Saturday, 17 June 2017

SNES Review 121: Pro Sport Hockey AKA USA Ice Hockey

When you think about the Super Nintendo and who developed games for it the names that come to the front of your mind are most likly to be Capcom, Konami or Nintendo themselves, so if I was to tell you I can name a studio who developed around 25 games for the SNES who isent one of those names you would be wondering who I was talking about right? You might even start to throw out random guesses but I bet very few people would come up with the name I am about to drop and thats because the name is Tose and they are often referd to as being a ghost developer.

Tose Co., Ltd also called Tose Software is a video game development company based in Kyoto, Japan. It is mostly known for developing Nintendo's Game & Watch Gallery series, and for making a whole bunch of Dragon Ball games, and the Legend of Starfy series but they have actually developed or co-developed over 1,000 games since the company started back in 1979. A lot of people are proberbly wondering right now why they havent heard of Tose before well thats because they are virtually never credited in the games themselves.This is best explained by looking at a few quotes from Masa Agaride Tose's US Divisions Vice President "We're always behind the scenes," "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." This is why I called them a ghost developer earlier.

I have found that with a lot of the developers I have talked about in the past they either just shut down at some point, got absorbed by a bigger company or are now some tiny little company making mobile apps or games but not Tose. you might have heard of the last game they worked on after all it was Paper Mario Color Splash for the Wii U, yes the game was made by Intelligent Systems but Tose provided environment art support for them.

The game I am going to be talking about today is Pro Sport Hockey, known in Japan as USA Ice Hockey obviously it is an ice hockey video game. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES in 1993 only coming out in Japan and America missing us here in Europe all toghther, the version I have been playing is the Japanese one, basically because it was the one I managed to get my hands on. I have often said that I have found myself getting games due to the name on the box or the cart and in this case the name that dragged me in was Jaleco a name I was always fond of hearing back in the Super Nes days but in this case all they did was to publish it, I knew of Tose but had no idea of there involment with this game. As far as I knew back in the day there was only the odd NHLPA game on the snes and back then I was more using the Sega Mega Drive for my hocky fix, playing EA Hockey and mostly trying to get into fist fights on it more than actually really playing the game to win.

Back when I started this project trying to review 150 SNES games the 9th game I reviewed was Takeda Nobuhiro Super Cup Soccer /Super Goal 2 which was also made by Tose and the funny thing is playing this I instantly thought back to that game and back to that very review. The funny thing is I can pull a whole quote from that review and if you exchange the refrence to football in to an ice hockey oneand exchange the word Fifa for NHLPA Hockey it sums up how I felt playing this ''I also found it pretty hard to score goals but then I am not the best at these sort of games, the important part is I got in to it, I was enjoying myself and never once did I stop and go boy don't I wish I was playing Fifa, to all intents and purposes this game provided a perfectly entertaining spot of football.''. The game felt very much like an Ice Hockey version of Super Goal 2, the music the control, the art style I guess this just goes to show that some studios do have a very tangable style, unfortunatly I can level all of the same complaints I levelled at that game at this one. It is a very functional game which is fun but really feels one step away from greatness, it just needs a little something extra to throw it over the line in to classic territory and make me strongly recomend it.

The game has a good sense of speed, the controls tend to feel good, if slidy but heck its an ice based game so that was to be expected, the graphics are nice and bright the music is kind of catchy but it just feels like it needs those extra few touches. Now as far as I know there are no fist fights I certainly tried repeatidly ramming in to people to provoke them. Apparently the game has a sophisticated fatique system in place to simulate players getting tired but in practice I didnt see anything that proved this, it also had real players and real teams but to a video game fan like me who doesnt care much about the actual sport this didnt add much but I guess for some this would add to the overall experiance. So what would I rate this game well to be honest I would give it a 6 out of 10, which is actually better than it seemed to score back in the day (it got things like 2 out of 5 and 50% ish marks), I spent £3 including postage for my Japanese cart and if you can get it for around this price and have the ability to play import games then what the heck go for it, just dont spend much more

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