Cold Fear is a third-person survival horror video game designed by Darkworks and published by Ubisoft. It was released forWindows on April 29, 2005, in Europe and on May 17, 2005 for North America. It was also released for both the PlayStation 2and Xbox consoles on March 4, 2005 in Europe and March 15, 2005 in North America.
In Cold Fear the player takes on the role of Tom Hansen, a former soldier now in the employ of the United States Coast Guardwho has been sent in to investigate a mysterious Russian whaler, Eastern Spirit, in the Bering Strait.
The opening cut-scenes show a SEAL team under the command of a CIA agent, identifying the ship and trying to discover its cargo. However, the SEAL squad is slaughtered by an unknown threat. CIA agent Bennett then orders any government vessel in the vicinity of the Russian boat to investigate, and it is Hansen's ship which responds. As Hansen, the player finds out that the boat is occupied by hostile Russian soldiers and by strange creatures, known as "exocells", that use humans and other life forms as hosts to feed on and to use as protection from the environment. These parasites are a threat from both outside and inside their host bodies. His investigation leads to the mystery of the ship and its lethal cargo as well as the unethical experiments which were being carried out aboard the ship.
A series of logs found throughout the game reveal that Dmitri Yusupov, a member of the Russian Mafia, was originally using the the oil platform, the Star of Sakhalin, as a base of operations for smuggling. When the drilling revealed the exocells, he had Doctor Victor Kamsky work with him to turn them into biological weapons. The exocells proved to be a profitable pursuit, as the prototypes alone was worth $150,000. Meanwhile, PavelBakharev developed countermeasures to ensure the exocells did not gain the upperhand. As time went on however, Viktor went insane, unleashing the exocells on the platform as well as purposely infecting himself. The Eastern Spirit whaling ship was soon found along with its cargo of exocells, and Barnett, taking the opportunity to seize the cargo in hopes of profiting from the research, ordered the investigation of the vessel.
In Cold Fear, players can choose between a behind-the-shoulder camera angle or a fixed camera angle. The game employs many scare tactics. For example, when opening a door, a creature may jump out at the player, or while talking to an NPC, a creature may just burst out of his chest.
The conditions on the deck of the ship can affect the degree of control the player has of Hansen. Since the game takes place in the middle of the ocean during a storm, there is a lot of movement as the vessel bobs up and down through the rough seas. The cargo ship continuously banks left and right while Hansen is walking on deck, making it more difficult to aim and to walk in a straight line. In some instances, the ship rocks to such a degree, that Hansen can get knocked down and potentially fall overboard. There are also many environmental hazards, like swinging electrical wires and crates hooked up to ropes, which are also affected by the swaying of the ship, and can easily crash into the player. Waves crashing on to the ship's deck may also inflict damage on a player's health. The game also employs a stamina bar, which decreases as the player performs certain actions, such as running.