VC Weekly 280

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins

One title which was released at the start of the Wii VC - before VC Weekly started interestingly - resurfaces on the Wii U plus one that got away from Europe but is now on the 3DS Virtual Console, though it's something of a mixed blessing. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...  

Ice Hockey


Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released: 1988
System: NES
NES sports titles seem to be quite variable in quality, particularly those which were released in the beginning but over time it would seem that things improved somewhat especially when it comes to Ice Hockey which manages to do away with the rather bad reputation that the wider sports titles seem to have garnered without too much trouble. Everything that you'd expect from such a game which sets out to replicate the popular sport has been authentically represented on screen with a pleasing amount of detail for its time, more crucially though this is a title which is simply fun to play and sadly this is where many sports simulation titles have fallen rather flat in the past; so it's actually really
refreshing to see a good example within the wider genre as a whole.

Picking your team you will have a selection of body types comprising of Skinny, Heavy plus Normal all of which have their individual stats to take account of, naturally slimmer players are faster though because there isn't much to them they get knocked all over the court, you could 'bully' your way around the place by having a larger player on your side but if you're either indifferent or just unsure then it might be best to just go with the more average weight players who are essentially the 'safe bet' to choose. Being that Ice Hockey can be rather brutal you can expect to be getting involved in more than just the odd scuffle, all out fights can break out at any moment between multiple players which certainly keeps things interesting though you certainly don't want to get caught in the middle of it if you're to stand any chance of scoring though obviously it can be fun to knock a few CPU characters around or another human players team if you have someone else available to play against you.

Simple controls seem to be the secret to any good sports title, it's here where this game certainly excels as the bare minimum approach has been employed to excellent effect, when you're playing with the puck you pass or shoot it but if you're playing aggressively you'll be mostly switching or hacking away with your hockey stick. It's just really nice to see an enjoyable example of a sports title which doesn't attempt to unnecessarilly overcomplicate things, you only have five players to keep track of plus there is but a small concise selection of teams to choose from which is more than sufficient; this isn't a game which relies on superfluous extras like similar titles released in recent years, sometimes less really is more.


Visually though basic overall at least owing to its setting a lot of white is used which would otherwise seem unusual but here it offers a clarity as all you have is the ice, outlines, players and the crowds but that's basically it meaning that you can always see what you're doing, there are no distractions save for a couple of Nintendo logo's which blend in anyway. While there isn't really much to speak of in the audio department as sound is used rather sparingly, all of the sound effects have been implemented nicely enough adding a bit more credibility to the experience.

If you're looking for a decent 8-bit Ice Hockey game then look no further because this is pretty much as faithful a conversion of the sport that you're likely to get, unless you want to wait it out for the possibility of other titles within the same genre coming out such as Blades of Steel which is also good and might see a release but who knows at this point, But if you have the money in your eShop account then why not go for it, providing you know that you enjoy these kinds of games then there really isn't much to go wrong here, plus it's safer then playing the real thing.
Verdict : Ice Hockey is a respectable simulation that offers frozen fun for everyone.


Price: GB £4.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Technos Corp
Released: 1987
System: NES
Renegade, very rarely are games as poor as this made, a title so bad that it shall be reviewed in a serenade.

It was released in the Eighties, to combat the beat-em-ups of that decade, it's Renegade!

Though it failed to stack up as very badly it played, so for that it should certainly be flayed.


Visuals were poor, at the edges it has frayed, plus the music, it's too much so let the bad memories fade.

Compared to the best examples, within the genre portrayed, such as Final Fight or the immortal Steets of Rage, in the past this poor example really should have stayed.

Verdict : Anyone who buys Renegade will no doubt end up being dismayed.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

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