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In a ferocious Arctic storm, distress signals are sent from a mysterious Russian whaler. As leading Coast Guard veteran Tom Hansen, you board to investigate — and discover unthinkable horrors lurking beneath the ship's bloodstained decks.

Cold Fear is a Survival Horror game developed by Darkworks for Xbox, Gamecube, Playstation 2, and PC. Originally intended as the fifth game in the Alone in The Dark series, the focus of the game was shifted early on in development to be an independent work. It was generally not-well received, and largely dismissed as a cash-in to Resident Evil 4, as it was released just a few months after and features similar combat mechanics. Other similarities include parasites that emerge from a zombie's neck after decapitation and a pretty-boy protagonist (who has been referred to more than once as "Leon-I mean, whatever-your-name-is"). Cold Fear is, however derivative, a respectable horror game in its own right.

Tropes used in Cold Fear include:


  • Apocalyptic Log: Scraps of paper can be collected and read, and some of them fall under this trope. However, most are just handwaving or lampshading some aspects of gameplay ('proper precautions are not being taken with the handling and storage of barrels containing unstable chemicals', and so on).
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Kamsky in his mutated form.
  • Axe Before Entering: One of the zombies burst out of a locked room with a cleaver.
  • Badass Normal: Tom, who faces a whole horde of russian soldiers, zombies and other grotesque mutation even with an Exocell inside his body. On the villainous side there's Anishenko, who despite being a human can take a lot of punishment before kicking the bucket.
  • Big Bad: Doctor Kamsky, the man behind the Exocel project.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Signs are posted around the whaling ship in Russian-- being able to read them will make it easier to get around and know where you are.
    • The various russian soldiers speaks russian, and Yusurov and Hansen have a brief talk in russian before switching to english. Or to the selected language.
  • Body Horror: From the half rotten zombies to the crawlers and the one-armed specimens, who all used to be people.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The crawly things with the glowing yellow eyes.
  • Camera Abuse: Hell, this is half of the game. The camera 'lens' is often splattered with blood after a headshot (and this is the only way to kill enemies), and when Tom goes out into the storm, the camera shakes about violently and gets smeared with rain, making it very difficult to aim.
  • Combat Tentacles: Exocel infectors attack by extending one of their 'legs' to Tom and somehow causing continual damage. Is also subverted with other specimens, as is said that theirs are actually feelers.
  • Coup De Grace: Tom can finish off a zombie that has been knocked over by stomping on its head.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: With remarkable and uncharacteristic restraint, the game doesn't dwell on it, but if you pay close attention it's mentioned that Hansen was involved in an incident in which his girlfriend was shot and killed as a result of his actions. This is suggested to be the reason for the rather large chip on his shoulder.
  • Digital Distribution: Now available on Steam for ten bucks!
  • Dirty Commies: Thought near the end is revealed that the CIA isn't much better either.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Tom moves slower while he is aiming. Played straight with the Russians.
  • The Dragon: Anishenko.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kamsky really cares for his daughter Anna, but in his own twisted way: he saves her from cold waters only to have her infected by some Exocells so she can turn into an immortal monster like himself.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: All three(?) other members of Tom's team are killed, off-screen, within moments of the beginning of the game.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Exocels, kind of. One of the documents that can be found says that they have a mishmash of DNA, including Mammalian, and they look like a bunch of rubbery tentacles moving around.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: This seems to have been Dr. Kamsky's motivation for unleashing the exocells and starting the whole mess.
  • Eye Scream: Tom is forced to go Minority Report on Anishenko to get past a retinal scanner.
  • Fridge Logic: Why the heck did they zombify an orca??
    • Explained in a document: they were experimenting the effects of the Exocel creatures even on dogs, apes and orca whales. The bonus document shows several scrapped models for mutated dogs, apes, seagulls and even what appears to be seals and whales.
  • Hand Cannon: The basic pistol looks and sounds like one of Resident Evil's magnums, and can explode a zombie's head.
  • Harpoon Gun: The Speargun. The harpoons release a special gas that attracts all the Exocells in the area for a short time. Excellent when there are too many zombies at once on screen, or you need to avoid the invisible specimens.
  • Heal Thyself: Tom limps after getting severely injured. He can use healthpacks to instantly recover half of his health meter.
  • Hellish Pupils: Zombies have glowing reddish-orange eyes, and the crawling things have glowing yellow eyes.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Subverted. The final weapon you can find in the game, after the flamethrower and grenade launcher, is the lowly MP 5. It's essentially the same as the AK 47, but with a smaller clip. However, the built-in flashlight means that it is the ideal weapon for killing crawlers, at least in theory.
  • Irony: People have often pointed out how this game is similar to Resident Evil 4. Cue to Resident Evil Revelations, which is partly set on a dark ship with zombies roaming around, a giant one-armed specimen and has Elite Mooks who can turn invisible.
  • Invisibility Flicker: The invisible specimens become visible while approaching to Tom.
  • Jump Scare / Cat Scare: Played with throughout and even zig-zagged once. On the return trip through the morgue in the scientific module, there is a sudden loud hissing noise and all of the doors containing bodies are flung open. However, it seems like the morgue was completely empty, as no bodies are inside the freezer. Then Tom gets attacked by INVISIBLE ZOMBIES.
  • Karmic Death: Pavel, the researcher who saves Tom on the platform states in his journal that one of the "crawler specimens" was grinning at him, as if he wanted to eventually get him himself. And yes, he's actually killed by a Crawler.
  • Kill It with Fire: At one point Tom exits a door and comes face-to-face with a charging, screaming, flaming zombie.
    • Also, the flamethrower can be used (indoors) with great effect against zombies and crawlers. The big guys with the bloated arm and the invisible specimens seems to be resilient to it.
    • Exocel 'breeders' can only be killed by complete immolation.
