Fire & Ice

aka: Cool Coyote in Fire and Ice, Fire & Ice: The Daring Adventures of Cool Coyote, Fire and Ice, Fire+Ice
Moby ID: 6075
Amiga Specs

Description official description

The background story of Fire & Ice is quick to tell: A coyote (you) runs, throwing ice cubes, through various worlds. In the levels, you must jump on platforms and kill your enemies. The enemies (for example, birds and penguins) can be shot with your ice cubes; they become frozen, so you smash them. Sometimes they leave part of a key behind after they're destroyed. The complete key, assembled from all the pieces, opens the door to the next world.

In this "jump & run" you can also get some power-ups. You can find some coyote puppies; these puppies follow you, are invulnerable, and also shoot enemies. In higher regions you find some snow-flakes; enough of these and you get a great snowball for freezing more enemies on the screen.

Screenshots

Credits (Amiga version)

11 People

Game Design By
Programmed By
Graphics By
Additional Graphics By
Sound By
Music By
Extra Tools Programmed By
Produced by
  • Graftgold Ltd.
Published by
  • Renegade
Technical Advice from
Save High Scores To Disk For
Monster Amiga B2000 Loaned By
  • SJR Computer Services Ltd.

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 28 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 40 ratings with 1 reviews)

A 16-bit Euro platformer, that's actually great?!

The Good
Fire & Ice is a 2D sidescrolling platformer game from the 16-bit era. You play as Cool Coyote, in a trip from your house in the icy North Pole, trough various climate regions, into Egypt where a fiery demon resides (and apparently is the source of your woes or something). Your attack is throwing ice pellets, that will freeze up the various creatures inhabiting the levels, they can tolerate various amount until freezing up. Once frozen, enemies can be destoryed, or they will thaw out sooner or later.

The audiovisuals are excellent. They showcase the better side of the Amiga, without being overly tacky.

The graphics are very colorful and nice to look at, and the 16-bitness of it is just right. The sprite of the main character is comfortably big and nicely detailed (look at the hairs on the tail go flopping). There is 8-way scrolling, and the levels are designed around it, so altough you're generally headed left to right, most of the levels take good advantage of the vertical plane (apart from a couple of levels that advance just straightforward). There are sloped surfaces, that function acceptably (take that, Turrican!). The graphic design of the scenery is properly 16-bit, you will not find a platform that is just a flat slab (aside from intended bricks). The background layer most often is just a "sky" made of color gradients. But how the color gradients move according to the height, it gives the illusion of parallax scrolling. While the enhanched AGA/CD32 relase added detailed parallax backgrounds, those do look a bit tacky. In general, game engine works in a solid 50fps, I believe. I do not particularly care about frames per second, but it's undoubtedly smooth!

There is simultanous music AND sound effects during gameplay (fortunately, as it not always a given feature on the Amiga). The in-game musics and sounds are a mixture of higher fidelity samples and gritty "Atari"-ish chip sounds. It's not like just some generic techno tune and stock sound effects (like budget Amiga games often have), how they managed it this way is quite stylish and unique, serves the game's purpose excellently. It is all very memorable, and the soundtrack can become a banger at times. The game starts with a nice little show, as the title screen features Cool Coyote playing a cool song on a piano. The enhanched AGA/CD32 relase offers the option for a CD based soundtrack, but the tunes are completely different and less than appropriate, so I recommend sticking with the chippy sounds.

The gameplay is a pretty standard platforming fare, but it gets the basics down, and is executed tightly.

The game beigns with an ice level/world, which is kind of unique for a starter level. And yes, it is a bit slippery. Fortunately, falling icicles and skiing/snowball trowing enemies will be your main challenge, not the controls. And the underwater levels? They are probably some of the most pleasant of their kind in gaming!

The main objective on each level is to collect 6 pieces of the key that unlocks the level exit. The pieces are held by random enemies, and you have to search back and, forth until you assemble the whole key. Once you get near to a dropped key piece, they gravitate to you, so it is not a problem if they have fallen into a pit or something (wow, feels quite a modern feature, makes life easier).

The most distinquishable gameplay element are the puppies. They can be found scattered troughout the levels. Once you go near one, it starts to follow you, in their jumpy-springy way. They're optional, and can become a pain to guide them all the way to the level exit, but it is worth it! For one, they serve as extra firepower (or ice power?), and are invincible to regular enemies. When you fire your ice pellets, so do the puppies. If you do so frantically, the puppies charge forward. When they touch frozen enemies, the can destroy them. A handy little help! For two, once they touch the unlocked level exit, they give you an extra life, each! How neat!

