Ice Climber (NES) review
"I still fail to see why the general gaming population loves so many of these retro re-releases. I was looking through the “NES Classics” series (a.k.a the 'take advantage of our fan’s stupidity' series) and found the dreaded “Ice Climber” on the roster. Ice Climber was a bad game in 1983 so no matter how many times you try to repackage it and pimp it out today, it’s still going to suck. However, after the two Eskimos made their return in Super Smash Bros. Melee with new kick ass attacks and the ..."
I still fail to see why the general gaming population loves so many of these retro re-releases. I was looking through the “NES Classics” series (a.k.a the 'take advantage of our fan’s stupidity' series) and found the dreaded “Ice Climber” on the roster. Ice Climber was a bad game in 1983 so no matter how many times you try to repackage it and pimp it out today, it’s still going to suck. However, after the two Eskimos made their return in Super Smash Bros. Melee with new kick ass attacks and the like, Nintendo probably thought it was a good time to rip off curious new fans with expensive instalments of “the good old days.”
However, even the dumbest of the dumb will not find any joy in the repetitive and awkward action that clusters together to form Ice Climber. Its premise is rather simple, Nana and Popo are searching for food and after seeing a huge dragon/pterodactyl dinosaur thing fly up to the top of a mountain clutching some food in its talons, they decide to climb to the top and get the food for themselves. So, you’re telling people that it’s ok to steal, Nintendo! Next time, you’ll probably say it’s cool to take drugs to boost your stamina. Oh wait….
Anyway, When you start, you can actually pick any one of the thirty-two stages available to play. You don’t have start from Level one and work your way to the top, you can start from anywhere you want to. Of course, this will make anyone exceptionally lazy if you are stuck on a stage. How many of you will think “Eh, to hell with this level! I’ll just restart the game and pick the next one”? It’s not exactly the best way to play through the game but it can be a relief if you're really stuck on a level and can’t be bothered to play it again. Nevertheless, it will develop a certain laziness, which will grow until you can’t do any further levels. You’ll start to slack off and say to yourself “I’ll come back to that level later.” Just stop kidding yourself, right now.
Each stage in Ice Climber has seven floors to break through. Armed with your trusty mallet, you’ll have to jump up and smash the floor above you. When you’ve smashed a small gap in the ceiling, you can jump up and get to the next floor. Well, if you’re lucky, because half of the time the Ice Climber will leap to the edge and pass straight through the damn thing. On a number of occasions, I’ve jumped through a gap and fallen through the floor as if nothing was there. What's even more annoying is that the enemies always come along at awkward moments. Seals will come and repair the gaps in the floor that have created. I mean, you’ve been trying to jump onto this platform and even though you keep overlapping it, you still fall off -- that is annoying. It pisses you off even more when a seal walks along and covers the thing up with some ice, sending you back to square one.
Apart from the seals, birds and bears will also attack you. Birds will be simply swatted away if you jump up at them, but the sunglass-wearing polar bears are little different. If you wait for too long in one place, the bear will come out and stomp on the ground. This will bring the screen up a bit and increase the chance of you falling to your doom. Boy, that’s about as classic as a pouring salt in your paper cut.
As you climb further on, you’ll encounter some more obstacles. Some paths will have a conveyer belt that awkwardly throws you in the opposite direction, usually into the path of a seal. Moving clouds will act as a boost to higher ground but they move so damn fast that you barely have time to jump on and off. If you do leap off, the crappy collision detection will probably knock you back down to the last floor. I wouldn’t recommend dying either, because Ice Climber always seems to pick the worst re-spawning locations, usually right near a pit or in the same place as a walking seal. When you have three lives for the whole game and you lose two of them in under a second, it's not exactly going to be plain sailing for the rest of the adventure. Unless you’re a LAZY BUM and pull off the level skipping cheat.
Reach the top of each mountain, and you’ll enter the bonus stage, which requires you to collect a handful of fruit. However, not only does it mix all of the gameplay flaws into one annoying level, it adds on extra pressure by timing you. The aim is to collect all of the fruit stored up in the mountain and reach the top before the time expires. If you fail, you’ll continue to the next level with no harm so that’s no problem. Unfortunately, the thought of playing through more levels full of the same stuff is enough to not only make you switch off your console, but throw the damn thing out of a window.
Ice Climber has way too many problems to be an enjoyable experience. The repetitive levels and the awkward obstacles are more than enough to make you cringe slightly, but the dire controls and hit detection will push you away in disgust. In fact, the only redeeming feature in the entire game is the brilliant title screen/bonus stage tune. Apart from that, the game slips up in every other aspect and is a tedious chore to play through. It’s a shame that Nintendo are still robbing their fans blind with the reproduction of this “classic” on the GBA but if you were a sucker and bought it, thinking that the duo’s appearance on SSBM was enough to convince you they must have been be true Nintendo legends, then all I can do is point and laugh.
Featured community review by goldenvortex (July 13, 2005)
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