Blades of Steel was the first computerized hockey game I ever played. It was on C64. I have to tell you right away though, that this game was ported for C64 two years after it was released for the PC (that didn’t happen very often that a PC game would be ported to C64, it was usually the other way around).
I loved the graphics and the fun the game provided (especially in two player modus). A friend of mine and I would use every chance to get away from the school and play a game or two (although sometimes we played Lotus Esprite or One-on-One basketball).
Now for the game itself.
It’s a solid hockey game with 8 teams to choose from. If playing against a friend it’s always an exhibition match and there are no difficulty levels. Playing the computer though there are three levels of difficulty and you can play either a single exhibition game or start a tournament.
You control the highlighted player and if you pass the puck to another player you get to control that one. You’ll also see the aiming arrow when close to opponents (or your own goal) in which case you can either score (if attacking) or try to block the shot (if defending).
The game also includes fights and penalty shootouts and commercials during intermissions (but you can skip those). With fights you have to beat the crap out of the opponent and he’ll get dragged of the ice into the penalty box by the referee and you’ll have power play. With shootouts you’ll get to see the goalie face to face (or be one – depending which team is on the shot). And the intermissions will just provide you with short intros of other Konami games (such as Castlevania or Double Dribble).
The game graphics are solid for the time (16 color EGA graphics) with some vague details shown but with smooth animations. Tunes are less primitive PC speaker sounds (sounding like simple ad-lib sounds) and the controls are easy enough (either by joystick or keyboard, with two set of keys for the two player mode), although I miss the option for redefining keys.
All in all a nice and fun piece of sport gaming, but nothing that will really leave you breathless. You should still try it, especially if you can play against a human opponent, since the game can still provide a few hours fun.
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