Ice Climber (universe)
The Ice Climber universe (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series's collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's old, classic NES game Ice Climber, released in 1985. The game was one of several classic NES games that HAL Laboratory was considering bringing back to modern attention by including it in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it won out over the other games to include the Ice Climbers as playable characters.
Interestingly, it has made two crossovers with the Balloon Fight universe: the alternate music for Icicle Mountain, simply called Balloon Fight, and the fish that is a regular enemy when the iceberg drops into the water in The Summit.
In January 1985, one of the various original video games developed by Nintendo's Research and Development division for the Japanese Famicom was Ice Climber, as part of a stream of similarly "one-shot" games released in rapid succession in late 1984 and early 1985 (other games included Clu Clu Land, Excitebike, and Balloon Fight, which incidentally was released just a week earlier). It was the first game programmed by Kazuaki Morita, who went on to become the main programmer on the industry-defining Super Mario Bros. later that year, and became a prolific programmer for multiple titles in the Mario and Zelda series, as well as for Star Fox 64. Like the other aforementioned Famicom games released before the world famous debuts of the Mario and Zelda series, Ice Climber was not necessarily any kind of breakout hit, and was never chosen as a recipient for sequels or follow-ups. The game was also arguably overshadowed by Super Mario Bros. when both games were among the fairly extensive launch library for the Famicom's Western equivalent, the NES. Nonetheless, the game can be said to have a particularly significant background role in Nintendo's early release timeline because Morita described his work on the game as a "warm-up" before becoming a main programmer on Super Mario Bros.
A little-known arcade version of Ice Climber entitled Vs. Ice Climber was released in the same year, which included some different stages and mechanics changes, but otherwise, Ice Climber remained an isolated, historical relic from the early years of the Famicom/NES. Sixteen years later, however, Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. crossover fighting game series selectively picked its main characters, the Ice Climbers, as a playable character choice representing an exclusively "retro" game series among a sea of Nintendo characters well-known in Nintendo's modern lineup of IPs. The appearance of the Ice Climbers in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee - which developer HAL Laboratory chose over other retro NES games such as Balloon Fight and Kid Icarus - spurred on multiple rereleases of their game in a variety of formats, such as for the e-Reader, a Game Boy Advance cartridge, and the Virtual Console feature of the Wii, the 3DS, and the Wii U. Despite the Ice Climbers reappearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, though, there have never been any announced plans to produce some kind of modern-day follow-up.
In Ice Climber, the player controls a child in a blue Eskimo parka and wielding a mallet, Popo, and in a two-player cooperative mode, a second, female Ice Climber in a pink parka, Nana, becomes a simultaneous second player-character. The Ice Climbers are motivated into jumping up through vertical, platform-heavy "glacial mountain" stages when all of their vegetables are stolen by a giant condor that retreats to the top of each stage, and along the way, they must smash blocks of ice either by jumping into them from underneath or using their mallets. In addition to randomly forming ice stalactites that fall down from above, several varieties of enemies native to the mountains threaten to reduce an Ice Climber's limited stock of lives: a flying bird named the Nitpicker, an upright-walking Polar Bear that wears pink shorts and sunglasses, and a Topi, which was famously changed from a seal to a rotund, yeti-like creature in the Western version, perhaps to avoid potential accusations of endorsing animal cruelty (in that the game depicts humans bludgeoning live seals for a point reward). The upper half of every stage is an enemy-free "bonus" stage in which the Ice Climbers have the opportunity to navigate a tricky set of platforms, collect vegetables for points, and potentially jump up to and grab the condor's talons at the mountain peak, all for a massive point bonus.
Ice Climber is a franchise first introduced in the Smash series in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it features a standard universe's worth of content from the franchise.
Melee features one stage based on the Ice Climber game. Two other stages, however, were left unfinished, though their data is still on the disc.
Melee features some easily KO'ed enemies hailing from the Ice Climber universe.
Full Trophy List
The Ice Climbers return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl with little change other than a huge graphical improvement and a new stage in place of Icicle Mountain.
The Ice Climbers are not playable in Super Smash Bros. 4. Masahiro Sakurai originally planned to include them in the game, but ultimately removed them, as the Nintendo 3DS did not have the power to run them, and Masahiro Sakurai did not want the Wii U to have an exclusive character.
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