Red Hot Chilly Coyotes

Fire and Ice logo

Renegade * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

So come on, what is it with the programmers this month? They've all been smoking those nice cigarettes that the man in the big long coat gives them.

The story lines to all the games seem to have gone completely haywire. Fire and Ice looks like a normal platform affair to your poor unsuspecting game reviewer, but look in the manual and like wow man, it's all talk of intergalactic monsters that have been incarcerated for 2,000 years for blowing up solar systems. Freaky man.

In short, your funksome coyote has been chosen to search out and kill Glemm, the monster who has escaped from his prison of 2,000 years.

You must travel from your home, the polar ice cap to the beastie's home and do him over. No problem, but that the presence of the big nasty man is corrupting the minds of all the poor creatures on the planet so they all want to beat you up.

A pretty poor excuse if you ask me. To be truthful, they gave this game to the wrong person to review because as a rule I hate platform games. But no, I took instantly to Fire and Ice because of the nice touches and the large characters. I am sick to death of games with characters so small you can hardly differentiate between them and the large bogie that I left on my screen for consumption later.

Old Cool Coyote himself is brilliantly drawn, but for some bizarre reason he's got wings. Each to his own, I suppose.

To help Coyote on his mission he has puppies following him around. With these puppies being mere whippersnappers, they are a bit slow, but they do have their advantages. They shoot at the same time Coyote does, so you can kill double the number of nasties, and when jumping from level to level if the puppy is with you, you gain an extra life.

To get from level to level you must kill the nasties and grab the bits that come out. These bits are parts of a key. When you've got all the key, find the keyhole and jump through.

At various points in the game there are level skippers so you don't have to do the whole section, but you still have to find them which isn't easy.

Killing nasties is quite easy - just freeze them with you ice pellets and jump on them so they shatter. Probably the biggest flaw in the game is the difficulty of the levels.

Trying to complete all of the levels with only three lives is as impossible as trying to unlace your 20-hole docs after drinking ten pints. It is without doubt a very hard game, but you can but try.

Fire and Ice is well put together, but slightly behind its time. No fresh ideas are explored in this game so it loses its appeal very quickly.



Fire and Ice logo

If Rainbow Islands had you on cloud nine, then Andrew Braybrook's latest offering could have you blowing hot and cold. We check out the platform-guru's console-beating epic. Is it the coolest crusade or a real hot potato?

From the makers of Rainbow Islands comes a consoley, parallax platformer with class. Cool Coyote is the canine hero, following closely in the paw prints of Titus the Fox. Titus was on his way to Marakesh; Cool Coyote is heading for Egypt. Both feel that four legs may be good, but two legs are better and so scuttle around their hazard-strewn worlds with style and speed. Thinking about it, has anyone seen the two of them at the same place at the same time...?

Yes, the games are undeniably similar in a lot of ways, but Fire And Ice can't be accused of lacking its own identity. And besides, if Titus was an influence then you can't fault Cool Coyote's pedigree.

Chums of Cool (little coyote pups) have been abandoned in a hard and uncaring worlds. It's a world in which seagulls drop snowballs, haggises come armed and dangerous and seemingly everyone is out to prove that it is a Coyote's life. Cool's mission is to journey from one side of the globe to the other, collecting as many of the cute, little pups as he can.

Blows hot and cold
There are 30 levels, largely in sets of four stages for each country. Each level differs widely in character, features, baddies and feel - but each contains a few vital ingredients: Firstly, on each level Cool will find a keyhole. This is the gateway to the next level, but it can only be opened once Cool has located and picked up all the parts of a key. The key parts are being held by baddies throughout the level, but a quick dose of death is usually enough to get them to hand it over. Once all the key parts have been found, Cool can make his way to the key hole and warp to the next level.

Also in each level you'll find pups. If you walk up to a pup (they're miniature versions of Cool so you won't miss them) they'll start to tag along at your heels. They're slower than you are, and often wander off and get lost, but if you're patient with them they not only increase your fire-power (like the orb in R-Type) but can offer substantial bonuses if you can get them to leave the level with you. This element of the game feels very similar to both James Pond and Captain Planet, but works well and ads an extra dimension to the basic platform-em-up gameplay.

Pals and chums
You'll also find power-ups, points tokens and all sorts of bonuses littered around Cool Coyote's world. Cool's main weapon is a rapid-fire, pump-action ice-pellet shooter. Pepper your enemy with enough ice and he chills out - to the point of freezing solid. All you have to do now is run into him and he shatters, releasing any part of the key he may have been carrying.

