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Feature: Feel All Festive with These Unforgettable PlayStation Snowscapes

Posted by Sammy Barker

Ice weather for it

The weather outside is dreary, but your consoles can be so cheery. And since there’s nowhere you’d rather be, turn on your PSone, PS2, and PS3. Alright, it doesn’t quite fit, but you get the idea. Over the years, the various PlayStation platforms have played host to a veritable wonderland of snowy scenes, so to celebrate the season (and fill some time while the gaming industry goes on annual hiatus), we’ve compiled some of our favourites from the past three console generations. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Akmir Rig – Killzone 3

With its predecessors criticised for being way too grey, Guerrilla Games made a conscious effort to mix up the environments encountered in Killzone 3. Throughout the course of its Helghan-hopping campaign, you were encouraged to traipse through the tropical backdrop of an oversaturated jungle and also push through an icy Helghast operated industrial estate. Armed with a short sleeve shirt, scarf, and jet-pack, however, the inclement weather didn’t prove a problem for protagonist Sev. As for the orange-eyed antagonists, well, they got a spot of brain-freeze from our ice cold bullets.

Bullworth Academy – Canis Canem Edit

Boarding school is often compared to a prison sentence, and Rockstar Games’ underrated Canis Canem Edit (also known as Bully) found you carrying out the kind of menial tasks that those punished with community service may otherwise have to endure. Kitted out with a knitted reindeer pullover, one memorable section of the educational escapade sees freckled anti-hero James ‘Jimmy’ Hopkins shovelling snow as a penalty for punching a couple of snotty-nosed prefects in the face. Just wait until they get a taste of our trademark yellow snowballs.

Himalayan Mountains – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Accompanied by a slick sheepskin overcoat and a mute assistant named Tenzin, the icy caverns of the Himalayan Mountains represent one of the many unforgettable environments that Nathan Drake encounters in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Maintaining developer Naughty Dog’s penchant for a spot of bad weather across multiple console generations [Keep reading – Ed], this co-operative platforming sequence actually served as the inspiration for The Last of Us’ two-player dynamic. Unfortunately for voice actor Nolan North’s alter-ego, things go from bad to worse when he uncovers a tree-sap powered yeti.

Ice Cavern – Final Fantasy IX

Arguably one of the more attractive environments on this list, Final Fantasy IX’s obscured Ice Cavern is so picturesque that closet agricultural swot Garnet can’t help but observe the area’s indigenous plant life. Host to the first of a trio of top-hatted antagonists named the Black Waltzes, however, the crystal passageway doesn’t quite offer the sanctuary that it first appears to. And don’t even get us started on the abominable sealion.

Merqury City Meltdown – SSX

A game that’s practically brimming with snowy settings, Merqury City Meltdown is arguably the most memorable of the lot. Originally appearing in EA Big’s frosty PS2 launch title – and again in sequel SSX Tricky – the downhill ice jam is filled to the brim with shortcuts for you to uncover. Set in the chilly parts of the United States’ famous East Coast, the urban circuit includes a number of cool sub-activities for you to complete – including obstructing the vehicles on the second freeway overpass. As if the traffic in Manhattan wasn’t already bad enough.

Shadow Moses – Metal Gear Solid

Arguably one of the most famous snow stages in PlayStation history, the murky Shadow Moses doubled as an on-the-nose metaphor for Metal Gear Solid’s cold war setting. Chock-a-ice-block with stockpiled missiles, nuclear warheads, corrupt political characters, and the infamous Metal Gear REX, the wintery district proved a perfect backdrop for Solid Snake’s espionage antics. Plus, the Alaskan island was so bitterly cold that soldiers stationed in the region had to be injected with peptides in order to prevent the blood from freezing in their veins. Brrr.

Snow Go – Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

What good would a platformer be without a snow stage to flesh out its roster of unique locales? It took a sequel to send Naughty Dog’s badass mascot slip slidin’ away, with Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back’s brilliant Snow Go level replacing the tropical climes of the original game for something a little more chilled out. In addition to a thriving crop of Wumpa Fruit, the environment saw our intrepid hero battling against the local wildlife, with penguins and seals proving a particularly unpleasant threat. Still, despite the cold weather, there was no way that our furry friend would be seen dead wearing a shirt.

Snowy Mountain – Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

Unlike in its previous PlayStation property, Naughty Dog wasted no time freezing new heroes Jak & Daxter to the skin. Accessible pretty early on in The Precursor Legacy, the blustery Snowy Mountain is set atop a, well, snow-capped mountain. Curiously located next to a Volcanic Crater, the chilly district is home to an enormous infestation of Lurkers, governed by the maniacal Glacier Troops. Swat them all and you’ll secure a Power Cell, but you’ll need to watch your footing, because the ice proves a much greater adversary for our daring double-act’s slippery slabs of meat.

Winterhold – The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim

Skyrim, the freezing region set to the north of Tamriel, is full of dusted mountains and icy caverns, but the deserted settlement of Winterhold is perhaps the most memorable snow covered city in the entire game. Home to the appropriately named Frozen Hearth inn, the location also plays host to a castle-like college, where wannabe sorcerers attend to learn the art of magic among scholars and master wizards. Admittedly, it hasn’t quite got the intrigue of Hogwarts, but it’s endearing in its own dilapidated way.


Are you feeling pretty chilled out after taking a tour through some of PlayStation’s more memorable snowy settings? What are some of your frosty favourites from games gone by? Huddle by the fire in the comments section below.

Which of the following is your favourite PlayStation snowscape? (25 votes)

Akmir Rig – Killzone 3

  4%

Bullworth Academy – Canis Canem Edit

  4%

Himalayan Mountains – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

40%

Ice Cavern – Final Fantasy IX

  0%

Merqury City Meltdown – SSX

  4%

Shadow Moses – Metal Gear Solid

8%

Snow Go – Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

  0%

Snowy Mountain – Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

  4%

Winterhold – The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim

28%

Something else

8%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (12)

BornOfEvil

#2

BornOfEvil said:

The Last of Us gets my vote, the part where you get to play as Ellie and fight what's-his-name and his group of hunters. I can't believe this was left out.

Splat

#8

Splat said:

I actually went with Winterhold from Skyrim. I could almost feel the cold air blowing.

Or maybe I just left my window open...

Beaston61

#11

Beaston61 said:

They are all epic! What to pick?
I had to go for MGS: the first game I played that featured snow! Footprints, cold breath out of Snake's mouth !!!!
"Huh! Who's footprints are these ?!"
Back then, I had never played anything like it!
I must of sunk like 50 hours just in the demo.

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