Not to be confused with a puzzle game of a similar name (Fire 'n Ice) that was released for the Nintendo, Graftgold's Fire and Ice is a competent PC translation of the hit Amiga platform game. The plot, like that for most platform games, isn't very interesting: an evil guy (Suten) wants to take over the Earth, and you have to go and show him who's boss. You in this case are Cool Coyote, a cute anthropomorphic creature who is endowed with special powers by a god. |
As you progress through the game, you will come across a wide variety of monsters which you must dispose of. Nothing unusual there. But what's really nice about Fire and Ice is the method you use to kill your enemies: you will repeatedly fire ice pellets at them until they freeze, and then walk into them to shatter their brittle, frozen form. If you don't shatter them, they thaw out and become more resilient to your ice pellets in the process. And you can't just completely ignore half the baddies, like you can in many platform games, since some of them own a piece of a giant ice key which they release when you shatter them, whereupon it magically levitates above the ground, waiting for you to collect it. A nice feature is that you don't actually need to touch the key bit to collect it -- get near to it and it will start swirling around the screen and into your grasp. Collect all the bits of the ice key and you can unlock a door to leave the level, and since different creatures hold different parts of the key each time you play, you can't just learn which baddies to bother with and which ones to ignore. This adds a lot to the game's replay value.
There are six or so different "worlds" to visit, most consisting of a few levels, and usually at least one secret level per world. Finding these hidden levels adds quite a bit of depth to the game. In fact, the game harbors lots of things to discover -- there are plenty of hidden bonus blocks which give you various power-ups, and sometimes the path you need to follow is hidden, too, and there are many, many hidden level warps to discover. Power-ups abound (more in the secret levels of course), and you also have a special snow-flake weapon which you can use to freeze all the baddies on the screen. To collect these snow-flakes, you can fill clouds with ice until they start snowing. Another fun feature is the occasional coyote puppy that randomly appears out of nowhere. If you guide them to the exit, you get a bonus life.
Despite its imperfections (quirky controls, for one thing) and slightly duller graphics from the Amiga original, Fire and Ice ranks among one of the most fun and replayable platformers ever. It may seem a bit dull at first, but levels get better and better as you persevere. Best of all, the game's random elements make it impossible to "learn" and beat too easily the second time around. Definitely a must have for all platformer fans, especially anyone who wants something that is refreshingly replayable. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs