You play the role of Lt. Ryan in a mystery filled with suspense and horror. The journey begins on the submarine Victoria as you battle an alien foe with words given to you by an injured comrade. You must defeat Cthulhu and save the world from this supernatural beast of incredible powers!
Prisoner of Ice is based on the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and, as such, has many twists and turns as you advance through the game. Action takes a back seat to the puzzles and mysteries you must solve but that's not to say the game can't be exciting. The many emergencies and encounters with Cthulhu prove to be very exciting.
Your adventure begins on the Victoria when the ship is attacked and the cargo hold catches on fire. This, in turn, causes the frozen boxes to melt and release the Cthulhu monster. To combat the menace, you must travel throughout the submarine to find various objects and solve many puzzles. Unfortunately, this presents a problem since, at times, solving certain conundrums and finding some of the objects proves very difficult and you can't advance in the game until you complete the tasks.
Most of the objects are fairly easy to discover but some require close investigation. For example, the flare gun in the Victoria isn't readily recognizable and you have to use a key to unlock a latch that surrounds it. Only after picking the item up did it dawn on me what its identity truly was!
Another problem was an instance where my player took a hatchet to the electrical box for the torpedo room hatch. As part of the puzzle, you must then re-route the electricity to wires that haven't been damaged. There is no clue from any character in the story regarding this necessary action nor can the information be found in the manual.
So, puzzles and items that are difficult to find and solve hinder your mission and often leave you in the same position for days. Once you discover what to do or find a necessary object, the action moves along fairly fast but you'll get stuck often and no documentation comes with the game to help you with these problems.
One of the best aspects of the game is the storyline -- it starts out very normal but certainly doesn't end up that way. In the beginning, you may think you're involved in a military game that requires you to battle ships with your submarine but the game is much more complicated. The two constants are you, Lt. Ryan, and Cthulhu. Everything else changes, as with each area you explore you'll find new characters, locations to search and items.
Once you finish an area, you move on to the next one and start again with new puzzles and no items. This continues until the end of the game when you must defeat Cthulhu. In Prisoner of Ice, the story takes precedence over the action and it requires skill to complete each level.
The puzzles in the game are not always easy and the levels get more diverse as you advance. You may find yourself consulting online walkthroughs for help in order to complete certain areas. While this may be frustrating, the challenge factor is certainly a plus for the game. While some games have a great storyline, often they are so easy to figure out and play it makes you wish you were just reading a book. Conversely, Prisoner of Ice offers good gameplay and scenes of action that require quick thinking.
As an example of gameplay, the first action scene occurs when you face Cthulhu on the Victoria. The phrase you recorded from Hamsun proves to be the fatal blow for this beast and then you must use the recorder on Lt. Ryan. The alien disappears into thin air but it won't be the last time you'll go head to head with Cthulhu by any means.
If you're a fan of H. P. Lovecraft's writings, Prisoner of Ice is a great game for your collection. The hours of gameplay may be prolonged by the many times you find yourself stuck in certain areas but, once you figure out what to do, the game moves quite quickly.
Prisoner of Ice doesn't need to be installed on your computer and simply makes a directory for the saved games. This saves you time and space on your computer, yet doesn't sacrifice good graphics and extended gameplay. The game combines a really good story with decent gameplay, good graphics and decent sound. Patience and perseverance is the key to defeating Cthulhu.
Graphics: If you view the game in high-resolution mode, characters appear surprisingly lifelike but short. The scenery changes often and varies greatly from a submarine to a Nazi book stronghold. Certainly not the most amazing graphics but they're perfect for the game.
Sound: The game boasts a good musical score that lasts 70 minutes and complements the action well. The rest of the sounds aren't very noticeable and are fairly average. Cthulhu has an interesting "roar" and the characters' voices reflect adequate acting performances.
Enjoyment: It's a fun game to play until you come across part of your journey you can't figure out. Once this happens, you can be in the same location for days and be tempted to stop. Luckily, online tutorials and walkthroughs are available. When the game is moving, it's very fun to play and has a great plot.
Replay Value: Playing the game is like reading a book except you control the action. Since you can't miss items during play, you'll have less of a reason to replay the game. Finding all items is necessary for advancement so, if you complete the game, no problems are left unsolved.
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