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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Frostbite (Atari VCS/2600)

I always wanted Frostbite back when I owned an Atari... it always seemed like, if you'll excuse the turn of phrase, a cool game. Never did end up with it, though. Of course, in this day and age it's easy to play the old games, classics or otherwise, either by emulation or other means. I happen to have bought this on Microsoft's Game Room... as well as the Activision Anthology a few years ago.

And I'm glad that I did. Frostbite is a fun little game... what's important is that it's got the qualities that were essential in making a VCS game successful. It's fast paced, it's cute, and games don't usually last too long, making it an ideal arcade-style game.


Nip, nip! Those crabs might be almost underwater, but they'll still get ya.

The object of Frostbite is to build an igloo before the temperature drops so low that it freezes you to death. This being the arctic, that's easier said that done. You have to jump on ice blocks as they float past... each time you turn the ice blue, a block is added to your igloo. Later levels see the ice crack apart causing further complications, but you can reverse the flow for your own means.

Hang on though... that sounds simple! Naturally there's more to it than just that... there would have to be, or it wouldn't be much of a game. Polar critters roam around, getting in your way. If it wasn't bad enough that Arctic crabs, snow geese and clams shove you off the ice into the bitterly cold water, once your igloo is complete there's a polar bear patrolling the ice around your home! Well, if you will choose to live there...


Clams and crabs and bears, oh my!

So, was it worth the almost thirty year wait to play this? I'd have to say yes, it was. Sure, I'd probably have appreciated it a lot more at the time, and likely as not would have played it until I'd earned my sew-on patch. Nowadays it's unlikely you'd play it for more than fifteen minutes at a time, but from my point of view I'm likely to play it for fifteen minutes now and again for quite a while to come. Frostbite is cute, it's fun and it's a great example of just how good Activision could be in those days.

2 comments:

  1. It sounds like Frostbite's gameplay falls somewhere betwixt Frogger and Q-Bert. Am I right? There is no way I'll buy this for Game Room, though. I feel sorry for Krome's recent demise, but that piece of bloatware is shocking.

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  2. Yeah, that's a fair assessment of the gameplay.

    As for Game Room, I've given up on buying anything else, although if Green Beret and Nemesis were on there I wouldn't have a second thought. It's about the biggest wasted opportunity in gaming history, and I feel quite annoyed that I've spent a good amount of money on something that's not what it was promised to be.

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