moving 2D fans in the stands. You can recognize the players on the ice by the color of their uniforms, and knowing which one of your players is the active by highlighting them by pressing the "2" button on the Wiimote.

This game only costs $5 (500 Wii Points) and is outright fun. It doesn’t matter if you are a hockey fan or not; Nintendo’s Ice Hockey will give you your money’s worth and more.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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