Another neat feature are the little storm clouds. Spam them with ice pellets, and they charge up. Once charged enough, they start snowing. But make them too charged, and lightning bolts become a danger. Why they're important is, that the snowflakes are collectible items. They can be used as bombs that freeze all enemies on screen.

One more thing to mention in the time limit. You have about three "days" to spend on each level. Which is implemented as day-night cycles. The color gradient background reflects the time of day. Once you run out of time, fireballs start to fall from the sky.

The Bad
The controls are designed for a single button Atari-style joystick. The one fire button shoots the ice pellets, so for lack of better, Up has to be jumping. Which is not out of place for European games of the time, nevertheless it is an uncomfortable method. The special attacks require a fiddly combination of the direction controls and pressing fire. I often trigger the instant freeze bomb by accident. Granted, in an emulator you will likely play with the PC keyboard. Fortunately, on real hardware the game also has an option for playing with the Amiga's keyboard. It's still a single button design on keyboard, but much more comfortable with the cursor keys. And the later AGA/CD32 release finally has an option for the 2-button CD32 controller, with a dedicated jump button!

The middle part of the game (the jungle world) is ruthlessly difficult and unforgiving, even compared to the rest. This is the part where people usually give up (or resort to cheating). Oh and remember, normally you have to complete the game in one sitting. With insta-kills, time limits, no saving, no continues, just some extra lives you can scoop together. Sure, beating the game on your own (in the fair way) may be one of those 'once in a lifetime' achievements. But the game has enough content without the developers needing to resort to playing dirty tricks on you (with like random booby traps and fast enemies), so a little bit of break would have been appreciated!

The enemy designs often feel out of place, compared to the cartoony design of the main character. Some have that bulbous "Chuck Rock" look, others are more realistic instead.

The Bottom Line
You know the stigma about Euro platformers (if not, watch the video of Kim Justice about the topic). They share many of the stylistical and design choices, that were less than ideal back then, and are hated nowadays. As the Amiga and Atari ST computers were most popular in Europe, they received a lot of jank. On one side, there are a lot of platformers that (apart from the tidied up audiovisuals) were either straightforward ports from 8-bit systems, or had a very limited 8-bit like desgin to them. On the other side, there is the notable handful of platformers that were trying way too hard to ride the Sonic fad and show off, but ended up being not fun to play and/or unappealing.

So what about Fire & Ice? While it is unapologeticly a Euro platformer, as coming from the UK it bears stylistical and design kinship with them, those elements are surprisingly subtle. The good outweights the slight impracticalities so much, that I barely found way to mind/complain about them! It's a perfectly adequate 16-bit game, without being overcomplicated and tacky. It is solid on the technical front, competent on design for the most part, it deals with the right compromises, and offers a very tough but good challenge. Beside the Turricans, this is one of the best games of the Amiga's library. Moreover, I can safely recommend it to anyone who likes platformers!

(This game is curiously absent from Kim Justice's list of good Euro.platformers, another reason of writing this review.)

Amiga · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2024

Trivia

DOS version

The PC version contains 16 colours only because it was written using Realms shell which had CGA and VGA 16 colour drivers.

Master System version

The Master System version was supposed to be released in Europe in 1994, but the development was aborted. Only later was the game picked up in a somewhat unfinished state for release in Brazil, where the Master System was still a successful console. There was also a Genesis version in development.

Shareware version

In 1995, the DOS version of the game was re-released as shareware by StreetWise Interactive. The shareware version was freely available and contained the first world. The remaining four worlds were only available in the registered version. This re-released version also added a menu with options (previously only available in-game via the F1 hotkey in the original Graftgold/Renegade release): user-definable keys and a jukebox for listening to the in-game music, just to name a few. The ability to load/save game progress and an in-game manual were also added. The actual game remained unchanged, however.

Xmas edition

There is a Xmas special edition with winter levels

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – #2 Best Action Game of 1992 (Readers' Vote)
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1993 – Best Action Game in 1992

Information also contributed by Игги Друге and Blood

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Rantanplan.

SEGA Master System added by Bock. Atari ST added by Rebound Boy. Amiga CD32, Acorn 32-bit added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Roedie, B.L. Stryker, POMAH, Timo W., formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Anatoly Shashkin.

Game added March 31, 2002. Last modified September 12, 2023.