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Stick Hunter was the very first ice hockey game published for the Famicom. It was developed by K Amusement and released at the end of 1987. The sub-title of the game is "Exciting Ice Hockey". As sports go, hockey is not as popular in Japan compared to other sports. And as the first ice hockey game to appear on the system, it is a little rough. Confusing and unintuitive controls make the game feel slow and unresponsive. The game was only released in Japan, although it is entirely playable by non-Japanese speakers.
- : Use the direction pad to control the player on your team who currently has a 1 (for the first player) or a 2 (for the second player above their head. In addition to controlling this player, you are always in control of the goalie, and may move him around in front of the goal.
- : While skating and holding the control pad in any direction, hold the A button down to skate faster. Moving faster will make your skater a little harder to control precisely. When not pressing the direction pad, press the A button to shoot the puck in the direction your skater is facing.
- : While holding the control pad in any direction, holding down the B button will prevent your skater from skating off in that direction. Use the B button to control the direction that your player is facing without moving him on the ice. When not pressing the direction pad, press the B button to shoot the puck in the direction your skater is facing.
- +: Throughout play, another player will have a blinking 1 or 2 above their head. This will generally be the player closest to the puck which you are not in control of. Press the A and B buttons together to switch control from your current player to the player with the blinking number.
- : Press the Start button to begin a new game, or to pause the action mid-game.
When starting a new game, you have a few options to choose from.
- Players: Press to choose between a single player game against the computer, or a two player game against a friend. When choosing a 2 Player game, press or to toggle between Modes 1 and 2.
- Modes: In Mode 1, the second player chooses their team and controls it, but in Mode 2, both players play together against a team chosen by the second player (which the computer controls). In this mode, the first player controls the skater with a solid 1 above his head, and the second player controls the skater with a blinking 1 above his head.
- Team Select: Each player must choose a country to represent where their team is from. The choices are: Japan, USA, Russia, Canada, England, France, Norway, and Czechoslovakia. No team has any strength or weaknesses over any other, the only thing team selection truly impacts is the color of the uniforms of your team.
- Skill Level: This determines how effective the players are when not under control of a human being. You can choose between five levels of skill, with 1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest.
- Time: Each game consists of three periods. You can choose the length of each period of play. The choices are 10, 20, or 30 minutes of play, although minutes in the game are significantly faster than minutes in real life.
Each period begins with a face-off that occurs in center ice. Once the puck is dropped, the player who reaches the puck first will be on offense, and the opposing team will be on defense. When on defense, your objective is to block the shots of your opponents and steal the puck away to regain control and go on offense. When on offense, you must skate past the opposing defenders, and shoot the puck past the goalie to score a point. If you collide with another skater and knock them down, you may be penalized, and the referee will call for a face-off near the offender's goal.
Remember that in addition to controlling a particular skater, you are also always in control of your team's goalie. Also remember that you must not press any direction on the control pad if you wish to shoot the puck. Play proceeds until the end of the period, and then the players are reset at the start of the next period. The game is over after three full periods have been played. A mid-period show is presented to the players between the second and third period, where five female skaters dance on the ice.