Prisoner of Ice
Following on from the outrageously successful Alone in the Dark trilogy, Infogrames has decided to press on relentlessly with its continuing theme of releasing games designed to scare the hell out of everybody with the impending release of Prisoners of Ice. Infogrames' obsession with H.P. Lovecraft is again evident (the game is based on his novel The Mountains of Madness) as it was in its early hit Shadow of the Comet, another game based around Lovecraft's works. However, if you're expecting a Shadow of the Comet look-alike with a slightly different theme, you're in for a hell of a surprise.
Prisoners of Ice, not to put too fine a point on it, looks absolutely incredible. The hand-painted backgrounds are superb and the graphics in general are very detailed. But what caught my eye the most when I first saw the game is the movement of the characters. All the characters move round the game environment as smoothly and naturally as though they were real people. This is not such a surprise considering that the characters movements are all generated using a new graphic creation technique called Motion Capture, which uses the movements of real actors as a basis for the movements of the characters in the game.
Infogrames claims this is the first time real actors have been used to generate movement for characters in adventure games, although I seem to remember a certain platform game called Prince of Persia which claimed to do the same thing. Either way, ground-breaking and revolutionary or not, Prisoners of Ice looks stunning, and judging from the sneak preview we had in the office, it looks as though the gameplay will be up to the usual high standard we have come to almost take for granted from Infogrames' adventure games. The plot, for example, is as tense and gripping as you would expect from a game based on a H.P. Lovecraft novel. Here's the lowdown...
Nazis and tentacled thingies
If you want to produce a game with a story line full of nastiness and all types of under hand monkey business going on, bringing the Nazis into it is a pretty safe bet. Prisonei of Ice not only has Nazis in it, it also has monsters which can safely be described as being even nastier than German people.
The adventure begins in the Ahenerbe, a secret Nazi military base in the South Pole. Stranded on this base are: Peter Hamsun, a famous explorer; his son Bjorn; and a Navy commando called O'Leary. The trio have just been watching the 100th re-run of The Great Escape on telly when young Bjorn, all of a sudden, has a brainwave: "Let's tunnel through the ice and make a daring escape," he says to the others. "Don't talk crap, son," his father says, "it would take bloody ages, and anyway, we don't have anything to make a tunnel with." Undeterred, Bjorn scours the room for suitable tunnelling implements. "What about that fork over there?" he says hopefully. "Shut up or I'll kill you!" O'Leary shouts excitedly. "Let's just grab those three crates over there marked 'top secret', jump on that dog sled conveniently left outside the door by the Nazis, and bugger off!"
And so it comes to be that the daring, yet incredibly stupid trio, set off into the snow with the mysterious crates to see if they can get help. Not far into their journey, disaster strikes. One of the crates falls off the sled and partially opens up. "Bugger," says O'Leary and jumps off the sled to pick up the crate. As O'Leary approaches the crate a horrible tentacled thingy jumps out, bops him one and drags him down into the ice. Disturbed at this alarming turn of events, Hamsun decides to investigate. As he nears the crate, O'Leary (or at least what is left of him), jumps out and grabs him and pulls him down into the ice with him. Bjorn gets shit scared, grabs the remaining two crates and pisses off into the snow as fast as his legs will carry him. Bjorn bumps into a group of British soldiers who take him back to their submarine, the H.M.S. Victoria. As the boy tells his horrific tale to the fascinated soldiers, an American agent is listening with particular interest. His name is Ryan. He doesn't understand half of what the kid is going on about but what he does know is, something must be done.
You play Ryan as he sets off in search of the tentacled thingies and tries to find out whatever it is the Nazis are up to.
Prisoners of Ice is choc-a-block with impressive features. All 40 characters in the game act and move in eight directions. There are numerous gameplay locations, from the Nazi military base to the Falkland Islands, Buenos Aires, Tihuanoco and even Ills-mouth (the location for the original Shadow of the Comet game). In addition there are 70 whole minutes of superb backing music (the soundtrack for the game is one of the best I've ever heard); an auto-save option, which brings you back to where you where if you have the misfortune to cock up and get killed; and the cd has both vga and svga versions of the game. Also, as you would expect from a cd adventure, all the characters will have voice-overs. I can't vouch for how good (or bad) these will be because in the preview version I saw, all the characters were speaking in French. However, judging by the overall feel of the game, you can expect the English voiceovers to be as good as the rest of the product.
Download Prisoner of Ice
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode