Arcticfox is a tank simulation set in the tough terrain of Antarctica. The player controls the Arcticfox; an advanced tank armed with various weapons and equipped with many instruments.
The action is shown in 3-D vanishing point perspective with wire frame graphics. A radar screen gives the position of the Arcticfox and its enemies.
Charged with the objective of destroying the enemy's main fort, the tank moves across a terrain of snow and ice encountering ridges which can be climbed to obtain a strategic viewpoint, and slippery mud flats.On the ground, hazards consist of slow-moving heavy tanks, light tanks, non-shooting reconnaissance sleds, stationary missiles and floating mines. There are also enemies in the air: fast-moving fighters and reconnaissance flyers.
The Arcticfox has the ability to burrow into the snow and hide from enemy forces. Its guided missiles can be controlled after firing and the inclination of the tanks cannon can be altered to allow it to shoot either ground or aerial enemies.
Arcticfox comes with the detailed instruction booklet necessary for a complicated game of this type, but the game doesn't really live up to the promise of complex strategy in the manual. Control is awkward and unresponsive, with the tank movement being very sluggish. The graphics are monochromatic and slow and indistinguishable from a distance. The guided missile option is difficult to use, and it's hard to after the cannon's inclination; a keyboard control would have been quicker than having to select a special function. Gameplay is fairly simple (like a slow Battlezone); the various strategic options don't seem to enter into play much, especially as they're so awkward. If only the programming had been up to the task of converting the promising game design it could have been so much better; as it is, it's unplayable and irritating.
Arcticfox is just another 3-D line graphics game in the vein of Catch 23. Just like Catch 23, it's no fun to play and quickly gets incredibly boring. The graphics seem to have a different line thickness to other 3-D games and this makes them look blocky and unattractive. There's the odd sound effect here and there but no tune on the extended 128K version. The way it loads is terrible with all the borders in the game loading as SCREENS files and then being saved to memory. This takes ages and makes the front end of the game monotonous. Arcticfox is a very disappointing release from Electronic Arts.
Arcticfox reminded me greatly of that ancient blast from the arcade past - Battlezone. One thing I did notice, though: the vehicle is called Arcticfox, yet, according to the instruction manual the south pole is a mere 717 miles away. I think perhaps someone's geography isn't quite up to scratch. Graphically the game is mediocre. The interior display of the tank is impressive, but what goes on through the viewport isn't.
Jerkily scrolling, wire-framed vehicles of destruction wobble around bland and totally uninteresting backdrops like motorists out for a Sunday drive. Trundle around a while, fire a couple of missiles, trundle about a bit more - that's the only excitement of the game. Either that or as soon as the game starts you have half a dozen missiles at your flank and one fried tank driver. I'm usually all for this type of game, but Arcticfox didn't impress me very much.