By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 22, 2019
Hello ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; it's your big red friend, Sadhonker. Now, I know you were probably expecting Dennis, but you see, we hit a bit of a snag there. Remember when I was telling you about him schlepping all kinds of timber and steel around? Well, it got worse... much worse! The steel and timber was quickly joined by an assortment of rubber tubing, pallets of duct tape and a very small but thoroughly worryingly smelly piece of cheese...
And it didn't stop there, no siree! On one occasion, I even saw him hauling in an industrial-sized defibrillator, large and powerful enough to restart even the heart of a 66 million year old T-Rex fossil. I tried asking him what the hell he was doing, but he seemed a bit distraught and confused about the entire thing. He seemed to be definitely worried about something and kind of at a loss how solve his current and seemingly pressing problems. So, being the good friend I am, I shrugged indifferently and went on with my own business, like running the Big Red HQ and such. I haven't heard any explosions yet, so I have good hopes for him. On the other hand, I haven't actually heard anything after the defibrillator episode... hm, should I be worried? Considering our track-record, probably not!
So, This leads us to our current situation; safely strapped to our seats in the Big Red Timemachine. The time conduits are all happily whirring away and the destabilizor-intake-symmetry-alcoholator does... well, whatever it's supposed to do! Let's close the doors and set off to the year 2005. I think a relaxing cruise is in order, wouldn't you agree? Unfortunately, the only available vessel is a Russian Whaling vessel, but I'm sure we'll have a swell time sailing the calm seas... Ah, we're here! So, ladies and gentlem... wait, what?! Why is there a storm going on? I was promised calm seas and a relaxing time! Ah, good sir, can you please direct me to the captAAAAAAAAH AAAAARGHHH! Run, dear readers, the crew of the trawler has mutated into bloodthirsty... well, mutants! It's like Cold Fear all over again!
Released in 2005 by Darkworks and Ubisoft for Playstation 2, Xbox and PC, Cold Fear puts the player into the drenched boots of Tom Hansen, a member of the US Coastguard and the hero of our story. Tom responded to a distress call from the CIA, in which he is ordered to find and board a Russian Whaler called the Eastern Spirit, which is adrift somewhere in the Bering straits. He sets out to board the Russian vessel and quickly wishes he hadn't... Upon reaching the Eastern Spirit, Tom's team is quickly decimated by strange mutated creatures, leaving Tom as the sole survivor. As he continues his investigation, Tom also comes across what remains of the trawler's crew who, in their blind panic, are shooting at everything that moves. Let's just say that Tom is not having the best of days...
As our hero investigates further, it is revealed that the Russian mafia and even the CIA is involved in some shady business that led to this mutation-catastrophe. The creatures that roam the ship are called Exos turn out to have been regular life forms, infected by a vicious parasite, dubbed Exocells. While these Exocells give the host certain abilities, they deform the hosts body into a pile of stuff nightmare's are made of. Some Exos can become invisible for a period of time, while others will have perfect night-vision or inhuman strength. As with most nightmarish creatures and other lifeforms alike, Exos can be dealt with by destroying the brain, so Tom can either empty his gun into their heads or knock them over and stomp on their heads, using their brains to make squishy decorations on the floor.
You could play Cold Fear in two separate camera modes, depending on how you liked to experience the action; a over the shoulder mode and a fixed-camera mode, reminiscent of the first three Resident Evil games. This added an extra dimension to the game and allowed gamers to play the game in the way they preferred. Now, to my knowledge, no other game ever did this, so points for Cold Fear for giving gamers the option to choose between these two modes. I personally thought it was a great idea that allowed for much more freedom when it came to playing the game in exactly the way you liked.
Now, while the two camera modes were an already pretty awesome addition, the main thing that really set apart Cold Fear from the rest of the horror games at the time was its main location or, rather, the behavior of its main location. The Whaling vessel you board at the start of the game is in the middle of a storm, resulting in a rolling motion. To achieve this, the developers had to come up with a new piece of software, needed to simulate the rolling motion of a ship caught in a storm. Because of this unique trait, the characters' animations had to be done to a much more extensive degree than other games in the genre, resulting in a massive collection of movements per character. In my opinion, this did actually pay off, as the characters and other objects in the environment are constantly reacting to the movement of the ship, making the experience even more intense than it already is.
When Cold Fear was released, it was immediately compared to the top horror title at the time, Resident Evil 4. Now, this is never a good place to be, seeing as how the Resident Evil series already amassed a huge following of dedicated fans (including yours truly) who were ready to cut down every game that even came close to taking over the crown (definitely not including yours truly). And while, in all honesty, Cold Fear was indeed the lesser of the two games, it still was a damn good horror game in its own right. True, it wasn't as long as its famous counterpart and lacked a map, which made navigating the environment somewhat more of a challenge, but it had a great theme, a thrilling story, really nice-looking graphics, tons of animations, two separate camera modes, cool characters... the works!
Ultimately, the game was considered a commercial failure at the time, but nevertheless managed to amass a following years later, as it should! It really is a very good game that fans of old horror games should definitely not miss out on. So, if you still own a PS2 or Xbox, do yourself a favor and try to get your hands on a secondhand copy of Cold Fear. If you own a PC, playing the game is even easier: just get it on Steam!
And with that, we're out of time, ladies and gentlemen. I see the Vertratetrahexaphonic-Quadribbilatrix is slightly overheating, so it's time for us to return home! Hold on, dear readers, because this might be a slightly bumpy landing. Aaaaand, there, we're back again! This might be a good time for me to check up on Dennis and see if he's still among the living. Now, if you would step this way pl...
Oh my god Dennis, what have you done?!
Darkworks & Ubisoft