Christmas is one of my most favourite holidays in the year, so when I see video games that are Christmas-themed I jump at the chance to play them. I’ve collected several titles for the Atari 2600 but Christmas Carol Vs. The Ghost of Christmas Presents is my first for an Intellivision, so I was very happy to see this title being released for the system.
So, what is the mission on Christmas Carol vs. the Ghost of Christmas Presents? Saving Christmas, of course! You play the role of Carol Greenleaf, an elf who has been tasked by Santa Claus to recover the presents the Evil Snowman has stolen from his shop. The Evil Snowman has taken the games into Frozen Ice-Cube Caverns in the Himalayas so this is where you must go to accomplish your task. But, the Evil Snowman is not alone! The Ghost of Christmas Presents has been recruited by the Evil Snowman so he may haunt the caverns and protect the presents. The Ghost tends to be somewhat distracted but he certainly pays attention when the presents are taken. His touch does not kill Carol but it will take any presents you’ve recovered back into the caverns forcing you to start again. Of course, the Evil Snowman doesn’t leave the Ghost to do all the work by himself. After his chilling howl, the Evil Snowman enters the caverns seeking Carol to change her into an elfsickle! Yes, if the Evil Snowman touches Carol she is frozen solid and crumbles to the ground. Thankfully, Santa’s magic will thaw her back so she may continue trying to save Christmas; however, Santa’s magic will only work a limited number of times. As if it weren’t enough, the Evil Snowman also has reprogrammed the toy, the Toy of Mischief 3000 (a.k.a, T.O.M.BOT 3K) to spread mischief around. Carol must be careful with him and not let his cute demeanour trick her.
To assist you on this mission, the caverns have been filled with magical snowflakes that let you pass through the Ghost of Christmas Presents without losing the presents you’ve recovered and that temporarily disorient the Evil Snowman. This gives you an opportunity to avoid their touch and safely keep on collecting presents. Elves love candy and there is plenty of bon-bon candy Carol can pick up as she moves through the caverns for extra points. Should Carol pick up all the objects on each cavern without being frozen, she is awarded bonus points.
Christmas Carol vs. the Ghost of Christmas Presents is not just a great holiday game for the Intellivision, it is a fantastic title for the system. You know you have a winner when you turn on the game, the LTO logo appears and then a beautifully rendered title screen appears with a Christmas tree (that has blinking lights) and presents while “Carol of the Bells” plays in the background. From the title screen you go to a menu screen where you are given the option to play the game in practice mode or to simply start the game. If you decide to go into practice mode, know that you can practice all but the final level of the game. That one you will need to figure out once you get there. If you make it to this level, you are awarded an extra chance to complete your mission and to save Christmas. The scoring system for the game is interesting as it can only display four numbers at a time. Should you score higher than 9,999, the score changes colour to indicate that you have jumped to the 10,000’s. The score continues to change colour every time you start at the next 10,000 points (i.e., 20K, 30K, etc.). Christmas Carol vs. the Ghost of Christmas Presents also boasts some rather amusing intermissions very two levels. In these you can see the mischief of the Ghost of Christmas Presents as well as other things that will definitely make you smile. I know I smile when I see them. The game has very colourful graphics and good sound but lacks the one thing that I feel would make it perfect: in-game Christmas music! If you clear all the objects on a screen, you do get treated to a Christmas tune, though.
Christmas Carol vs. the Ghost of Christmas Presents is a title everyone with an Intellivision should get. It’s so good that I think you can play this game all year long just for the fun of it!
One of the best games available on the Intellivision.