The Game: As the legendary “Frostbite” Bailey, you’re used to cold temperatures, but tonight’s forecast is just too much. You’ve got to build a cozy igloo before the temperature drops to zero. You accomplish this by jumping onto moving ice blocks in the river; each successful jump adds a “brick” to your igloo. But it’s not just as simple as fording the stream – there are other cold-weather critters who’ll stop you from ever getting home, igloo or no. Snow geese can push you right off the edge of a block, while snow crabs and cold-water clams will grab you and drag you off the edge. Only the fish are non-lethal, as you can grab them for extra points (and probably dinner). You can hit the action button to reverse the direction of the ice flow you’re on (neat trick in a raging river, eh?), but unless your igloo’s already completely built, it will cost you bricks – and even then it may not keep you out of harm’s way. If you fall into the river, or fail to get into your igloo before the dropping temperature reaches zero, it costs you one of three lives. (Activision, 1983)
Memories: If Freeway was Activision’s attempt to do the cross-the-road portion of Frogger, Frostbite is their attempt to do the rest of the game – namely crossing the river on the backs of floating objects – with just a touch of Q*Bert thrown in.
It’s a nice try, but it gets much too difficult much too fast. While Activision’s designers made a career out of doing better arcade translations than Atari could ever quite manage for its own machine, but ducking out of harm’s way legally by changing the settings and characters, not all of their “inspired by…” games were quite as successful as, say, Chopper Command. Frostbite definitely falls into the less successful category.