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SummaryDecent mid-90s adventure game, but not without faults...
The GoodFor its time, "Prisoner of Ice" offered a slightly darker adventure game experience compared to other available titles. The premise is pretty simple: You are Ryan, a British intelligence officer who, during a mission to the South Pole, gets entangled in a Nazi plot to set the nefarious "Prisoners of Ice," the Great Old Ones, free. Although the story uses many elements from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, including the Necromonicon, the game mostly finds its inspiration from the Chaosium roleplaying games. Anyone looking for an authentic Lovecraft gaming experience will probably be disappointed.
The game is structured as any other 90s adventure game, absolutely no surprise there. The puzzles are fairly average, and even novice adventure gamers shouldn't have too hard a time. The times I got seriously stuck was mostly because you had to retrieve an item which was only a pixel wide and which are impossible to spot without examining every inch of the screen with the cursor.
One of the game's strengths is the music, a fairly decent orchestral score which was above average for its time and fit well in with the game's sort of dark, menacing setting. The art is overall pretty decent as well. Especially the images in the cutscenes are good, they are lavish and do a good job in capturing the Lovecraftian mood. Definitely one of the highlights.
The BadWhile the voice-acting is tolerable, it is by no means great. Some of the characters have unbelievably annoying voices, such as Driscoll... the voice actor sounds incredibly uninspired and bored, I wonder what his problem was.
A major fault is the fact that many of the puzzles are pretty generic and uninspired. Luckily "pixel hunting" puzzles (as described above) are few, but you get the feeling that they are deliberately planted in segments where the developers had run out of ideas. Throughout the game there are also a few combination puzzles, the kind where you have to arrange things in the right order. Again, these seem to be placed in a manner so you feel as if the developers were running out of ideas (or maybe time). Either way, it sort of takes away the motivation to complete the game.
Overall, I also felt that the game's story seemed a bit too ambitious. It tried to tell too much, but had way too little room to develop. Many of the characters brought in, such as a woman named Diane who accompanies you for a while, serve little function. What's the point of characters unless they add to the story? The fact that the story also tries to build upon the previous Infogrames Cthulhu Mythos based adventure game, "Shadow of the Comet" from 1993, only serves to make matters worse. All this adds up to a confusing story that once you finish the game feels incomplete and unresolved.