Winter Camp, Commodore 64

Winter Camp is the 1992 sequel to the popular Summer Camp. Both were ‘auteur pieces’ on the Commodore 64, with John D. Ferrari doing design, programming, and graphics on both releases.

Maximus Mouse once again returns, this time as a “Rescue Ranger” operating across eight different winter-themed stages, ranging from ice skating, to boating, skiing, and more.

What Maximus is trying to do in Winter Camp is rescue his friends from various meanies who have taken over at Camp Nice ‘N’ Icy.

The first stage is a joystick-waggling ice skating game, which is super annoying if you dislike joystick waggling games. As I do. Even more annoying is: after making you do it three times (to past a ‘test’) it no longer becomes part of the gameplay… The second stage features Maximus ice skating, without having to waggle the joystick (thank God), but it does make me wonder what Mr. Ferrari was thinking, putting this inane joystick-waggler at the very beginning of the game… If ever you’re going to include a joystick-waggling section in your game, bury it somewhere deep… No one really wants it… 😉

During the second stage (Ice Patrol) you skate from left to right and pick up items along the way, to help navigate certain obstacles. Picking up a spring allows Maximus to jump over water, for example, and running into snowmen gives you snowballs, which you need to stop certain enemies from hitting you. And there’s a boss fight at the end of this stage too, which requires bombs to get past.

The third stage is a snowball fight target game; stage four a river patrol; stage five an ice cavern musical note memory game; stage six a ski patrol level; stage seven is a downhill roll inside a giant snowball; and the final stage is a climb up the side of a mountain and a boss battle with a large bird at the top.

Winter Camp is beautifully-presented and extremely varied for a 64K game. Mr. Ferrari has also utilised some clever programming techniques to put graphics in the border area, which is not normally possible on a C64, and his graphics in general are colourful and well-drawn throughout.

Winter Camp is charming and playable enough to still warrant some attention today.

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