International Ice Hockey
Copyright/Publisher: Zeppelin Games, Music By: Andrew Rodger,
Release Year: 1992, Genre: Ice Hockey, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Dangerous. That's the only word I can think of to describe ice hockey. Oh, and cold as well. So that's two things. But surely there must be more to the sport than that? Well, yes, as I found out.

Ice hockey was invented by Sir Jethro P Landowner in 1720. He was a wealthy man who controlled large parts of the Thames near Teddington. In those days the Thames used to freeze a lot, so Sir Jethro would invite all his peasants to skate about on the ice. To make things more fun, he'd throw a coin on as well, and the crowds, armed with bent sticks, had to fight for possession of it (sounds like Frames' kind of sport - Ed). Thus an international sport was born.

Or rather not, because I just made all that up. I couldn't be bothered to research it properly, as after playing International Ice Hockey I had no enthusiasm for the game at all. Canada, CIS, America, Sweden and plucky old Britain are some of the countries you can play in this game, which, for the record, is a sideways-and-above-viewed affair.

The pitch (or is it rink?) overlaps the screen, so you only see about a third of it at any one time. It scrolls back and forth, following the puck, and you've got to hammer the fire button to get control of the nearest player to the action. Basically the whole think is like a football game, except that the players slide around more.

This is, I suppose, quite realistic, but it's also immensely annoying because if you miss a tackle, you disappear off the other side of the screen before you can turn round. Even worse, if you so much as touch the bottom edge of the screen, your man throws his arms in the air and gets stuck there. You can't even take control of another player for a few seconds, so it's a complete tragedy.

The large Spectrum-like graphics are blocky, crudely-drawn things, that chug around the screen without the grace you'd expect from people on ice. Tackling is difficult, and it's virtually impossible to put together any slick moves because the sliding players don't behave sensibly under your control. It's the sort of game you would have avoided a few years ago, and you'd be wise to avoid it now. Stick to Skate Wars.

For some reason in International Ice Hockey, if you pause then hold down the fire button and the back arrow key, the hockey players mutate into penguins, and continue playing the game. We asked a top penguin expert why this was:

"I'm sorry mate, I haven't a clue. But did you know that there are over 300 different types of penguin? And you'll find most of them at the South Pole. It's a funny old world, isn't it?"


The graphics look so dated they might have been based on cavepaintings from the Mesozoic Era.

The sliding players are next to impossible to control and therefore very, very annoying.

Forget tactics. There isn't room and the players just aren't interested in going where you want them to.

And that goes for tackling, avoding amd generally being skillful.

Sound effect? Don't even ask.

Selecting the controlled player is erratic, and if you hit the bottom edge you're stuffed for ages.

The eight-team knockout tournament is a good idea.<

You can change the colour of each team for extra on-screen clarity.