Of course, things are made a lot trickier by airborne enemies (Coyote can't fire straight up in the air), and the fact that some bad guys require more chilling than others. Some are so hot and bothered that it takes a whole packet of frozen peas before they freeze. This problem is exasperated in the later levels, as Cool's journey takes him to warmer lands where his ice gun is not nearly as effective.

It's a dog's life
Fire And Ice is a great game. The graphics are superb, centering on a superbly animated and controllable Cool Coyote who can jump, duck, skid and dodge like a bantomweight. All the sprites are smooth, fast and oozing with character. The goody and the baddies interact well (Cool keels over backwards and birds tweet around his head when he takes a hit) as they romp over some imaginative and professionally-executed worlds.

So the graphics are spot-on, but the good news is that the game underneath the glossy presentation is too. With good platform games, gameplay and graphics tend to compliment each other - the slicker and more detailed the character animation, then the more controllable the central character should be. Well, that's the theory anyway. Certainly it works that way in Fire and Ice. All the graphical elements you need are here: smooth movement, imaginative level design and bags of humour. What more could you want?

Cool's mission is individual yet somehow immediately instinctive. It's easy to get very involved really quickly as Cool leads his motley band of pups, cutting a swathe of ice-pellets through legions of penguins, eskimos and low-flying seagulls. This is good stuff.

Fire And Ice is a great game, easily the best platformer I've played in a long time. If it had been a tad faster, then all would have been perfect, but that's no real criticism - just wishful thinking. No, an adventure with Cool Coyote comes highly recommended.


AROUND THE WORLD WITH COYOTE

The Arctic to Egypt in 30 levels - that's Cool's aim. Quite how he got to the Arctic, and quite why he wants to go to Egypt aren't explained. But your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to get him from one to side of the globe to the other. Here are a few of the locations and countries on his route.

The Arctic: seagulls drop snowballs (yeah, right), penguins skid and skiers land, on your head.

Scotland: Cool is animated and interacts well with things he meets - like haggises!

Under the sea: down where it's wetter everything's better.

Egypt: what you can't see is that Egyptian head on the right, moving at a worryingly high speed.



Fire and Ice logo Amiga Joker Hit

Frühestens seit dem C64-Klassiker "Paradroid", spätestens aber seit seinem genialen "Rainbow Islands" gilt Andrew Braybrook als Kultprogrammierer. Und der Mann weiß genau, was er seinem Ruf schuldig ist!

Vergessen wir also Andrews langere Schaffenspause, und vergessen wir auch gleich die Vorgeschichte - schließlich hat in Fire and Ice nur mal wieder ein Bösewicht die Welt erobert und soll jetzt gemassregelt werden.

Eine Aufgabe, für die eigentlich nur einer in Frage kommt, nämlich... Turrican? Lächerlich! Sonic oder viellicht Mario? Kindisch! Nein, Cool Coyote ist der Held des Tages!

Im Hochsprung und im Sprint nimmt der niedliche Held locker mit jedem Konsolen-Kollegen auf, und Ballern gehört sowieso zu seinem Starken: Wo der coole Koter seine Eiskugelchen hinschießt, frieren die Gegner (für kurze Zeit) fest und zerbroseln dann beim Druberlaufen zu Eispartikeln!

Manchmal kommt dabei eine Teil eines Schlüssels zum Vorschein, der komplettiert das Tor zum nächsten Level offnet.

Unter Zeitdruck (angezeigt durch Tag/ Nachtverlauf) gilt es nun, sieben Plattform-Welten zu durchqueren - unterteilt in je fünf Stages, im Practice Modus sind die die ersten vier Welten direkt anwahlbar.

Gestartet wird in der Arktis, wo Eskimos, Pinguine und Walrosse Ärger bereiten, im schottischen Hochland sind es dann vor allem Raubvögel und Insekten.

Danach geht's ab ins Wasser, durch den Dschungel un in dustere Aztekenpyramiden. Der vorletzte Level ist sozusagen ein Remake von Braybrooks C64-Oldy "Gribbly's Day Out", in Agypten schließlich wartet der finale Bosewicht.

Zwischengegner, Bonusgelder und Extrawaffen gehoren mittlerweile ja zum Platformstandard, aber eine Art "R-Type"-satellit, der aussieht wie Coyote-Junior?

