Review by dtm666

"Why is this considered a "classic" anything?"

If I can offer one piece of advice to Nintendo - free of charge, I might add - it would be this: bury Ice Climber deep within the soil of your forgotten cemetery where all your other past mistakes presently reside. Nobody needs to suffer the horrendous experience of seeing two Eskimo-like characters breaking bricks, smashing seals... er, I mean "abominable snowmen" with their mallets, climbing up a mountain with poor jumping ability, and trying to reach the big giant bird on top of the mountain, only to miss and fall to their deaths below. Just because you've cast said Eskimos into your Smash Bros. games doesn't mean the game they originated in was in any way, shape or form, a good game, much less a classic in the same vein as Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, or even Metroid.

Which makes it all the more perplexing that Ice Climber is a chosen title for Nintendo's Classic NES Series of GBA re-issues.

The object of Ice Climber - as if it wasn't already obvious - is to guide your Eskimo-garbed hero up the mountain, breaking through layers of ice bricks and fending off against various enemies such as seals/snowmen and flying birds. You'll have to navigate slippery slopes, moving platforms, and a number of other dangers. Once you've reached a certain height, the bonus game begins; this is where you collect all the fruit in the round, make your way to the very peak of the mountain, and attempt to grab the pterodactyl that just happens to be passing by. Succeed and you get a bonus; fail and you get to watch your player cry... it's actually quite humorous and one of the game's more humorous moments.

For the purist out there, you'll be happy to know that the GBA re-issue of Ice Climber retains the same sound and graphical quality present in the original NES version. Of course, that means you'll have to listen to the bland melody during gameplay and the somewhat-catchy-but-really-unmemorable title theme during the bonus rounds. Graphically speaking, the game doesn't look too bad considering the squashed nature that most of these games assume when ported over (to fit the GBA screen, which has a lower resolution than the NES screen did), but even back in the day, the graphics in Ice Climber weren't really eye-popping and didn't really stand out from the crowd.

As for the gameplay itself, it's definitely playable, but barely functional. While the gameplay seems simple enough, the controls are a bit of an issue, as your little Eskimo-looking player has trouble landing on platforms. You have to plan your jumps just right so that you land well within the bounds of a higher platform. If you're just aiming for the edge, you'll either hit the very ceiling and tumble down... OR you'll pass through the platform and fall anyway. It is a really frustrating flaw that should have been fixed, but never was.

Oh, by the way, a level is too tough for you, you could always reset and pick out another level on the title screen. This is no joke and this feature has been retained in the GBA port. Thus, there is really no point in trying to clear levels because you have an easily accessible stage select feature. Way to kill whatever replay value you had left over, Nintendo. Good stuff.

In conclusion, Ice Climber was a non-factor for many years until its cast of heroes were featured in the Smash Bros. series of games. Unless you've had fond memories of the game back in the day (in which case, I apologize for killing your childhood) or are a collector of the series in general, this is one game in the Classic NES Series that you should avoid. There's nothing remotely redeeming about it.

Graphics: 6/10 (squishyness aside, true to the NES version - not really saying much)
Sound: 5/10 (one catchy tune + one bland tune + generic NES sounds = "meh")
Gameplay: 3/10 (bad jumping controls and landing mechanics - very boring gameplay)
Challenge: 3/10 (automatic stage select of any of the stages - seems balanced enough)
Replay Value: 2/10 (nothing here to keep anyone's interest)


Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 02/02/10

Game Release: Classic NES Series: Ice Climber (US, 06/02/04)

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