Prisoner of Ice

aka: Call of Cthulhu: Prisoner of Ice, Gevangen in het ijs, Prisoner of Ice: Jashin Kōrin
Moby ID: 376
DOS Specs
Buy on Windows
$5.99 new on Steam
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Description official descriptions

Another game in Infogrames' line of H. P. Lovecraft inspired games started by Alone In the Dark, Prisoner of Ice puts you in the role of Lt. Ryan, an American agent stationed aboard the submarine H.M.S. Victoria on a rescue mission to the Antarctic. The Victoria picks up two mysterious crates during the course of the rescue. Before you know it the Captain is eaten alive by the cargo, a horrific monster with whom you are trapped aboard the submarine. And that's just the start of your problems.

Prisoner of Ice features a very simplified version of the classic adventure game interface, where you can left click with the cursor to operate an object or right click to look at it. The program won't let you do anything with these objects, other than the few appropriate actions needed to advance the game.

Spellings

  • Зов Ктулху: Узник льда - Russian spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

49 People (39 developers, 10 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 31 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 62 ratings with 4 reviews)

Nazis, Norweigans with speech-problems and general weirdness.

The Good
This is a good game. Not great, but good. The best part of it is that it is rather unique. The story is, although at times a bit confusing and rather silly, often good and the atmosphere is very unique and unnerving.The puzzles are ok, but rather easy. I ran into serious trouble only once, when I had to build a gun from to blast a rock into pieces. I don't mind the game being rather easy, though, because I was more into the atmosphere than the gameplay itself. The graphics were good for its time and although it looks a bit plastic nowadays it is still nice to look at (apart from the prisoner-monsters). The part I enjoyed the most, however, was the delirious Norwegian who actually spoke incorrect Swedish, and not Norwegian at all. Instead of saying "Jag har aldrig älskat någon", (I've never loved anyone), the scriptwriter has mixed up å and ä, and thus the Norwegian blurts out "Jag har aldrig älskat nägon" with a rather peculiar accent. Extremely comical if you're Swedish or Norwegian. I never get tired of the poor Norwegian with the bizarre accent.

The Bad
This is a game based on the eerie works of H.P Lovecraft. I am not very familiar with his work, and it is apparent when you play the game that you really ought to know a little about Lovecraft and his work in order to fully understand and enjoy this game. I like horror and mysticism when it is done right, as in Gabriel Knight, for example, but in this game the monsters are just silly and look like plastic toys making ridiculous hissing sounds, and the story is rather weird than mystical, at times it is just downright confusing and quite ill presented. The ending is a catastrophe. An anti-climax if I've ever seen one, without revealing too much. Also, the dialogue... it really isn't that good at all.

The Bottom Line
A H.P Lovecraft game mainly for Lovecraft-fans. I like the game, but I reckon I'd love it if I was into Lovecraft. So if you are interested in his books, read them and then play this game. It ought to be good.

DOS · by Joakim Kihlman (231) · 2004

Do you wanna be a prisoner forever!? Set yourelf free!!

The Good
There was a time when I played adventures. A time when I played science fiction and horror games with great and quite original stories. But, as much as I liked them, they never became one, a trully amazing game with great story, voice talents, adventure spirit, and a touch of class. I tried my luck with "Alone in the Dark" series, and they kept me occupied, but not for too long. Eventually, I would left them behind in the dust of my memories. I was prisoner, a prisoner of my conscience, searching for new and unknown, for life and death, among fire and ice, but nothing came along the way.

So I wandered through the world of reality, searching for the quest that would set me up and focus my sight. With unknown facts, I realized my quest lies in a book, a book of horror. No, not Necronomicon, but something even more unheard - "At the Mountains of Madness". A book was changing me rapidly, changing me fast into something horrible. And before I get to feel my sences, I became A "Prisoner of Ice".

Thus, the story began.

All I knew was my name. I was U.S. Lieutenant Ryan, assigned to help with extraction of two Brittish commandos saving a famous Norwegian anthropologist and explorer, Peter Hamsun. My U-Boat arrived to the extraction point, as I looked upon and saw a German metal bird. Yeah, it was Junkers type of plane better known as Stuka. German pilot started giving us the lead very generously, on which one of the sub crew reacted instantly grabbing machine gun mounted on the U-Boat deck and greeted the pilot. Left wing was destroyed, and the Nazi pilot got a quick briefing about the water temperature on the South Pole. We grabbed the crates marked 'Streng Geheim' that stands for 'Top Secret', loaded 'em, and put to cold as ordered. I reported to captain and we embarked into the depths of coldness.

On our terror, an enemy vessel found us very shortly after, and hit our engine room. The fire started to melt ice in the storage room where the crates were, and something out-of-this-world came from inside them. That thing grabbed our captain, and was ready to check the rest of the crew. By the act of miracle, we succeeded to save the Victoria U-Boat, and survive. But the moment we arrived in the base suited on Falkland Islands, the horror continued.

And so, many adventures and tales were right in front of me, ready to confront me and take my life for granted. The future had no meaning, and the past became the present. All cards lied in the hands of the Nazis, especially one man, the one that had lust for Necronomicon and riding this world of human race and replacing it with the ancient ones, with the prisoners of ice, holding all keys in his hands, he was sure not to fail his belief. But one thing he didn't count on - me! The one that came from the future, to save the past. Yup, it was a bit of shocky to me as well, but I new from the moment I got here, I don't belong here, not in this time, not in this place. My only thing was to prevent the infamous Cthulhu cult of being risen again, and leave all be. Change nothing, but the monsterous creatures to dust.