Tatsächlich hat Fire and Ice neben praktisch allen gängigen Features wie etwa einer Level-übersichtskarte auch viele, viele Ideen zu bieten, die selbst in den Highlights des Genres nur vereinzelt zu finden sind: Eisbrücken schmelzen plotzlich dahin, Müscheln steigern ganz unverhofft die Sprungkraft, und Treppen wachsen nach Beschuß aus einer Wand heraus - ein solches Feuerwerk an Gags kannte man bisher nun von "Gods" oder "Turrican"!

Sprites und Hintergründe sind von Anfang bis Ende detailliert gezeichnet und witzig animiert, nur das multidirektionale Scrolling rückelt ein wenig.

Das fällt aber kaum ins Gewicht, wenn man die zahl- und abwechslungsreichen Musikstucke und vor allem die hochklassige Steuerung bedenkt.

Ja, selbst Sticks mit zwei Feuerknopfen (z.B. das Sega-Joypad) werden bedient, und wer auf die tolle Musikbegleitung verzichtet, bekommt dafür ein paar Soundeffekte extra.

Keine Frage, Fire and Ice ist ein Traum von einem Platformspiel! Wir können es kaum erwarten, bis uns Andrew seine Ballerkunste an "Uridium II" demonstriert - eine Neuauflage des 64er-Hammers hat er nämlich gerade in Arbeit..(rl)



Fire and Ice logo

Any new game from Andrew Braybrook - programmer of the Amiga Rainbow Islands - has a lot to live up to. Here's how he does it - in style.

Andrew Braybrook, the man they're calling Mr Rainbow Island - The Man Responsible For The Best Amiga Game Of All (surely as good as an excuse for a knighthood as any) - is back, and boy, what a reputation has he's got to live up to. It's not just Rainbow either - Mr Braybrook's output includes the excellent Paradroid 90 and a string of C 64 classics too. He's no newcomer to the world of top quality games.

A new Braybrook release ought to be something very special then. So what of Fire & Ice? Well, if you can resist the temptation to glance down at the Bottom Line box (over the page) you'll find that I'm about to tell you.

SNOWBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE
The screenshots give the game away as far as game style goes. Fire & Ice is, superficially at least, just the latest in a long line of parallax scrolling platformers. SO what's so special about this one? Well, for one thing, this is one of those rare games that both looks and feels just 'right'. Not only is the basic structure well thought out, it's garnished with a mass of subtleties which add a welcome human element to what could merely be a very slick and professional game.

Plot time then. The hero of this hot and cold tale is Cool Coyote. He doesn't quite compete with foxy old Titus in the charisma stakes, but he has got character. On the title screen he can be seen bashing away on the ol' joanna - turning occasionally to give a friendly wink at the player, while his hands (paws?) and feet actually move in sync with the tune.

It's something that's evident throughout the game too, particularly in the way he interacts with the environment. As he bounds around his platform world he hugs the landscape perfectly, for instance, moving slowly up hills and faster down them (particularly on level one - the snow level - where much slip-sliding and skidding occurs). Mr Coyote is also capable of ducking (even in mid-skid), jumping (with controllable height and sideways movement) and, of course, firing at the nasties.

The element of ice plays a major role in the game too. Instead of simply blasting the bad guys, Cool Coyote throws ice balls, which freeze them (harder monsters take more shots to freeze). Once frozen, you can then bash into them, shattering their sub-zero bodies into thousands of pieces. Dither too long, though, and they'll thaw out - good timing is essential.

For the rest of the weapon system, Fire & Ice conforms to modern standards with a reasonable selection of power-ups, including snowflake bombs, ice bubbles and shattering ice bombs, which send loads of tiny balls flying around the screen. These power-ups are randomly collected by shooting ice blocks (which are initially invisible, only appearing when fired at). Only one power-up can be held at a time, which complicates things, as do the volatile clouds which you can collect snowflake bombs from - these might actually blast you with lightning as you try to collect the flakes from it.

Okay, okay, you probably want to know what the point is about now, don't you? Well, Cool Coyote is attempting to make his way from his Arctic home to the sunny sands of Egypt, rescuing his stolen pups along the way - no mean feat, especially since he's walking the whole way, and the entire animal kingdom is out to stop him.

