|Title: Blades of Steel (2nd Review)
Rom Player: NESten
Synopsis: I can confidently say that Blades of Steel is the best hockey related video game entitled Blades of Steel to ever be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the year 1988. You've got blades and you have steel; that's all you really need in life. Perhaps you can cure world hunger with either of the two but I'm not sure. I'm just a guy reviewing a game I enjoyed as kid a few years after its release. I remember playing it with a cousin of mine, another kid who was most likely also my cousin, and a friend that was a girl or a boy who didn't want none of it. I really can't keep track as I just wanted to put a personal story behind this review. I'm sure the 0.0215687 people reading this also have this type of story from way back when...with their gazillion relatives they forgot they even have or ever existed. If your name is John Smith, you are somehow related to everyone in the solar system.
While other kids were stealing moon pies from the local general store and setting the elderly on fire, I was playing games like these. Maybe the other kids were actually doing something else, but that's what I was told by the white-bearded prospector from the 1930's in my neighbourhood.
Taking a look at this game now, it is certainly dated yet is still decent in all categories. For one, I find its graphics to be impressive for a title of its time. If you compare it to a game released in the same year (another good classic entitled Ice Hockey), it is very impressive. Granted, there is a charm to Ice Hockey that Blades of Steel lacks that I will always appreciate. In Ice Hockey, you were able to pick skinny and tall, regular sized, or fat Mario-ish players for your team. I don't know about you, but I truly love that. You should be able to do that in all video games. Think about how much better the Grand Theft Auto series would be with fat, hockey playing Marios running around.
Anyway, another aspect that Blades of Steel has at its advantage is its gameplay. It's not bad at all.
For up to two players, there are two modes - Exhibition (one game) and Tournament (eight team, single elimination). In addition, there are three difficulty levels - Junior, College, and Pro.
The eight teams are indentified as follows:*
-New York (blue and red)
-Chicago (red and grey)
-Los Angeles (yellow and blue)
-Montreal (yellow and red)
-Toronto (sea green and sky blue)
-Edmonton (lime green and yellow)
-Vancouver (dark orange and dark green)
-Minnesota (peach and magenta)
*Source: 64 Count Crayola Coloured Pencil Box
The gameplay is quick with fairly fluid pace to keep the dull moments to the minimum. Also, and most of all, the game has fighting. The downside of that is it can become repetitive as you may end up fighting a lot during a single game of hockey. The upside is that...players can be taken away to the bench if they're really hurt. Now, I'm not promoting violence, but that is pretty cool as well as satisfying.
"I just sent that guy to the 8-bit hospital, fool." you'll say triumphantly under your breath. It'll be your Stanley Cup, no doubt.
Depending on the difficulty level, some games may end up with scores anywhere in the range of 27-25 to 2-1. Would hockey in real life be more interesting if the usual scores were the former? Possibly. How about if players flashed on and off just like the game? FOX had flashing and flaming pucks for their broadcasts. I say let's have flashing everything. I love my flashing cheeseburger.
In all, if you're a hockey fan, you should definitely try this out. If you're not, at least watch the AI play itself after the title screen or just pretend to. I'm aware of the games out currently with the faces on the players...and actual fans in the stands...and "the 3-D", but don't neglect this title just because you can't tell what that player is supposed to be or look like. His name is Random and he just wants you to accept him for who he is.
Next I will review Soles of Shaquille. You have soles of shoes and you have a guy that plays basketball and was a rapping Genie. Blades of Steel will be given a run for its money.
Game Play: 8
Overall Rating: 8
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