Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Activision's Frostbite -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewActivision's Frostbite for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Frostbite
Manufacturer: Activision
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1983
Part #: AX-031
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Activision's Frostbite Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Activision's Frostbite Screenshot:
Activision's Frostbite for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Frostbite is a wonderful example of how a simple game can be challenging, engaging and fun. With hints of Q*bert and Frogger, it's simplicity is refreshingly fun, yet deceptively clever. Naturally, you control the main character, but you also have the ability to change your environment in a way that adds a level of strategy not often seen in "simple" games. Not so simple, is it? :)

It's the little things that make me like this game a lot. For example, rather than having a simple counter forcing you to race against time, add a "degree" symbol and now it acts as the temperature falling to zero - right in line with the icy theme. I melds building the igloo, jumping from ice floe to floe, avoiding enemies to getting safely inside your igloo.

Frostbite Story Arc

Frostbite Bailey is challenged with surviving in the arctic. Shelter is certainly an important facet of arctic survival, so Bailey takes to the ice floes to garner the blocks needed to build an igloo. As he traverses the floes, he'll have to be quick on his feet and avoid enemies that will prey on him on both land and sea.

Frostbite Game Play

You begin this 1 or 2 player game with 4 lives and a desperate need for shelter. Every 5,000 points will earn one more life to maximum of 9. Your Frostbite Bailey hops from floe to floe which earns one block of the igloo you see emerging on shore. The Difficulty Switches are not used since the options are all controlled by the 4 game variants you can select via the Game Select Switch. You have Regular and Advanced skill levels available for 1 or 2 players. If that seems simple, hold on to your snowshoes!

Holy shit! Check this out...
Frostbite is another Activision game for which sending in a qualifying high score was rewarded with a patch. In this case,
you were declaring you an Arctic Architect. Frostbite was released for Microsoft's Game Room service on the Xbox 360 console and PCs in July 2010.

You'll lose a life if the temperature gets to zero, if you're chased by a grizzly polar bear of fall off an ice floe. Each time Bailey jumps on a white ice floe, it turns blue and one block is added to the construction of his igloo.

Once all the floes are blue, they all revert to white and you may continue to rack up points and forge ahead with your igloo's construction - one block at a time. When your igloo is complete a black doorway appears and Frostbite must navigate back and go inside. Be careful on upper levels... a polar bear may make a meal of you as you run to your igloo.

Activision's Arctic Architect patch for Frostbite

As you progress in levels, the floes change from large blocks to smaller blocks making up each floe. in your travels you must avoid Alaskan King Crabs, Snow Geese and killer clams. These foes don't always kill you on contact... often you sit helpless as they slowly push you from the floe into the water. On shore you may encounter the grizzly polar bear. Not everything that scurries by isan enemy. Be on the lookout for fish - your next meal and a point generator.

As if dodging enemies and jumping back and forth to construct an igloo wasn't enough, there's one more facet to Frostbite that really sets it apart. Avoiding enemies and garnering ice blocks is all done via the joystick. What about that fire button? The fire button changes the direction of the ice flows. Wouldn't that have been great in Frogger!

The dynamic of shifting the direction of the ice floes adds a level of strategy you don't often find. While handy, it is not without penalty. Saving your life is good cause, but each shift in direction costs you one ice block on your igloo's construction.

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Activision's Frostbite

looks somewhat unimpressive at first glance, but elements of Q*bert and Frogger come to mind just as you realize that Frostbite has many attributes that set it apart and make for an engaging and fun game. A page in the manual gives you some interesting facts about the Arctic.

Read about our Spaceship video game review rating system

« Return to Retro Video Game Reviews