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When first reviewing Ice Hockey on the Virtual Console way back in December of 2006, I put a lot of emphasis on the rivalry between that game and this one – it really was a case of either/or in the '80s, as few young NES fans had the cash to be able to own both editions in their original cartridge forms. And the debate will still rage as to which one was really the better game to play, with Ice Hockey standing firm on its foundation of old-school Nintendo quirkiness and Blades of Steel offering a more standard, focused, grittier play experience. But now that both games are available for just five bucks, why not go for both? Especially if you've already downloaded Ice Hockey in the past – it's only an additional investment of 500 more Wii Points to get Blades as well and choose for yourself which you think is superior. That's got to be the ultimate recommendation here, and if you just can't pick between the two, flip a coin.
What else is there to say? Overall Blades of Steel is better than Nintendo's appropriately titled Ice Hockey, and it's held up pretty well compared to Double Dribble. If you liked the game back then or like ice hockey games then this would not be a bad download.
Blades of Steel is beloved by many American gamers, and I can see why. To them, it probably has the same nostalgic purity as Sensi Soccer - although the game itself is nowhere near as streamlined and immediate as that particular classic. It plays a decent enough game of hockey, and for the price it should keep fans happy.