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Written by  :  Alan Chan (3618)
Written on  :  Nov 04, 1999
Platform  :  DOS

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.