Personal Computer News6th April 1985
Published in Personal Computer News #106
Ice Palace is the latest little dazzler from Creative Sparks. It's an arcade-adventure, but tackles its schizophrenia in a novel way.
There are two playing screens; you switch from one to the other with the space bar. The arcade screen shows an aerial view of your immediate surroundings. Each hexagonal 'room' has one or more openings, so sometimes there are double-skinned bulkheads in your way. However, pulling back on the joystick rotates the walls of each room.
All movement takes place on the arcade screen. Impassable rooms are easily recognised by large black crosses or lakes. From time to time yellow blobs, ghosts, eagles and other evil nasties fly past. Hit them if you can; contact is dangerous, as it increases your evil score. Worst of all are the white swords which materialise, spin, then set off at breakneck speed.
Hazards can be destroyed with the firestick. A fireball, released when you press fire, can be steered around the screen.
Rooms with yellow swords are the best places to switch over to the adventure screen. This is largely taken up by two panels. The left gives you a scrolling list of possible actions (such as get, sharpen, put on left pan etc). On the right are objects carried, or items in the room. Verb-noun pairs can be entered by highlighting relevant items, then choosing an action.
At top right is a candle whose height shows how long you've got left, while top centre there's a vertical gauge crossed by a dotted line. It bears the legends Good and Evil, the latter being at the bottom.
After each wave of nasties, heralded by some atmospheric music, a spinning column appears. Get in this and your goodness rating climbs. There's also a skull, whose eyes flash when you're under attack and a firestick which turns grey when it's low on fuel.
At top left is a crown. The purpose of the game is to collect all the pieces of the crown.
Ice Palace is very different from most other 'arcadventures'. The format for both its game types is simple (and therefore rather restrictive), and the graphics aren't anything to write home about, but it's unusual, nicely implemented, addictive and deserves to do well.