Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
Game Info
Playstation, DC
Survival Horror
ESRB Rating
Violence, Blood and Gore
The Good

• Nice CG FMV story sequences
• Backgrounds look good
• Flashlight option a nice addition

The Bad

• Very linear
• Control scheme is lacking
• No reward for completing the game


While the Resident Evil series managed to popularise the Survival Horror genre on the Playstation (and subsequently the Dreamcast and N64), the Alone in the Dark series can be credited with introducing this popular genre. After a long absence, from the little grey box, their series makes a return in what might be the twilight of the console. AITD tells the stories of Edward Carnby and Aline Cedrac, who are forced from their plane when it is attacked on their approach to Shadow Island. From that point, you must choose which character to use (kind of like Resident Evil 2) and start this dark and stirring adventure. Unlike Resident Evil's cavalcade of slow-moving zombies, AITD is populated with quick-moving, aggressive phantoms and lovecraftian monstrosities that don't go down with a handful of shots.

AITD relies on the basic standard for this genre - prerendered backgrounds and polygonal character, but with one twist. The introduction of the flashlight, which illuminates often-dark scenes, is a nice effect. When walking through a dark area, the game switches small areas that are lit by the light giving a realistic effect that's a great addition. Also, enemies react to whether or not you're using the flashlight. Some are attracted to it, while others will shy away. The backgrounds are greatly detailed, on par with anything else out at the time. The characters are decently detailed. Some times they look fairly well, and other times, the polygons and textures can look unpolished. Stylistically, though, the game is fairly good.

This game has an excellently jarring soundtrack and the sound effects are done well. Just when you might be able to relax, the intense soundtrack kicks back in, or a scream come off from the distance. The voice-overs, which are more present than previous games, are well done, even if they don't seem to synch up with the lip-synch in the cut-scenes.

This is where AITD really suffers. Relying on movement with the digital pad is rough and can lead to situations where you're being chased and can do nothing but hope to swerve out of the way. Also, forcing the player to hold a button just to run seems to be a little excessive. Good use of the analog control might have lessened this problem. Also, aiming a weapon doesn't seem to be all that intuitive. Unlike Resident Evil 3's auto-aim, AITD forces the player to move the gun about to actually hit the enemies. Another feature in the gameplay is the respawning enemies, which would be nice is you actually gained experience from them, but after killing the twentieth creature in a hallway, you just start running low on ammo.

Also, AITD is faily linear. You move from one point to the next, dealing with whatever's in the way. Once you've finished the game, you may not pick it up again. Since there's no reward for beating the game, or completing it in a quick time, once you've beaten it, you might not feel the need to play it again.

There seems to be a lot of unrealized potential in this game. It's not the AITD is all that bad, it's just that it might have come out too late in life. With RE Code: Veronica X and Silent Hill 2 looming on the horizon, this PS game is good for die-hard survival horror fans or for those who don't own a PS2 yet. A lot of the aspects of this game that hold it back are ones that have or haven't been addressed by Resident Evil or Silent Hill. There's not much here that you haven't seen or played. If you don't mind that, then, by all means, play away.

- - Kinderfeld

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