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Frostbite - The Atari Times


Build an igloo before you get "Frostbite"
by Brian C. Rittmeyer

September 28, 2001
Boy, sure is cold outside. Sure would be nice to curl up inside a nice igloo. Well, quit your belly-aching and build it!

That's the objective of Frostbite by Activision, a fun little game for the Atari 2600. Slightly reminiscent of Q*Bert, the goal of the game is to build an igloo for yourself piece by piece by jumping on sheets of ice floating in a river. But you have to do this before the temperature, taking the place of a timer, hits zero and you freeze. You also have to avoid birds, crabs and other nasties in the river that would grab you and knock you off the ice - apparently you can't swim, for if this happens, you drown. (Hey, who said early video games weren't violent?!??!!)

The game levels alternate between four rows of large sheets of ice and little pieces. The levels with little pieces are actually easier since you can walk left or right over them without falling in the water - the bigger ones have gaps between them. You start off on shore with nothing - jumping on a piece of ice causes it's row to change to blue, ala Q*Bert. Each time you jump on a piece of ice in a row and change its color, you get a block in your igloo back on the shore - you don't get anything for jumping on blue ice. You can change the direction the ice is flowing by pressing the fire button, but it costs you a piece of your igloo. After you've jumped on a piece of ice in each row, they all turn back to white and you can jump on them again, which you'll need to do 15 times to complete your igloo. The last piece puts a door in the igloo, and then you have to get back to shore and get inside before time runs out.

If the time limit and the obstacles in the river aren't enough to make the game challenging, don't fear - or rather, do fear, for after a few levels a hungry bear appears on shore, and he's got his eye on you! Now you can't just go jumping back to shore any time you like and getting in the igloo isn't as easy. Time is of the essence, not only so you don't freeze but because the remaining degrees add up your bonus points, but with the bear around, you need to plot your moves more carefully. About the only thing you see that you don't need to worry about are the fish - didn't you know, fish is good for your health!

The graphics in the game are simple but adequate. Your character is smart enough to wear some warm headgear. He looks human, but just barely so - different colors for his hat, head, body and feet - with the feet not looking quite like feet, and just a line drawn in for an arm. Although during the game you get just a side view of your character, he turns to face you when he drowns, and his arms - both of them now - wave frantically as he goes down - maybe he can swim but it's the weight of all that winter clothing that spells doom. There is no music, only sound effects - the sound of your character jumping on the ice pieces, a sound for when you drown, a sound for the bear running you off screen (apparently he doesn't eat you, maybe it's not so violent after all) and the ringing up of points.

The description of the graphics and sound may not make this sound like a fun game, but it definitely is, and counts among the many interesting game ideas brought to the 2600 by Activision.


(c) Activision

Activisions version of Q*Bert
Do you really want to go out there?
"Ack! Nasty birds!"
"Ah! Those birds can freeze for all I care. I'll be toasty warm in my igloo. For a few seconds anyway."
System: 2600
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 80%
Sound & Music Score: 70%
Gameplay Score: 90%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 85%

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