Friday, 9 May 2014

Fire and Ice (Amiga)

And the final 'F' game I'll be playing this year shall be... Fire and Ice, AKA. Fire & Ice: The Daring Adventures of Cool Coyote according to the front of the box. It's entirely unrelated to the 1993 NES puzzle game Fire 'n Ice in case that's something you were wondering about.

Amiga Power once described this game as being "Magic Pockets, but fast and good", so I'm expecting great things from it. Actually I've played this one loads of times and I already know exactly what its like, I'm just playing it for nostalgia or whatever, but I won't spoil what my opinion of it is just yet.

Look, look, it's a coyote playing a piano! Personally my attention keeps wandering to that reflection effect on that completely out of place strip of locations along the bottom, but the piano thing is pretty awesome too. Cool Coyote barks in time with the cheerful music and when the tune eventually ends he just sits there and waits for you to press fire already.

I couldn't help but leave it on and listen to the whole thing, it's way too catchy... in a cheesy Amiga platformer theme kind of way. Here, check it out yourself if you're curious:

Fire and Ice was the first game to star Cool Coyote, though by the way his face is all over the start of it I'm getting the impression Graftgold were hoping he'd be the next Sonic the Hedgehog (he wasn't). Amiga developers were so eager to come up with a mascot character for the system that'd take off in the way that Sonic or Mario had, but I guess the closest we got in the end was Zool the Ninja Ant (who isn't an ant by the way).

Personally I'm amazed anyone bought the game at all, with that grinning face glaring out at them from the box cover.


Hey they've given me a map of the level to memorise before I start! That's really thoughtful of them. Also I guess the image along the bottom of the screen must be a map of the whole game, and it's sticking around for the long haul.

This looks about as good as you could hope for from a 16-bit computer platformer really. The music's pretty good, it all moves at a good speed, and... I've just realised that I'm playing as a blue animal in dungarees, wow that's pretty shameful. He's like the result of a 'The Fly'-style teleporter accident created when Sonic and Mario tried using the same pod together. Also I bet coyotes don't even live anywhere as cold as this and they just stuck him up here because every other region on Earth was already claimed by other mascot characters by this point.

Oh, well Wikipedia assures me that they actually do. So, uh, I'll guess I'll keep playing then.

Cool has the ability to fire out tiny ice pellets that bounce around and freeze anything they touch. It takes a few shots for the effect to take hold, but that's not so bad when I've got a little pup following me around, joining in with his own ice pellets.

Shattering the penguin got me a key piece! Doesn't seem like I can afford to let any of these poor bastards live.

Incidentally this is an Amiga game, so by default it uses a one button joystick and I press up to jump, but the developers took the time to make sure it also recognises two-button joypads, for those who prefer to jump console-style. I point this out because it is awesome.

Atari ST
Well that's great, I climbed up a hill and got an avalanche on my head for the trouble. Instant kill. Okay fine, I see how it is, whenever I hear a rumbling noise from now on I'll know I have to immediately relocate my furry blue ass elsewhere.

The game was also released on a couple of other computers beginning with A, like the Atari ST and the Acorn Archimedes, and this is the Atari version you're looking at here. It seems very similar to the original Amiga game to me, except it's sluggish, the music is lower quality, and they've dropped the map reflection. It seems inferior in every way to be honest, though they did at least get scrolling working pretty well.

The poor Atari ST, always struggling to keep up with the other 16-bit computers. Still, I don't think it does so badly for a machine that pre-dated the NES by a full year in the West.

Crap, I misjudged my momentum and went flying into a penguin. Cool doesn't just slide down hills though, he slides on everything here. I gotta give the designers credit for not starting with a forest level, but a slippery-slidey ice world isn't much of an improvement!

Fortunately I reappear in exactly the same place (with a few seconds of invulnerability), so I can carry on straight where I left off. Though hang on, what happened to my pup? Did I run too far ahead or something?

I had to go back for the guy in the end and now I'm going forward at half speed to give him a chance to keep up. I don't need to bring the puppy with me, but it's definitely in my interests to keep him around as he's immortal, he doubles my firepower, and if I bring him to the floating keyhole in the sky I get an extra life!