Seven different areas (comprising 30 levels in total) await, each with its own visual style, idiosyncrasies, and nasties. After getting past the penguin-strewn Arctic and Haggis-filled Scotland, it's underwater for our furry hero. Here he dons a snorkle, bouncing around the seascape blasting all manner of aquatic life, while getting transport help from turtles, rising air bubbles, and trampoline-like clams.
It's all more than a little Magic Pockets - in the use of inertia particularly - I have to admit, but there's a lot more to it. Every level has its own individual entity, requiring the player to learn a new set of tactics to progress.


One of those rare games that feels just right

If traversing half the globe sounds daunting, don't fret - the game allows instant access to the first four levels (although progress from one area to the next isn't allowed in this mode). Thoughtful stuff, which adds to the feeling of a 'neatness' about this game.

As you'd guess on an Arctic to Egypt trip, as the levels progress, the climate gets warmer, and as things get warmer your ice based weapons get progressively less useful. On later levels the bad guys take a lot more shooting to freeze.

Happily, if you've collected any pups, they add their fire power to your own, helping Cool Coyote bash the bad guys that much quicker. (Just don't bounce off too fast of you'll leave them behind.)

On each level you have to collect key parts from dead baddies to exit - leading the pups through one of these open doors will give Mr Coyote an extra life, and believe me, he needs them. (Extra lives can also be found by collecting large bones, but these are few and far between.)

There are three goals to the game then - to blast the nasties in order to collect the key and reach the exit of each level, to collect as many bonus objects along the way as possible, and to lead the puppies to the exit to gain extra lives.

That's not all there is to the game though. Hang around too long, for instance, and mysterious evil snowballs begin to materialise and gravitate towards Cool Coyote - shades of Defender, methinks. Survive these for a while and the game will relent, allowing escape through the exit even without all the key parts - a welcome touch, when that final section eludes you.

SEND FOR THE FIRE BRIGADE
So that's how it works (i.e. it's a helluva lot more structured that many platformers), but what you lot really want to know is how well it plays. (How does it play? - Reader's voice.) Well, when I first saw a preview of the game about six months ago, I must admit I wasn't too impressed. It was slick enough, but it looked a little empty and full - kind of like (ahem) Vanilla Ice. The finished game is thankfully well fleshed out. Each level has been lovingly embellished, and the different game elements gel pretty marvellously too.

That's not to say I don't have one or two criticisms. The backdrops might be colourful and useful (day turns to night and back again, the smooth sky scenes changing colour moodily), but they give the game a slightly empty, unfinished look. Sure, there's a smattering of foreground parallax, but that's a big expanse of colour without detail in the background, and it makes look like the game isn't doing itself justice.

Occasionally I found myself wishing that things were a little faster too. We;re not in Magic Pockets territory here though (thank goodness) - indeed, much fo the game is as fast as, say, Gremlin's Harlequin - but the moments when our coyote hero accelerates down ski slopes near the beginning give a tantalising glimpse of how rapid the game could have been. It's not a huge gripe, but it occasionally frustrates.

Other game comparisons? Well, you could go on drawing them all day - Fire & Ice has something in common with Leander as far as feel is concerned, for instance - but there's little real point. It's to Fire & Ice's credit that it remains very much its own game. (And where there have been outside influences Rainbow Islands, say - you could hardly question their pedigree.)

What more is there to say then? The structure is sound, the main character appealing, the weapons systems inventive, the locations unusual, the control feel spot on, the speed at least adequate, the inventiveness apparent, the surface polished and the borrowed gameplay elements - where you find them - taken from the very best of sources. Fire & Ice holds its head proud amongst the best of Amiga platform games - a genre which can now hold its own against the Megadrive. It's Brrrrrilliant!


YOUR PRE-LEVEL MAP
Fire and Ice: Map Level One

Handy, isn't it? This is a map of one of the four levels you've got to cross in the Ice World - shown before each level.
The box we've drawn on the map - the coyote character you see there isn't to scale! - shows both where you've got to start from and the size of each screen. Here - marked on the map with that old little-numbers-in-circles trick, are some of the main elements of the game.

  1. Watch out for the snowfall around here.
  2. Into the caves - avoid the failling stalagtite and climb the invisible steps.
  3. Once all the key components have been collected, this is where the exit will appear.
  4. Take a stroll up here for power-ups.
  5. Careful timing is needed to leap past the mass of bouncing spikes.
  6. Leap up here for an extra life bone.

