Format reviewed: PC - DOS
Submitted by: Duncan Rule
Back in '93 or so, this game scared the crap out of my 8 year old self. Loosely based on the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, Alone in the Dark was essentially a primitive forerunner to the now wildly popular survival horror subgenre made famous by the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
The game plays in a very similar fashion to the aforementioned Resident Evil: pre-rendered scenes populated by crude 3D objects are viewed through static, cinematic camera angles as you control your lone adventurer through the creepy Louisiana mansion of Derceto. You must locate various objects to advance further and solve the various puzzles the game periodically throws at you.
By today's standards, the 3D models used in the game are almost laughable, and more often than not you can count the polygons used on one hand. But the game came out in 1992, and can't be faulted for that. Even so, the graphics still hold a certain ambiguous quality and charm that mean they don't detract from the experience at all. At the time, the enemies were scary as hell. Who can honestly say they didn't jump a few feet in the air when that dog… thing jumped through the window for the first time? Combat here can be tricky, and with ammunition in short supply, you really have to be careful how you approach encounters with monsters.
Alone in the Dark also makes nice use of music cues and will inject some suitably creepy notes to startle the hell out of you when you least expect it. Good stuff. Sound effects are similarly well used here, with only your footsteps creaking on the floorboards for company until a Lovecraftian horror pops out to rip you a new one.
If you can find a copy of this game, grab it. Alone in the Dark isn't going to win any prizes for best graphics, but if you're reading this, you probably don't care. What you will find is a great adventure game that should deliver more than a few scares as well.