Game Name: Hit the Ice
Publisher: Taito (Japan), Williams (USA)
Release Date: 1990
Platforms: Aracde, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, GameBoy and TurboGrafx-16
This is a game that I played in the arcade when I was a kid. In fact this always seemed to be like the 3D table hockey that would be available in certain arcade. An example can be found below.
You can still find hockey table like the above, scattered around. This one is the best quality picture that I was able to find. The ones that I used to play with were either Russians versus Canada or Red vs. Blue.
You cannot get more arcade sports, more than this game. There are no leagues, playoffs or any type of tournament. This is a straight, Red vs. Blue.
So you get to choose which side that you want to be part of and a few players. You choose your goalie, one defence and one forward. The players are essentially cartoon characters and stereotypical caricatures of what people see hockey players to be. Guys with little teeth and that look like they could be part of a heavy metal band.
The controls are simple. You can pass the puck, shoot the puck and hit. There are 2 modes for shooting. You can shoot in the upper corner or shoot on the ice directly. The hits cary depending on the player. There are parts of the game where the player has a boost with a golden stick. This allows the slap shots to be more potent and the hits to crush even more. However, this is limited and eventually you will have to go back to your regular play.
Hit the Ice - Sample Gameplay (courtesy randomgaming38)
This is an old school arcade sports game that today's gaming landscape is lacking. It is funny and fun to play. There are a few negatives to the game.
I reviewed this based on the arcade game. The arcade game would ask for credits every 4 or 5 minutes. You cannot even pay through a whole period. Playing through a full hockey game it could cost you 1.25$ to 1.50$. This is assuming the games were a quarter for a credit. That is insane when you think about it. I can understand why they did it but they could have waited for a period to finish at least.
The gameplay is uneven. When you have the boosts, it is very easy to play. However, when you lose those boosts, scoring is quite challenging. I understand that it should be a little more difficult but I rarely scored without a boost.
The goalie is hard to control as well. Because the goalie is controlled manually it is sometimes difficult to gauge where you should be to stop the puck. Blades of Steel on the NES did a lot better job in that regard.
Having said that, this is still a really fun game to play. There is fighting like a real hockey game. The plays are funny and it is just fun to play against an opponent in the same room. I am pretty sure if we would have had this game on console at the time, my brother and I would ahve made our own stats and playoff trees.
The best part is that it is a game that does not take itself too seriously. It is fun to play and I hope that it would get a re-release on one of the modern major consoles.
Rating: 7 Hip Checks out of 10
What do you think? Let me know at the coordinates below.