Alone in the Dark 4: The New Nightmare
It’s very dark and we’re about to enter a new nightmare with Alone in the Dark 4:The New Nightmare.
In 1992 the first episode of Alone in the Dark was released and at that time it was a very revolutionary game. An adventure with polygones used for characters making them look really 3D was something we were not used. Back then adventures were purely in 2D and games like Leisure Suit Larry were at the top of their lives.
Alone in the Dark was a direct hit because of the revolutionary idea’s it introduced in the adventure genre. The time of funny 2D adventures was over, it was the time for 3D horror games.
Now, Infogrames has released the 4th episode of one of the classic games of all time so it’s time to see wether the newer technologies improve the features that we used to love so much in AitD.
The first thing you notice is the graphics. They look really cool at first sight.
You get to see a bink movie intro where the start of the story is explained : Charles Fiske, the best friend of psychic detective Edward Carnby who we already know from the previous games, has been found dead after having accepted an investigation to retrieve some ancient Indian tablets.
Not too happy with the fact that his best friend is dead, Edward takes on the opportunity to take over the investigation and tries to find out who killed Charles and why.
Together with Aline Cedrac, a young university lecturor who also has personal reasons to look for the Indian tables, you fly off to Shadow Island where the body of Charles was found.
During the flight something happens and you have to jump out of the plane, making that Aline and Edward get split up.
That’s where the game starts. You can either choose Edward who landed in an abandoned yard, or Aline who found herself landing on top of an old gloomy mansion.
After this really terrific movie, you see that the rest of the game’s graphics are in low resolution. 640*468 is the standard so it seems that the makers decided to stick with old habits in stead of making use of new technology.
Not that it doesn’t look good in-game, but higher resolutions would defenitely be something that would have improved New Nightmare.
Talking about “New Nightmare”… didn’t they steal that title from Wes Craven who named the last of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies “New Nightmare” ?
Anyway, the graphics are nice but could have been better.
The one thing that they defenitely should have improved from the version of 1992 is the controls.
The controls of Alone in the Dark are still like the ones in 1992 ! Although that might seem nice for those that are used to them, I doubt anyone has been playing the original game for 9 years !
People these days play with the mouse, and Alone in the Dark’s controls handle like they’re from the Dark Ages !
Although the mouse can be used for aiming, a total free look is out of the question and to be honest, aiming isn’t easy with New Nightmare.
You can change the controls if you want to, but configuring the game so that it would act like most 3rd person games these days is almost impossible.
There goes the score for gameplay !
So why would one buy Alone in the Dark 4 except for nostalgic reasons ?
Well, if you don’t mind using sloppy controls, and you want to play a game that can terrify you on a dark night when you’re all alone in the house, then New Nightmare is software for you.
The atmosphere of the game is incredible. You expect to see a monster every move you do and that’s where the creators really have done their best.
The sound is not extraordinary in quality (just like the graphics) but the music and sound effects come at exactly the right times making you scared to do one step, in fear of getting your character killed by some horrible monster.
New Nightmare excells in story and atmosphere and that makes up alot for the fauls in the game.
If you’re looking for a game that doesn’t try to be a technical highlight and push the limits of your machine, but rather looks at the content and atmosphere, then you might want to go out to your game dealer and get Alone in the Dark 4. If you care about having a game that’s easy to get into and want to have your character do what you want him/her to do, then pass this one by.
Even Tomb Raider has better camera views and easier controls than this game.