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Cryostasis takes place in 1981 on a nuclear ice breaker called the North Wind, which has become shipwrecked near the North Pole. The main character, Alexander Nesterov is a Russian meteorologist who must investigate what happened onboard the ship. But he's not alone and the North Wind is now plagued by dead crewmen who have undergone a bizarre metamorphosis due to the effects of the incredibly cold climate. Alexander must try to unravel the mystery of the ship captain's death and discover whether it was the cold or, possibly, something far more sinister...
The Mental Echo
The Mental Echo is Alexander Nestorov's ability to physically change the present by travelling back in time and altering the memories of crew members or even creatures on board the ship. Alexander can only use the Mental Echo on those who died under horrible circumstances or those who lost the fight against the freezing temperatures on board the North Wind. As well as their bodies becoming frozen, their memories are frozen too; forcing them to relive their terrible deaths over and over again. Until they themselves become a source of the cold that's crippling the ship. When Alexander uses the Mental Echo he travels back to a time before the North Wind was shipwrecked and can see the crew going about their daily business. But he also witnesses the ship's downfall first hand. So, our hero is left with a terrible conundrum: does he use the Mental Echo to save the ship or does he use it to save himself?
The game have a special "Thermodynamics" system that is used to represent the struggle of surviving in sub-freezing conditions by showing the player the balance of heat and cold. In Cryostatis all the objects, environments and characters have a certain temperature but Alexander is the only character that needs heat to stay alive, whereas all the enemies thrive in the sub-zero conditions. As a result the frozen foes hate Alexander and his warmth, turning all their attentions to killing the remaining warm blooded creature on the ship. To avoid freezing to death, players must use all available heat sources - electric lamps, ovens, heaters, etc. - to warm themselves. A special gauge indicates the temperature of both the ship and Alexander. Players must maintain the delicate balance between these two temperatures or they too will become a victim of the cold. To warm the environment Alexander can use both conventional means, such as turning off the air conditioning, or unconventional means, like using his Mental Echo ability or killing frozen monsters. Alexander slowly moves throughout the entire ship, reheating each room and eventually starts to bring the ship back to life and destroy its chilly inhabitants.