Beyond the Ice Palace

by Paradise Software [2]: David Shea, Nigel Brownjohn, Ian Upton, David Whittaker
Elite Systems Ltd
Crash Issue 53, June 1988   (1988-05-26)   page(s) 84,85

Beyond the Ice Palace there lies a mystical land caught up in a bitter battle between good and evil. Dark spirits are setting alight the forests, destroying the homes and livelihood of simple woodcutters. In desperation the ancient and wise spirits of the woods shoot a sacred arrow into the air. Whoever finds it is bound to destroy the powers of darkness or die in the attempt...

Running and jumping along a horizontally scrolling landscape of rocky caverns, moving platforms and precarious ladders, the chosen warrior attempts to penetrate the darker regions of his troubled land. Occasionally organic boulders block his path while walls raise themselves mysteriously behind him. Grotesquely shaped creatures emerge from the shadows: ghoulish monsters, gigantic caterpillars, zombies and butterflies bearing a deadly sting. Burly ogres hurl axesand fluttering insects belch out firebolts. Contact with any of these results in the immediate loss of one of nine lives.

Weapons, varying in strength and ranging from knife to firebolt, can be collected on the way. They have individual effects on different aliens, some of which need to be shot several times. A ducking action gives the player extra mobility when dealing with particularly persistent enemies.

Two Spirits of the Forest accompany the warrior on his journey. When activated via the keyboard they sacrifice themselves in order to reduce the power of the enemies currently on screen; some are weakened while others are completely destroyed. Extra spirits and bonus icons, which boost points, are scattered around the hostile land.

A status display shows number of fives remaining, current score and number of spirits left. Should the hero succeed, the land to the north is saved; should he fail, there will be nothing but death, fire and destruction in the mystical kingdom beyond the legendary palace of ice.

Joysticks: Cursor. Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: a clever mix of detailed characters and colour backgrounds
Sound: lolly title tune with many varied and inventive effects
Options: definable keys

'Beyond The Ice Palace is yet another great game from Elite. It has the basic makings of a shoot-'em-up but the arcade adventure aspects make it much more interesting than your average blaster. All the characters in the game are excellently drawn and animated, and colour is also used well. There are some decent sound effects and a tune at the beginning (even on the 48K version!). Some of the baddies can get really frustrating, especially when they just refuse to die on the sixth shot! All you can do is keep firing and dodging them until they give up. The option to call a spirit comes in useful and saves on the old finger work in sticky situations. Beyond The Ice Palace has plenty of content so you won't get fed up easily. Well worth the money.'
NICK ... 81%

'It just goes to prove that you don't need to lash out thousands of pounds getting a cool 'n' trendy arcade licence to produce a cool 'n' trendy arcade-like game. Beyond The Ice Palace is undoubtedly the best game to come from Elite for quite a while - much more fun than the likes of Buggy Boy and Ikari Warriors. The game could easily have been called Ghosts 'n' Goblins II as it's just like the arcade game, but on a larger scale. The baddies contain a whole range of rough 'n' tough characters - each requiring a different killing technique - making it very addictive. But where Beyond The Ice Palace scores over other games of this large genre is in its clever use of colour. There's just enough to create varied scenery but not an overuse creating scrolling problems. I suggest you carefully consider purchasing it - an old genre, well done.'
PAUL ... 85%

'Considering it's so far north, the land beyond the Ice Palace is surprisingly colourful. Vibrant reds contrast boldly with the green skin colouring of most aliens creating a spooky, supernatural atmosphere to which even the inevitable moments of colour clash contribute. The main sprite is precisely drawn and well animated; even his flowing hair bobs up and down as he runs. In terms of gameplay the legendary land of 'goblins and ghosts' is rather like a sophisticated version of Ghosts 'n' Goblins. The number of weapons, the complexity of the landscape (which can usually be negotiated in several ways) and the variety of different enemies have been carefully designed to keep you on the edge of your seat. The sound, which is confined to one or two squirty effects, could have been improved and collision detection can be slightly inaccurate. Apart from that Beyond The Ice Palace makes for a slick, playable and extremely compelling fantasy arcade adventure.'
KATI ... 82%

Presentation: 80%
Graphics: 87%
Playability: 80%
Addictive Qualities: 83%
Overall: 83%

Summary: General Rating: Ghosts 'n' Goblins on a larger scale. Challenging and addictive, at a reasonable price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 31, July 1988   page(s) 40

Beyond The Ice Palace lies a mystical land where strange creatures dwell. 'Tis is a land of fantasy, of magic, of goblins and ghosts, of good, evil and long forgotten tiny pieces of blue-tac.

