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.
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: http://youtu.be/Pn7DMwPHXLk.
Personally I'm amazed anyone bought the game at all, with that grinning face glaring out at them from the box cover.
STAGE 1-1: PACK THEM BAGS.
Oh, well Wikipedia assures me that they actually do. So, uh, I'll guess I'll keep playing then.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
STAGE 1-2: GREEN RUN.
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.
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.
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.
STAGE 1-3: GLACIER CAVERN.
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.
STAGE 1-4: BLACK RUN.
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.
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.
STAGE 2-1: WHIT A BRAW DAY.
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.
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.
STAGE 2-2: THE MOAT.
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.
The funny thing is that I did actually manage to freeze the bird... you know, I'm going to stop mentioning that now.
STAGE 3-1: DEEP BREATH.
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.
STAGE 4-1: RAIN FOREST RAMPAGE.
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.
STAGE 4-2: THE MECHANICAL WONDER.
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)|
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)|
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...
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.
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.