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Mikro-Gen Ltd
1986
Arcade: Maze
£8.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

52
Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Sorry to spring this on you, but the hero of Frost Byte resembles nothing more than one of those Slinky toys that walks down the stairs by constantly coiling and uncoiling itself.

But if a heroic spring's the thing, winter's the setting in this seasonal offering from Mikro- Gen. It's all icicles and igloos as Hickey, the Kreezer, goes walkabout, or whatever it is that Slinkies do, to rescue his race from the monsters that haunt the planet.

Okay, this may sound kinda sweet, and sweets also play their part, because these tempting morsels give Hickey extra powers. They'll make him jump higher, slink faster or fall further, but they don't rot his teeth... probably because he doesn't have any teeth to rot.

I suppose they could make Hickey fat though, in which case he might turn into a ball (there's a point to this rather tenuous link, so hang on in there!) and then the game might resemble Medusa's Action Reflex (got there at last).

Frost Byte has the same, rather two-dimensional cartoon graphic style of that test of skill and strategy, instead of the richness of the Wally games. But that's not a bad thing, as Mikro-Gen's very own Equinox demonstrated. The screens are fairly pleasing, but I would've liked a little more detail.

The gameplay also has a rather flat quality. It's certainly not fast and furious, but rather a test of timing and positioning. You'll spend more time waiting for the right moment to move than blasting the nasties.

Don't think that you've seen it all before though. Action Reflex made control tricky by giving you a hero who bounces Mikro-Gen has gone one better in the difficulty stakes. It's not so easy to time a step when Hickey has to arch up and over. Dodging is damn difficult until you get into the swing (or should that be slink) of the thing.

You'll eventually learn how to judge jumps though, and then it's all a question of finding out what you'll need to get through to the next screen, and to be prepared for the shocks that lie ahead as you search for the five imprisoned Kreezers.

This isn't the sort of game that you're likely to rave about but it does sort of sneak up on you, and it's full of that magical one-more-play factor. Even if many elements are repeated, you'll still be aching to find out what lies ahead on the next screen. Not a blockbuster then, but it should warm you up over the long winter months.

7/10
8/10
7/10
8/10
7/10

Screenshot Text

Second screen in and you're already facing a double drip from melty icicles! Timing these is troublesome, to say the least. It's a matter of jumping forward with just enough time to scarper before the next drip drops.

How did Hickey get up here? A handy mattress boosted his bounce power from the screen below. He deserves that sweety to double his speed before he shoots the nasty, then dodges yet another tricky drip, to reach the next screen... where he'll need all that speed to avoid the bouncing beasts!