That's the basic inlay blurb (erm, except the bit about the blue-tac), and it seems that idea is to journey into these lands and restore the balance by ridding them of evil. Crikey. Yes, I know the storyline is a bit staid, but luckily the game isn't. It's a corker by cracky.

What we have, to put it in a pigeon-hole, is a platforms and ladders game. A big one, with large sprites and four way scrolling. You (a wing-helmeted Viking type), begin on top of a large cavern next to a vertical tunnel shaft. At your feet are three weapons; two different knives and a sort of 'mini second-world war sea mine with spikes on.' They all work in different ways, but you can take one, so decide on which, pick it up (by standing on it), and jump down the shaft. The quest has begun and there's no going back - unless you press the break key.

Running through the cavern you'll encounter and have to kill Ogres (easy), flying bats (annoying) and, occasionally, giant moth-things (very tricky). The cavern soon opens up into trusty ladders and platforms format in which you'll still be plagued by the bats and also (oh no), more of the giant moth things. There are, as you might have guessed, things to collect - orbs (which give you points), different weapons, and (very occasionally) little head-shaped icons. These are 'the spirits of the woods,' and jolly useful they can be too!! If things are getting decidely squiffy, just press a pre-defined key and ber-zoing, down the screen drifts a spirit, killing or injuring any 'nasties' it touches before disappearing at bottom.

Anyway, next you move on to a gigantic verticly scrolling elevator shaft. getting to the top of this is no mean feat, but there's worse to come - the mega-nasty, a SpaceHarrier-ish dragon snaking around in a most unpleasant and deadly fashion. "Quick, release a spirit. Oh no, I've used them all, and I've only got one life left. Aaaaarrgghh!!" You can have triffic fights with the dragon, as the lift shaft part of the program hasn't been 'switched off.' "Run away, jump, down, down, down, up, leap, down, down, yaaaargh it's following, dodge, dodge, leap, up, fire fire fire, bleeeaarrgh - dead again!"

If you do ever manage to kill the dragon, a ladder descends from level two. More platforms, more ladders and more deadly and different nasties. Cripes.

Now, one of my pet hates is games lacking in substance being 'boosted' by making progress so hard that you find yourself continually re-starting only to be killed again in roughly the same place. Beyond The Ice Palace doesn't lack substance, but I did find the difficulty level pitched too high. There's a sort of progress - the further you get, the harder it is to improve. Even with ten lives, I never got much further than the middle of level two. Addictive frustration eventually gave way to annoyed frustration. That's my only complaint - I enjoyed the game tremendously while I was actually improving my scores. Still, maybe I'm just inept. We'll have to wait and see.

Time for a quick glossary.

The graphics are big, bold and quite nicely animated. There's a fair amount of colour with hardly any attribute clash. Oh, and the scrolling's fine. On the sound front, things are good on the 48K and great on 128K (super sound-effects and two tunes by David 'Amaurote' Whittaker). The playability's great except for the excess difficulty probs i mentioned, and there's a good front end with continually accessible joystick/keyboard options for those with dodgy interfaces (oo-er) and fickle keyboard tastes.

All in all a rather super little game. Oh, for a POKE (double oo-er).

