It’s no secret that we love the Arcade-Sports titles, games like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and Blades of Steel have seen more play from us then their simulation counter-parts and for good reason, they’re more fun. I don’t want to crap on the simulation games though, to their merit a lot of work has gone into them to make the game feel realistic, but sometimes you just want to shoot a flaming puck through a net, or beat someone with a hockey stick and not get a penalty.
V7 Entertainment takes us back, not only to the time of Afros and players not wearing proper protection on the ice, but to the time where we would spend money in the arcades to destroy our friends in over-the-top hockey.
Old-Time Hockey takes place in the 70’s and focuses on an Amateur Hockey League. Of course being the 70’s, most of the safety precautions made for modern NHL are thrown out. Players are encouraged to fight, bash into each other with body checks and have ridiculous hair. Players get to choose which team they want to play and go against their buddies in exhibition mode or follow the story of a losing team as they rise up to become champions in the game’s story mode.
As of the game’s story-mode, sadly there isn’t much here. The Story follows the Hinto Brews, who after a devastating 9-loss streak and a bench clearing brawl has forced the team manager to scrap the team for newbies, from here you play as the Brews as they work their way up to win the league. The story is told through small news snippets between loading screens and calendar events which doesn’t do any justice for the game’s over the top nature.
Rather then attempting to win every game in the Story Mode series, the game request that you complete specific objectives. In the beginning, the game locks you into the Advanced controls which play more like the simulation hockey titles, with new moves such as slapshots and hip-checks unlocked as you complete the tutorials. A good suggestion would be to take a few losses early on in the game until the game requires you to win in order to build up a proper set of controls. Unfortunately limiting the amount of controls and abilities that I have in story mode, as well as the lack of options to play with the other control modes in story mode until it’s beaten, is extremely frustrating.
When you do finally get the full controls in story-mode or play Exhibition mode, the game reverts back to satisfying as it feels like we’re finally able to go all out. V7 gave multiple control styles to play with including a retro two-button control, beer mode (where you learn to play the game one-handed) and the mentioned advanced mode, giving the game a playstyle that will suit all players from simulation lovers to arcade freaks.
One of the great things about Old-Time Hockey is its cartoonish nature and graphics that is almost too-fitting, with players receiving an almost comedic satire of style in the 70’s including afros, moustaches, even going as far to include broken teeth and cuts thanks to brutal brawls.
Special credit has to go to the great soundtrack, especially with the starting tune of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ ‘The Hockey Song’, which sets the mood for the good old-time hockey you’re about to experience.
If you’re one who wants to experience the nostalgia and classic Arcade Hockey gameplay of the old days, Old-Time Hockey is definitely the game for you.