ICE MAN SPEAKS

Veteran programmer Andrew Braybook began games programming about a decade ago, making quite a name for himself on 8-bit machines. Now working with long-time partner Steve Turner as 'Graftgold', he's had his hand in a sizeable slice of the Amiga Power All-Time Top 100. Here's a quick chat-ette we recently had with the man.

Fire and Ice: Logo Graftgold

Where did the idea for this game come from?
It started way back in 1990, around September if I remember rightly. The original idea sprung from wanting a game where everything was alive. The fire creatures (which now only reside on the Egyptian levels) originally played a much larger role. I had intelligent movement routes planned out for them, but it just wasn't obvious enough to the player. Although complex, they didn't really add to the game. There was a lot of processing going on to control them, but they spent most of their lives off-screen. It was all a bit wasted really.

Other changes? I'd envisaged smaller scale graphics originally, and the player's character was a big, floppy animal who actually bounced around. It didn't work though - it didn't have the necessary cute appeal.

What platform game reference points (if any) did you use?
I actually made a conscious effort not to look at too many other platform games. Mirrorsoft, who we are originally developing the game for, disagreed quite strongly with me on this though, and so some elements from other games did creep in - the snow world, for instance, does have recognisable elements of other games. I think the graphics guys were probably more influenced by Sonic et al, than I was. If anything Rainbow Islands was the biggest influence for me, programming-wise at least.
From the start, though, we wanted something console-like (in fact we're looking at the possibility of a console version of Fire & Ice right now), but which didn't copy from existing console-games.

You said Rainbow Islands had been an influence?
Well, yes, there are little elements which have been influenced by my experiences with Rainbow Islands. The accumulation system for bonuses, for example, carries over from game to game (a la Rainbow Islands). There are hidden elements which don't need to be known, but the player will eventually become aware of them, and then I use them, which is very Rainbow Islands.

Stepping up the difficulty was another thing learned from there. The time spent on a level will affect meanie speed and fire speed. We've made an effort to make the meanies a little less predictable than those in Rainbow Islands though. Still, as in Rainbow, the Fire & Ice player can use the game physics against the meanies.

Do you see yourself doing another Cool Coyote game?
We may well produce a Fire & ice data disk, which would contain new lands, backgrounds and sound effects. There's also the possibility of transporting the central character into another game style. He's pretty versatile, and I feel comfortable with him, so that's an interesting route to follow, it all depends on how successful this one is.

Why the lack of backdrops?
We decided to use 16 colour mode for the main game screen, which prevents us from putting detail on the background plane. The other option was to have two layers of 8-colour screens (as in many Psygnosis games), but we felt that it would be too restricting.

What next for Graftgold?
Well, it looks likely I'm finally going to get round to doing Uridium (A stupendous C64 shoot-'em-up -Ed) on the Amiga. It'll be a 32 colour, all singing, all dancin' affair. Then there's Steve, who has just completed Realms on the PC. He has been mumbling about doing his Spectrum Avalon games on the Amiga, but there's nothing concrete as yet. We've also completed Gods on the Megadrive for the Bitmaps, and we're involved in some Gameboy bits and pieces. We don't really plan too much ahead, so who knows what the future holds?



Fire and Ice logo CU Amiga Screenstar

It's been ages, but Graftgold have at last returned, and their long-awaited platformer is here. Mark Patterson wonders if Fire And Ice will make him blow hot and cold...

RENEGADE'S RESCUE
Following the sinking of Mirrorsoft alongside Captain Bob, it looked as though Fire And Ice, Graftgold's much-hyped cutesy project, was destined to join the ranks of James Dean and Mars Corps in the realms of never-released games. However, in a blaze of wheeler-dealing, Renegade have rescued the title and it's scheduled for an imminent release.

In terms of content, Fire And Ice is a bit of a step back in time for Graftgold, whose co-founder and veteran programmer, Andrew Braybrook, is famed for some of the most outstanding games of the 80s. Andrew is the man behind THE classic C64 blaster Uridium AND the all-time Amiga classic, Rainbow Islands - excellent credentials indeed, and Fire And Ice will only enhance his reputation.
It's a platform game in the tradition of Braybrook's Gribbly's Day Out. Ice's main character is a long-nosed Coyote, and bears a slight resemblance to the Sheep-napping Wolf from Hannah-Barbera's 'It's The Wooluf' cartoon and Road Runner's arch nemesis, Wile E. Coyote.

