The Collected Call Of Cthulhu: Prisoner Of Ice And Shadow Of The Comet On GOG

Prisoner of Ice, judging by the screenshot above, has not aged well. The pert buttocks of lead character Lieutenant Ryan have aged beautifully though.

The Lovecraftian point and click horror of Prisoner of Ice is now available via GOG, as is Infogrames stablemate Shadow of the Comet. I loved these games back in the day and will be replaying them as soon as possible.

The games can be bought in a bundle (although there’s no discount – £3.99 each or £7.98 for the two) and if you’re going to play both, it makes sense to tackle Comet first. There’s no necessary knowledge to carry over between the two but Comet is earlier in the chronology.

Comet also comes with a weird cursor key control scheme, rather than actual pointing and clicking, although the CD-ROM version (included here) allows for conventional mouse control. The CD-ROM version (and GOG’s download, which has both floppy and CD versions) also includes the Lovecraft Museum, an interactive collection of all things Cthulhu Mythos.

For those not in the know, here’s the setting for Comet:

The year is 1910. Bathed in pale Spring sunlight, the small fishing port of Illsmouth is a sleepy New England town where time seems to stand still. Appearances can be very deceiving, however …. Beneath the peaceful tranquility of this small village, a horrifying truth lingers.

Why are the townspeople of Illsmouth struck by such shattering terror? Why are they drawn to the ancient ritual grounds after so many years? What has released this curse from its deep sleep to play havoc upon the souls of innocent people?

You’ll take on the role of John T. Carter, a brilliant young astronomer, piecing together the puzzling history of the village and its cryptic inhabitants. Incredibly realistic action and supernatural chaos intertwine to draw players deep into the puzzling mysteries within the Shadow of the Comet.

Apart from the fact that The Shadow Over Illsmouth sounds so terribly wrong, Comet is a decent retelling of several Lovecraft stories mashed together. I found Prisoner of Ice creepier when I first played. I won’t quote a lengthy synopsis, I’ll summarise: Nazis are recovering creatures frozen in ice, which is a terrible idea.

Any fond memories to share?

20 Comments

  1. MadTinkerer says:

    Shadow of the Comet? WTF? I keep saying GoG is great but it will never have all the games I used to own, and it seems they intend on proving me wrong.

    No, you know what? I’m not impressed. Call me when Stunt Island is on GoG. Then I’ll be impressed.

  2. danielmueller80 says:

    as a sucker for all things lovecraft, i even purchased both games back in the day. the discs are still flying around somewhere. must have played prisoner 3-4 times back then. is it any good? i can’t honestly tell. i just remember that the (midi?) music inspired me to compose midi-scores myself (though not very successfully).

    so far, my giving up to nostalgia via gog hasn’t been too successful – apart from 3 hours spent playing dungeon keeper 2, i haven’t time and nerve enough to replay syndicate (which I loved) or theme hospital. i’ll probably buy both games anyway and further increase the number of games i own but never play…

  3. GAmbrose says:

    I played (and completed) Prisoner of Ice about 3 times. I think I leant the CD-Rom to somebody at school and never saw it again.

    One particularly frustrating aspect was pixel hunting though, I seem to remember a flag on a map that you needed and it was so easy to miss. I was stuck for ages.

    Lots of ways to die as well as I recall.

  4. Laurentius says:

    Shadow of the Comet is great, it has great Lovecraftian vibe. Excpet of graphics which wasn’t even good back in the day, due to clumsy compression.

  5. John O says:

    I loved Prisoner of Ice. Was very excited to play it, since I had never seen a Lovecraft inspired game before or so I thought. I had definitely heard of Alone in the Dark, but I was young and clueless.
    I didn’t remember the lieutenants bum being so shapely.

  6. AriochRN says:

    Is Lt Ryan trying out for the Hawkeye Initiative? If so, I recommend he drops his left shoulder back just a little. Get that side-pec in view baby, oh yeah!
    I’m surprised at myself for never playing these when they came out, being quite into HPL. I shall remedy the situation as soon as I’ve finished replaying their contemporary Star Trek adventures

  7. Infinitron says:

    One word: Eternam.

