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Anyone who has played Super Smash Brothers Mêlée or Super Smash Brothers Brawl will know who the Ice Climbers are, but have you ever played the original game? Released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Ice Climbers is one of the console's finest games. Its addicting nature and unique structure make it fun for all ages.
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While many NES games have either silly or nonexistent story lines, Ice Climbers may take the cake for best story (Banana Prince doesn't count because it wasn't released in the US). You play as Popo or Nana, a pair of Eskimos who have to climb through 32 levels of mountains in order to get back the vegetables an evil condor stole from them. Yes, they have to retrieve, not a sacred object, but a salad. I'm not even sure how the vegetables stay preserved over that long of a period of time, but I guess they are frozen or something. Even funnier, the first vegetable you get back is an eggplant. I'm not sure why they have an eggplant to began with, but they really want it back from that mean old condor (who is apparently trying to give those poor kids scurvy).
This story deserves five circles because it is so awesome. No modern game can compete!
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Ice Climbers is a simple platform game, but instead of going to the right you have to go up (like Kid Icarus). Popo and Nana have hammers which they use to break apart pieces of rock and ice in order to jump up to the next level. There are a number of enemies on each level (birds, yetis and so on) that will try to impede your progress. The yetis even fill in the holes you made with your hammer.
Since it is an NES game the game play is fairly simply but fun. The Wii Mote or classic controller are very easy to use with this game. It is actually one of the easiest NES games I've ever played. The later levels are much harder, but they are still fun to play. One of the coolest things is you do not have to beat each mountain in a consecutive order. All 32 levels are open at the beginning of the game. While this might detract those who want a reward for their hard work, those of us who just want to have fun without the frustration will appreciate it.
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While it is an NES game and the graphics are very simple, they are also incredibly cute. Sure, they are super pixilated, but Nana and Popo look adorable! So do all the enemies too. It actually makes me feel badly for having to kill them, but once they killed me it was easy to get over it.
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Yes! It might be simple, but it is a lot of fun to play, alone or multiplayer. The music is cheery and always seems to put me in a good mood, even when I fall or die. It isn't a game that's going to make you think, but it will help you forget about that bad day you just had.
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Go ahead and download this for your Wii virtual console. If you loved it as a kid, or you are just discovering it now, it is one gem of a game. Sure, it is dated, but so are a lot of other games and they are still fun to play. Now, if only Nintendo would make a brand new updated version of Ice Climbers, that would be awesome!