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: A chunky scrolling platforms and ladders game. Great fun to play, but becomes 'blinkin' diffuclt too soon.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 53, May 1990   page(s) 42

Here's a chasy little runabout that Elite first released 18 months or so ago to great approval (Dun gave it 8/10 back in July '88). It's a big-spirited arcade adventure, with the emphasis on 'arcade', as it's fearsomely hard. "Beyond the ice palace and to the north." it says here, " legend tells of a mystical land where strange creatures dwell. " Well, it would, wouldn't it? "It is a land of fantasy and magic, of goblins and ghosts, of good and evil, of long-forgotten tiny pieces of Blu-tac." So Dune found anyway, and it is indeed a ripsnorter of a game, set in underground caverns where every yard you manage to cover is an achievement. There are flying bats to kill (easy), axe-throwing ogres (less easy) and occasionally giant moths (unbelievably tricky). If you can get past this section, the cave opens up into a giant platform-and-ladders format, which is where the fun really starts. Anyone who likes a really challenging bit of action will lap this up. Oh, and look out for the little head-shaped icons - they're the spirits of the woods, and jolly useful they are too.

Overall: 79%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 75, June 1988   page(s) 66,67

Why is it that girlie heroines have suddenly become popular? Could it be that the success of games like Barbarian, Vixen, Athena and Game Over has given everyone the idea that acres of female flesh on the artwork a helps a game to sell? Beats me. Still, Beyond the Ice Palace is good enough to succeed even if the hero was a fat, spotty male dwarf.

Far to the north, goes the blurb, lies a land of mystery and enchantment, a land of magic, of goblins and dragons, where the forces of of good and evil struggle endlessly for supremacy. They must mean Walsall, home of Elite, though I've never of it as a stronghold of magical adventure.

Due to some shift in the cosmic balance - mortgage rates going up, or something - the forces of evil have bonkers, burning the magic forests and forcing the peaceful woodcutters to flee. The spirits of the forest have put their heads together and come up with a magic arrow which has the ability to summon a guardian spirit. They shoot the arrow into the air, and guess who finds it - yes, muggins, it's you.

Set in the endless caverns of pixie evil, Beyond the Ice Palace revolves around the shapely heroine (as far as a 16x32 pixel sprite can be shapely) seeking out the globes of power which will overcome the forces of nastiness ... you get the idea. You can leap, duck, climb ladders, and fire three types of weapon. The knife has a long range, but isn't very powerful and only travels along the ground. The sword is similar but more powerful, while the mace whirls through the air (so it's better for knocking off airborne ghoulies). You can pick up your choice of weapon at the start before plunging into the caverns, and you'll find extra weapons along the way.

Although you start with nine lives, you'll soon lose a few as you're attacked by brain-eating bats, axe-throwing ratmen, vampire moths and scuttling trolls. If you get in a really sticky corner, you can call up your secret weapon, the guardian spirit. This dopey-looking moon-faced weeble shoots around the screen, wiping it clean of your enemies. You start off with two spirits, and can pick up extra ones along the way, in order to keep you spirits up (joke!!!).

The animation is pretty nice, although when some of the flying monsters move across the backgrounds there's a fair amount of colour clash (Ugh). Sound? It's OK. Gameplay? Fair enough. Lots of blasting through mounds of rubble, leaning across moving platforms, climbing ladders, and shooty shooty shooty at the nasties. Music? The usual impeccable David Whittaker performance. Not a classic in any sense, but certainly good enough to occupy you until the NBT (Next Big Thing) comes along.

Label: Elite
Author: Paradise Software
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Overall: 7/10

Summary: Enjoyable though unoriginal arcade adventure romp.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 98, April 1990   page(s) 47

I've seen some poor games in my time, but Ice Palace must surely take the crusty cup. Although the plot has been used so many times it's due for its 600,000 mile service, and the graphics have been surpassed a hundred times already, these aren't the major problems with the game.

It's simply a dull as dull can be. Imagine Myth - all scrolling and mysterious with lots of places to explore and tasks to solve and then take all the good stuff out and you've got Ice Palace.

Your poorly animated alter-ego flickers across impossibly dull screens in search of the a key which will restore the balance between good and evil (Zzz).

Attacked from all directions by flying green sweet wrappers (alright, demonic fiends if you like) and obstructed by menacing and exciting PILES OF ROCKS which you must SHOOT.... REPEATEDLY!

