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Cover art by John Mattos
|Programmer(s)||Damon Slye, Richard Hicks, Jeffrey Tunnell, Kevin Ryan|
|Genre(s)||Action, vehicle simulation, first-person shooter|
Arcticfox is a 1986 science fiction tank simulation video game developed by Dynamix and published by Electronic Arts. It was published in Europe by Ariolasoft. A sequel to Dynamix's Stellar 7, Arcticfox was developed for the Amiga as one of the platform's first titles but was quickly ported to other platforms including the Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, DOS and Apple IIe. It was one of the first video games rendered from a 3-D first-person perspective and is considered a pioneer of the first person shooter genre. A third game was released in the series in 1991 titled Nova 9: Return of Gir Draxon. Arcticfox's design team at Dynamix also went on to produce The Incredible Machine and Red Baron.
The game is set in a fictional 2005 where aliens have taken over Antarctica in an attempt to steal the Earth's oxygen. The player is sent to eradicate the intruders using a new super tank codenamed Arcticfox.
The player must pilot the tank through a series of levels with the goal of knocking out the main alien communication antennas. The player uses the tank's ability to jump, burrow into the snow, and fire oxygen-based mortars to destroy the aliens' ships and equipment. The Arcticfox tank is equipped with a cannon, guided missiles and land mines, and is outfitted with radar, a GPS device, and fore and aft viewscreens. The player fights a variety of enemy units including planes, tanks, bunkers and communication towers.
The vantage point for the game is the cockpit of the Arcticfox tank. The player can see out of the main viewscreen as well as the tank's sundry features such as the radar screen. The view also shows the character's hand on the joystick which moves in accordance with the tank's movements. Enemy targets are visible on the viewscreens and on radar.
One unusual feature of Arcticfox was the perspective of the player. As well as being able to see the character's hand on the controls (on the Amiga version only), the landscape perspective changes relative to the tank's position. If the Arcticfox is driving along the tilted side of a slope, the landscape tilts relative to the tank's position. This type of dynamic vantage point was ground breaking for a game of the home computer era.
Computer Gaming World called Arcticfox "the first original new [EA game] that uses the distinctive features of the Amiga", calling the graphics and sound "Sensational!". It advised using a joystick instead of the mouse. Compute! also praised the Amiga version, and stated that the game would appeal to those who enjoyed both strategy and arcade action.
In 1996 Computer Gaming World ranked the Amiga version of Arcticfox as the 138th best game of all time, calling it "the seminal 3D polygon-based shooter." The staff of Crash magazine were critical of the ZX Spectrum version of the game, giving it an overall score of 41%.
- Wagner, Roy (May 1986). "Amiga Preferences". Computer Gaming World. p. 36.
- Stumpf, Robert J. (October 1986). "ArcticFox For Amiga". Compute!. p. 64. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "150 Best Games of All Time". Computer Gaming World 148. 1996.
- "Arcticfox". Crash (Newsfield Publications) (55): 20–21. August 1988.