Although the concept of a tank sim seems pretty standard these days, back in the day "Arcticfox" was one of the most original games ever. Expanding from the original "Battlezone" concept, "Arcticfox" immersed the player on a sci-fi quest, erradicating the alien treat in Antarctica.
The realism factor was taken very much into account. Ice and crevices are omnipresent, and they present a threat to the player as big as the enemies. The tank can also bury itself in the snow for camouflage, and the terrain includes hills and rocky mounts.
Several game modes were also offered, ranging from almost arcade to hardcore simulation. Under all situations, the controls were intuitive and the game extremely immersive.
The truth is, once you dispatch the first patrols sent to intercept you, the game becomes slightly boring. Once you've eliminated them, you are left with the task of finding the main enemy fortresses, and being the scenario on the big side, that can become rather tedious, with only the occasional enemy plane or a missile defense to shoot at.
Also, while Dynamix did a terrific job cramming such a complex game in 64k of memory, we could have done with more sound effects.
The Bottom Line
To understand the appeal of this game, you need to move to a different era, one in which simulation games like this one were quite rare, and even more so in 8 bits, were sports and platform games were prevalent.
Essentially, the game offered several unusual features for the time: vector graphics, a wide range of enemies, a recognisable scenario, whose peculiarities (ice, fog, crevices, hills) contributed to the gameplay and an attractive science fiction back story.