Konami‘s Antarctic Adventure was first released on the MSX in 1983 in Japan – coming to Europe and North America later, in 1984.
Antarctic Adventure is a jolly kind of race game where you take control of a cute penguin who must run from stage to stage, avoiding pits and obstacles and making it to the finish line before the timer runs out.
The movement of the penguin takes some getting used to. You have to gain speed by missing obstacles, and re-gain your lost momentum if you hit anything. Once you do get the hang of it, though, you’ll probably have no problem completing the first batch of stages – Antarctic Adventure isn’t particularly challenging. You can catch fish for bonus points, but other than dodging seals and cracks in the ice there’s not much else to do.
Antarctic Adventure is fondly remembered by older gamers, but doesn’t have much in terms of substance. And the game never ends: when you complete a stage you continue on and on at an increasing difficulty. I wonder what the furthest anyone has ever got in the game…
A sequel – called Penguin Adventure followed in 1986.
The penguin in Antarctic Adventure later featured in other Konami games (Parodius springs to mind) and was given the name “Penta”, although was un-named in this game. Penta became a mascot for Konami during the 1980s.