Winter Camp
Copyright/Publisher: Thalamus, Concept, Code & Graphics By: John Ferrari, Music & FX By:
Mark Clements, Loading Screen & Mega Logo By: Andy Roberts, Ice Cavern Concept By:
Richard Showell, Release Year: 1990, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1

It's not just Jerry the mouse (from the crusty old Tom And Jerry cartoons) who's a rodent megastar. Maximus Mouse is back in the sequel to Summer Camp, this time as a Rescue Ranger. We sent MARK 'FURRY ANIMAL LOVER' CASWELL and a lump of very smelly cheese (work out which is which yourselves - Ed) along to Max's home to get the full story.

Winter Camp takes Maximus from the sunny splendour of Camp Wottadump to the very chilly Camp Nice 'N' Icy. After this lunar escapades Max hs been promoted to Rescue Ranger and he certainly has his work cut out for him. An avalanche (that'll be caused by a pebble dislodged by a passing bird!) is threatening the camp and it's up to Max to save the day.

The first oe eight varied game stages sees Max gaining his skating proficiency certificate prior to starting his new job. There are three computer-controlled opponents to beat by gentle joystick waggling.

Once Max is a fully fledged Ranger his next task is to skate across the ice and rescue a set number of stranded creatures - indicated in the status panel above. Also shown is a timer, in the form of a bird. Heading slowly towards a pebble on a distant mountain.

Max realises this will be the cause of the avalanche, but there are plenty of creatures and pitfalls out to stop him reaching the obligatory end-of-level baddie. Useful items can be found along the way: bombs and snowballs can be picked up and lobbed while flags give much-needed extra time.

Frosty the snowman
Stage Three takes Max to the river where his patrol is interrupted by a bunch of mischievous bears. A snowball fight ensues: Max stands facing the top of the screen, and in front of him are loadsa trees, teddies periodically popping up from behind them.

Max is provided with a crosshair and an unlimited supply of snowballs. In true Operation Wolf style he aims the snowballs to knock the bears out of the trees. But a word of warning, the red bears are a priority 'coz they lob snowballs back.

After being turned into a snowman, Max carries on with his patrol in Stage Four. This is another rescue mission, but this time paddling furiously in a canoe is the order of the day. Again the amount of creatures to be saved is specified, and Max can pick up handy items from chests floating in the horizontally scrolling river.

Upon leaving his canoe Max falls thrpugh the ice and winds up in the Ice Cavern of Stage Five. But an old friend is on hand to help: Clyde Radcliffe taps out a tune on the icicles hanging from the ceiling. It's up to Max to copy the tune played so that icicles fall down and make a bridge across a nasty ravine. (Remember the great Megatape demo?)

Slippery slopes
Ski Patrol is Stage Six with Max donning a pair of skis and (yes, you guessed it) rescuing some more creatures. Again, speed is of the essence and Max must reach the end-of-level guardian before the avalanche. But make sure he pauses by lumps in the snow (madam), 'coz they hide items essential to survival (this is a tough old game isn't it, readers?).

But we're in the home straight now with Stage Seven. Max creates his own mini-avalanche when he trips up and goes hurtling armpit over foot down the mountainside, cocooned inside a snowball. There is no-one to rescue on this stage, just get to the bottom of the hill within the time limit.

Finally, Stage Eight sees Max climbing the mountain to retrieve the peeble that will cause so much aggro if left alone. The only trouble is, Max has to go through the big bird (no, noy Big Bird from Sesame Street) to reach it. And this bird plays for keeps, so I hope Max has good medical coverage.

Winter Wonderland
Being the new boy on ZZAP! I haven't played Summer Camp, so the sequel is a pleasant surprise. With eight stages the game will certainly take a long while to complete, but luckily isn't too frustrating - especially with the option to continue on the same level.

The sprites are surprisingly colourful (for the usually blocky C64) and the attention to detail is very impressive. The animation on Maximus and the other character sprites is hilarious - my favourite scene is the meeting between Max and Clyde. Sound is also noteworthy, a good rendition of 'Walking In A Winter Wonderland' accompanies the fast and franic action. Winter Camp gets a big thumbs up from me, rush out and buy it this instant.

Phil
It has to be said, Winter Camo really outclasses its predecessor. Not that Summer Camp was at all bad - John Ferrari did a great job then, creating a fantastic cartoon atmosphere (and a wonderful new hero), but even he admits there was a lack of action.

Winter Camp certainly corrects this, starting off with two brilliantly frantic skating scenes. I love the idea of learning to skate in the first stage, followed by hilarious slippery fun in Stage 2 with its fast, supersmooth scrolling and varied hazards.

As in Summer Camp there are plenty of amusing graphical touches like Maximus being turned into a frozen block after falling down a hole in the ice.

Subsequent stages are drastically varied, requiring different gameplaying skills. Personal favourites include the Op Wolf-style snowball fight and that wonderful cavern scene where Clyde Radcliffe plays tunes on the icicles.

It's not just the slick presentation, gameplay variety and playability that impresses though! Winter Camp is much more than sum of its parts. It has magical wintry charm that will warm your heart, reminding you of many happy days spent playing in the snow. Truly a winter wonderland!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 92%
Continue-level option means multiload isn't a problem. Nice interlevel scenes.
GRAPHICS 94%
Maximus is as cute as ever, undergoing some hilarious stepiece animations throughout the varied, attractive stages.
SOUND 85%
A jolly rendition of 'Winter Wonderland' and good FX.
HOOKABILITY 94%
Simple skating races are a nice introduction, followed by fun-filled skating proper in Stage 2.
LASTABILITY 93%
With strict time limits, the dramatically varied levels are certainly challenging enough, but frustration is avoided thanks to the continue-level feature.
OVERALL 93%
Get your wellies on, this is fun!


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