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THE ARCHIVE 2011-2015

Arcade Games That Time Forgot: Snow Bros. 2

This article originally appeared on GamePro.com.

Arcade Games That Time Forgot is a feature about weird, brilliant, kooky, terrible, or just interesting arcade games. Why just arcade games? Because while arcades gave us plenty of amazing games that are now classic franchises, it wasn't unlike the PC market, where any ol' group of people could make and distribute them, and with that sort of freedom, crazy ideas had a better chance of making it through. And for better or worse, quite a few did.

Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves (Hanafram, 1994)

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Maybe you remember Snow Bros. It was most prominent as an NES game published by Capcom, but it started as an arcade game by Toaplan, makers of many legendary shoot-em-ups. Wikipedia records Snow Bros. 2 as Toaplan's final game, which seems like an odd swan song after years of sweet-ass shooters -- all on the opposite end of the "cute" scale as Snow Bros., mind you -- but it really isn't so weird for a game with such a weird gameography to begin with.

If you don't remember Snow Bros., or are at least foggy about it, let me educate you: It's Bubble Bobble where the screen moves in the other direction (up). You use your attack to ensnare enemies and then use it to mow down the rest of the enemies, hopefully creating an explosion of fancy treats and trinkets before moving on to the next stage.

In the original Snow Bros., you were just the Snow Bros., Nick and Tom; a couple of identical, rotund, animated snowmen (snowboys?). In the sequel, you can choose from a variety of funny characters such as th--

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Oh son of a bitch.

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Augh!

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Why! Whyyy?!

Well, despite all of... that, Snow Bros. 2 is actually pretty normal. It's a nicely done sequel to the original, but it's not much more than that. The big thing is that you can play with four players simultaneously, but the game isn't too hard on your own, either. Like Bubble Bobble, it's basically an endurance run to see how many stages you can get through before you finally start to slip up or grow bored.

The characters have their own unique elemental properties -- they don't all shoot snow -- but their attacks don't change up the gameplay that much. Given that, I found it odd that you can all choose identical characters if you want. Again, Snow Bros. 2 isn't terrible, but it falls into the trap of a lot of other arcade sequels that were only "sequels" as a method to extend the longevity of the series, in the off chance that someone had a Snow Bros. game languishing in their arcade forever (certainly more common in Japan than anywhere).

In closing, a safety tip: don't rescue princesses near train tracks.

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