I have fond memories of the original Alone in the Dark on the PC where the game began with a polygonal Edward Carnby being chased from the attic by a rectangular blue wolf thing jumping through the window.
Things have changed a lot since then and Atari are now able to deliver scares and action with Hollywood-style effects and they do this on the next-gen consoles to great effect. You begin the game in first-person mode waking up with a groggy head with some geezers discussing all manner of dark things. Next thing you know there are cracks in the walls eating people up and the building you’re in starts to collapse. The game switches into third-person as you try to walkthrough and escape – walls burning around you and things exploding everywhere. The sense of peril is amazing – however, you soon realise all this great atmosphere is spoilt by a control system that makes you as much use in an action situation as Professor Stephen Hawking.
You see, you have to switch between first and third person modes depending on what you want to do; first-person mode is for putting out fires, firing guns etc and third-person for climbing, smashing down doors and moving objects. First person is a little clunky but when you’re looking over Carnby’s shoulder you have to move and turn using just the left analogue stick as if you were playing the original Resident Evil games. This just does not work nowadays and whoever let the game go out of the door like this needs to be left Alone in the Dark for several years themselves.
The game even lets you skip parts you’re stuck on as if you’re skipping through the chapters of a DVD. A strange decision indeed and one you may find using just because you get so frustrated with the action and combat.
The fire and burning mechanics are fantastic but the inventory system is poor as it makes you look into your jacket to equip and combine items whilst everything happens in real-time around you. Frankly another annoyance.
The Alone in the Dark video game is really annoying mainly because it had so much potential to be great. Wonky controls let it down hugely so Alone in the Dark only gets an average 5 out of 10.