Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare

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Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
Alone in the Dark A New Nightmare.jpg
European box art
Developer(s)Darkworks
Spiral House (Windows/PS2)
Pocket Studios (GBC)
Publisher(s)Infogrames
Producer(s)Kurt Busch[1]
Designer(s)Laurent Franchet[1]
Composer(s)Thierry Desseaux[2]
Stewart Copeland
SeriesAlone in the Dark
Platform(s)PlayStation
Game Boy Color
Windows
Dreamcast
PlayStation 2
Release
Genre(s)Survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, alternatively known as Alone in the Dark 4, is the fourth installment and first reboot of the survival horror video game series Alone in the Dark, developed by Darkworks and published by Infogrames Entertainment, SA.[3] The game was released in 2001 on several platforms including Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. A PlayStation 2 version of the game was also released several months after and only in Europe.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Set on October 31, 2001. Edward Carnby's best friend and partner, Charles Fiske, has been found dead off the coast of Shadow Island, a mysterious island near the coast of Massachusetts. Carnby's investigation quickly leads him to Frederick Johnson, who informs him of Fiske's search for three ancient tablets with the ability to unlock an incredible and dangerous power. Johnson pleads with Carnby to take the place of Fiske and reopen the investigation in order to recover the tablets. Carnby accepts and makes it his mission to find Fiske's killer. Johnson introduces Edward to Aline Cedrac, an intelligent, young university professor. She joins Edward to recover the missing tablets and assist Professor Obed Morton, who she believes to be her father. While flying over the coast of Shadow Island, Edward and Aline's plane comes under attack by an unknown creature. Edward and Aline both jump out of the plane and parachute to the ground, but are separated immediately. Edward lands in the dense forest just outside a manor, while Aline lands on the roof of said manor. The game's plot is a separate canon from the main of the series.

Gameplay[edit]

The player is given the option of choosing which of the two protagonists they play as. Carnby's side of the plot is based mainly on fighting the monsters by physical means, particularly with his trusty double barreled revolver; while Aline's is more centered on puzzles. The two occasionally meet up, and the main areas of plot intersect.

The player soon comes under attack from Creatures of Darkness that appear out of nowhere and seem to be living shadows. These Creatures of Darkness are eventually revealed to be reptilian, silicon-based life forms from the center of the Earth, an enormous world of dark caverns known as the World of Darkness. Shadow Island apparently contains one of the many portals to this underground world. True to their name, the game's enemies are averse to light (which apparently turns them into ash), and this figures heavily in gameplay. Players can use their flashlight to repel certain creatures, and killing them is accomplished with such light-producing ammunition as "magnesium bullets" and "phosphorus shells."

Light plays a significant role in this game. One of the game's main features is the flashlight that can be used to light up the game's darkened scenes, revealing hidden details and uncovering items. To this end, the developers crafted an unusual graphics engine which allowed the 3D player character's flashlight to properly illuminate and cast shadows on the 2D, pre-rendered backdrops. This was accomplished by rendering the backdrops at various levels of illumination and including information on the distribution of objects in the scene. The graphics engine could then properly use brighter versions of the backdrop where the flashlight was expected to be casting light, and leave shadowed areas dark.

Development and release[edit]

For the first time in the series, the game was based on console development and released as a multiplatform title. Darkworks handled the development of the PlayStation and Dreamcast versions, the latter being released one month after the former and featuring major graphic improvements. Spiral House ported the Dreamcast version to Windows. It was released at the same time of the Dreamcast version, but suffers from sound conversion issues which turn the overall soundtrack into noticeably worse quality renditions. Spiral House also ported the Dreamcast version to the PlayStation 2 and released it several months after, with the addition of lip synchronization for the polygon models during cutscenes.

A Game Boy Color version of the game was separately developed by Pocket Studios. While older handheld systems would often abandon 3D environments entirely in favor of easier to render 2D sprites, the Game Boy Color received a relatively faithful version of the home console game. The Game Boy Color's cartridge-based format necessitated the loss of the full motion video cut scenes from the other versions, and many game play areas had to be reduced in size while some were eliminated entirely. However, the basic pre-rendered environments and 3D character imposed on top of them remain.

The game was released in North America by Infogrames, except for the PlayStation 2 version, which was only released in Europe. In Japan, the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 versions were planned to be released by Capcom,[4] but these releases were cancelled. The game was eventually released in Japan for Windows in 2002 by CyberFront,[5] featuring English voices and Japanese subtitles unlike the Japanese versions of the previous Alone in the Dark games, which were fully dubbed to Japanese.

The PlayStation version was released in May 2012 as a PSone classic on the PlayStation Network. As of September 1, it is also compatible with the PlayStation Vita, but is not compatible with PSP due to porting issues.[6]

As of October 29, 2013, the Windows version was released on Steam.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
DreamcastGBCPCPS
EGMN/AN/AN/A5.67/10[8]
EurogamerN/AN/AN/A8/10[9]
Game Informer8/10[10]7.5/10[11]N/A8/10[12]
GamePro4/5 stars[13]N/AN/A4.5/5 stars[14]
Game RevolutionN/AN/AN/AB[15]
GameSpot6.9/10[16]N/A5.6/10[17]6.4/10[18]
GameSpy(EU) 8.5/10[19]
(US) 7.5/10[20]
N/A72%[21]N/A
GameZone7/10[22]N/A7/10[23]8.3/10[24]
IGN7.3/10[25]4/10[26]8/10[27]N/A
Nintendo PowerN/A2.5/5 stars[28]N/AN/A
OPM (US)N/AN/AN/A4/5 stars[29]
PC Gamer (US)N/AN/A65%[30]N/A
X-Play3/5 stars[31]N/AN/AN/A
The Cincinnati EnquirerN/AN/A3/5 stars[32]N/A
The Sunday TimesN/A4/5 stars[33]N/AN/A
Aggregate scores
GameRankings74%[34]62%[35]70%[36]76%[37]
Metacritic75/100[38]N/A66/100[39]77/100[40]

Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare was well received. The PlayStation and Dreamcast versions received "generally favorable reviews", while the PC version received "average" reviews, according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[38][39][40] GamesMaster gave the Game Boy Color version 90%,[41] and The Sunday Times gave it the award of Game of the Week.[33] According to Darkworks, The New Nightmare sold almost 1.4 million units by 2005.[42]

AllGame gave the GBC version three stars out of five, saying, "Despite the frightening battle system and confusing play, the game is ultimately redeeming. It is definitely worth seeing; the eerie graphics can really pull a player into its spooky environment. But customers should think carefully before purchasing it, and not jump into things as fast as Edward Carnby did. Those who are patient and dedicated will probably find Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare very rewarding, while everyone else might consider this game a bit too difficult and trying."[43] The website also gave the PlayStation version three stars out of five, saying, "This game should have been in development longer and more polished (there are numerous graphical glitches and clipping that occurs). A good game, but it could've been great. As with all survival horror games, play this game in the dark, and only at night. It's vital that you do, and it accents the game."[44] Edge gave the same console version seven out of ten.[45]

The editors of Computer Games Magazine nominated The New Nightmare as the best adventure game of 2001, but ultimately gave the award to Myst III: Exile.[46]

Film[edit]

In 2005 a film adaptation was released called Alone in the Dark loosely based on the fourth installment. It was directed by Uwe Boll and was a box office flop costing $20,000,000, which was not recovered, and poorly received by critics,[47] although it made a profit on the DVD market. Guinness World Records named the film the "Lowest-Grossing Game Based Movie" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition. An Unrated Director's Cut was released in Germany, France and Australia and was #1 on the German DVD market for three weeks.[citation needed]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]