On the days of the PC a game created the suvival/horror genre that we know of today. No, it's not Resident Evil, it was a game called Alone in the Dark. Alone in the Dark featured three games that spanned the series. This series introduced us to tension building atmosphere as you searched for keys and solve puzzles. Now let us jump through the Resident Evils, Silent Hills, and Clocktowers to 2001. AITD has been resurected and let us see if it stands up to the compitition.
The gameplay in AITD sets up as Resident Evil meets Silent Hill. You solve puzzles and find keys, use a flashlight and have unlimited space to carry items, all the while keeping in contact with the other character. While none of the these elements are new they do mix well. Puzzles fit into the surroundings more and the unlimited space cuts down the backtracking by half. The two elements that add more to the game and both play a signifcant role is the flash light and walkie-talkie. Not only does the flashlight help in locating items, it is also used to either kill or drive away monsters. If you run out of ammo or don't want to use any just shine the flashlight keeping some of the monsters at bay. Also lightswitches along the mansion are to help destroy monsters or light up a room. Keeping contact with the other character might not be as big as light is in the game but there are few times when it will be mandatory to contact the other character for a puzzle or an item. Each element is nothing new to the srvival/horror genre, by mixing it keeps the genre fresh and new.
The control scheme for the game is like every other survival/horror game. Up is forward, down is back, while the left&right truns you in the respected direction. The X button is to run, A is the action button, and B is for the flashlight. By pressing Y sets up a three-button menu. When this menu is called forth, A is for the walkie-talkie, X is for the map, and Y is for the menus to check items and weapons. And finally the right trigger is to aim. This control setup has been a staple in the sruvival/horror genre and the most underrated. This setup while difficult implaments the desired effect what the game strives for.
The music and sound are on of AITD's strong points. The music at times is haunting other times it's edgey that adds an uneasiness to the atmosphere. The uneasiness adds to the tension in the game. The sounds are also a treat to hear. While the handguns and shotguns sound like they should, the sounds from the monsters and zombies are disturbing. The only negative element is the voice acting. The voices feel like there is no emotion at all and the dialogue tires to be too intelligent for it's own good. With the use of large, complicated words with no emotion sounds ridiculous. All an all the sound unnerves and distrubs the way it was attended to.
AITD displays some of the best graphics on the DC. The game is prerendered and is very well done. What is amazing about the graphics are how well the 3D characters blend in with the backgrounds. Mainly how well the lighting from the flashlight works is astonishing. When the flashlight shines on certain parts of the backgrounds they look very detailed and elaborate. The 3D characters dont look bad themselves. The human characters can look either blocky at times or rather unpaportional( the female character of course). The monsters however look extermely detailed and well designed. The only thing that is bad, you have to nickpick really. During the in game cut-scenes the mouths do not move during dialogue, other than that the graphics are well crafted and some of the best on the DC.
This game has one of the most original plots in a game. The game starts off as a simple murder mystery turns into a fight against a single mans twisted desire to unleash an ancient darkness on the world. It starts off when Edward Carby's, private eye for the paranormal, best friend Charles Fiske is found dead off the shores of Shadow Island. Carnby is then introduced to Aline Cedrac, a professor who specializes in ancient Indian languages, by Fiske's boss Frederick Johnson. In the end the plot deals with expierments of mixing the DNA of monsters with deceased humans. What really seperates this story then the others as it deals with a little bit of an Indian culture, truly unique.
There isn't much in this game. There is two characters to choose with two different points of veiw other than that there is nothing. There isn't any modes to open up or any secret weapons to unlock. This is the big negative about the game not much replay value.
Does AITD stack up against the big boys after years in hibernation. Well it does and it even gives the big names a run for their money. The only thing that this game doesn't have is any replay value, everything else is done with care. With a familiar formula and an original story this gem is probably the one of the best last hurrahs for the DC.
Community review by raziel (July 24, 2002)
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