Alone in the Dark 3

Attack of the zombie gunslingers from outer space!

x2_1While the original Alone in the Dark is considered a classic, the second title (while good) came as a bit of a disappointment to many. Alone in the Dark 2 upset the balance between combat and puzzle-solving of the first game, delivering a more fight-intensive experience at the expense of atmosphere and plot. Infogrames apparently listened to the flak it received from the second game, which is perhaps why Alone in the Dark 3 has far less combat than even the first title. It relies more on the gamer’s wits and logic to get Edward Carnby, Private Eye of the Supernatural, through his adventure.

So what’s happening this time around? Down on his luck as usual, Carnby gets a call from Greg Saunders (Grace’s father from AITD2) telling him to hightail it out to a ghost town called Slaughter Gulch. Seems a film was being shot there until the cast and crew all disappeared, including Carnby’s old friend, Emily Hartwood. As soon as Carnby gets there, he finds the way back out blocked by ghostly gunslingers, and the bridge out of town is blown by a rotting corpse in a black duster as soon as Carnby crosses it. With all the buildings locked, the only place to go is the saloon — where another supernatural adventure for our man begins.

Ghosts In Town

AITD3 starts as a simple western ghost story, but then takes several zig-zagging turns into the bizarre. Not only do you have rotting cowpokes and banditos to deal with, but as you travel beneath the cemetery and the town, you’ll find a scheming mad scientist, werewolves, mutants, monsters, and an Indian shaman who’ll help you out at key points. Carnby is shrunk to mouse size and even dies once, to be reborn as a cougar with a mission to return a stolen eagle! Every new location in the game seems to take the story in another direction, from threading your way through a hellish lava pit to riding an out-of-control ghost train.

0_1Technically, the game is somewhat better than its predecessors. The weird camera angles, filled polygons, and painted backgrounds give the entire adventure a distinct atmosphere. A few of the longstanding issues of the series persist, particularly the way in which items used on the environment don’t always seem to connect. Plus you’ve got that endless hassle with improper static cameras. Alone in the Dark 3 is a good pulp-adventure nonetheless. In many ways it tops even the first, with more diverse locations and a more elaborate, involving story. It’s a nice starting point to the original trilogy.

System Requirements: 386/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 35 MB HDD, MS-DOS

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