Posted on September 1, 2012
My Top 100: #95 – Blades of Steel
It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a game tremendously, while being pretty damn terrible at it at the same time.
On the surface, Blades of Steel is your typical bare-bones hockey game. Choose your city, play against a differently-colored team, try to score goals. However, if you were to assume that’s all there was to it and never played it, you’d be missing out on one of the best sports titles to ever hit the NES.
None of the teams are associated with their NHL counterparts, so you really only chose them for the colour of their jerseys. There was no competitive advantage to choosing the yellow and red (Montreal) over green (Edmonton), though I’m sure some seasoned veterans of the game would say otherwise.
Moving the puck around was easy enough, but it was bumping into other players and causing an on-ice fracas that everyone loved doing. A heavily-digitized speech said “FIGHT!”, and the battle was on from there! “High punch! Low punch! Block! Watch your health you’re losin-awwww…”
And with that, the winner of the fight picks up right where he left off, all while the loser is dragged off the ice and to the penalty box. Sweet justice! You could also trigger a Penalty Shot by fighting, but I so rarely managed to do that, that I’m not even sure how to do it!
On top of the crazy competition, Konami thought it would be a great idea to show off fun animations or even promote other games in-between periods. You could even play a quick (and tiny) version of Gradius! That was video game magic, right there. Rent one game, get lucky and manage to play another one while you were at it.
Oh, and the music is absolutely perfect.
It’s the simple pleasures like that that make me a retro gamer at heart. Good times!