Description official descriptions
In 2005, aliens have taken over Antarctica. You are sent in to combat them with the new super tank, the Slye-Hicks MX-100, Codename: Arcticfox.
Arcticfox is a futuristic-based 3D tank simulation game where your overall goal is to destroy the invading aliens' main fortress before Arcticfox is destroyed.
Enemy targets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: planes, tanks, recon sleds and other important targets such as communication towers, atmosphere converters, etc. Your state-of-the-art killing machine is equipped with a cannon, guided missiles and mines at your disposal in addition to radar and forward/aft view-screens to detect your enemy advances.
- Arctic Fox - Alternate spelling
Credits (Commodore 64 version)
Average score: 64% (based on 13 ratings)
Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 40 ratings with 3 reviews)
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.
Amstrad CPC · by Neville (3552) · 2009
The playing-field terrain is always the same but big enough to get lost in, despite your GPS, compass and radar map. All four enemy arrangements upon this terrain are well-designed; add your eight starting locations, and no two games will ever be alike, whether you win or die. Unlike most POV shooters, the key to winning Arcticfox is to be sneaky, using the terrain in order to avoid enemy contact unless absolutely necessary. The variety of enemy units' AI is outstanding to this day, as far as lethality goes--I have not seen any better killers even in the most advanced PS2 games. You may be the baddest tank on the map, but if you approach this game with the wrong attitude it WILL annihilate you head-on, at least more quickly than if you are careful and get blindside-whomped anyway. Even more unique are the various functional handicaps you may experience as Arcticfox takes heavier damage--you can lose speed, radar, minelayer, cannon function and more--yet still win the game! The wireframe graphics are see-thru, crude but quite effective in light of the C64 CPU's 1Mhz limitations: One advantage being, you can sometimes see thru hills or mountains before the enemies on the other side get sight of you.
In order to play effectively, you have to know how to take full advantage of Arcticfox's capabilities via keystrokes, which I have detailed in my review on www.lemon64.com in case you don't have the game manual. This is not so much the fault of the game software not telling you, as it is the fault of uploaders' failure to include essential gameplay documentation. Arcticfox's numerous POV graphics glitches include driving through the apparent flanks of "impenetrable" mountains, or on the other hand, falling into crevasses you didn't see onscreen, all because your overhead radar map is more accurate to your game location than your POV--except when you're shooting at something. When climbing hills you can be glitched sky-high for a frame or two, giving you a preview of the other side but wreaking havoc with your timing of flying shells during any proximate melee; fortunately enemy tanks are also susceptible to this glitch. The worst is a nasty bug involving your missile-camera: With a missile on its way, you can't back up past an arbitrary, invisible combat zone border. Instead the Arcticfox stops cold, leaving you vulnerable! I remember from the original 5-1/4" C64 disk version, you could still retreat and just lose the missile...in the version I now play it's a minor but tactically significant glitch! Are there any CBM 1541 diskdrives/game disks still intact and readable, or are all ".d64" uploads really PC/Apple versions of games doped for C64 emulators? I still have two C64's and a 1541 drive which may be restorable to original function, so if anyone knows how to translate CBM to IBM format or "rip" a CDROM from 1541 disks I'd like to know some particulars! READY. Nevertheless, the game's original design on any system still won't let you steer the tank while manually guiding the missile, which to me is a major and uncalled-for omission, seeing as how Arcticfox already accesses special functions such as missile and minelayer on the keyboard, so why couldn't they program for a couple "auxiliary yaw" keys? You'll understand my frustration better when you realize that the most missile-worthy targets are Radar Stations, which not only spot you far out of your cannon's short range, but also scramble your missile's lock-on...meaning you have to steer it in on manual...during which your tank can only be made to go straight or turn in a circle, reverse direction, and fire its cannon. C'mon, Dynamix programmer-guys, it's only two more keys, you couldn't do anything about that? Still, despite this stupid limitation, the game remains playable with the right strategic attitude.
The Bottom Line
Arcticfox was the first POV simulator I ever played, and remains the ONLY videogame I still find challenging and enjoyable--and I never had to feed it quarters. To add to its Antarctic setting, my parents' basement was usually near-freezing while I white-knuckled an old-fashioned Atari joystick until I figured out how to win..and died again, and won again, etc. It doesn't hurt that I now win Arcticfox on a PC-C64 emulator on 250% speed, keyboarding with one hand while smoking with the other, drunk to the gills; but best of all, I still discover shortcuts, loopholes, advantageous bugs, and also new ways to die everytime I play.
Commodore 64 · by Jim Dohring (8) · 2003
(I'll explain what I meant on the title a bit later)
Well this is my first tank simulation and honestly this game was kinda hard to come across. It's based in Antartica (which I just found out from the game description), I wondered why everything was white in the game....hehehe. Your in a high-tech tank with weapon capabilities you wouldn't believe (at that time...I think M1A1 Abrams already reached the technology of Articfox....hahaha).
Although I don't remember much about the game, there is one thing that I've noticed that would probably be one of the most innovative features in a simulation game that is probably still used today:
The game introduced a missle system where you can home in on spesific locations of an enemy craft, tank or structure. For instance, you have this alien ship flying around like a starving vulture, you can choose which part of him you want to hit with your missle: e.g. his radar, weapon system, etc.
Now this came to me as a surprise when I realized that many years later, a well-known game series used the same approach. I'm talking about Tie Fighter. Tie figher introduced the exactly same approach using the missle system, which is kinda cool to know. Hmmm....remind me to submit this in the trivia section.
Well, either I missed it or it isn't there. This game needed a mapping system, as you could drive about for minutes cursing yourself where the hell are those !@#$% enemies.
The Bottom Line
Presumably the first Tank Simulation ever made. Not to shabby either.
DOS · by Indra was here (20636) · 2003
|Playing on an Amiga emulator?||xroox (3892)||Sep 17th, 2007|
The PC version of Arcticfox features on-disk copy protection. Should the copy protection check fail, the title screen would load but any attempt to start the game or enter the enemy preview mode and the game will return right back to the title screen.
Arcticfox is one of the few PC titles that supports 16 colors exclusively in Tandy mode.
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #138 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
Additional information contributed by Neville
- MobyGames ID: 5474
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Servo.
Game added December 12th, 2001. Last modified September 21st, 2023.