It's about time I talked about a REAL classic! Nah, I'm just kidding. Most of the games talked about on Gaming Sanctuary are cool in some way or another, but most NES fans will tell you stories of how great Fire 'N Ice is...that is, the ones that actually played it. While the game is said to be great, the game is very rare, obscure, and usually quite expensive. Have you heard of a game called "Solomon's Key"? If you have, this game should interest you because Fire 'N Ice is actually the sequel to Solomon's Key. In the U.S., the game is called Fire 'N Ice, though the game is called Solomon's Key 2 in European territories.
While the in-game story more or less follows the simple excerpt below, I thought it would just be nicer to use this story from the manual that I found on wikipedia:
The Rescue of Coolmint Island
This is a story from long ago, when the powerful wizard Dana was just a beginner. In the sea to the far north, there was a small island made of ice. This island was called "Coolmint Island". On this beautiful little island of ice, there were many Winter Fairies all living in peace.
But one day...The wicked wizard Druidle appeared, and let flames loose on Coolmint Island! The flames scattered all over the island, and little by little, they began to melt the ice. The little island was in terrible danger!! The Winter Fairies were determined to do something to save their island, but they were not strong enough to face the flames by themselves. The Queen of the Fairies knew about the danger the Winter Fairies were facing, so she called forth a wizard to fight against the flames let loose by Druidle.
The one chosen by the Queen of the Fairies to defend the island was Dana. This was a tremendous surprise to everybody. Dana was still just an apprentice and had very little magic power of his own. But the Queen knew that Dana had intelligence and possessed more courage than anyone else. Then the Queen gave Dana some special magic that could be used to put out the wicked flames.
"And what happened after that, Grandmother?"
"Well... that's where Dana's adventure begins."
Fire 'N Ice is a late puzzler on NES released in 1993. Considering this, the game isn't a graphical masterpiece. However, the game still looks colorful and the animation is good. While puzzle games don't necessarily need flashy graphics, I'm glad that Tecmo wasn't lazy and instead decided to give you some cute and bright graphics to tide you over as you bust your brain trying to solve the various puzzles. The enemies are silly and your hero moves fluidly as he scrambles back and forth to put out the evil flames that threaten Coolmint Island. The music is pretty nice, but it is a bit on the repetitive side, so it isn't perfect. Tecmo blessed us with a puzzle game that has nice graphics and decent audio, because while some puzzle games are still fun without the luxury of excellent graphics or outstanding audio, graphics and sound do help.
The greatest part about Fire 'N Ice lies in the gameplay. It seems so simple on the surface...but like great games like Tetris and Pong, that doesn't necessarily make the gameplay bad. You control Dana, an apprentice wizard who uses a wand to create ice blocks. Dana can create ice at the space in front of his feet, and it attaches to whatever platform he's standing on. However, in order to put out a flame, the ice must first be detached from other ice blocks or the wall. Dana can also hop up onto a platform or block of ice. He can't hop up on top of a single ice block though because he'll push the block instead...it has to be at least two blocks of ice. You must use Dana's ice making abilities to create bridges to walk across as well as to put out the flames. Use his power incorrectly, and you could get burned or stuck in a particular spot which would cause you to start the level over (though you can restart the level at anytime.
If you thought that using your ice powers was the only obstacle, think again. Dana must overcome various other obstacles that come in his path such as flaming jars, pipes (to travel through), stones, and more. Dana can't go through pipes that are blocked on the other side. Flaming jars burn anything that is on top of them, and they cannot be put out like flames can. Stones are somewhat like ice, in that they can put out flames. Unlike flames, they don't disappear, and can normally only be pushed one space at a time. If you push the stone onto an icy surface, it will keep going until it's stopped by something. You must use your head and figure out various tactics to succeed.
The game consists of ten worlds, each with nine normal stages and a boss challenge. This alone would make a whopping 100 levels...however, there are 50 hidden levels that you can play that will allow you to play a total of 150 levels! If that isn't enough, the game has an edit mode that allows you to make your OWN puzzles so you can challenge yourself to your heart's content. You can't save edited puzzles though, so you have to make a small sketch of what they look like if you have a puzzle you really like and would like to show others. You also have the password feature to come back later if you need fuel to recharge your brain. Fire 'N Ice is a timeless classic and the sad part about it is that not many people other than hardcore Nintendo fans even realize it exists.
- Written by Vyse the determined -