Alone in the Dark

17You can trace the long lineage of horror-themed adventure games back to Alone in the Dark. It was the primary muse behind such famous games as Resident Evil, Silent Hill or Nocturne. As most of you who’ve been around the genre longer than me probably already know, Alone in the Dark is not a pure adventure. You’d have to call it an action/adventure. In fact, it’s so excellent at blending the two genres that you could probably make the argument that its one of the original games of this subgenre.

Alone in the Dark is heavily influenced by the wonderfully dark, twisted writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and that’s a pretty good literary pedigree for any game. If you haven’t read Lovecraft, chances are you’ve seen plenty of movies with the same idea: a researcher into the occult finds some ancient, dusty incantations and rashly begins reading them aloud, thereby releasing into the world all matter of unpleasant, icky monsters.

It was released way back in the dark DOS era (1992), and so you shouldn’t expect it to be graphically impressive. The game overcomes its “primitive” technology by a very high degree of craftsmanship. The sound effects are creepy and convincing. The character movement is complex and varied. The camera angles are constantly shifting, giving the game a very cinematic feel. Finally, the characters and objects have a convincing sense of weight and substance. The designers have done a great job with limited technology.

All of these factors add up to the result that, DOS or not, the world of Alone in the Dark is strangely compelling. It was the original game that sparked our immagination and showed the full potential of the PC as a genuinely powerful artistic medium that could, when done right, run games that can scare us half to death. Creepy camera angles, odd noises and spooky monsters all work in tandem to deliver on the of most memorable adventures on the humble computer.

System Requirements: 80386 CPU, 1 MB RAM, DOS

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