C64 Review of Ice Guys from Issue 107

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


When most people think of snow, they imagine long days spent outside, making snowballs, ice skating, and generally soaking up the atmosphere of frozen water particles. Unfortunately for the Ice Guys, the only thing they'll be doing all winter long is trying to overcome an alien invasion. And wouldn’t you just know it? You’re the one who’s been summoned to help them out.

Ice Guys is a platform game which lets you use the snow lying on the ground to defeat Earth's would-be invaders. You can grab a handful of the white stuff and transform it into a snowball just by holding down the fire button. Throw it at a nearby enemy however, and your weedy weapon is turned into a giant snowball, capable of causing megadeath.

The game plays a lot like Bubble Bobble (or, for arcade fans who are familiar with it, Toaplan’s Snow Bros). Each level features a single screen filled with layered platforms. The cute-but-deadly aliens roam around these platforms randomly, usually appearing just where you don’t want them. If any of them come into contact with you, you lose a life. The more levels you complete, the tougher the aliens get—which basically means you have to chuck a whole bunch of snowballs at them before they fall.

For extra style points, you can create combo attacks by pushing snowball-covered enemies down the platforms into other enemies. If you perform this trick correctly, you’re rewarded with stars, diamonds and various candy-themed treats.

Collect ten stars and you're whisked away to a bonus mini-game, featuring friendly snowmen who need to be rescued from certain peril. Diamonds, on the other hand, can be spent in conveniently-placed shops—you can buy special items such as snowmen heads, which instantly vaporise all on-screen aliens. Candy, of course, is yummy when you eat it, but terrible for your waistline.

Two people can play the game simultaneously, helping each other clear the screen as quickly as possible, and then fighting to get all the bonuses. But whether you play solo or in a team, always remember—there's no business like snow business.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Iain

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 87%

Check out the most recent ZzapBack comments.
Rate It!
Login or Register at the forums if you want to be able to edit your comments

Your name :

Your comments :

Your rating 1% to 100% :

CraigGrannell - 29 Apr 2004
I was actually quite surprised to see this score so low in Zzap!64 #107, thinking it would Sizzle. Sure, it might get repetitive, and it is a little hard to begin with, but perseverance reaps rewards. The graphics and sound are both appealing, and the gameplay, while simple, enables you to pick up and play at any time.

Rating : 90%
Professor Brian Strain - 3 Apr 2004
The inspiration for this game is obviously the Snow Bros. coin-op, which Ocean were due to convert to the C64 - but it never arrived, so you'll have to be content with this. Brilliantly presented with some nice graphics and a great soundtrack, it does become repetitive. But for all you Bubble Bobble fans you should definitely try it out.

Rating : 85%
Paul Morrison
Ice Guys is immediately eye-catching, with its bold, colourful graphics, jaunty music and appropriate sound effects (i.e. white noise). It's also good to play initially—simple but fun platform action, with lots going on. Unfortunately, after extended play, it becomes apparent that it's the same throughout. It gets repetitive very quickly, with each screen being merely a case of ‘clear the (rather unimaginative) baddies’. The music, which is fun to begin with, also gets repetitive, as does the bonus game, which breaks up the platform action but gets annoying after a while. Having said all this, the game as a whole does play well! There are lots of levels for those who really enjoy it, and the two-player mode can be a laugh... It’s just the lack of variety that kills it in the end.
Cameron Davis
I really, really like Ice Guys. Right from the moment the ultra-slick title screen appears you know that a lot of care has been lavished on this game. The action itself does not let your first impressions down—you get tight controls, fun levels and great graphics. At first the high difficulty level is off-putting to all but the hardest ice-throwers, but once the subtle art of snowball building is mastered, the game becomes addictive. The international setting gives rise to a plethora of attractive backdrops that are matched by the cute and cuddly sprites, making this one of the best looking C64 titles of recent times. The two player mode, bonus games and saveable high score table are just the icing on an already appetising cake.
Mat Allen
This plays very much like Bubble Bobble—in itself a good game for its time—except this is set in snowier climes. The object is to defeat all the bad guys on the screen and progress to the next. Sounds easy, huh? It isn't. The programmers have decided to make things hard from the beginning, and it doesn’t get any simpler from there. The first few games might see you hit Continue before finishing three levels, but once you've learnt the enemy AI and figured out what each weapon does (the in-game info is very helpful) then it becomes easier to progress. The graphics are bright and colourful too, despite being variations on a mainly white theme, whilst the sound is a suitably loud accompaniment. In short, fun to play—and it will definitely keep you coming back for more.
Single- and team-play options, highscore table and in-game help screens. No pause mode, though.

Detailed hi-res backdrops, populated with innovative enemies and a cute main sprite.

Powerful music in the presentation, appealingly subdued tunes during the game.

Starts hard and gets harder.

Persevere and you get a lot of game to play with, including neat bonus stages, snowball fights, and a great two-player mode.

A platformer with plenty to offer—excellent stuff.