Top 10 Favorite Frozen Levels
Hey 1 More Castle,
I regret to inform you that Andrew, Eric, and the rest of the bosses around here allowed me to return to blogging for the site. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.
So let’s talk about winter! I hate winter, which is why I’m moving down south. I hate the cold, I hate ice, and I especially hate the snow. It just snowed massively a few days ago and I’m already sick of it. It’s weird because I do like snow/ice levels in video games. In fact they’re some of my favorite levels of all time.
So while I was snowed in last Wednesday, sipping some hot chocolate, I decided to count down my favorite ice and snow levels from retro video games or as I like to call it my favorite frozen levels.
As always just one level per franchise and it must be a LEVEL in a game and not the entire game so Shadow Moses from Metal Gear Solid and all of Ice Climbers doesn’t count. Without further ado, let’s begin.
10.) Snow Barrel Blast – Donkey Kong Country
It’s true that some ice levels are evil incarnate. Snow Barrel Blast from the original Donkey Kong Country teeters the line between a great level and a terrible level.
As the name suggests it’s a level full of barrels that you need to carefully traverse through in order to make it to the end. The barrels are constantly moving and shifting position so that one wrong move, means death.
If that’s not bad enough, a snow storm develops throughout the level making it nearly impossible to see. It’s frustrating, but still damn fun to be soaring through the snow.
9.) Polar Pass – Crash Team Racing
Crash Bandicoot 2 introduced Polar, the cute little polar bear. It also introduced a terrifying and gigantic polar bear that would chase you through several levels. In Polar Pass, this bear is frozen solid in a giant block of ice.
That’s not all that makes Polar Pass from Crash Team Racing memorable. It has a figure eight where racers compete for items and a speed boost, a narrow bridge where attack send enemies into the freezing water, and a giant jump.
It’s one of my favorite tracks from a great racing game.
8.) Planet Freon – Ristar
You all know of my love for Ristar. Hell I reviewed it for the last Review A Great Game Day (RAGGD).
Planet Freon was frozen solid by Kaiser Greedy’s henchmen. It was frozen so that the inhabitants of the planet would never feel warm or happy emotions ever again.
Planet Freon is a typical ice level with slippery icy platforms that make moving difficult. You slide way more than you walk in this level… and you even get to have a snowball fight.
7.) IceCap Zone – Sonic the Hedgehog 3
IceCap Zone is one of the most memorable zones from any Sonic the Hedgehog game. So I’m still wondering why there was never an IceCap Zone in Sonic Generations.
This level is known and beloved by Sonic fans for being the first snow-themed Sonic level, and for having some of the best music in Sonic history that fans have covered several times.
This level made its appearance in several Sonic games, but my favorite version has to be from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. In this version the zone is divided up into two levels. The first level is inside an icy cavern and the second is in a snow covered terrain.
Either way it’s a tough battle to the bosses.
6.) Ravine – James Bond 007: Nightfire
You can have your Goldeneye on the N64, to me the best Bond game will always be Nightfire. It had an engaging story, and terrific multiplayer.
One such level from the multiplayer is Ravine. This level features a giant ravine and two buildings on each side. You can try to cross the ravine on a narrow path, or take a gondola. Brave players will attempt to run on the gondola wire.
However, everyone should be careful trying to cross the ravine, because you never know where your enemy is hiding and you don’t want to put yourself out in the open.
5.) Freezeezy Peak – Banjo Kazooie
Snow and ice levels in video games aren’t just about the elements, they’re also about the holidays. Whenever I see snow, I think of Christmas.
The level that reminds me most of the holidays has to be Freezeezy Peak from Banjo Kazooie. This level is full of holiday tropes that make it memorable. There are snowball throwing snowmen, there are presents, there is a giant pine tree with lights, and let’s not forget about the giant snowman in the middle of the stage. All these things combined make this level a standout in the series.
In addition to the holiday items, there is a sense of cold in the level. You are attacked by frozen ice blocks, can’t touch the water, and get to transform into a walrus.
4.) Frost Walrus Stage – Mega Man X4
Speaking of walrus’ it’s time for the obligatory Mega Man entry on my list. This time I’m talking about the Mega Man X series.
There are several ice/snow themed stages in the Mega Man universe. The first has to be Ice Man, but to hell with those disappearing blocks. My favorite is Frost Walrus’ stage from Mega Man X4.
This level perfectly captures the sense of frigid cold that you feel in the elements.
In the level you see other Megaman X Mavericks in the background. I saw Chill Penguin and Blizzard Buffalo in the level and guess what? They are frozen solid! Any stage that has old frozen bosses in the background, is a winner in my book.
3.) Sherbet Land – Mario Kart 64
You may think Cool Cool Mountain is the best snow level from the Mario series, but that honor goes to Sherbet Land from Mario Kart 64. It has the best music in the series and is a ton of fun.
In this level you race across icy terrain into a cave full of sliding penguins who will seriously screw up your lap if you’re not careful.
Besides the penguins, Sherbet Land is famous for the cracks in the ice. There are several turns on the ice that you need to make. Smart players will take the long way around, but fortune favors the bold who attempt to jump the ice cracks and take a shortcut.
2.) Hoth – Shadows of the Empire
I don’t know why they call it Hoth, they should call it “Coldth”.
All joking aside, Shadows of the Empire is a terrific Star Wars game for the Nintendo 64. The game received mixed reviews, but the standout level was the first one on Hoth.
In this level you take place in the epic battle on Hoth from the movies as you destroy enemies with your blasters and take down AT-ATs and AT-STs. This was one of the first cinematic Star Wars games, and made you feel like a part of the action.
Words can’t describe how amazing it felt to trip AT-ATs up and make them fall down. The Atari 2600 Star Wars game knew this was the best scene to recreate and so did Shadows of the Empire. It made anyone feel like a badass on this frozen planet.
1.) Siberia – TimeSplitters 2
Siberia was many gamers introduction to the TimeSplitters franchise. That’s because not many people played the first TimeSplitters game, and it kinda sucked.
In Siberia, a secret underground research facility unearthed specimens from thousands of years ago. After several ‘accidents’ the facility was abandoned and the Russian military took over. You must stop the research and stop the military from creating biological weapons.
I love this level because of its versatility. You can play the level guns blazing and shooting everything in sight, or you can attempt to sneak in by cutting off enemy communications and destroying evidence in file cabinets.
In addition, the level changes drastically depending on the difficulty you play it on. On easy the level ends with a face off against mutants, but on hard/normal you need to escape the facility and take down a military helicopter to survive.
It’s the perfect level for any FPS gamer, and my favorite snow/ice level in gaming.
Well 1 More Castle, I think that went okay… stay tuned for my next list in two weeks and thanks for having me back.