Superstar Ice Hockey
Copyright/Publisher: DesignStar Consultants/SportTime/Mindscape, Production,
Design & Graphics By:
Ed Ringler, Programming By: Daniel Lucas (Game Play) &
Simon Ffinch (Stats & Menus),
Programming Support By: Mike Ferrando & E.Ringler,
Music By: John Fitzpatrick,
Design Support By: Mike Ferrando,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Ice Hockey, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
As an alternative to mainstream sports simulations, Databyte have created a computer
version of ice hockey.
Extensive playing options include single or two player practice sessions,
and league matches where the player attempts to guide his team through four
divisions, ultimately entering the finals for the league trophy.
League play revolves around competition matches. On starting a game, further
options are selected to alter the team's strip and the length of a match, and
also to nominate computer or human control of the goalie, coach and centre -
the main player.
The horizontally scrolling playfield is viewed in forced perspective from the
side. Play follows normal ice hockey rules, and includes offsides and penalties. If
the player commits a foul upon a member of the opposition, he spends 30 seconds
in the sin bin.
Outside the rink, the player may also act as coach and manager, using the
joystick-controlled menus to take time-outs, select offensive or defensive team
tactics, and substitute players when they become exhausted. Between matches, he
trains the team, recruits new players, and trades existing ones with other teams.
The ultimate target, over nine seasons of competition, is to qualify for the
cup competition by finishing high in the division, and progress as far as possible
in the play-offs, to hopefully finish in the final.
At first glance, Ice Hockey doesn't look particularly impressive, with poorly
drawn sprites skating around a stark backdrop. However, appearances can be
deceptive - and this is the case here. The gameplay is absolutely superb, and
fully captures the frenetic qualities of an ice hockey match.
Controlling one player all the time really gets you into the team spirit, especially
as the computer players are prepared to pass the puck around and set up moves.
Hacking and slicing other players furthers the enjoyment, although too much
violence can end up with your player sitting in the 'sin bin' for 30 seconds
to coll off.
As well as the fun side, there's also the managerial aspect, which adds
depth and makes the simulation that much more rewarding. Definitely recommended
to sports fans.
Ice hockey is certainly one of the more unusual sports to simulate, but Databyte
have done a polished and very entertaining job nonetheless. The range of options
is commendable, and the game itself is well presented, with neat characters and
It's unusual in that rather then attempting to switch control from one character
to the other, the player controls just one character, with the remaining team
members having some semblance of 'intelligence'.
The attempted realism is also quite noteworthy - as the game progresses, the
players become tired and don't move as fast! Suffice to say, Superstar Ice Hockey
is one of the best team sports simulations to appear since International Soccer.
Initially, I was concerned by the daunting manual that accompanies this game -
by building an accurate replica of the hockey world, Databyte have had to explain
all the options available in considerable depth.
They've coped extremely well, and with a menu-driven management system, have made
the game surprisingly easy to play. The action is engrossing at all levels, and the
managing/coaching aspect has been thoughtfully designed, so that it doesn't
complicate or dullen the overall feel - in fact, it actually enhances it. I
can recommend Superstar Ice Hockey as one of the few good sports simulations around.