NHL Blades of Steel '99
Hoping to continue the legacy of its classic 8-bit ancestor on the N64, Konami's NHL Blades of Steel '99 features a solid array of features, including extensive trading and management options. Sadly, it crashes into the boards because of sluggish, frustrating controls and unpolished graphics.
While players are treated to impressive cinemas before and after each game, Blades' blocky polygonal players move with robotic stiffness, while collision-detection problems make some players pass right through each other. Otherwise, fine camerawork, thumping theme music, and clear, if dull, announcing create the effect of a genuine NHL telecast.
Ultimately, Blade is a rental-only title at best If you're eager to strap on your skates, stick with NHL'99 all the way.
- PROTIP: Tap twice to perform a fake slapshot to fool your opponent's goalie, then move in for a high-percentage snapshot or wrister.
Download NHL Blades of Steel '99
Believe it or not, it's been over 10 years since Konami released the original Blades of Steel on the NES. Now, two generations of systems later, they've finally decided to resurrect the old classic for the Nintendo 64 (and also the PlayStation). But as you may have expected, aside from the name and the fact that it's a hockey game, there's really nothing at all that the old Blades and NHL Blades of Steel '99 have in common.
Even though the version being previewed here is only 70 percent complete, it seems pretty far along. Gameplay could best be described as a cross between Gretzky's 3D Hockey and NHL99--not necessarily a bad thing, but the game does have some problem areas that need work. Most notably, the controls aren't quite as responsive as they could be (which may very well be fixed in time for release), and despite there being several camera angles, none of them feel all that comfortable. On the upside, the game moves quickly, has a lot of options and has surprisingly good play-by-play announcing. If Konami can work out the kinks, Blades of Steel '99 could be a serious contender. We'll let you know what we think of the final version next month.
Konami-developed and published Blades of Steel '99 features the teams of the Western and Eastern conference and real NHL players, Game modes include: Practice, Exhibition, Season and Playoffs. Adding greatly to the Season Mode are team stats plus the ability to trade players. On the ice the characters move surprisingly fast with an emphasis on body-checking and fastbreaks. Two-player link is also available. Look for it in March.