Beyond the Ice Palace is a multi-scrolling arcade adventure game, developed in 1988 for the major 8bit and 16bit home computers.
STORY / GAMEPLAY The story is pretty similar to the Ghosts 'N Goblins game; a mystical land (somewhere in the north) has been taken by a demon and you are the chosen one who must get rid of him once and for all. You’re initially armed with your bare fists and later use a variety of weapons like Daggers, a Sword or a Mace. Your quest is tough since you have to fight ghosts, demons and goblins that either fly or walk towards you and are very "willing" to protect their precious master from your blades. A funny thing on the CPC version is that, the hero looks like he's wearing sunglasses! The gameplay is interesting though typical (as in most 8-way scrolling arcade adventures) but, depending on the kind of gamer you are, you can also end up beating the hell out of your CPC in frustration as it can be very easy to lose lives with a single slip. A minor thing here is that the instant dying routine is getting annoying at times when you reach tricky areas (i.e. jumping over a deadly hole while a flying being attacks you!). I must confess that the control is a little awkward since you have to move in all eight possible directions to avoid enemy hits. You can climb on ladders to get at higher or lower grounds, duck enemy fire, jump etc. So, you must be careful and patient, as only 9 lives (presented as...hearts at the top) are available!
GRAPHICS / SOUND Graphically, the game is easy on the eye and makes good use of the Amstrad's color-palette although it looks a bit "old" for its time (even in the more advanced Amiga and Atari ST). The backgrounds are nothing special to stare at but they still do the job. The sprites are moving smoothly in all eight-way directions. Compared to the C64, the colors look different while sprites seem to move faster on the Commodore's machine. Regarding sound, there is an impressive tune at the main menu screen written by the great David Whittaker. However, there's no in-game music at all, rather than just a few "noisy" sound effects covering your actions.
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.