"Prisoner of Ice" gave me everything I ever expected, actually, it gave me everything but what I expected to get. Easy way to play, not too hard puzzles (which makes this game easy and quick to complete), great voice acting, and an excellent story. In fact, this is my best adventure game, right after "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis". Yeah, that Indiana Jones game was really something, and gives many connections to this game - discover the unknown, nazis all around, and everyone want to become a god. Opposite to Indiana Jones (which have three different endings), when you reach the endgame, you can choose whic end would you like to see. The game has only two, but with very slight difference on animation topic, but rather large in the meaning.

It took me a while to get this game, but then, it was worth every single second I was searching for it. And the day I got it, I came to end, where I was nicely surprised with the music, that was, focusing on the game, quite a relief after the ingame music.

The Bad
I'm not sure wether the game's shortness should be a plus, but they shoud've at least make its playing length as in "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis". But speaking of length, that topic definitely can not change the game's quality. Just think of Lucas Arts' "Full Throttle", it was probably the shortest adventure ever made, but with unique quality and got many fellas adventurers, hard-boiled gangsters and road-runners to play it, and even more, enjoying every minut playing it.

I'm not sure wether I missaw the option, but the ingame music wa rather loud comparing to character speech. And there was no option to change the quietness rate (or, once again I could not find it), but I was more up to enlive the game then to messing around and wasting time with option screen.

The Bottom Line
Do not expect it to follow the book exactly, 'cuz I can tell you right now, it's different, but basics and most of it lies untouched. One thing stands - this game will give you the opportunity to play the book you've read (or not). Me, personally, I've read the book only partially (but will do eventually) and saw the difference. Maybe the book is even better, but how can it not be when your mind can do magnificent things. Imagination is one of the greatest power that keeps all these games alive and created. What would we be without it, the prisoners of ice!? Who knows, but it would be a shame not to play this game if you at least have a chance to try it. It's quick to finish, so you won't have trouble with not having enough time to check and rate it. But for every adveture spirit, this game is a poison of life that shouldn't be skipped, just imagine youreself passing the Monkey Island. What kind of adventurer would that make you?

DOS · by MAT (240068) · 2012

Decent story, but doesn't quite cut it as an adventure game.

The Good
As the sequel to Shadow of the Comet, Prisoner of Ice doesn't quite live up to it's predecessor. However, it does have several decent features. Unfortunately, they are not enough to save the game itself.

The story itself was fairly well done, although the sense of threat doesn't seem as immediete as it did in Alone in the Dark or Shadows of the Comet. Nonetheless, the overall plot is decently written and gets the job done.

One of the best parts of the game was definately the music. It was very suitable and atmospheric, and very appropriate in setting the mood.

The hand draw graphics are pretty good, especially those in the cut scenes. The cut scenes are some of the best hand-draw images I've seen and it's unfortunate they're overwhelmed by the 3D modeled animation. The vocalization in the cut scenes also seems to be a step above that found in the rest of the game.

Although I didn't enjoy the gameplay itself, one part I found commendable was the auto-save feature which allowed you to restart from an auto-saved file if you accidentally got killed without saving.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the gameplay itself was frustrating and had few if any redeeming values.

The interactivity was minimum, as you are unable to do anything except the pre-determine actions needed to advance the game. This severely limited the gameplay experience as any unsuccessful command would give you a standard error message. For example, in the very beginning of the game you're looking for weapons to use against the monster. Luckily, there's a fire axe handily lying around. But when you actually try to use it against the creature, you just get a standard error message. At the very least the game could have you attack the monster and fail, or be told that Ryan realizes it's not a good idea to fight the creature mano-a-mano. Even the death scenes lack variety, and consist mostly of the same animation of a Prisoner slashing you.

The 3D rendering used to create the characters gave them a semblance of life-like movement, but it also robbed them of any detail. All of the characters look exactly the same except for their hair and the cloths they're wearing. It's also fairly obvious they were all created from the same base model. Even the supposedly horrific Prisoners of Ice seem fairly bland, although they are depicted quite nicely in the hand-drawn cut-scenes.

The characters were also not as well done. Although there are many characters you met throughout the game, most of them are simply glossed over and never get enough time to develop into anything interesting. Even the main character Lt. Ryan remains a blank slate, and an attempt to give his character some background in the last part of the game is ineffective and seems tacked on.

The Bottom Line
Prisoner of Ice, although a good concept with a decent plot and atmosphere, simply fails as an adventure game. The interactivity is minimum, and the characterization is poor. A few good qualities such as the story, hand drawn backgrounds and cut-scenes and moody music simply aren't enough to save the game.

DOS · by Alan Chan (3610) · 1999

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Question about "Prisoner of Ice" game play Kevin O'Keeffe Feb 25, 2009
Is there really Windows edition of a game? Virgil (8564) Jul 20, 2007

Trivia

When Ryan arrives at the Buenos Aires library, he meets a blind man named Jorge who is the curator. Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was director of the Buenos Aires public library for some years (although not close to the year 1937, when the game takes place) and began to lose his eyesight in his last years until finally he was completely blind. According to H.P. Lovecraft's writings, the Buenos Aires Library is one of the few places holding a copy of the Necronomicon.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Alan Chan.

Windows added by B.L. Stryker. Linux added by Sciere. SEGA Saturn, PlayStation added by Kabushi. Macintosh added by Scaryfun.

Additional contributors: MAT, n-n, Jeanne, Sciere, Zhuzha, SpaxPass321.

Game added November 4, 1999. Last modified February 3, 2024.