Activision was always known for making high quality games for
the 2600. Their blend of beautiful graphics and
interesting yet easy to understand gameplay, made them mainstays
of most people's 2600 libraries. Frostbite is no exception
to this rule. Part Q*Bert, part Frogger, Frostbite has you
playing the role of Frostbite Bailey who must build an igloo to
take shelter in before the temperature falls to 0. So how
do you build an igloo? By jumping on ice flows of
Ok, so that part doesn't make too much sense, but somehow jumping on one each of the four ice flows will make a brick of your igloo appear (maybe Bailey is cutting cubes out of the ice?). Once you jump on a flow it will turn blue and you must jump on another flow to get your block. After jumping on all four flows they will once again turn white and you can jump on them for more blocks. It takes 16 blocks to make your igloo.
It wouldn't be much of a game if Bailey was allowed to build is igloo unmolested now would it? Thankfully there's a wide variety of wildlife just waiting to molest Bailey (wait that didn't come out right...). Bailey's enemies include Snow Geese, King Crabs, and Killer Clams (seriously!) all of which move across the flows just waiting to push Bailey off or kill him outright (I said those clams were killers!). Oddly enough there really isn't much difference between the enemies other than their looks, except that the Crabs and Clams will pause in their motions to bob up and down while the geese always fly straight across. Bailey has no defense against these enemies so he must simply avoid them. Starting on level four a polar bear will begin roaming the top area near the igloo. Bailey must carefully avoid the polar bear when attempting to get into his igloo, although he can hide of the far left side of the screen in an emergency.
Frostbite Bailey does have one trick his sleeve though. He can manipulate the direction of the ice flows using the special powers granted to him by his ancestors (or Steve Cartwright). Pressing and holding the fire button will cause the direction of all the ice flows to reverse, but will cost you a block from the igloo unless it's already complete. Reversing the flows is useful when you're trapped on the edges of the screen or the next flow is out of reach, but it's best to use this power sparingly or you'll undo more of the igloo than you build.
After completing four levels the screen will change to night time. Building an igloo at night doesn't seem to change anything other than give the level a new look. After four night levels the game will once again switch to day time. Be on guard in later levels because there are expanding and shrinking squares in the ice flows. When the squares of the flows move apart Bailey can fall in the water, so watch out! Another thing to watch out for are fish that appear amongst the enemies. These fish can be grabbed for bonus points, but don't be greedy as after grabbing 12 fish they will no longer appear until the next level. Speaking of fish, after completing 20 levels a 'magic fish' icon will appear next to your score. This serves no real purpose other than to show that you've mastered the game and can probably stop playing now (seriously, everyone is worried about you).
Frostbite was released about the time when the 2600 market was being inundated with sub-par games by companies trying to make a quick buck. Sadly good games like Frostbite got lost in the shuffle. As a result Frostbite is one of the harder to find Activision 2600 games, although it's far from the rarest (that honor belongs to Cosmic Commuter). Still, Frostbite is well worth seeking out as the gameplay is easy learn but has enough difficulty to keep it from getting boring. Just watch out for those killer clams!