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Blades, of Steel, II *shink* [EA Hockey 91]


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Wait, no rosters to research and painstakingly rate? Sign me up!

The goal here was to use EA Hockey for the purpose of exploiting the PAL 50 Hz refresh rate on the NTSC 60 Hz CPU setting. The fun part is that the resulting 20% boost in frame rate also affects the physics. Add in that every player has juiced stats [with a little variation based on the slight differences in attributes in the original game] and you get a game that plays at a frenetically fast and furious fun filled pace. [Seriously, I played this throughout the week it took to make, then loaded up a standard NHL 93 game and it felt like the ice was molasses.]

Unfortunately, I forgot that the two separate penalties for winning and losing a fight was not programmed in until '93, otherwise I could have made the trademark move of "2 minutes for losing a fight" and the victor gets off scot-free, but that one feature didn't outweigh the trade offs.

And shout out to @CoachMac and @The Dopefish for coincidentally mentioning EA Hockey, as the total teams/teams playable in playoffs edit was something I was trying to figure out just as the Coach gave me the answer. [I actually went with less. It will make sense in a minute]

And finally, much like the original Blades of Steel NES port was known as Konamic Ice Hockey in Japan, this 16-bit sequel also has a North American and Japanese version just for fun. On to the retro review screen caps.

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Uh, ignore that. Really, Konami actually made this game.

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North American and Japanese title screens.
Enter "the code" to unlock six additional teams!

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Different text as Romaji is typically all-capped. And the Japanese version still uses the same colours regardless of being the home or away team. For the North American version, the body and striping is reversed so all away teams are in grey for greater contrast. Although some all-colour games look nice too, the problem is when you play intra-squad games and everyone is dressed the same.
National teams are playable in exhibition mode only. Japan is featured in the Japanese version, but the assets for the U.S. team were still included in the ROM data for an easy localization.

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Both versions have the return of the original eight Canadian and United States club teams, plus eight new cities to round out the expanded playoffs. Shameless in game ads also make their return. All your friends will want it.

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What better way to respond to a three goal deficit than with another fight. [Using the 'C' button a lot will prompt quite a few]
It can get excessive if you let it.

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What better way to celebrate a comeback than running a guy and starting a fight? Celebrating scoring the game winner in overtime by running a guy and starting a fight obviously.

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It doesn't even need to be in overtime to celebrate a win. And in the finals the ticker is finally gone so you can seen the shamelessly branded Zamboni.

Play with line changes on for a new challenge. Line 1 is the base stats, Line 2 is the speed line, Line 3 is the bruisers. All stats are the same for each player on a line except for one or two "unique" players. Numbers are taken from notable players pre-1990, [when the game was released] with the occasional number making it onto two rosters. So #9 on Detroit can fight #9 on Hartford. Or #9 on Chicago can fight #9 on Winnipeg. Or #99 on Edmonton can fight #99 on Los Angeles. [just kidding, 99's unique stat is that his fighting is a 1]

Couple other Easter Eggs in there, but that covers most of it.

 

Blades of Steel 2 [US].bin Blades of Steel 2 [JP].bin

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Oh yeah. Figured while I was at it, I'd make some instruction manual pages based on the original Konamic Ice Hockey manual for the Famicom Disc System.

While not noted in the North American version, the teams in the Japanese version actually had nicknames. So following the "rivals" method of the original, the eight new teams were also given related team names. If anyone wants to guess the process that went into choosing names.

[For the record the team names are actual Japanese translations.]

 

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I should say that I particularly like the speedier gameplay of EA Hockey as compared to later entries in the series.  I'm playing on OpenEmu on my MacBook so I can't do the NTSC/PAL trick with, say, NHL Hockey, to replicate the experience.  It's quite a change of pace!

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It's crazy that Blades of Steel predicted the name of the new Minnesota NHL team while the old North Stars were still there.

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They also predicted that the Birmingham Rangers would move to Hartford in 1997 and become the Wolves (Wolf Pack)

And Ottawa's mascot is a Lion.

 

... Oh wait, are Ottawa and Hartford new teams that you added? :D

Whoops yeah: "the eight new teams were also given related team names. If anyone wants to guess the process that went into choosing names. "

Winnipeg Foxes - no idea

Quebec Tigers - There's a QMJHL "Tigres" team (victoriaville I think?)

Hartford Wolves - Wolf Pack

Ottawa Lions - Spartacat lion mascot

Detroit Racers - ... they made cars there?

Philadelphia Hammers - Dave "The Hammer" Schultz

Boston Pursuits - ... I don't wanna be chased by an indefatigable bear...

Calgary Anvils - Anvil.. Forge.. Fire.. Flames?

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Calgary Anvils - Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart? The team also wears pink like he & hometown star Bret 'the Hitman' Hart did in the WWF.

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1 hour ago, Fiddz said:

Calgary Anvils - Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart? The team also wears pink like he & hometown star Bret 'the Hitman' Hart did in the WWF.

I guess the game foreshadowed that Bret would eventually own a hockey team in Calgary, three years later, with that very color scheme.  :)

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10 hours ago, smozoma said:

It's crazy that Blades of Steel predicted the name of the new Minnesota NHL team while the old North Stars were still there.

That was a bit of a wild one... didn't intend the pun, but running with it anyway, although now it makes me wonder if one of the owners liked to play Japanese imports.

 

10 hours ago, smozoma said:

There's a QMJHL "Tigres" team

Huh. That I did not know. Although it is kind of funny when put in the context of how I came up with using that name. When the old Quebec Bulldogs moved to Hamiton, they were called the Tigers. And it just worked that Tigers and Lions fit the rival theme. [big cats]

The "just working out" method kind of influenced a lot of the themes too.

Motor city borrows the Racers name. For some reason the character of the Bostonian Irish Catholic third generation cop jumped out at me, so they get to chase the racers in hot pursuit.

The ironically named Philly likes their sports to be hard hitting and it helped that Dave was "the Hammer". And since "Nails" is an awful name for a team, it helped that the second most important smithing tool is named after Jim.

I'll let you off the hook with the Foxes. with Jets and Bombers off the table, I just went with my favourite animal for my old hometown. And it allowed the old WHA rivals to keep rivaling it up with the "Pack".

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