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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Beyond The Ice Palace



Brace yourself for a corker!

I think everyone has played Beyond The Ice Palace at some time in their life and I got mine free with my first Atari ST. Until then, I'd been a Spectrum owner, so I'm sure you can imagine the look on my face when loading this!

Much like Ghosts & Goblins, this is a scrolling platformer that involves three large monster-infested levels. But there is something special about this platformer that Elite got spot-on perfect from the controls to the variety of enemies and the tricky levels. It's always interesting and so playable so why couldn't every platformer by this good?


I knew this game was gonna be great from the start but choose your weapon carefully.

Hey, I think I've found a severed head!! But what could it mean?


Ultimate platforming, play the game!

The first level is a trip through the scary woods and is pretty much your typical environment with lots of peculiar baddies to encounter with a freaky end of level boss. Each level follows the same winning formula with interesting places, lots of monsters and the joystick controls are excellent. The second and third levels are, more or less, the same: a vertically scrolling cavern filled with hideous creatures before eventually reaching a wicked witch.

You're not alone: a good spirit can be summoned to help clear the screen of baddies. There are only so many times you're allowed to do this and a funny face is displayed in the status bar when one is ready to use. So choose your moments wisely when you are most vulnerable - then watch him zig-zag down your screen killing baddies.

Ice Palace isn't complex but can sometimes be tricky due to awkward mechanics. For example, the blue demon, who cunningly appears just as you begin to use the elevating platforms, is frustrating. My advice is to leap off just at the moment he appears. It's easier to kill him this way rather than stranded on those platforms. Just think!


Argh, you've blown it by staying on that life. Now the battle is much harder!

Oh no, here is the end-of-level green worm guardian!


A 16-bit jaw dropper

I've always felt the graphics were quite extraordinary and perfectly demonstrated our superiority over the 8-bit computers. The scrolling is smooth, with neat backgrounds and well-detailed sprites. Heck, even dying is a beautiful moment - I'll never bore of that flicky death effect as my soul ascends into heaven. An amazing effect.

Sound effects are beautiful with a sharp arcade-like quality throughout. However, it is, of course, the music that not only plays alongside the effects but is absolutely stunning. All thanks to the legend David Whittaker.


Level two ramps up the difficulty with weird wolfmen roaming the labyrinth!

Let's leap for joy, for we have collected another severed head!!


The CryptO'pinion?

I've sometimes found that Beyond The Ice Palace has been a much-underrated platformer. This is odd to me as it holds a special place in my retro gaming heart because it was one of the first games I booted up on Christmas morning. Imagine how I felt seeing the graphics and hearing its music - they blew me away.

This is an enjoyable game and so easy to pick up and play thanks to great joystick controls, smooth scrolling and a nice variety in gameplay. Plus, after all these years, it's addictive as I keep on returning to play!! So give the blonde guy in the sexy green boots a chance because I guarantee you will love playing this cracking platformer!!


- DOWNLOADS - 

Midi tune of the awesome game music.
Maps for the ZX Spectrum game, which aren't needed but nice to have.
Next up is a capture of my very own Hi-Score. Can you beat it?

Game downloads are available for hard drive installation or floppies.

2 comments:

  1. Great early ST game. I boot it up on the STE every once in a while. It's in my "Favorite Games to show off" folder [FAV2SHOW] on the Ultra Satan. For the time, it blew away every other 8 bit platformer I had played and certainly blew the NES out of the water.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. It's deff something you load up every now and then for an hour. Really enjoyable and timeless to a degree. Love it :)

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