Alone in the Dark
Designer: Eden Games (for XBox360 and Windows)
Hydravision Entertainment (for PS2 and Wii)
Reviewed by Firedancer34
Facts and Stats:
Alone in the Dark has caused some minor confusion within the gaming community. The first being that the game released in June of 2008 is actually the 5th one in a series of games that Atari has released. Also, there was the movie that was made, that was supposed to be released around the same time as the game and they were to lend to each other. However Eden Games, one of the two gaming designers involved in the project decided to scrap what they had and rework the game from scratch…completely deviating from the original project, and having practically nothing to do with the movie.
Two gaming designers were brought in on this project in order to allow for the game to be released on multiple systems. Eden Games developed Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows. Hydravision Entertainment developed it for PS2 and Wii, and while the storyline and general gameplay are the same on all platforms, Hydravision's version has a few different cut scenes and some other small differences.
PS3 will be releasing their version of the game on November 18,2008, it's title being Alone in the Dark: Inferno. It is basically the same as the 360/Windows version, with the main differences being better controller performance and some differences in the story and gameplay during one of the chapters in the game.
The game is classified as a Survival Horror, Action Adventure type game and is a single player game.
The game is played out like many other action adventure games in that you combine problem solving with the action/adventure. In Alone in the Dark, you start out in a New York City apartment building that has got some seriously creepy issues. People are dying, the building catches fire and begin to collapse, and to top it off you have to fight off possessed people.
As the game progresses, you learn how to move your character around in his environment, how to fight, how to heal and so forth. As you progress through each level with basically takes you from one section of an overrun NYC to the next, the challenges become more difficult and you have to use your ingenuity a little more to overcome some foes, because the gun doesn't always cut it.
One of the cool things about the game is that as you go along you pick up objects: a flashlight and some batteries, gun and bullets, first aid spray and bandages, glowsticks, various aerosol type canisters, plastic containers full of flammable liquids and a lighter, and tape. Alone, some of the items are pretty worthless, but if you combine a few, you can make your own Molotov Cocktail, have a mini flame-thrower, or enhance your healing. Keeping your pockets full with a variety of these items is very handy throughout the game.
You play a man named Edward Carnby and you wake up in one of the rooms of the apartment building, not knowing who you are or why you are finding yourself being led to the roof by a gun-toting thug who has orders to kill you. In the room that you wake up in, there is a priest named Theophile who seems to be in the same boat as you. On your way up to the roof the creepiness immediately starts when the walls suddenly develop these large scar-like cracks and basically suck your executioner through a door and kills him. As with any good horror game there is plenty of screaming and virtual blood.
The first level takes you through the crumbling ruins of the apartment building, allowing the player to get a feel for the controls and their various functions, discover how to pick up and use/combine different objects, and give you the basic backdrop to your story.
Once you escape the building you spend the rest of the game running about the city trying to figure out your past and what connection you have to the man who ordered your execution, the priest Theophile and the mysterious stone that he wore. You come across Theophile a few more times throughout the game, with him helping to fill in tidbits here and there. Various other NPC's (non player characters) also help you to piece together who…or what you are and were.
Along the way, you hook up with a female NPC named Sara who helps you out in some places, nags the hell outta you in typical New Yorker fashion during other times, and of course is part of the romantic sublot for the game.
As you go through the game you learn the stone Theo wore that he passed to you when he died, is called the Philosopher's Stone, and it is basically a Pandora's Box for Lucifer himself. You also find out that you are very very old, and that the man who ordered your execution is also responsible for your amnesia. You finally square off against him, but in the end you are faced with two highly unpleasant choices that ultimately result in you sacrificing your budding love interest no matter what. The question is, do you damn your love, or release Hell's minions onto earth?
I'm not really a fan of horror stuff, and I'll admit that I wouldn't normally just walk in from off the street and buy a game like this. A friend of mine bought this and was all creeped out by it and saved this game for when I came over. We would then take turns at the controller. The graphics were clean and the fires were amazingly real. The story was intriguing, and again, I'm trying not to be biased here because of my general dislike for this particular genre. The music was probably my favorite part, because it was so appropriate for this game and absolutely beautiful. The score was composed by Olivier Deriviere, and he used The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices strongly throughout the score.
But my biggest complaint was the controls. They were by far the most horrific thing I have ever dealt with in a game. And this goes for both the PS2 and Xbox versions. Whether you are performing various actions, driving *serious cringe* or just trying to move through your various items, it is NOT user-friendly. With the item checking, I finally resorted to the D-Pad on the XBox controller which is infamous for having it's own sensitivity and responsiveness issues. But it was better than trying to scroll through things using the thumbsticks! And driving was just….wow scary. I honestly thought we were never going to get through the one scene where you are doing this mad dash through the city in a car. All I can hope is that Sony delivers with the PS3's promised controller response upgrades.
Setting aside my personal gaming preference, any game that has control response this horrific is definitely not worth spending a bunch of money for. A game can have the most amazing story, music and graphics, but if your struggling to get through the game because of poor controlling, then it takes the fun and enjoyment out of any game. Because of this fact alone, the game scores overall poorly with me.
If you don't mind fighting with the controller at times though and are really looking for a good horror game, well then maybe you will enjoy this game more than me. Here's hoping the developers take a look at the game and learn from their mistakes.
Rating on a scale of 1-10
Overall Gameplay: 4