Alone in the Dark
Eden Games, the people that are also known for Test Drive Unlimited, came up with a new episode for the Alone in the Dar series which hasn’t seen the light of day for seven years. The last in the row was Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare so it was about time to get a new story!
In this Alone in the Dark most of the story plays in Central Park, New York City. You’re Edward Carnby, you just don’t know that yet at the beginning of the game. You awaken in some sort of building downtown New York and hear a couple of hoodlums have a rather sharp conversation with someone else in the room. After they order you to stand up you’re guided to the top of the building where they want to kill you… but that turns out a bit different. At a certain moment all hell breaks loose, the building comes to life in the form of some creepy fast monster that can move through walls and it’s now up to you to escape the skyscraper and get to Central Park where you need to investigate where the monster came from and how to defeat it.
Alone in the Dark is a game filled with cool gameplay features like blinking your eyes to get focus again after rubbing some goo out of them, bashing doors with heavy objects and an in-game user interface that offers a huge ability for immersion. For instance, while playing you can collect all kinds of things thatend up in your jacket and which you can combine and after some inventive thinking can even use as deadly weapons. Want a molotov cocktail? No problem, just put some burnable fluid inside a bottle and add a cloth. Want it to be sticky? Not an issue, just add some double-sided tape! What makes this so much fun is that you can create these combinations real-time so the game won’t pauze when doing this. A word of advise: best to make the right combinations after each fight so you won’t run out of bombs in the middle of battle.
Unfortunately several new features go along with different glitches and bugs. In the game there’s for instance the possibility to move furniture from one side of the room to the other. Strangely enough you’re able to walk through some after having them. Also Edward sometimes steps up an imaginary edge and you’ll find yourself walking around in mid-air. Beware though, the flaws sound worse than they are. They’re not that frequent and usually don’t cause frustration or influence the gameplay in a bad way.
Another cool feature that isn’t so much tied to the gameplay is the small recap you get to see when loading a savegame. I’ve had all too many times problems when playing RPGs when I hadn’t played some time and wanted to continue while not really knowing exactly anymore where I was or what I was meant to do. These TV-like recaps give a good image of what you were doing the last time you played.
Next to all these nice features there are of course other important factors that can make or break a game. Graphically AitD can be counted to the list of games that are above average. Nothing really special except for the lighting. The light that exists by flames truly reminds you of the times when you and some friends were sitting next to a camp fire… but in a bit more violent way.
The reason why so much attention has gone into this is probably due to the importance of this force of nature. The only way to permanently kill hostiles is to burn them to death! Fun!
Another part where this game excels is the strong soundtrack and the special effects. All this audiovisual stuff forms the basis for the perfect creepy and mysterious happenings.
Alone in the Dark in my opinion is a great game that offers hours of addictive gameplay and storyline. Nothing too complicated, just fun simple playing without too much thinking. Next to that it also offers room for your own creativity with the hundreds of possible combinations you can make with your inventory.