Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hit the Ice

Taito / Williams

My heavens, what a revolting piece of shit this game is.

Before I delve into just what makes Hit the Ice so offensive, let me say that I like quite a few "wacky" sports games. No "true to the real life clipboard" Madden play is as enjoyable for me to execute as a ridiculous 100-yard heave in Tecmo Super Bowl. I can abide few boxing games but totally dig Mike Tyson's Punch-out! And I spent many a multi-player get-together swishing threes and performing insane slam dunks in NBA Jam. In fact, were Hit the Ice the hockey equivalent of Jam, or something even remotely close to that, I probably would have penned a far more positive opening line for this review.

But it didn't quite turn out that way. It is indeed a "no holds barred" game of hockey; but unfortunately, it has practically no personality and requires virtually no skill. It can be fine for a sports game to chuck realism out the window, but the game had better be charismatic and it had better not be a snoozer gameplay-wise. Hit the Ice is as uncharismatic as they come; it takes more than an octopus-on-ice to bring a smile to my face, especially when the hockey "action" is as simplistic and tedious as it is here (there's a lot of back-and-forth "checking" with occasional weak shot attempts). In fact, sad-sack TV Sports Hockey, with its earnest but failed attempts at realism, arguably has more personality than Hit the Ice, as it features a gap-toothed announcer and nice-looking closeups. Heck, I get more of a kick out of TVSH's goofy player "portraits" than I do out of Hit's caricatural cast.

As if it isn't bad enough that Hit the Ice is a complete bore, it bears additional methods of repulsion in its disgustingly plain and ancient-looking visuals and laughable sound effects (which include lazy crowd whistling and annoying, all-too-frequent player "grunts").

Sweet, three goals. That's a hat trick...

...and chicks love hat tricks.

Booring. Remember when Blades of Steel let us play Gradius during intermissions? Those were the days.

Ouch. This calls for some sort of retaliation. Perhaps fisticuffs are in order...

You'd think a "wacky" hockey game would at least have fun fights, but this one doesn't. TV Sports Hockey has better. So does Blades of Steel. Hell, so does NES Ice Hockey, with its dust-cloud brawls.

Sometimes, the weakling who loses the punch-up ends up injured. How embarrassing.

Uh oh. I have a feeling something really dumb is about to happen...


At least the rewards to be reaped are well worth enduring all the foolishness and boredom. Yeah.

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