"The game reminded me of an amateur shareware game..."
Of all the hockey games I have played in my life, Solid Ice by Strategy First Inc., has got to be the worst one. The game reminded me of an amateur shareware game made by some eighteen year old. Solid Ice is just plain garbage.
When I started the game up, I was treated to a nice intro with some okay music. I was expecting the graphics would be just as good throughout the entire game. I thought wrong. The menu screen has a cheap background with blue ice and some lines, and the menu itself is nothing special. It is just some blue boxes with words in them. The actual game was even worse.
I guess I have been spoiled by all the nice texture mapped polygons in all the new games, because I almost cried when I saw how bad the graphics were. My dog could have drawn better sprites. The players were just a few colors and had no face, just a peach colored square, and the ice rink was just basic white with red and blue lines. The animation was slow and choppy, and the crowd was just a boring group of faceless blobs. What is worse is that while the graphics were simple, the game was slow. I thought the action would be smooth, but it just wasn't.
The game play was difficult to master. I tried the mouse, the keyboard, and my Sidewinder joystick, to no avail. I found the best controller was my Gravis Gamepad. It was like playing a bad Genesis game, almost. Passes were hard to make, and lining up was even more difficult. Luckily the computer AI was so bad, it didn't even matter badly I was playing. I could beat the different teams by just slamming the buttons as fast as I could.
Knocking people around was also a pain. I just couldn't hit the other team. I was constantly flying into the walls, but since the computer was just plain stupid, it couldn't take advantage of my bad defense. What I really hated was the lack of fights. What's a hockey game without fighting?
The sound was adequate. The crowd yelled words every once and a while, and when you hit the puck, you heard a loud CRACK! Of course the organ piped away familiar sports tunes, and when you made a goal, the siren would send out a loud scream. The music was also nice. It was a generic heavy metal soundtrack, which is not my favorite type of music, but it fit the game nicely.
The best feature of the whole game was the ability to edit the teams. You can create your own league of teams, or edit previously made teams. You even have the option to create team logos, names, and pick out different patterns and colors for the uniforms of your team. The player's stats can also be modified, so you can design a team to your liking. To make the game fair, you can't make individual players extremely good without making other players equally bad. Creating my own team was the most fun I had in the entire game.
If you are a hockey fan, and your looking to buy a new game, I suggest you getNHL '97, which is the BEST hockey game I have played. Solid Ice is just not worth buying. It's a bad start for the guys at Strategy First Inc. Maybe next time dudes.