If you take a glimpse at the gaming message boards you will see the welcomed response Cold Fear has been receiving. It is clear that gamers have been starving for some zombie squashing survival-horror action to combat the resident evil on the Playstation. Cold Fear is an unexpected gift from UbiSoft with a deep sea twist. So get your flashlight, life-jacked, and gravel pills - it's time to submerge into the drama of Cold Fear.

The Game
Cold Fear puts you in the control of Tom Hansen, a member of the 'US Coast Guard.' Tom is sent into stormy weather to investigate a dormant Russian fright boat. In typical game twisting fun, Tom finds much more than anyone could expect. Cold Fear follows the plot through the zombie infected ocean liner to the bowels of a secret operation ocean platform with more loveable mutations to run from. The boat is rocking, the ocean is cold, and I bet the last thing he wanted was to be left with a bunch of brain sucking zombies. It's a good thing he is a man of action!

Controlling Tom Hansen in Cold Fear is pretty straight forward, and luckily it combines two ways of playing which can be toggled on the go. First is the typical 3rd person fixed camera controls like the old 'Resident Evil' series, and the other is the over the shoulder perspective giving you the 1st person experience. Ironically this is more like the new 'Resident Evil' series. Like 'Resident,' Cold Fear is a thrilling lookign to scare you at the best times. The most suspenseful moments usually come when you're fighting a group of mutated freaks and you hear the click of the weapons empty chamber, then you know its time to run. Also like 'Resident,' you will need to keep up on your ammo. Inventory management is important for ammo purposes, but for some reason you can't take extra health packs with you. With limits on ammo and the inability to stockpile health, Cold Fear takes a more realistic approach which makes the player become more cautious.

The creatures you will face in the game range spider like organisms, to mutated dog like creatures, to invisible mutated foes. The coolest part of the game is when the spider like Exocel crawls into a dead body reanimating the dead body to come alive and fight. Similar to the movie franchise Aliens, once you kill the host the little bugger will scamper out and then its time for spider squashing. Cold Fear does a good job with the creatures the created for the game; I only wish they had thrown a few more into the mix.

Combating the zombie mutants can is fairly easy after you learn each enemy's weakness. During the missions you have the chance to pick up documents which help further the plot, but also help by giving you hints to many of the games creatures. Reading everything you come across in Cold Fear is important as well as remembering areas in the game. Cold Fear doesn't provide an in game map, so try to memorize the ship because you'll have back track several times in the game. This is a minor downfall in the games design, but it also keeps you on your toes and immersed.

Cold Fear adds originality, mystery and chaos to a realistic setting. Cold Fear could have been truly groundbreaking, but as the story progresses it slowly falls into familiar plot trappings with biological experiments and crazy scientists. Thankfully the game gives you different options to trek through the piles of dead bodies and an original setting which provides an overall fun experience.

Graphics & Sound
Cold Fear by Darkworks does a excellent job in building atmosphere and creatively constructing environments. However, the lead characters animation and the presentation leave a bit to be desired graphically. Cold Fear lives in the dark corridors of iron walls for most of the game and only really shines when you are in the outdoor areas. The outdoor environments are the prize here, capturing the beautiful and terrifying dark blue ocean storm in all its mastery. The weather effects are on of the best I've seen to date, and really help make this situation come to life. Unfortunately the ying to this yang are the indoor environments that are pretty bland and filled with jaggies?! Oh no! *Note: Cold fear only supports 480p. "720p" was mistake on box.

The audio portion of Cold Fear is excellent at building suspense, but in the same sense it can hinder the experience. The majority of the game is played with little or just a bit of ambiance music until you come into a combat situation, then the heavy metal starts to pump adrenaline in your veins. This is cool to build up the action, but at times you wont see the enemy and the music will start giving you clues that you're about to be attacked. This happens throughout the game, and worse is that the metal stops when the enemies have been killed. so again you can let your guard down rather then being tense all the time. Other then that nuance the game is pretty solid in the audio department.

The main innovative quality about Cold Fear is its setting. This is the first game in my memory that throws the player into a cleverly designed moving environment. Being in the middle of the ocean during a storm is already a stressful situation and adding mutations doesn't help the stress levels. This would be bad in real life, but for a game it's a great setting and a nice change from the haunted houses we are used to in this genre. I'm glad someone thought up this idea, I think it's fresh and innovative.

The moving environments are more than just for show. At any time the oceans waves can burst onto the deck on the ship throwing you overboard, causing you to watch your step and if so hang on for you life. Traveling in an outside area is dangerous which nicely adds to the treacherous indoor areas of the game. Other then the original setting, Cold Fear doesn't do much to move the genre forward. If you have played a Resident Evil game in the past then you should have Cold Fear nailed. They have some unique monsters, but compared to other games like Silent Hill they are a little dull.

Cold Fear has the mojo working on its side, although it wears a little thin once you get a taste of all the bad guys. The concept is great and very cool, I really dug the effects and the way the developer made you feel like you where in the middle of the ocean. If they could have pulled a more original story out of this original setting, Cold Fear would have set the mojo a fire. Neverless we get allot of gore and some intense sequences from the game. The mojo is Cold Mojo, but thats enough to warrant a few slugs towards the forehead of a zombie.

Cold Fear is your standard survival horror title in Resident Evil vein. Although the Darkworks gets points for an original setting, although the plot is just shark food. Cold Fear will provide you with a few hours of suspenseful action, but in the end will end up frozen on your gaming shelf.

Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 7. Final: 7

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | March 29th 2005

Cold Fear
Survival Horror

March 2005