Game: "Ice Climber"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action
Published by: Acclaim

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 12/7/2008

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Dec 8th, 2008, 06:07 AM
I have this on my e-Reader for the Gameboy Advance. I still play it on occasion.
That damn kid
Dec 8th, 2008, 07:02 AM
I like to play it with romantic music in the backround. Then I go back to writing fanfiction after fanfiction about nana's affair with the polar bear.

In all seriousness though I do play this with romantic music playing, it feels so right.
Last of the Time Lords
Dec 8th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Loved this one. This and Kid Icarus were my favorites. Aparently I have a thing for endlessly going upward.
What Video Games?
Dec 8th, 2008, 11:57 AM
This is the funniest review of ANYTHING I've read in months. Thanks -RoG-!
Dec 8th, 2008, 11:55 PM
Some answers to your quesitons -RoG- :

The different levels were supposed to have mountains with different colors but the blocks of ice themselves were supposed to remain blue. This is supposed to reflect real life (in insaine nintendo real life anyway) as mountains at lower elevation tend to be brown, mid sized mountains tend to be green and tall mountains are usually covered by snow. The end product was a result of the nes's pallette limitations and/or a programming error. You be the judge as to which.

The polar bear is wearing a speedo and swimming goggles. He's a member of the polar bear club! GET IT! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Damn those nintendo programmers were funny!

I heard a rumor back in the day that orignally the condor was supposed to have stolen babies instead of fruit. Of course nothing bad happens to babies in nintendo land.. well except for the yoshi's island games... anyway, it was censored down to vegtables. It might be completely untrue, but considering the myth that large birds steal children and climbing a mile high mountain to get some fruit is silly, there might be some truth to it.
Dec 9th, 2008, 04:52 AM
The seals were way more awesome than Topi.
Dec 9th, 2008, 07:20 AM
This game looks somehow like Joust... And yes, the birds are the deadliest enemies of NES.
Wandering knight
Dec 10th, 2008, 08:00 PM
Stage 16 was too hard, I never got to finish the game as a kid.
Forum Virgin
Dec 13th, 2008, 07:33 PM
The jumping controls for Ice Climber aren't very sensitive. It's a pain in the ass when you have to get to the higher part of the mountain but you have no running room. That said, they need to make a new version of this, if for no other reason than to provide a new kind of Ice Climber stage in the next Smash Bros.
The Ugly Puckling
Dec 13th, 2008, 07:48 PM
They should remake this as Sarah Palin's Alaska Adventure, where you have to get high priced clothing items that a Russian Condor has stolen back so you can return them after your failed vice presidential bid.
Dec 14th, 2008, 10:41 PM
I remember being disappointed as a kid when I found out that you didn't play as that cool looking Polar Bear.