As can be expected, the plot is thinner than Paul Daniels' hair. The Coyote is at home in the Arctic, playing the piano and minding his own business, when all the animals in the world suddenly go crazy-ape and start attacking anything that moves. It transpires that a mad Egyptian magician is the villain causing all the animals to go loopy, although it isn't explained why the Coyote is unaffected, or why he decides to travel the world and defeat the wizard.

PUPPY LOVE
Our intrepid canine isn't alone in his quest, though, and most levels feature stray puppies who'll make an adoptive parent out of any passing hero. On stumbling acros one of these, it will dutifully follow your every move, whilst repeatedly shooting in a sporadic manner. As the puppies have a tendency to hang around on high platforms, though, and travel in huge leaps, they often take out enemies way before you reach them. For all their usefulness, though, they are very slow and it's quite easy to leave them behind. Abandon them, or leave them on a part of the screen where they can't reach you, and they let out a plaintive digitised bark, presumably to make to you feel guilty - and so you should.

The Coyote is armed with a strange weapon which is obviously a phlegm-based freezing agent. For as the nasties attack him, he simply spits at them and they are instantly frozen into cartoon-style blocks of ice. In addition, these hack-attacks can be enhanced with several types of special spitballs which are liberally scattered throughout the game ready for collection.

These take the form of invisible blocks which appear whenever a stray spitball hits them. Further shots then produce extra supplies which are added to the Coyote's inventory at the top of the screen. These enhancements include wide-range fire, which shoots eight globules in a wide arc; a super-large gob, which explodes a few seconds after being fired; and several other types, including a shield which proves particularly useful.

ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Our Coyote's adventures sees him travelling across seven stages. Starting at his home at the North Pole, it's followed by - amongst others - a jaunt through Scotland, before eventually moving on to South America, and eventually the Sahara Desert. Each of these varied areas is divided into several sub-stages, making thirty levels in total. There are also a cluster of secret screens awaiting discovery which, whilst not essential to the game's completion, usually contain bonuses and special weapons.

Oddly enough, although the scenario tells of the Magician's effect on the world's animals, their ferocity has also rubbed off on to the vegetation. Each locale has its own strains of flora and fauna, which are also out to get you. If that wasn't enough, in the arctic you also have to fight off Eskimos, walruses, penguins, and little creatures on skis, whilst in Scotland there are sword-wielding troopers and little fuzzy creatures (which I'm assured are baldy Sporrans who resent never being worn) which leap out of trees and try to stampede the Coyote.

One of the first things that struck me about Fire And Ice was the quality of the animation - it's nothing short of excellent. Even the smallest characters - such as the dejected Sporrans in Scotland - look great. What's really surprising is that most of the effects are achieved with very few frames of animation. The Coyote is also excellent, and features great attention to detail, such as his mannerisms and his facial expressions. Almost matching the sprites in terms of quality, are the fantastic backdrops. The Ice-world is the plainest of the lot, but, even so, features foreground parallax, and shaded objects for the Coyote to walk behind. Nice touches, even if they aren't always immediately noticeable.

The music is another major feather in the game's already bulging cap, and, most of the time, it reflects the current setting. There's a highland jig in Scotland, for instance, and a suitably Arabic tune in Egypt. It has to be said that some of the tunes start to grate after a while, but luckily there's an option to play with just the sound effects, so I can't complain too much about that.

TOUGH LUCK
For the completely awful games player who may never escape the frozen confines of the North ole, there is a rather neat Trainer mode. This lets you play any one of the first four levels, with the benefit of eight lives. It comes in most useful for the South American stage, which is appallingly difficult and all of the eight lives will be needed if you are to see the later stages. In fact, this is where you'll come across Fire And Ice's biggest problem: its mixed playability. The first three levels are relatively simple, but on entering stage four, things get ridiculously tough. This is almost excusable, though, as there's not much else to fault in the game and practice will see you though.

This is one of the best platform games I've seen on the Amiga. It's extremely playable, the graphics are nothing short of fantastic, and there are so many great ideas and smart touches throughout that you need to have an extremely keen eye to notice them all. Despite its slightly 'kiddie' look, Fire And Ice is extremely challenging, and, once you've completed it, you can always go back and attempt to find all the secret levels.

With Fire And Ice, Graftgold have made the best comeback they could have hoped for. With Paradroid never appearing, they needed to bounce back with a real smash. I'm pleased to say - as I'm sure Renegade are - that they've got one.


