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Armed with nothing but an ice hammer and a thick coat, your job in Ice Climber is to climb 32 multi-leveled mountains. Before you begin the game, you can choose the mountain on which you would like to start. Each mountain is basically a series of platforms, many of them covered in ice. To achieve your mountain-climbing goal, you must break holes in the floors above you so you can jump up to higher and higher platforms. When you make it to the top of each mountain, you will enter a timed bonus round in which you will gather vegetables while jumping up on platforms. If you make it to the top in the bonus round, you1ll get extra points.
While you are scaling the icy slopes (knocking holes in and jumping up on platforms), Toppies will sometimes fill in the holes you have made. Also, Polar Bears will cause avalanches, and Nitpicker birds and other pests will try to knock you off of the mountains. You can clock these creeps with your hammer to remove them from the screen.
You can play Ice Climber by yourself or team up with a friend. If you ascend a mountain too rapidly in the two-player mode, your partner is left behind, biting the proverbial dust. ~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide