by Marcus Mulkins
previewed on PC
Another Lovecraft-wannabe? (cont.)
Your investigation will cause you to encounter many creepy things. You (as Howard) will start to experience haunting dreams that will start to break down the barriers between your "Reality" and dreams that will become increasing real, despite the horrors you see in them.
There is a conundrum that goes, "Last night I dreamed I was a butterfly. Or could it be that today I am a butterfly dreaming I am a man? How do I know which is the dream and which is real?" Well, welcome to Howard's nightmare -- or it it really his Reality? It's there for you to find out.
Somehow, This All Seems Familiar
This is your standard point-and-click first-person meanderings. Get your introduction, complete with the obligatory "You're assignment, Mr. _______" briefing. Go to Creepy Place at remote Middle-Of-Nowhere. Enter Creepy Place. Look for things of interest (indicated by the cursor changing to the eyeball or grab hand). Pick up clues. Use items by employing them to interact with the environment, or by combining them with other Inventory items which you then use to interact with the environment. Along the way, find out What Is Really Going On. Close in on Scary Thing That Is Responsible For Bad Things Happening. Defeat STTIRFBTH. Save world from that menace -- for now. Leave/Escape Creepy Place. Yay. Clap. Cheer. The End. Roll credits.
Oh, yeah. Along the way, be afraid; be very, very afraid. (Pretty please?)
At this point, my only (negligible) complaint is that the graphics are too sharp. They tried to create a "dark" atmosphere by making most of the screens (surprise) dark, but the details are so sharp as to render the environment to be obviously an artificial canvas as opposed to a realistic setting that will suck in the viewers' consciousness. I mean, you're looking at a picture, and your subconscious will never forget that fact. They really needed to put in more dust, dirt, dinginess, and just plain lived-in clutter. Staying aloof of the media is going to make it that much harder to successfully scare anyone.
There's a number of notable features that should be mentioned. (I know they're notable because Lighthouse Interactive told me so.) First, the game has a built-in hint system that allows you to adjust the difficulty to your liking. A unique inventory system will allow the player to examine and combine items with thoughts and ideas. In additional to traditional puzzles, you will be faced with puzzles involving dreams and others where you have to underline important bits of text in documents. On top of that you will have the obligatory special effects and visuals that are purportedly better than what the competing titles have – and an eerie storyline, cut-scenes and haunting music that will hopefully hold you at the edge of your seat (or drive you hiding under your bed).
For a title costing less than $30, Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder may be something to look forward to. Of course, it remains to be seen if it will offer anything really new to the genre, but at least the fans of the scary stuff will have something new to be afraid of.