There are also huge trolls which drain your energy. In fact, the whole game is a big drain on your energy, sapping your enthusiasm glands and filling you with utter apathy.

When Ice Palace first came out at full price, a couple of years ago it was generally thought of as a reasonable run/jump/explore larf but now, in the light of Myth and similar exploratory outings it really looks as sick as a dog.

Label: Encore
Author: In house
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphics: 40%
Sound: 50%
Playability: 30%
Lastability: 30%
Overall: 35%

Summary: Dullsville Arizona, Snooze City. Not Even the Mail on Sunday could wake you after playing this.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 81, July 1988   page(s) 47

MACHINES: Spectrum/Amstrad/CBM 64/Atari ST
PRICE: £7.99 (Spectrum/£9.99) £14.99 Amstrad (cass and disk)
VERSIONS TESTED: Spectrum/Amstrad

Take a healthy helping of Ghost 'n' Goblins, add the essence of Rastan Saga and Thundercats, stir vigorously, add a dollop of programming talent and simmer for a few months before serving frozen. The result - Beyond The Ice Palace.

Is this a royal dish to set before the public? Is it mouth-wateringly tempting, juice-loosing and saliva-stimulating? Will it leave you asking: "More, please."

Well, first impressions are that this is a tough old dish, fiendishly tough on the Amstrad, less so on the Spectrum.

And Elite have catered for this by giving you nine lives.

The plot is pure clap-trap, all about goblins and ghosts, and evil creatures. The evil forces have been burning down the forests, destroying homes and generally making life very miserable for all concerned.

A single person has been chosen to put everything back in order, banish evil and make sure everything is hunky-dory.

So it's off to explore the Roston Sagaish screens, slay the Ghost 'n' Goblins type creatures. And you control the heroine or hero - !think it's heroine but you never can be really sure these days - with the long, flowing blonde hair, cut in the very best Thundercats style.

There are weapons to choose from all the route, stones and gems to collect. If things are getting tough you can twice summon the Spirit of the Woods to wipe out the screen baddies.

The weapons you can pick from are knives, sword and something which appears not to have a name but is very effective.

You start off by leaping down a hole, facing left. And here's where your problems start. When you hit the bottom you're attacked from the right. It's very difficult to turn round in time to fend them off. So it's one life gone very quickly.

And from then it's hard slog. The creatures come at you thick and fast, flying bat - like things, axe-throwing zombies and other nasties that materialise from nowhere to wreak havoc.

One of the problems in coping with the onslaught is that when moving right you're almost at the edge of the screen. Creatures appear singly or in clusters so suddenly that it's hard to cope.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 101, April 1990   page(s) 65

Spectrum, C64, Amstrad £2.99

There's a land to the north just beyond the Ice Palace, and its really nice and everyone lives in peace and harmony. Ahhh. Unfortunately, between here and there dwell some of the nastiest, most horrible creatures ever to walk the Earth. Oooh. The only way of bringing some sort of balance between the two is to send someone out to give the monsters a good seeing-to. And with the help of your magic weapon and a friendly silvan smart-bomb spirit, that's what you have to do.

Beyond the ice Palace is honest-to-goodness arcade adventuring fare, with appealing graphics (although colour-clash rears its ugly head), so-so sound and mildly addictive bounce-and-blast gameplay. There's a fair amount of death-dealing to do, and some of the baddies are well hard so even though you get nine lives, you should find the going sufficiently tough.

Overall: 69%

Summary: A pleasing arcade adventure which offers nothing new, but still manages to grab the attention for a while.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 8, July 1988   page(s) 80

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99, Diskette: £12.99

The wise old spirits have thoughtfully shot a sacred arrow into the air and decreed that the person finding it will be the one chosen to destroy the evil presence that now engulfs the land beyond the ice Palace. The game was fully reviewed in TGM007.

Bold and colourful sprites, a snaz title tune and neat sound effects make this an enjoyable seek-and-destroy game. The layout of the various obstacles, as well as the ferocity of the denizens, will challenge all but the most skilled of joystick wielders - practice is recommended. Overall a very playable addition to the Ghosts Goblins genre.

Overall: 75%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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