Alone in the Dark (2008 video game)
|Alone in the Dark|
|Series||Alone in the Dark|
|Engine||RenderWare (PlayStation 2 and Wii)|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
Alone in the Dark is the fifth installment of the survival horror video game series under the same name created by Atari. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and Wii in Europe, North America, and Australia in June 2008. The PlayStation 3 version, titled Alone in the Dark: Inferno, was released on November 18, 2008 and includes several enhancements from the other versions. The Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were released by Electronic Arts in Japan in December 2008.
The Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were developed by Eden Games while the PS2 and Wii versions were simultaneously developed by Hydravision Entertainment. The PS2 and Wii version of Alone in the Dark is a completely different game from the PlayStation and Xbox 360 version. Though both have a similar plot, it has largely different levels, removing all the freeroaming from the other versions. Despite receiving mixed to negative reviews, Alone in the Dark was a financial success.
The gameplay in Alone in the Dark differs greatly from other games in the series. It is set out through DVD-style "episodes", where the player can choose to start the game from the beginning, or choose to skip to a section if they get stuck. If they choose to do so, the past events are recollected in a "Previously on Alone in the Dark..." cutscene at the start of the episode.
Alone in the Dark has an interchangeable first and third person camera, and puzzle solving style gameplay. The environment plays a big part of core gameplay, as the player can pick up any object (such as pipes, wood, etc.) and use it as a melee weapon. It can also be used to smash in doors, and knock objects over. Fire is generated in real-time, as objects can be set alight by holding it over the fire, and it can be extinguished. If the fire isn't extinguished fast enough, the flames will continue to regenerate. The player can pick up objects, and combine to make different styles of weapons, however, only some objects can be combined with others. Any object which is shot at or thrown will be destroyed instantly.
If the player takes damage, open wounds appear on Edward's outfit. The player must use a medical spray, or if the wounds are too deep, use bandages to heal themselves. If Edward takes too much damage, the screen will flash red, and a heartbeat sound will be heard indicating that he is bleeding out.
The game begins with Edward Carnby, a paranormal investigator and the main character, being taken to the roof of the building he is to be killed in. The guard is killed by an unseen force, allowing Edward to escape. He has amnesia and doesn't remember anything. As he wanders the building looking for a way out, he witnesses several people being killed or possessed by "demonic" forces. During his search for an exit, he meets Sarah Flores, an art dealer (city planner in the PS2/Wii version). Together, they make their way to the parking garage, where they find Theophile Paddington, an old man who claims to know what’s going on. He says that the chaos in the building was caused by a stone that, until recently, was held by Edward. It had been taken from Edward by a man named Crowley, who released its power. Paddington has the stone now, and finally states that in order to end the chaos, Edward must follow the "Path of Light", before it is too late.
The three of them take a car from the garage and head out into the city, finding it in the same kind of chaos as the building they just left, after outrunning an apocalyptic earthquake with giant fissure wiping out the streets as it follows them they crash the car in Central Park. There, Paddington claims that he lacks the strength to continue. He hands the stone over to Edward and asks him and Sarah to meet him at the museum, then kills himself.
On the way to the museum, Edward finds out that his last name is Carnby. He tells his name to a doctor that he meets who tends to his wounds. As the doctor checks Edward’s medical history, he informs Edward that the only Edward Carnby in his records disappeared in 1938.
At the museum, the ghost of Paddington explains more about the stone. It contained Lucifer after he was cast out of heaven, until Crowley released him. Lucifer now wants to use the stone to bring about the end of the world. Paddington tells Edward that there is a secret in Central Park that will allow Edward to stop Lucifer. As Edward makes his way back to Central Park, Sarah remains at the museum, e-mailing excerpts from Paddington’s diary that she believes will help Edward. Edward eventually finds a temple hidden under Belvedere Castle and after completing the trials inside, he meets Hermes, an immortal who holds a stone similar to the one that Edward has.
Edward and Hermes return to the museum to find Crowley holding Sarah at gunpoint, demanding Edward’s stone. Edward shoots Crowley in the head, then Hermes opens a cavern in the museum that leads to Lucifer’s gateway to reality. Hermes combines his stone with Edward’s then tells Edward that Lucifer will soon be reincarnated. As Lucifer begins to take over Edward’s body, Sarah grabs the stone to prevent Edward from being possessed. At this point, the player is presented a choice to shoot Sarah to prevent her from being possessed, or do nothing. If the player chooses to shoot Sarah, Edward becomes possessed by Lucifer. Otherwise, Edward and Sarah hug and say goodbye as Sarah is taken over. Lucifer, now possessing Sarah, taunts Edward and asks him how it feels to be alone, to which Edward responds, "I'm used to it", and walks away as the game ends. It is unknown what happens to Edward, Sarah, and Hermes.