  • Knife Nut: Most of the zombies are armed with large, butcher knives.
  • Laser Sight: All guns, except for the grenade launcher, flamethrower and shotgun.
  • Last-Name Basis: NPCs usually call the main character 'Hansen', even when he is calling them by their first name.
  • Late to the Party: Zig-zagged: the marines show up late to the party and are all killed, then Tom's squad show up late to THAT party, then it turns out that quite a few Russians are still alive, revealing that Tom showed up while the party was still going on. In fact, Russian soldiers continue to appear on the ship right up until the ship crashes into the drilling platform.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Tom leaves the rest of his team so he can check the rear of the ship for signs of life. Unusually, Tom survives while the others are all killed off in a matter of seconds.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The crawler enemies. Kamsky as well.
  • Locked Door: Over and over and over again.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Anna.
  • Made of Iron/Not Quite Dead: The bisected soldier you meet right before the first Exocel monster.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Crawlers are capable of putting of lights by screaming.
  • Mook Maker: The final stage of life for an exocel is the 'breeder' form, which is a writhing brown mass of tentacles stuck to a wall that spits out a new parasite every few seconds. The only way to kill them is incineration.
  • Nobody Poops: Suberted. That Russian soldier REALLY had to go, if he was able to ignore the two corpses on the floor.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Happens if Anna dies during the (exremely brief) escort mission: a short scene plays in which Tom watches Anna scream and fall, then he is attacked from behind by a zombie and killed. This scene will even play if you kill Anna yourself with friendly fire while no zombies are around.
  • Notice This: Keys and ammunition generally sparkle to encourage you to pick them up.
  • Off with His Head
  • Ominous Walk: Zombies, usually, though sometimes they break into a charge for no apparent reason.
  • Orifice Invasion: How the Infectors get into a corpse. Tom himself is subject to this at the beginning of the second act on the platform, but thankfully he gets the antidote in time. However he's infected again in the Abitation Module.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: At the beginning of the game Tom encounters what initially appears to be a traditional zombie, but it's actually just a dying crew member reactively searching for help. He's promptly killed by one of the real monsters, an exocel host, fast parasite-controlled human bodies armed with melee weapons.
  • Papa Wolf: Kamsky, in a twisted, pervesed way.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Who decided it would be a good idea to shove a decapitated corpse in the pantry??
  • Press X to Not Die: When an enemy grapples Tom, you have to quickly press the "action" button to fend him off. If you manage to fill the bar before your stamina runs out, you can even pull a lethal counterattack on the assailant.
  • Raising the Steaks: Is said that the Exocel were experimented on dogs and monkeys. You first meet the actual Exocel parasites when they jump out of the corpse of a disembowled orca, and later you can see some dead infected monkeys in a lab.
  • Rubber Band AI: Sort of. Enemy corpses can be searched and will sometimes have ammo or a small healthpack to help you out. They will never give you ammo for a weapon that is fully loaded, so if you keep searching bodies you won't ever run out of ammo for your favorite weapon. It also seems like enemies who did a lot of damage before you killed them are more likely to drop a healthpack.
  • Save Game Limits: Frustratingly so. The player is given a chance to save before each cutscene, but cannot save at any other time.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The second half of the game is a lot easier, because much more of it takes place indoors, there is almost no Camera Screw, and you aren't on board the ship, so your aim isn't swaying all over the place. On the other hand, new enemies will appear.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Shotgun is one of the weapons that has no laser sight, making it impossible to aim past short range.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: A single blast will knock a zombie down, making it trivially easy to blast his head off with the pistol. The spray of buckshot also makes it possible to decapitate multiple zombies with a single shot.
  • Spring Loaded Corpse: Subverted-- the floating dead guy in the cold storage seems to jump at you, but it turns out to just be a muscle reflex. Later played straight when you finally track down the Captain.
  • Sprint Meter: Slowly drains down while Tom is running, but also while he is grappling with a zombie in close combat or hanging from a ledge.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The only thing that damages the final boss is the escape move you do when you break out of his grab attack. If he never used his grab move on you, he could just kick you to death.
  • Technically Living Zombie: They're just normal humans with parasites in their brains. It's actually hinted that it could be possible to destroy the parasite without killing the host. However is also said that an Exocel can reanimate a deceased corpse with ease, so yup, most of them are dead puppets.
    • A document mentions an anti-Exocel antidote, but it must be taken before the Exocel infector reach the brain with his tentacles.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Reading the various journals and documents will tell you about russian soldiers shooting highly explosive machinery out of boredom or another one who got electrocuted after shooting to an electrical station.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Very early on the Russians start using MP 5 submachine guns, but looting the bodies will just give you a tiny amount of pistol ammo. The actual MP 5 can be picked up later on.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Most of the specimens on the drilling platform.
    • The fearsome crawlers are afraid of bright lights.
    • The huge 'asymmetrical specimens' have one massive muscular arm that they will use to smash your skull in; that same enormous muscular arm is also their only vulnerable point.
  • What Could Have Been: Several discarded projects can be seen, including a blonde, Bare Your Midriff version of Anna, a different Tom, and various models of zombies, Exocels and mutants.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Since the finale is pretty hasty, we'll never know how Tom will deal with the Exocel parasite in his body, thought they'll probably cure him with the antidote.
  • Womb Level: The Habitation Module.
  • Your Head Asplode: The bad news is, the only way to kill a zombie is to completely destroy the brain. The good news is, a single bullet from any gun or a stomp will cause severe cranial existence failure.
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