Reviews: Alone in the Dark - Hall of Fame Entry
Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft this is the grandfather of action/adventure games, worthy of inclusion in JA's Hall of Fame
Publisher: I-Motion (N. America)
Publisher: Infogrames (Europe)
Release Date: 1992
Platform: Macintosh, PSX, DOS, PC/Windows
Note: Originally published in 1999
Seven years have passed, and I'm willing to wager that I am not the only one who still gets a tingle at the sight of Alone in the Dark screenshots. There is not a soul who has played this game who can honestly admit that they did not jump out of their seat the first time the flying beast crashed through the window in the bedroom or who cannot still visually picture the shuffling zombies with their outstretched decaying arms.
This was the game that broke all of the rules--action intermingled with adventure, inventory-based puzzles combined with combat and camera angles as carefully story-boarded as any classic Alfred Hitchcock film. Certain puzzles even let the player decide between brain or brawn for the solution. If Alone in the Dark had not been a success, there may not exist today a Resident Evil series, much less the survival horror or action/adventure genre.
This grandfather of action/adventure games was inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft--most notably The Cthulhu Mythos--and is a chilling 3D exploration into a macabre 1920s Louisiana mansion named Derceto. Jeremy Hartwood, Derceto's owner, has been driven to suicide by a mysterious presence in the old house. Playing as either Emily Hartwood, Jeremy's niece, or Edward Carnby, a supernatural private eye, it is your task to discover if the presence that drove Jeremy Hartwood insane was real or imagined.
The game is story-driven, and as you delve deeper into the bowels of the mansion you will discover that Hell can exist outside of one's imagination.
Alone in the Dark inspired two sequels, both starring Edward Carnby, and a unique, very short "special episode" entitled Jack in the Dark that takes place during Christmas. Both sequels are excellent games in their own right; AITD2 has Carnby face off against pirates and bootleggers as he attempts to save a kidnapped eight-year-old girl, and AITD3 puts Carnby in a haunted Western ghost town named Slaughter Gulch, but it remains the groundbreaking black magic of the first Alone in the Dark that still has a firm grasp on the darkest corner of every adventure gamer's heart.
4 MB RAM
VGA with 512 K
68040 microprocessor (minimum)
3500k free memory
System 7.0 or later
Hard disk with 13 MB free disk space required
Doublespeed (or faster) CD-ROM drive
Quicktime 2.0 required