You'd Expect the creator of Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare to present something that'll send shivers down your spine and brown stuff down your legs. Cold Fear does have some genuine scares, but like a dumb teenager in a horror flick wandering down into a dark cellar, you often find yourself cursing the game for its stupidity.
Darkworks' atmospheric action-adventure begins on board a creepy Russian whaling ship caught in a terrible thunderstorm. Your character is Tom Hansen, a US Coast Guard in the wrong place at the wrong time, who's been sent to investigate the sudden loss of radio contact.
First, let's give praise where it's due: the way that the ship constantly rocks from side-to-side, while huge waves lash the sides and torrential rain hurls down onto the decks is truly excellent. The last game I saw such an impressive ship-at-sea effect was in Metal Gear Solid 2, but this is infinitely better -though after a while it does have you almost hurling your guts over the keyboard. Maybe that's a plus point for realism - the world's first seasickness sim?
As you make your way around the ghost ship, you run into the panicky and hostile Russian crew, and witness scenes of grisly dismembered bodies, blood-spattered walls and scattered limbs. Why? Well, you soon meet the real stars of the horror show: a collection of mutated humanoids that lurch and stagger towards you armed with machetes and other weapons, as well as some rather Alien-l ike face huggers and pus-dripping nasties.
It's all competently handled, and the gore really lets fly when you unleash the shotgun, flamethrower, machine gun and other weapons, with headshots exploding bits of brain and crimson goo occasionally splashing the screen with realistic drips. There are some clever twists, such as being able to lure the monsters to the edge of the ship so they're washed overboard, and a harpoon gun that emits a green gas that temporarily has any nearby zombies whirling in undead confusion.
It's a great disappointment then, that Cold Fear is doomed to mediocrity by several annoying elements, the main one being the fiddly control system. This has you controlling Tom with the W, A, S and D keys in third-person, then switching to over-the-shoulder direct-aiming by right-clicking the mouse -frustrating and unintuitive when you're battling several enemies from multiple directions.
No Saving Grace
Then there are the random save points, which just improvise' and seem to happen when they want to - get killed before you encounter one and it's back to the last save point. Unforgiveable. Plus there's the clunky way you interact with objects and items for puzzlesolving, ammo-collecting etc, unsubtly indicated by the word Interaction' lighting up in tho corner of the screen. Rubbish. Cold Fear has a forbidding atmosphere (beginning on a ship and moving to an oil rig), violent blood-letting and superb environmental effects. However, we've seen the same kind of lame puzzles (sodding keycards anyone?) and storylines a billion times before in games such as The Thing, From Dusk Till Dawn etc, etc, and the survival horror experience has recently been done to perfection in Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube. Still, any port in a storm, as they say...
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode