A Paranormal Legacy
Fifteen years ago a French developer named Infogames released a title that was radically different from any other previously released: Alone in the Dark, then heralded for both its cutting edge 3D technology and its invention of the survival horror video game. Taking root in paranormal activity the game explored a haunted mansion filled with monsters and placed the player on a quest to discover the mystery and get out alive.
Since then Infogames has seen fit to release three sequels though none of them have garnered the acclaim that the original did. This new title, taking the name of the original bereft of a subtitle, seeks to do justice to the series and put Alone in the Dark back on top as the premiere survival horror title. But can it be done?
One Dark Night
The game takes place one evening in modern day New York and follows series protagonist and amnesiac Edward Carnby. All hell breaks loose shortly after he’s led away to be executed, having woken up groggy and confused. As the building begins to crumble around him and living fissures, the possessed attempt to kill him. He, along with his friend Theophile Paddington and a woman named Sarah, escape to Central Park, a place almost untouched by developers for centuries and filled with dark mysteries. With New York crumbling around them it’s up to the trio to discover the mysteries surrounding the park, survive, and ensure that humanity will see the dawn.
While the story is definitely B material the scale of it and its intentions are far grander in design. It is revealed later in the game that the supernatural creatures attacking New York are minions of Lucifer who intends to be incarnated into the mortal realm that very night. The story, while quite linear in design, does not allow you to learn anything regarding the plot outside of exploring the main areas of the park in the order it is given to you but it does allow you to freely explore the park and ways you see fit. The game unfortunately comes down to two endings that are almost exactly the same. This is disappointing and also leaves many issues unresolved. The end result feels a bit rushed and can turn off players who want something a bit grander.
Real World Rules
Eden Studios, the developer, prides its work on Alone in the Dark in the interactive realism present despite the supernatural plotline. Dubbed ‘Real World Rules’, this system allows you to become a game version of MacGyver in almost all senses of the term as you can create makeshift weapons and items by simply combining different things found around in the environment. Famous weapons like Molotov Cocktails are easily created as well as makeshift lanterns from glow sticks and tape and the like.
Real World Rules however does not stop at creating items however; it is instead built into the entire game itself. Need to fill a bottle with fuel? Simply stab a car’s fuel tank with a screwdriver and fill ’er up. Need to get through a locked door? Pick up a fire extinguisher and use it as a battering ram to get through. Nearly every scenario that can be conceived of can be overcome in the game using RWR.
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