Fire & Ice is a cute but difficult “jump ‘n run” game starring Cool Coyote on his way from the icy polar regions to the fiery hot deserts to save the planet. The theme of Fire & Ice is Cool Coyote’s quest through eight worlds in pursuit of the evil wizard Suten. Being a native of the arctic wastes, Cool Coyote’s main weapon is ice pellets which will freeze his enemies so that he can shatter them by jumping on them or running through them. All other contacts with the enemy or the various traps are absolutely lethal and deduct one of the preciously few lives. Cool Coyote’s arsenal is replenished by the devastating snow bombs as well as various collectible bonus weapons which are hidden in initially invisible ice blocks. Hitting an ice block for the first time makes it visible, while subsequent hits scatter the bonus weapons contained within. After some hits, the block caves in and disappears. In the game, the ice blocks do not serve only as extended armories, but also as stepping stones to hidden treasures or warp gates. In some regions, Cool Coyote can also enlist the aid of Coyote puppies which will follow him around and support his fire. By guiding these puppies to the respective level exits, Cool Coyote can also gain valuable extra lives.
By far the most powerful weapon in the game is the snow bomb. Cool Coyote can carry up to seven of those at any given time. They are generated by seeding clouds with ice pellets so that they start to emit snow bomb crystals, which can then be collected. However, the clouds to not take kindly to this treatment and start to build up energy, which is subsequently released in a thunderstorm. The lightning generated is fatal to both Cool Coyote and his puppies. Each world of Fire & Ice is subdivided into five lands. To complete a land, Cool Coyote has to collect six pieces of a key that will open the exit gate. Usually, the pieces of the key are recovered by shattering the various enemies. Alternatively, there are hidden warp gates that will transport him to other lands and possibly hidden bonus zones. While it is possible to reach all lands of a world in one round, this is by no means necessary to complete a world. The final score will also give you a rating of how much of the worlds of Fire & Ice you have visited. The ten best scores and the player’s initials are stored in the CD32’s non-volatile memory. The game starts off in Cool Coyote’s home grounds somewhere in the arctic. By dodging snowball-throwing peskimos, dumb penguins and dive-bombing doves, he progresses to a mighty castle which just might be situated somewhere in Scotland. The next world sees Cool Coyote under water somewhere in the South Sea, and after that come the deadly rain forests. Beyond that, there’s bound to be more. It’s just that in the fourth world, Fire & Ice gets just too difficult for the average player like me.
The game controls are just like you’d expect them to be in this kind of game: they’re pretty sensitive, so that you’ll need quite a bit of manual dexterity to get your Coyote where you want him to be. Having a good joystick or joypad helps a lot. The CD32 joypad seems to me just a bit too insensitive for this kind of precision work. On the other hand, Fire & Ice can be set up to use three of the four buttons of the pad, so it isn’t too bad, either. In this mode, the red and yellow buttons serve as fire buttons for the normal and extra weapons, while the blue button serves as a jump button. The in-game graphics are very good, and the animations of Cool Coyote and his adversaries are just great. Both foreground and background scroll smoothly, so there’s no annoying flicker or anything. During the game, there are nice background soundtracks for each of the worlds. Depending on your taste, they can be played directly from CD or as a module from chip memory. Fire & Ice is pretty smart when playing CD sound, so that the loops in the tracks are virtually unnoticeable. The game is very playable, and the presentation is just fine. While
Fire & Ice does not use all of the features that might be possible with a CD-ROM, it succeeds just fine at being another great game for a great system.