Northpole Showdown (Game)

License: Free

Operating Systems: Windows 95, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98

Additional Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP

Limitations: No limitations.

Publisher's description of Northpole Showdown

Santa needs your help. Robots designed to help Santa's elves have gone haywire and are trying to take over the North Pole. You must battle your way to Santa's workshop to warn Santa before it's too late.

A week before Christmas, a shifty elf named Clancy introduces Santa's helpers to a new crew of robots, designed to assist in toy production. Unfortunately, the robots quickly turn on their elf masters, threatening to destroy Christmas for everyone. With Santa holed up in his workshop, it's up to elves Panza and Elfington to save the holiday. This Flash-based 2D platform game for one or two players is absolutely free, although there's less than an hour's worth of actual gameplay.

As wiry Elfington (single-player mode) or with sturdy Panza (two-player mode), you move around a 2D world and battle waves of Peppermint Wasps and Mistletoe Parasites with one standard attack move. As you defeat robots in your journey, your adrenaline meter rises, allowing you to perform advanced moves such as uppercuts, sprints, and two kinds of power attacks. At the end of each level is a humorously inspired boss, such as the Christmas Beaver Furnace Robot.

The story is original, the graphics are cute, and the price is definitely right--but don't expect a full-fledged adventure. There are only four levels, environments are flat, the only sound is MIDI music, and winning fights with the robots is mostly child's play. However, as far as Christmas-themed quickie games go, Northpole Showdown still rates as one of the best of the year.

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