A tech demo was released on February 16, 2008 showing the inventory system and how items and environmental objects can be manipulated, as well as how items may be used together. For example, double-sided adhesive tape can be used to attach a glow stick to a wall, creating a source of light. Another example is the player using a knife to puncture a blood pack, then throwing the blood pack creating a blood trail to lure enemies from one spot to another. A second tech demo was released on February 26, 2008 showing the realistic use of fire with various objects in the game.
It also shows how objects are affected when shot. The player is seen shooting a table and subsequently one of the tables legs breaks off, and shatters. The player then picks this up, and lights it in a fire for a spontaneous torch. A third tech demo was released on April 18, 2008 displaying the attributes and game play mechanics of fire in the game. A fourth tech demo was released on June 3, 2008 highlighting the enemies and their characteristics including what they look like and how to kill them. The inventory is limited to what it's possible to fit in the jacket. Everything in the environment can be used as a weapon. The game's working title was Alone in the Dark: Near Death Investigation.
The music in Alone in the Dark is scored by Olivier Derivière. It includes the female choir The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices. Derivière did not use a live orchestra; instead he used virtual instruments and samplers to create a realistic orchestral sound. The official soundtrack album by Derivière and Voices is available for purchase digitally and in audio CD format.
Alone in the Dark: Inferno
Alone in the Dark: Inferno is the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was announced at the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig. It addresses a number of gameplay issues found in the Xbox 360 version, such as the additions of full 360° camera control, a more zoomed-out third-person camera view, a more user-friendly inventory system and tighter driving mechanics. It also includes an exclusive new gameplay sequence found in Episode 6. The demo was released on the PlayStation Network on November 1, 2008.
Connection to Uwe Boll film
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Originally, the game was to coincide with the release of the film version of Alone in the Dark. However, developer Eden Games decided to delay the game and rework it entirely from scratch, making it seem like the film appeared to deviate from the Alone in the Dark game franchise, save for the fact that the film was in some ways loosely a sequel to Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.
A limited edition of the game was released for the European market. In the UK, the Limited Edition is only available through Game stores.
Along with a copy of the game, the Limited Edition contains:
- A 15 cm Edward Carnby Figurine
- An art book
- A bonus 'Making Of Alone in the Dark' DVD
- A CD Audio Soundtrack
The U.S. market had a PS2 limited release with just the bonus CD Audio Soundtrack.
Alone in the Dark received mostly mixed to negative reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 72.35% and 69/100, the Xbox 360 version 61.83% and 58/100, the PC version 54.29% and 55/100, the PlayStation 2 version 50.44% and 47/100 and the Wii version 39.30% and 39/100.
GameSpot commented "If you can endure some vexing technical flaws, Alone in the Dark can be a clever, satisfying adventure.." Gametrailers said "The game needed more gestation to really iron out the interface issues, but it remains an adventure worth pursuing...".
The PlayStation 3 version, Alone in the Dark: Inferno, has received far more favorable reviews due to the improved movement and driving controls as well as the extra scenes. Futuregamez awarded the PS3 version 74% overall stating that "if you like the survival horror genre and have a little bit of patience you will find a lot to like about AITD".
Backlash from Atari
After several European websites had given the game average or low ratings, publisher Atari threatened the responsible websites with lawsuits, claiming the reviews could not have been based on the final version since it was not available by the time they were published; Atari themselves had not delivered review versions to them. The publisher suspected the reviewers to have used illegally downloaded versions of the title. However, review website Gamer.nl claimed that it was in fact sent a legitimate copy of the game prior to its release by Atari executives and, after the review was published, "They explicitly told [Gamer.nl] that they only let high scoring reviews break the post-release embargo date." (Gamer.nl still has the offending review posted on the website, despite Atari's wishes.) In addition Atari claimed that reviews were not done as demanded by the official product-review standards at all and should be deleted immediately.
Most other websites have defended their reviews and refused to delete their articles. So far it is unclear whether or not Atari will decide to sue these websites. In the meantime other editors of magazines specialized in gaming state that it was possibly provoked to get attention and clicks on their websites, due to the predictability of Atari's reaction.
As of July 30, 2008, the game has sold 1.2 million copies worldwide.
There have been rumors of a sequel to Alone in the Dark. In an interview with Nour Polloni, the game's producer, in Eurogamer, she said : "There's an interesting achievement at the end of the game which will have a strong impact to the next... can't say anything else".
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