WHAT JOY! Like several console-style games of late, Fire And Ice supports a joypad option. By pluging a Megadrive Joypad in to the joystick port, the pad's extra button will come into play. Instead of holding down fire to unleash your super-weapons, instead te 'B' button is used, saving time and hassle. However, quite how many Amigas who will rush out and buy a pad is a different story. Still, it's a nice touch...

BRAYBROOK'S DAY OUT

In a nice return to his coding roots, one of Fire And Ice's stages features the main character from his classic C64 game, Gribbly's Day Out. Time, though, seems to have had an adverse effect on Gribbly and whereas once he would spend his days trying to round up his little Gribblets, he now chases the poor Coyote around the platform-laden screens. As he does so, he also steals the many cakes, sweets and hambugers which form the level's bonuses. With rumours of an Amiga Uridium starting to circulate, does this mean that Gribbly's going to be making a comeback, too?


Fire and Ice logo Zero Hero

As any fool knows, coyotes are vermin. They're even less popular in some parts of America than Colonel Gadaffi. Just ask that Road-Runner - he's always strapping old Wiley to large Acme rockets and firing him into the canyon.
So no-one was more inspired than us when Graftgold announced a game called Fire And Ice, featuring one of the pesky varmints. Dagmar Ernst has a little soft spot for these prairie dogs, and she's about to tell you why...

Are you worried about not being trendy? Scared that you can't carry off that beige jumbo-cord safari suit with aplomb? Well, don't despair - now you can take a crash course in how to be cool from the new hero on the horizon of the gamesworld - the very master of coolness, Cool Coyote.

Fire And Ice is just what Joe Public's been waiting for (I know, 'cos I asked him myself) - another cutesy platform game!
The story goes like this: there's a firewizard who lives in Egypt and causes all sorts of trouble. Various evil things can be blamed on him, including global warming and a sudden change in character suffered by all types of creatures, turning them from harmless lovelies into raging, barking-mad beasts.

Now go away and leave me alone before I beat the living daylights out of you. Oops, sorry... I was just feeling a bit tense just then. I don't know what's got into me... ever since I played this game I've felt a bit off balance.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, it's Cool Coyote's mission to battle his way through the different levels to Egypt in order to find the wizard, sort him out and save the world. Starting in the frostbite-inducing climate of the Arctic, CC has to suffer various climatic changes before he can finally visit the pyramids, having a relaxing pina-colada at the swimming pool of his five star hotel, and return to the Scottish Highlands, the place he allegedly prefers to anywhere else in the world.

To help him on his journey, CC is equipped with a freeze-gun, which turns baddies into spooky ice sculptures. If you run into one of these before it's thawed, it shatters into pieces, effectively taking all of the fight out of the baddie.

Of course, the hotter your location, the faster your deep-frozen villain is back in action, so don't get into the habit of hanging around.

There are also some smart power-ups left along the way. For instance, if you find a cloud and 'seed' it with a blast from the freeze-gun, you're showered with snowballs for you to collect and use.

All in all, there are ten different types of weapons to be discovered. My favourite was the sonic bark - a piercing howl guarenteed to blast opponents form the screen and keep the neighbours up all night.

And CC even has a sidekick - a Robin to his Batman, a Spock to his Kirk - who we shall call Fluffy Puppy (because that's what he is). This diminutive chappie sometimes wanders ahead, sometimes lags behind, and sometimes just hangs around our hero, performing that special sniffy 'hello' that only doggies can get away with in public.

Now, if you were to use the Andrex puppy, say, as a canine shield in the real world, you'd probably set yourself up for all sorts of public censure.

However, you can forget all that soft rubbish in Fire And Ice, 'cos the puppy here is a Pit-bull/Scrappy-Doo crossbreed, and is quite happy to race ahead, taking some flak on your behalf.

THE JOURNEY
As I mentioned, the hero, or rather the superhero, of this game is Cool Coyote. And cool he truly is.

From the start on the title screen, whe he sat at the piano, flashed me that 100 watt smile and winked his wolfy eye, I was lost.

I would follow him anywhere through fire and ice, across vast deserts and through tropical storms. Hell, I'd even go to Scotland with the boy, and why? Because he's just sooo cool.

We started off, a merry band, battling across the barren ice flows of the Arctic. Armed only with Ole Betsy the trusty freeze-gun, we zapped the snowball throwing eskimos and the waddling penguins.