Though first I have to unlock the keyhole by collecting all the pieces of the key, which you do by slaughtering the wildlife. They don't all have key pieces in, but I'll have to keep shattering them until I get the set.

Crap, I forgot to immediately run backward when I heard a noise, and got hit by a falling bomb dropped by that Eskimo up there on the left. Doesn't seem all that fair to me, but I don't even know what's fair any more.

At least next time I see a Eskimo's feet walking back and forth on a platform above me I'll know to be more cautious.

I found a lil' storm cloud and a Turrican style power up block up here! Every time I shoot the ice cube it spits out a different power up orb containing a certain number of super attacks. When I'm carrying one of these super weapons I can activate it by holding down fire for a short time, or I could spend those seconds just freezing the enemies with my ice pellets instead.

If I shoot the storm cloud a few times it eventually gets cold enough to drop slowflakes, which I can collect for... something. Not sure about that one.

Okay the cloud's starting to worry me now, it's getting a bit thundery... a little bit lightningy. So I'll leave that be and go freeze the Eskimo with my ice pellets. Don't worry, being frozen is only a temporary thing, it won't actually kill the man. Nope, walking into him afterwards and shattering him is what's gonna kill him. Serves him right for dropping a bomb on me earlier.

Meanwhile on the PC version of the game, things look a little less appealing. It doesn't quite have as many colours on screen, the music doesn't sound as good, and it's missing the gradient background. It definitely moves just as fast though, and is equally as slick as the Amiga version.

The thing is though, Fire and Ice has a day/night cycle, with the background gradient switching from blue to yellow and back every 75 seconds or so, but the DOS version has no gradient! Their clever solution to this problem was to have a cartoon moon drop down on a hook when it's night-time, and a cheerful sun appear during the day.

Wow I just noticed Cool Coyote's eyes staring at me from the HUD. Always. Well I suddenly feel like I've seen more than enough of the DOS version, time to turn this off. Immediately.

This is cool though. The DOS port comes with a Jukebox option hidden in this menu on the title screen, so I can listen to slightly crappier versions of all the tunes without the time consuming hassle of getting anywhere in the game.

I guess the theme song of Fire and Ice I'm listening to here must be called Pianodemonium then (not to be confused with A Song of Ice and Fire, which is something else).

It's just a shame that the level music gets repetitive very quickly, so I don't really feel like listening to any more of it than I have to.

Anyway here I am back on the first level of the Amiga game! I got some snowflakes from the cloud, a mysterious power up from the cube of mystery (what it does, I do not know), I killed the Eskimo and now I've just found myself a second pup over on the top left of the map!

Then I slipped and fell off the platform, ending up right back down at the start again. It's not a huge deal as the levels are pretty short and I don't suffer falling damage, but it would've been nice if the pup had followed me down. They don't like big jumps you see, so I have to make sure there's only small gaps in their path or I'll leave them behind.  Where's the button that lets me pick the little bastards up and take them with me?

THERE, IN THE DOOR WITH YE! I got an extra life for each of the pups I kicked inside, which brings my lives total up to... two.


Oh shit the pellets aren't gonna work in time, uh... run! Stop sliding you frictionless fuckwit Coyote, get some traction and head leftwards before you get a skier up the ass!

Huh I guess I actually did manage to freeze him in time, crisis averted! Now I just have to take out all the other skiers following him down the slope the same way, using the split section of warning the game allows with its sound effects to get myself out of their way and into a position to pelt them with pellets.

Oh shit the pellets aren't gonna work in time, uh... nope I'm fucked here. I'm so sluggish and floaty when I'm airborne that I have no real hope of dodging anything during my fall. All I can do is hope that the thing is more frozen than it looks, or else I just lost one of my hard earned puppy lives.

The seagull actually was frozen! Which is more than I can say for these two assholes on the left.

My shots have a fair bit of range on them, but I can't shoot through enemies, so I can either keep firing and hope than the first enemy doesn't defrost before the others wander in front, or I can jump over them and take my chances there. It just serves to slow me down even more than I already am by this bloody pup.

Oh no, I slipped off the icy moving platform and now I have to get all the way back up there and try again! I'm just a piece or two short of a full key and that's floating ledge over on the right is the very last place I haven't checked.

