The game is unique because instead of having six players per team (like Konami's Blades of Steel), this game only has three (forward, defense, and goalie). Instead of being normal sized, the players look more like football players and have an older look to them.
In the arcade version there are only two teams (Red and Blue) and players can be chosen for each position. When Taito released the home console versions, more teams were added and players were automatically assigned to teams in order to get to the game faster. For the SNES version the colors were also given city names: Montreal Reds, New York Blues, L.A. Yellows, Toronto Whites, Chicago Orange and Minneapolis Green.
Hit the Ice is based on the game of ice hockey, the aim of the game being to outscore your opponent by shooting the puck into the opponent's net more often than your opponent over three periods of play.
Since the game is "the hockey version of Arch Rivals", however, there are very few rules. Players have special moves, most of which are illegal moves in actual ice hockey (such as slashing, tripping, elbowing, or kicking opponents in the groin). Fights are common, though a player losing a fight is not penalized. Instead, he becomes sluggish for a short period. If the player loses several fights in one period, he leaves the game with an injury.
Every player is capable of a "super shot", which must be charged beforehand. If allowed to charge and shoot, the shot will hit the goaltender with such force that he is knocked back into the net along with the puck, counting as a goal. If a team is far enough behind, his team may receive a power-up in the form of a "super drink", making the stick of the player who consumes it flash with energy and turning every shot into a super shot for a short time.
The NES version of Hit the Ice was the most unusual of all the home console ports. The game was never released commercially. The biggest difference in this particular version of the game was its Quest Mode, which mixed RPG elements into a hockey game for the only time.
- "Dicky" Fontaine, spoof of Dicky Moore
- "Gunner" Hall, spoof of Glenn Hall
- Pierre Bourdoir,
- Phil Bonker, spoof of Phil Esposito
- "Battleship" Boyd
- David Volek
- Iven Yakashev, spoof of a Soviet player from 1972
- Willy Lindberg, spoof of Ted Lindsay
- Tom Horyna, spoof of Tim Horton
- Al Gigliano
- Happy Goleck ("happy-go-lucky")
- Wayne Greatman, spoof of Wayne Gretzky
- Reggy Marsh
- Jonny Novak
- Petter Kidd,
- "Bo" Cleveland
- Bob Dover
- Mike Barr