We took pot-shots at Charles and Di as they skied at us, and jumped into them before they had time to recover, thus collecting points a-bungo and the vital pieces of a broken key.

When you've collected the whole key, you can enter the next level.
And what a level it is! Cool Coyote finds himself haggis hunting in the Scottish Highlands. Except he doesn't - he's still collecting points and bits of key. But he is in the Highlands. The music changes from the tinkling ivories of level one to the skirling er... skirl of midieval bagpipes.

This time, Cool Coyote has face the onslaught of knights, wormy cratures and haggises (or is it haggi?) while searching for a treasure box and keys beneath the rolling Scottish moors.

Next, our hero dons a diving mask for sub-aqua frolics, where he gets attacked, as you would expect, by giant ants and homicidal killer-kangaroos. Or... hold on... was it fish? Ah yes - fish. If you get trapped down a hole in this level, put aside your fears of the bends and take an express elevator ride to the surface on a large bubble - it's smart. At one point, I thought I was actually shooting Robocod (something I've wanted to do ever since that creep tried sublimenally sell me chocolate bars).

With the beat of bongo drums, level four arrives. Set in the heart of the Amazonian rain forest, things get a lot hotter and a hell of a lot tougher. Everything is harder and faster. Cool Coyote gets attacked by devious snakes and other assorted jungle creatures, while burning arrows whizz through the air and Venus Fly-Traps snap at his heels.

Next comes the Inca temple, full to the rafters with monkeys on pogo-sticks and rabid priests. Unless you manage to quickly put the latter on ice, the bud-off loads of little Inca warriors, each one with an aggresive personality and a nice Happy Mondays basin-cut.

Apparently, you can also go on a secret roller-coaster ride in a mine cart, but after that, there's an extra world which forms a sort of bonus points trolleydash. There are no baddies to speak of here, but if you fall off one of the platforms, that's it. So take it slow and grab as much as Cool Coyote's little paws can carry.

The final level is set in Egypt. Here, you'll find some nasty fire creatures who try to melt the power-ups before you can use them. More ignominious yet, CC ends up fighting against his dinner. Yes, a bunch of gophers become have-a-go-heroes and start lobbing rocks at their natural enemy. Let's hope you manage to put the frighteners on the wizard at the end, or just think what all the other predators will say!

Amiga reviewDagi: In this world of sin, I usually find that there are two types of cute: sickeningly cute and amusingly cute.

Fire and Ice has the sort of warm and amusing tongue-in-cheek cuteness that makes you want to leave the outside world behind, draw the curtains and toast some crumpets.

The game is so chock-full of throwaway ideas that until you've finished the very last level there's always something new to discover. Take the underwater section - you can hitch a lift on a passing turtle or use the sprung hinge on a clam shell to gain extra height on a jump. It's like a submarine playground.

Thanks to the four-level training mode, you get a change to have a look at four of the seven levels, which saves you the frustration of having to spend hours mooning longingly at the level map.

Curiosity is a fine thing, and I think all games designers should have the decency to let you catch a glimpse of things to come, especially if the graphics of a game are as exciting as those of Fire And Ice. If you're into high quality games bursting with visual ecstasy which offer hours of fun without frustration, you should definitely consider getting this game.



Fire and Ice CD32 logo CD32

Well, here's a cute little number. Fire And Ice - The Adventures Of Cool Coyote (Renegade, 071-481 9214 £24.99, 85 per cent) sees Cool off in search of abandoned pups across the world. With 30 levels to tackle, power-ups and bonuses to collect, he's got a whole new world to discover.

The graphics are beautifully drawn, Cool is smooth and controllable - he has a gun which fires ice pellets and it works great in the cold countries, but not so good in warmer climates. The levelsa are both interesting and varied and there's plenty of humour for those that like that sort of thing. One of the best platformers available for the machine.



Fire and Ice CD32 logo CD32

Renegade, £24.99
Amiga Version: 88% AP14

Much like the original Zool, Fire & Ice was a cute platform game that fell down somewhat through having empty colour-graduated backdrops that looked empty, cheap and a bit nasty, and hence not at all cute. It's taken two years for things to change, but now the game boasts a full complement of pretty parallax-scrolling scenery (as well as an infinitely welcome fire-button-jump option), and it's all the better of it.

The game itself is sweet (starring, as it does, the inestimably cuddly Cool Coyote) but tricky to the point of extremely bad language and petulance, and I like it. Alright?