Alone in the Dark 2
|Platforms:||PC, Mac, FM Towns, PC-98, PlayStation, SEGA Saturn|
|Genres:||Adventure / Point and Click|
The Lovecraft-inspired feel and 3D gameplay of the original Alone in the Dark had made it a classic. Featuring once again the supernatural adventures of private investigator Edward Carnby, Alone in the Dark 2 places the action during the 1920s. A friend of yours investigating the kidnapping of one Grace Saunders has vanished, and the clues eventually lead you to an old mansion called Hell’s Kitchen – the home of pirate One-Eyed Jack and his gang.
The scope and feel of the game has been changed considerably, which garnered a mixed response from fans. Alone in the Dark 2 was tougher, more action-minded, with a shooting gallery feel that was not present in the puzzle-heavy first game. However you view the combat, both games are distinguished by the same visual style, namely that of over-imposing polygonal characters over pre-drawn 2D backdrops. As you fluidly move around using the arrow keys, the camera constantly shifts, giving a nice illusion of depth and cinematic punch. The perspectives aren’t always perfect – sometimes you’ll land in a fight with the camera tilted at an awkward angle, and must clumsily race around until you get into a better position. This is especially true when engaging in melee combat, which you’ll do quite a lot due to the scarcity of ammo.
Mastering combat is essential if you want to play Alone in the Dark 2 for any extended period of time, which isn’t easy at all when you don’t even realize you’re dealing out damage. No blood effects or pain sounds and jerky animations make it hard to judge exactly when your punches and bullets connect. At any rate, pistols, machineguns, shotguns and their respective ammo are scattered throughout Hell’s Kitchen, and, being a survival horror, you’ll have to look through every nook and cranny to find each spare shell.
Thankfully, the supernatural monsters you’ll faced can be converted into fertilizer with the right amount of firepower, though they are tough to bring down. And with the little ammo that is available, hand-to-hand combat is unfortunately unavoidable.
Puzzles have taken a back seat in Alone in the Dark 2, and the weight placed on combat works to the game’s detriment. But survive enough through the nightmarish fist and swordfights and you will find a solid Alone game hidden inside, with a weird storyline, lovingly crafted environments and smart puzzles.
System Requirements: 486/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 35 MB HDD, DOS
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