Blades of Steel

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Blades of Steel offers nostalgic, easy-to-learn hockey gameplay with unique features like mid-game entertainment and simplified fighting mechanics, making it a classic NES favorite

Dive into the nostalgia of the NES era with a review of Blades of Steel, a hockey game that captures the essence of simplicity and fun in sports video games. From its straightforward gameplay to the unique mid-game entertainment, discover why this game remains a cherished memory for many.

Introduction to Blades of Steel

A Gift of Nostalgia

Blades of Steel emerged under the Christmas tree, accompanying my first-ever Nintendo console at the age of six. Shared with my twin brother, this game became our entry into the digital world of hockey—a sport we seldom followed in reality, yet have enjoyed virtually ever since.

The Game at a Glance

Simplicity reigns supreme in Blades of Steel. Unaffiliated with the NHL, the game presents teams based solely on city names, foregoing official logos or endorsements. Players can engage in either exhibition matches or tournaments, navigating eight teams that mirror the locales of prominent NHL cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Blades of Steel: Slap shots, body checks, and nostalgic goals.

Gameplay Mechanics

Easy Control, Pure Fun

Blades of Steel offers a lateral view of the rink, where a single button controls both shooting and passing—demonstrating the game’s commitment to easy-to-learn mechanics. Switching to the nearest player is seamless, promoting an intuitive gameplay experience that harkens back to the era of uncomplicated sports video games.

Blades of Steel (NES gallery 03)

Thrills and Spills

Physicality is a simple affair: charge into opponents to check them, possibly dislodging the puck. Repeated collisions can escalate into fights, transforming the game into a basic 2D brawler. Though initially entertaining, especially in multiplayer mode, the frequent brawls can sometimes detract from the game’s pace.

Unique Features and Presentation

Mid-Game Surprises and Retro Ads

A standout feature of Blades of Steel is its halftime show—a mini shooter game displayed on the scoreboard. This interlude, coupled with retro advertisements for Konami NES games, adds a delightful twist, making it one of the few instances where in-game ads are genuinely enjoyable.

Graphics and Sound

Despite its age, Blades of Steel boasts impressive visuals, arguably the best among NES hockey titles. The audio, however, is charmingly crude; the muffled announcement of “Blades of Steel” and the commentary during passes are both memorable and amusingly low fidelity. The sporadic musical interludes enhance key moments of the game, echoing the atmosphere of a real hockey match.


Blades of Steel stands out as a stellar example of what makes retro sports games so appealing: simplicity, fun, and a touch of nostalgia. Its approachable controls and distinctive features, like the mid-game shooter, set it apart from contemporary titles. Though the frequent in-game fights may interrupt the flow for some, the overall experience remains a beloved classic, worthy of revisiting for fans and newcomers alike.

Blades of Steel (NES gallery 05)

Play Blades of Steel Anywhere

You can enjoy Blades of Steel not only on the original NES platform but also on modern devices such as mobile phones and tablets, ensuring that this classic ice hockey adventure is always within reach.

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What is Blades of Steel and what makes it special?

Blades of Steel is a nostalgic hockey video game from the NES era, celebrated for its simplicity, easy controls, and unique features like mid-game entertainment. Its absence of NHL endorsement, focusing instead on city-based teams, adds to its charm.

Can I play Blades of Steel on modern devices?

Yes, Blades of Steel is accessible not only on the original NES but also on contemporary platforms, including mobile phones and tablets, allowing fans to enjoy the game wherever they are.

What are the game modes available in Blades of Steel?

The game offers two main modes: exhibition, for quick and casual play, and tournament, which allows for a more structured competition through a round-robin format.

How does the fighting mechanism work in the game?

In this game, instigating a fight requires multiple collisions with an opponent in quick succession. Fights play out in a simplified 2D fighter style, where players can throw punches and block. The victor gains possession of the puck, although the frequency of fights can occasionally slow down the gameplay.

What unique feature does this game have that sets it apart from other hockey games?

A standout feature is the halftime mini-game, where players get to engage in a shooter game displayed on the big screen scoreboard. Additionally, the inclusion of retro advertisements for Konami NES games during this segment offers a unique and enjoyable twist.