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|Publisher(s)||Capcom, Tengen (Mega Drive version)|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution, horizontal|
The gameplay of Snow Bros. is similar to Bubble Bobble, released in 1986. The game supports up to two players, with each player taking the part of one of two snowmen Nick and Tom. Each player can throw snow at the enemies. The player must throw snow at each enemy until it is completely covered, when it turns into a snowball. An enemy partially covered in snow cannot move until it shakes it off.
Once an enemy has been turned into a snowball, the player can roll it. The snowball will rebound off walls, until eventually shattering against a wall. Any enemies the snowball rolls into are eliminated and other stationary snowballs start rolling when the rolling snowball touches them. If the player manages to take out all of the enemies with kicking one snowball (this one snowball may be used to make others bounce around as well and increase the chances to pull this trick off), money in the form of large green bills will fall from the sky. These disappear in a very short amount of time but are worth 10,000 points each, the most the player can get as a bonus.
Every tenth level there is a boss. Each boss can sustain being hit a number of times. In Sega Mega Drive port, after the 50th level, you play as one of the snow castle princesses.
When a player bowls an enemy over, it may drop a potion bottle. The color of the potion lets the player know what special power-up he or she will acquire:
- Red increases walking speed.
- Blue increases amount of snow thrown, thus making it easier to cover an enemy in snow.
- Yellow increases the distance that snow can be thrown.
- Green causes your character to inflate like a balloon while having the ability to fly around screen and knock out enemies for a limited period of time.
The effects of the red, blue, and yellow potion wear off after the player loses a life. Also, both the Blue and Yellow Potions increase the power of the snow thrown from either Nick or Tom.
If the player takes too much time to complete a level an evil pumpkin head will come and try to kill the player character. It is invincible but can be stunned and sent to appear somewhere else in the level with snowballs or snow shots. After a short time the evil pumpkin will spawn ghosts that can travel freely through the level and seek the player character. These ghosts can't be killed or stunned, so the player's only hope is to avoid them while eliminating the rest of the enemies to move on to the next screen as soon as possible.
Snow Bros. was ported to the Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System and Mega Drive. Each version was published by a different company in Japan (Toaplan themselves published the Famicom version, while Naxat Soft and Tengen published the Game Boy and Mega Drive versions respectively), while the NES and Game Boy versions were published in North America by Capcom. The Mega Drive version was released exclusively in Japan.
The Game Boy version, titled Snow Bros. Jr., was released on May 24, 1991 in Japan and January 1992 in North America. It is one-player only and changes the story to compensate for this by having one of the titular Snow Brothers be kidnapped while the other sets out to rescue him. Several other aspects of the game were changed due to the technical restrictions of the Game Boy, such as bosses that originally fought in pairs in the arcade version now fight alone and potions are now given different shape due to the Game Boy's lack of color display. The Game Boy version also adds an extra set of 10 levels after the 50 levels adapted from the arcade version are cleared.
The NES version, titled Snow Brothers in North America and Europe, was released on November 1991 in North America and December 1991 in Japan. It features a new story sequence at the beginning which depicts an origin story unique to this version in which Nick and Tom are established to be human princes who were cursed into becoming snowmen by an evil demon named King Scorch.
The Mega Drive version was released on May 28, 1993, is the only console port of the game directly developed by Toaplan themselves. It features a new opening story sequence at the start of the game, as well as 20 additional levels set after the original 50 levels, in which the player switch controls from Nick and Tom, to the twin princesses Puripuri and Puchipuchi, after the Snow Brothers themselves get kidnapped by a new adversary.
Ocean Software's France division had plans to release Snow Bros. on various computer platforms (such as the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST) in 1991, but they were never officially released. A ROM image of the Amiga version was leaked online in 2006.
A sequel was released in 1994 titled Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves, known in Japan as Otenki Paradise: Snow Bros. 2. It was Toaplan's final arcade game, as the company filed for bankruptcy during the game's release. In 2002, a company known as "Syrmex Games" created an arcade game called "Snow Brothers 3 - Magical Adventure".Nick & Tom are now soccer players and shoot soccer balls instead of snowballs. The game features improved graphics and new controls - tilting the Control lever up while shooting a Soccer ball will shoot it directly up in the air, while just pressing the shoot button will launch it forwards, then down.The game is most likely a hack of the original Snow Bros. arcade game, as it runs on similar hardware and features levels very similar to those of the original, despite new graphics and images added to the levels' backgrounds. The game never made it to Arcades, and was Syrmex's first, only, and final arcade game. However, it is available on MAME.