Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
There is growing interest in pro ice hockey across Europe and the game does lend itself quite well to conversion to the small screen. How does this version score?
Most team sports sims - but basketball, soccer, and ice hockey in particular - stand or fall on how well they perform in one category, passing. Unless this manoeuvre can be crisply carried out then the simulation is likely to collapse into a tangled mess of colliding players with the ball lost somewhere in between. The fact that this frequently happens in the real world as well is irrelevant to the creation of an entertaining video game.
Slap Shot manages passing well enough and has some nice extras to add to the fun. If two players get involved in a particularly drawn out scramble for the ball a cameo will come up showing them slugging it out. This provides a brief interlude of beat 'em up where you have to throw as many punches as you can to win the scrap.
The sport's governing body would probably not approve of this at all, but - as all fans will tell you - ice hockey wouldn't be ice hockey without the scraps. Sega also feature the now more or less standard slow motion replay when a point has been scored. A choice of exhibition or international championship campaigns can be selected and the computer of course keeps score and provides the ref.
Slap Shot will not disappoint sports sim fans, but it's perhaps not the best new Sega game to rush out and buy for the rest of us.
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Slap Shot will satisfy ice hockey fans but it doesn't have quite enough about it it to pull in less committed gamers . It looks like the sort of game that is destined to end up in SEGA's bargain range so if you do fancy a spot of slippery hockey hang on a bit.