Friday, 2 October 2009

Alone in the Dark (1992) - Horror Videogame Review (PC)

Alone in the Dark, first of the 3D survival horrors was released in the midish 90's. You play as either Edward Carnby or some woman. Whichever character you choose to play as has gone to a creepy mansion to retrieve an antique from the attic there (the owner of the mansion having recently died in mysterious circumstances). The tension is built up right away. You watch your character go deeper and deeper into the house, if only it was so easy to get out.

The game starts with your character at the top of the mansion, right away you are under attack from creatures of darkness (though you can actually block both attic windows to prevent the demons getting to you). The game is classic old school survival horror, and pretty much invented the genre. You explore the mansion solving puzzles and collecting items. The newer Alone in the Dark games are complete shadows of this one. This has far more supernatural overtones to it. There are many undefeatable ghosts and poltergeists in the game. There aren't many enemies you can actually fight at all (a few zombies to begin with). I played this on PC using keyboard, so combat was terrible anyway. The game is very unforgiving. I remember in particular the front door. It was unlocked but if you opened it a portal to Hell sucked you in and was instant game over.

The location is confined to the house, though later on you do get to a network of deadly caves under the house. I never escaped the place, I am still there now. I played it before the Internet really existed in any popular form, so I got completely stuck and eventually gave up after weeks of stumbling round not knowing what I was supposed to do, I have an inkling that I did something that meant it was impossible to carry on

An update: 17/02/2020

I have recently gone back to this game and using a guide have completed it. I don't feel bad using a guide as I certainly put in the leg work as a teen into this, and as I stated in my original review I had in fact put myself in an impossible situation. While using a keyboard is a bit clunky I did enjoy my time with this, though it obviously shows its age a lot. This is split into two sections, the first part in the mansion was the more atmospheric, and felt more typical survival horror. The second part taking place in the caves under the house is a lot more action focussed, with platforming required. Due to how old this feels now it is hard to recommend to any but the biggest survival horror fan. While this wasn't the first survival horror game it is still one that Resident Evil has to have taken inspiration from, from the monsters you face, to the environmental puzzles this all echoes moments that future series did.


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