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January 12, 2004
Cold Fear - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
3/3/2005UbisoftDarkworks1$99.95

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Friend or foe?
It's amazing that a game such as Cold Fear, which is being published by heavyweight Ubisoft has been making little more then a squeak. From the games first announcement in October last year it looked like a polished action horror title - but perhaps we are a little tired of that genre by now. In any case developers Darkworks (who developed Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare) are adding quite a few neat features to the game, but let's start with the storyline.

Players step into the role of Tom Hansen, a U.S. Coast Guard from Alaska who is sent to board a drifting Russian whaling ship in the middle of a howling storm on the Bering Sea, who will discover there is no safe place here. On this constantly rocking and shifting ship and a mysterious oil rig, players must turn their interactive surroundings to their advantage to take down human enemies – and enemies that aren’t human any more - and save their own life.

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Don't get washed overboard!
As the developers have stated the inspiration from this game has come from the movies The Perfect Storm and Aliens as well as a little game called Doom 3. The game is primarily third person where the left analogue stick moves the player and the right analogue stick determines the direction he is facing. It is also possible to switch to a much easier over-the-shoulder viewpoint which also allows you to use a laser sight on the weapons, or a spotlight.

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Quite bloody!
One of the most original and interesting aspects of this title is the movement of the ship which you are exploring. As in real life (and I can tell you from the Force 10 winds and 25+foot waves I experienced while on a ship over Christmas) everything will sway from side to side on both a vertical and horizontal axis forcing the hero to dodge objects as he moves around the ship. If the ship gets too much of a lean Tom may slip over and start sliding. Fortunately there are a variety of objects and items to grab onto in order for Tom to steady himself.

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Out on the deck.
One aspect of the game which the developers really had to work hard at was the animation. Unlike a normal title which occurs on steady ground the animators of Cold Fear had to compensate for character leaning in 8 different directions (up, down, left, right and the four diagonals) as well as steady meaning that the game required 9 times the animation of most other titles. In total the animators had to create over 5,000 different animations for the title. Fortunately from what we've seen of the game it looks like they have accomplished what they hoped to achieve.

With the development of Cold Fear starting out with a core team of 10 people, and currently over 60 people polishing off and completing the title this is a big title from Ubisoft and Darkworks. As long as the game matches the technical proficiency then this will be a game to add to your collection.