Slap Shot (SMS)

Slap Shot Box Art

Slap Shot

System: SMS

Release Date: April 1990

Developer: Sanritsu

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Sports

Ice hockey action is back on the Master System with Slap Shot! This is welcome because Great Ice Hockey was awful. Pick from three international leagues in exhibition or tournament action and try to prove you’re the best team in the world! Each league has eight international teams to choose from. I started in the C League with Yugoslavia. I felt that I needed to preserve the legacy as the country will cease to exist within a couple years from the game’s release. Each game is three 20 minute periods, but at five or six times speed.

The 5 on 5 action begins with a faceoff. If you win the faceoff, it goes to your player on top of the screen every time. My biggest issue with the game stems from passing. Luckily, passing on offense and changing players on defense are mapped to Button 2. Unluckily, you have no control over who you want to pass to. The pass always goes to the closest man. Got someone near the blue line ready for a breakaway? Too bad, the guy behind you is closer.

My next issue is shooting. This happens when you press Button 1… sometimes. There are plenty of times I had an open net in front of me, but pressing the shoot button would just cause my player to do nothing. I lost out on more goals than I can count. I finally settled that if you’re too close to the net, you aren’t allowed to shoot. The manual talks about using a wrist or slap shot, but I’m convinced wrist shots aren’t a thing you can do. I think all of my goals came from an angle that kept the net open on one end.

Checking is handled by skating into the puckhandler. This, like slide tackling on soccer games, is heavily relied on to control a game. Occasionally, another player wants to drop gloves and you enter a fight. Here you have to mash both buttons and hope you end with the advantage by the time the ref blows the whistle. Whoever loses spends two real minutes in the penalty box. My last issue is the least of all and it’s goaltending. You control your goalie while you simultaneously control your skater. This means you lose out on a defenseman in order to mind your net. Not a big deal at a corner, but this can mess you up big against a straight on shot.

I took Canada all the way in the A League and it came down to a shootout against Finland. After three players, it goes to one and one. You aim in one of six directions and have to defend them, as well. It really comes down to who guesses wrong first. It was fortunate that I guessed right.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are fine. There’s no differentiation between players of the same team.

Sound: 1.0

The same kind of repeating Sega Master System song I hear in all of their games.

Gameplay: 2.0

Passing and shooting needed to be better, but at least they exist in playable form.

Difficulty: 3.0

Once I learned how to play, it was pretty easy to exploit, but I was worried in the game against Finland.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I had enough fun to play through six games and win two tournaments. Fifteen minutes per game isn’t bad.

Overall Grade: 1.9

Slap Shot earns a C. It’s not the best game in the world or anything, but it’s a passable hockey game that you can get a bit of enjoyment out of.

Slap Shot Video Review on YouTube