    • Risingson says:

      Which has a brilliant beginning and goes downhill from there.

      • Infinitron says:

        The pyramid was a bit of a pacing-killer, yeah.

        • Risingson says:

          And most of the french revolution, and the future park… it was all a hell of backtracking and more backtracking :(

          • Infinitron says:

            I guess so (the future city moreso) although at least those places were colorful and interesting enough to keep you going.

  8. Donjo says:

    Prisoner of Ice was 20 years ago… holy shit. My brother and I bought it on the strength of the box art while on a rare trip to Dublin. That was our introduction to Lovecraft and and excellent one. Snatches of dialogue and music still haunt me to this day :D Was one of my favourite games of the ’90’s… let’s see.. Operation Polaris… torpedoing yourself out of the submarine… setting toilet paper on fire in a bin to fool some guards… reaching the blue sky at the top of that bookcase in Buenos Aires… Schlossadler military base.. RAUS! SCHNELL! CTHULHU FTAGN!! I think I’d better play it again.

  9. ansionnach says:

    Completed the Shadow of the Comet demo that was on the cover of (maybe) an early issue of PC Zone. It was pretty clunky with very obtuse and obscure puzzles. Played the game years later, and being used to Lucasarts, this one violated a lot of the Geneva convention on adventure games. A lot of Infogrammes adventures, even (sometimes especially) Alone in the Dark were pure evil, clunky, pixel-hunting exercises with puzzles that were obscure in the extreme. AitD was just shorter, easier and more revolutionary. Didn’t play Comet much, though. May persevere with it some day. Right now I’d advise caution as nostalgia can be bad for your health! There are very few games on gog that review less than four stars, even though a lot of shite old games lie in wait for the unsuspecting naïve chump.

  10. cpt_freakout says:

    I was still a kid when I first played these games, and I remember enjoying the images but definitely not the puzzles. They were stupidly hard and obtuse, and it seems other peoples’ recollections of them are quite similar to mine. I think it’s great we have them available again, as an archival sort of thing, but I don’t think they were/are very good adventure games. The setting of Prisoner of Ice was way cool, though, even if it just apes Indy Jones all the time.

  11. tomimt says:

    Shadow of the Comet would be a good condender for a remake really, especially if the remake would stay true to the very particular atmosphere of the game. I’d love to see the game re-done with better controls, as the game was even more than a bit ackward even on the day it was originally released. I don’t know what they were thinking when there already was far better adventure interfaces all around to copy the best bits from. Instead of that they just went all out in creating one of the worst adventure control mechanics around.

    Comet does have some nice graphics in it, especially the close ups of the characters and some other cutscene screens, but as a whole the game graphics were bad even way back in the 90’s. And the animation is clunky at best. I can still recommend it, especially if you like Lovecraft. It might not be the greatest adventure game as a far design goes, but it is still an atmospheric little rough gem.

    • ansionnach says:

      He walked so slowly (maybe you could speed it up?) and only horizontally and vertically. Traipsing through all those screens… drove me mad! Atmosphere was great and it deserved a much better game.

  12. malkav11 says:

    Prisoner of Ice is a cooler concept but I think you’ll be disappointed by the actual game, whether or not you once loved it. The writing’s…questionable and the puzzles are ridiculous. Shadow of the Comet isn’t an all time classic either, but it holds up better and is definitely better at maintaining the Lovecraftian ambience.

    • Shakes999 says:

      I went through and played it maybe a year ago. It does not hold up well. The opening act on the sub was easily the best part of the game, the rest was downhill from there.

  13. Risingson says:

    Shadow of the Comet was great except for a couple of details: one puzzle with no clues (or was it the copy protection?) and a clunky interface. Now it reveals its design flaws more clearly, but the atmosphere remains scary and dense.

    • Ekpyrotic Fan Fiction says:

      Developing the photo plates(if that’s the puzzle you have in mind) wasn’t even copy protection I believe; you actually had to go look up how to develop photo plates on your own.