Sunday, March 12, 2017

Beyond The Ice Palace


I think just everyone has played Beyond The Ice Palace at some time in their life and I got mine free with my first Atari ST. Much like Ghosts & Goblins, it's a scrolling platformer that involves travelling three rather large monster-infested levels to rid the world of evil. That can only mean exploring cool 16-Bit lands to kill lots of monsters - which includes battling those weird demons that seem to pop-up at the most inconvenient moments!

The first level is a trip through the scary woods and is pretty much your typical horizontally scrolling platformer with lots of peculiar baddies and an end of level boss to kill. The second and third levels are, more or less, the same vertically scrolling caverns before eventually reaching a lame witch, who is far too easy to kill. Thankfully, you're not alone and a good spirit can be summoned to help clear the screen of baddies when you're feeling most vulnerable. However, he's pretty useless and can miss monsters as he zig-zags down the screen.

Ice Palace isn't complex but it can be tricky due to some awkward mechanics. The blue demon, who cunningly appears just as you begin to use the elevating platforms, is very frustrating. My advice is to leap off just at the moment they begin moving and let him chase you! Also, a large slice of the screen is for the status panel thus taking up valuable play area which can often mean accidentally bumping into baddies when climbing ladders. To compensate all this, nine lives are allotted and you should cherish every one of them...

   

I've always felt the graphics were quite extraordinary and captured the atmosphere very well. Sure, I imagine most today would gasp their last breath reading that line, but there is a certain charm to this old platformer which I really love. Smooth scrolling, nice backgrounds with colourful and detailed sprites that I can't help but love. The death effect as your soul floats upwards is quite amazing. Sound effects are beautiful with a sharp arcade-like quality but it is the music which shines bright, thanks to legend David Whittaker. It's utterly gorgeous and one of my favourites!

Beyond The Ice Palace is a much-underrated platformer which holds a special place in my retro gamer's heart. Sure, it's no Ghouls 'N Ghosts but it's enjoyable and easy to pick up and play and something I keep on returning to. Give the blonde guy in the green boots a chance because I guarantee you will love playing this cracking platformer!

LINKS

 - A Midi tune of the awesome music and here is a piccy of my Hi-Score. Can you beat this?
 - 8BitChip has adapted this game to run on hard drives and Old Games Finder has the floppies.
 - Here are the maps are for the ZX Spectrum game which aren't needed but nice to view!

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