Game: "Ice Climber"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Acclaim
Review: Long before they were bashing Link, Bowser and others in Super Smash Bros., the Ice Climbers, Popo and Nana, were jumping their way through a variety of arctic mountain levels on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The object of the game was pretty simple: make your way to the top of the mountain while avoiding being killed by the numerous obstacles on each level.
I'm not quite sure what kind of arctic mountains are made of rainbow-colored ice formations; perhaps it's just the game designer's way of showing what happens when you go into hypothermic shock? We may never know. What we do know is that these mountains aren't just filled with colorful ice blocks. They're also inhabited by some creatures who will try to thwart your progress to the summit.
Depending on which version of the game you play, one of the primary annoyances you'll encounter are Seals or Topi, the later of which resembles a scrunched yeti with a beak. As you break your way through the ice to reach the next platform above, these two creatures will sometimes come out and repair the damage you have caused. So how do you deal with them? Like any Eskimo worth his or her salt, you club the crap out of 'em. And let me tell you: clubbing helpless seals has never looked so adorable. Hell, I want to go out and club a few just thinking about the game!
In addition to those creatures, you have some annoying birds, or "Nitpickers" as they're called in the game, who will run into you whenever they have the chance. There's also a big, fat-assed polar bear who wears boxer briefs and sunglasses for some inexplicable reason. He appears when you take too long to jump up to the next platform and uses his tremendous weight to stomp the entire screen down one level. Again, the best way to deal with both of these creatures is to introduce them to your trusty wooden mallet.
Once you make your way past the initial eight platforms, you'll begin the bonus round which is a timed race to the peak of the mountain where you have to jump on moving platforms and hitch a ride on a condor to get all of the bonus points and retrieve your precious vegetables that it stole from you. Yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot o' sense to me either, but there you have it. What kind of asshole condor steals your cucumbers and eggplants anyway? When I was a kid I could've sworn it was a pterodactyl that you grab onto when you reached the top of the mountain instead of a condor. I'm not trying to say that this makes any more sense though... just thought I'd share that little nostalgic nugget of mine. If you ask me, pterodactyl thieves are what nightmares are made of.
Now anybody who's played the 2-player co-op mode of the game will tell you that it's more of a race to see who can screw over their so-called teammate first. Oh sure, you're both dressed as happy little Eskimos, but the cold (brrr) harsh reality is that it's every man for himself. Are you really going to wait for your friend who's taking forever to successfully land that jump that only took you one try to make? No way. You're just gonna continue to make your way up the mountain and leave that poor bastard to fend for himself/herself.
And therein lies the beautiful simplicity of Ice Climber. It's just you, your parka and a wooden mallet versus the world. In other words, it's exactly like real life.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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