Man, how can anyone have thought that slippery platformers was in any way a good idea? In the end the only way I managed to get on the thing and stay put, was to deliberately slide onto it from the ground next to it. But you want to know what the worst part of this is? The key piece wasn't even inside the enemies on the other side!

Fine then, I'll head back to the start and do another sweep of the level from there. At least the pup will stay put next to the keyhole while I'm gone.


All that effort to bring the pup to the keyhole for an extra life and it's thrown away in a split-second on the next level by another bloody skier zooming in from off screen. It happened so fast that I didn't have time to realise that I should probably stop shooting and jump out of the way instead.

The most annoying thing about this is that the bastard that killed my Coyote is actually frozen! Look at him, look at his frosty blue tones, I clearly got him just in time! Probably.


This one was my own fault though. I once again neglected to take the absence of friction into account during my descent and got a penguin full force in the face. Just ignore the fact that he's frosty blue, it... it doesn't matter any more. That was my final life.

Don't patronise me! I lost the game on the first world, that means I got a terrible score.

Wait, hang on, I lost the game? That's game over? Holy shit, they gave me three lives and zero continues to finish the entire game with, and those lives are basically just hit points! It's enough to make me want to run back to Spelunky, I didn't realise I had it so good back then.

Here's an interesting thing though: I've got the option to start on any of the first four worlds with a set of nine lives. It won't let me to continue on to the next world afterwards, this is just meant for practice, but somehow I'm not expecting that to be an issue.

So instead of wasting time replaying world one again, I'll give the next three worlds a quick look instead and see how the game evolves. Judging by the map that should take me to around about the halfway point.


Aww, look at this wee little bear. He was hiding safe behind his shield when I shot at him from the left, so I jumped over his head and attacked him from behind instead! Well it seemed like a good plan before I realised that even when I ducked all my shots were going to sail right over his head. I could really use some way to attack enemies beneath me in this.


Aww crap, not again! The worst thing about this instant Coyote death is that it happened to me a minute earlier and I should've known better this time around.

You see, the trees on this level spit out these little monsters occasionally, and I have to quickly jump over as they run past. They don't give a damn whether I'm standing in front of the tree at the time though, so when that happens it's immediate death from a threat I had no chance to ever see coming. C'mon, Mario had this figured out back in the 80s with its piranha plant pipes; they stop popping their heads out when the player's standing on them because getting killed by something you couldn't see coming tend to frustrate people.

Those little blue-haired coyote-eating strawberry bastards. Still it could be worse I guess. I could be attacked by some kind of green bagpipe... spider... thing.

Oh shit!

Hang on, I'm only counting three legs on each side; this thing is just a goofy looking bagpipe insect! Plus he's not playing any music so he's considerably less threatening than an actual set of pipes. I'll deplete his thermal energy then harvest his key component.


Okay, this is where the 'three lives to finish the game' design choice is revealed as being a cruel joke and this practice mode is shown to be essential. Because there no way I'm going to be able to master the timing of my jumps across this row of crocodiles without burning through at least 30 of the things in the process.

I can at least manage to get halfway though, that much I'm sure of. I just need make sure I'm airborne just as the next mouth along begins to close.

A bird flew into me mid-jump! Who throws an enemy into the first timed jumping puzzle in the game? I don't need it to be more 'interesting' thanks, I have a very tiny amount of retries here.

The funny thing is that I did actually manage to freeze the bird... you know, I'm going to stop mentioning that now.


Well that stage didn't work out in the end. Who puts crocodiles in a Scottish moat anyway? It should've been an orderly row of Loch Ness Monsters.

I decided to skip ahead and check out world 3, which turned out to be the slow motion underwater world, where the enemy fish swim around a whole lot faster than I can move. Look this friendly turtle though, he's firing ice pellets when I do just like the pups do!

I'm scared to jump off him though, as I don't have enough space on screen to see what I'm falling onto in this. There's no way to drag the camera down and if I land on an enemy, I'm the one that ends up losing a life. The game really loves finding ways to encourage me to slow down to a crawl.


Here I am in the jungles of world 4, and I've discovered a fantastic new enemy type to whine about! Not the bird this time, nope it's these dart-firing assholes that poke their heads out from the grass just long enough to... well, fire a dart at me.

