by Marcus Mulkins
previewed on PC
"We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself"
What scares you? I mean, the kind of scare that gives you the heebie jeebies? The kind of scare that will make your eyes start to involuntarily dart towards the shadows, just to assure you that something isn't about to jump out and grab you? The kind that leaves you just knowing that you're going to have nightmares as soon as you fall asleep? Authors, scriptwriters, movie makers, and game developers have been trying to find the answer to those questions seemingly forever. Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder is the latest attempt by game developer Zoetrope Interactive (Barrow Hill, and the Delaware St. John series) and publisher Lighthouse Interactive to achieve that most difficult of tasks: scaring the consumer.
You know, it is difficult to honestly scare someone. Stop and think about it: Whether it is a movie, game, or book, there is no getting away from the fact that the events before you are NOT happening to you. You can startle someone by jarring their senses by having something literally jump out at them. You can make them uneasy by feeding some subsonics into the sound track, and then suddenly blast a burst of discordant notes at them from the speakers. You can turn their stomach by splashing a gory image across the screen. In a game you can make the player fearful that the character he has sunk many hours of gameplay into developing is about to fail and you'll have to start over from the most recent Save. Heck, I might even be scared that the name of the character I am required to identify with would have a name as stu-, er, peculiar as Loath Nolder.
But really scared; that's HARD.
Lighthouse Interactive seems to think they will be releasing a "chilling horror/thriller Adventure game", inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. For those of you that aren't familiar with Lovecraft, maybe you've heard of the Cthulhu Mythos. The Necronomicon perhaps? How about a roleplaying game called Call of Cthulhu? Still not with me? Okay, think: there is something real that causes nightmares, and that something real uses those nightmares to weaken the dimensional barriers between our universe and the universe wherein those nightmarish creatures actually exist. And they desperately want cross over so they can...Imagine unimaginable things and you'll almost be there. And those creatures are sooooo horrible-looking that just looking at them may be enough to cause the primeval instincts of your monkey ancestors inside you to bubble to the surface and leave you a gibbering, drooling, mindless shell of what used to be a human being. Got it? Because now you might have a rough idea of what you'll be getting yourself into.
As police detective Howard E. Loreid, players are tasked to solve the murder of Clark Field, a wealthy man involved in the occult. At the top of your list of suspects is Loath Nolder, a highly respected private investigator (with a name like "Loath"??) who mysteriously abandoned his last case for reasons unknown. Rumor had it that he ventured to several exotic places around the world. It remains a great mystery as to why Loath Nolder disappeared so suddenly, resurfacing five years later and resuming his investigations just as abruptly as he had left them. Why does this venerated P.I. now sit on the other side of the law?