I have many fond childhood memories of guiding Popo and Nana up the multicolored platform mountains, dodging icicles and polar bears in their sweet designer Speedo underwear. Even though the controls of the game are about as responsive as a dead hooker, I would still throw hours of my life away just to get to the top and play the bonus levels. Collecting eggplants and clubbing small fuzzy things seemed like second nature after a few hours, but if this game were released today, would I still give it the same TLC?
The game allows you to control Popo or Nana (depending on which controller you decide to pick up) through 32 different timed mountains, wielding a wooden hammer forged by Thor himself and guiding your way up various colored platforms to reach the pinnacle of sex and debauchery at the top of the world! Well, not really, but the lack of any storyline sure made that statement that much more interesting.
Neither character has any difference other than color, and it’s just as easy to die with either one if you aren’t careful. Each level consists of about five or six different “floors”, if you will, that you must use your trusty hammer to break through. Once a nice-sized hole is made, Po’ or Nan’ can jump up onto the next floor and repeat. To make your life hell, scantly clad polar bears, birds, baby seals, and other wildlife get in the way of your dreams and can even rebuild the holes that you have made in the floor, hindering your chance at advancing forward. If you have patience, you can use your hammer to smite the baby seals (awwwwww…how cute! *ThWaCk!*) and move on.
Guiding the two lovable yet identical Eskimos to the top of the mountain can sometimes be very difficult. The controls in Ice Climber are very slippery (no pun intended) and you’ll find yourself falling all the way to your death quite often. Enough practice can cure the death disease, but gamers these days don’t seem to have the patience of yesteryear.
The graphics are pretty good, considering the game’s an early release on the NES; but they’re nowhere near the quality of, let’s say, Super Mario Bros. 3. They are much on par with Wrecking Crew, if you want an accurate example.
I think that maybe the most memorable part of Ice Climber is its soundtrack. The intro theme happens to be a ringer on my cell phone, and it’s catchy enough for me to just let the phone ring and never answer it. Well, that, and that I just don’t like talking to people that much. Since it’s just a bunch of different “bloops” and “bleeps” thrown together as a MIDI file, I can’t really go into that much detail, but I do recommend checking it out.
Overall, Ice Climber is a very addictive platform game in which no story is needed to have a good time. If you can get used to the slippery controls and if you don’t mind dying often, you’ll be playing for hours on end with its catchy theme song embedding its way into your gaming brain. I’ve been religiously playing it since I can remember, and with it’s current re-release on the GBA, I can now be an Ice Climber addict outside of my own home!
Besides, who doesn’t want to club baby seals and get away with it?