It wouldn't be so bad except that the darts aren't all that easy to see, even in motion. I mean, can you see the dart on screen right now? It's about a quarter of the way in from the left side of the screen, on the same level as Cool Coyote's nose.

Aw, I was doing quite well until the volcano in the background suddenly exploded and showered me with burning rock. Whoa, I just realised that this world has a proper background instead of just a gradient.


Oh you dumb little pup! While I was busy trying to freeze the enemies in my path, he was shooting the destructible floor out from under me! Cool Coyote falls into the venus flytrap pit and loses a life. Then he respawns in midair and falls into the pit again! And again...

I escaped the pit while I still had a couple of lives left, but I'm going to need a lot more than what I've got to take on this flying wooden contraption at the edge of stage two.

Yep, it just forced me into a corner and then set me on fire over and over. Well that's that then I guess. I'm all out of free levels to play.

Fire and Ice: Featuring Cool Coyote - Christmas with Cool Coyote. Special Limited Edition (Amiga)
Actually there is one extra stage I can look at: Cool Coyote Christmas, which came free on an Amiga Power coverdisk (issue 20 if you care). It looks a whole lot like world one, but it's throwing in a few things I'm not familiar with, like penguins with Christmas cracker crowns on, and pop-out spike traps tagged with an exclamation mark.

The main thing I've noticed though, is the X-MAS RAVE SOUNDTRACK (youtube link). Man I love 90s music sometimes, almost as much as I hate Christmas music.

Fire and Ice Christmas Demo (Amiga)
Well I reached the Yeti boss at the end of the demo level, but he slammed an avalanche down on my final lives' head, so that's the end of that.

There is actually one other port of the game I haven't mentioned yet though: the CD32 version. It's got more colours on screen, a bit more going on in the background and a proper CD soundtrack (not really an improvement in this case though to be honest).

But there's actually one other version aside from that I haven't mentioned yet...

Master System
It seems that Fire and Ice was also planned for release on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear and Master System, but only the Master System version made it all the way to shelves and even then only in Brazil, 3 years after the game's original release.

It's a similar looking game and I'm still shooting ice pellets to freeze enemies, but the level design's different, key pieces are now kept in question mark blocks, they've added way more insta-kill pits, the movement feels kind of awful, and it's definitely its own separate thing.

I appreciate that I don't have to slow down for the pups any more though, and it does seem to be a fairer game somehow, with less bullshit deaths. Still, I can't think of a good reason why anyone would want to play this remix instead of the genuine article.

Master System
Well aside from that I mean.


Fire and Ice is as slick and as pretty as Amiga games of this era come, and it feels like a quality product. It's a definite step above games like Top Banana and Oscar, that's for sure. But it's still a pain in the ass and incredibly harsh as well. Starting with three lives and zero continues means you have to go hunting around the level for bonus 1ups and pups to stand any chance at all, crawling forward just a few tiles at a time to make sure the lil' guy can keep up.

The game saves your high scores, but not your progress. It lets you practice the first four worlds but there's no proper level select. Plus there's no level passwords and I didn't see any way to earn continues. It just really doesn't want to be finished I guess.

But insane challenge level aside, this has a lot of charm to it and I reckon it would appeal to a lot of retro platformer fans. Personally though, I think I'd rather play Magic Pockets again. Or maybe something good.

Next time on Super Adventures, I'll be moving up to games beginning with 'G'; which means that I'm over a quarter of the way finished with this dumb gimmick! Plenty of time left to think up the next one though.

P.S. Leave me a comment if you feel like it.


  1. You should try to play Fire and Ice on CD32, this amiga version is best one in my opinion, it also add some nice backgrounds images and cd tracks.

  2. Check out CD32 soundtrack - 90s sound (sometimes a bit too much).

    1. I did actually mention the CD32 version and its CD soundtrack! I said that I didn't like it as much as the original music, and I still don't. I don't like how the composer reworked the songs to be practically unrecognisable. But... I have to admit that it's grown on me since I wrote this up. Kind of.

      It would've been nice if they'd used a more realistic piano sound for the theme though, seeing as the animator went to all the trouble of getting a coyote to play a grand piano on screen along with the music. It's ruining my immersion!


Semi-Random Game Box