Don’t you hate it when you’re stuck in the Arctic and need to build an igloo ASAP? Frostbite Bailey does. It’s your job to help him construct an ice dome to keep warm for the night. The only question is: “How many nights can you keep him alive?”
The goal of Frostbite is to collect ice blocks for your igloo by hopping on the white ice floats. Once you’ve collected enough ice blocks, you can enter the fresh igloo. This must all be done while dodging geese, crabs, and clams that push you off your little ice platform into the deathly cold water beneath you. Within later levels a determined grizzly bear is guarding your igloo, making sure you won’t make it inside to enjoy some hot cocoa with the little marshmallows. Did I mention that taking your time is a bad idea? It sure is, because your body temperature lowers a degree every second, and once it hits zero, you are done for.
As with most Atari games, Frostbite offers simple control. Frostbite is a lot more responsive than some other games on the 2600 that make use of the Atari joystick. Besides using the joystick for your directional functions, you can use the bright red button to change the movement of the ice floe you are currently on from left to right and vice versa.
Although laughable compared to today’s visuals, Frostbite has a nicely detailed set of sprites and some vibrant colors. Frostbite Bailey is pretty detailed compared to other characters of the time and puts more notable characters like Pitfall Harry and Jumpman (that’s Mario when he started out in Donkey Kong) to shame. One thing that caught my attention is the coloring of the horizon; it really stands out compared to the polar blues and whites.
Frostbite offers up some decent sound amongst the few sound bites available. They’re nothing to expect much out of, but they do work well for the game. Everything from the jump “bleep” to the death sound all fit well.
Frostbite is one of those easily overlooked titles for those who haven’t played it, but I encourage everyone to learn the Eskimo way and build yourself an igloo. Make sure it’s done within the safety of your home, and that Frostbite Bailey is by your side.