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Alone in the Dark review

A next-gen impressionist that won’t be winning new faces

Pros

  • Grand orchestral tunes
  • Huge scope of ideas
  • Amazing set pieces

Cons

  • Dodgy voice acting
  • Unreliable controls
  • Full of bugs

Alone in the Dark loves a good cliff-hanger – quite literally in the case of one helicopter crash sequence – but there’s no scenario more hair-raising than that of publishers Atari themselves. Teetering on the brink of financial disaster, they’ve put all their eggs in this gothic basket, expecting a company-rejuvenating three million sales across multiple platforms. Here’s hoping the next-gen version shifts a mighty 2,999,999, as the Wii build is undeserving of such sales.

With a demonic rift causing possession-based mischief in Manhattan, it seems the devil’s handiwork extends beyond the story to infect the game itself. Not content with turning Central Park’s vagrants into snarling vampires, he sets his sights on crafting one of the most platforming-unfriendly third-person cameras in recent memory. After facing the rocky finale you’ll think Indiana Jones had it easy at the end of Last Crusade. Just one leap of faith? Ha! Try eight.

Like a leather coat-sporting lemming, our hero, Edward Carnby, is forever tumbling off ledges and having to turn Tarzan on vine-like cables. Maneuvering him so his lanky body doesn’t clip against invisible debris is tough enough, but wall-running to safety is down to luck. Carnby, seemingly immune to the laws of physics, has zero momentum. When he lets go he just plummets; here’s hoping you glitch onto a ledge on the way down. Your inventory is stored within your coat pockets (maybe it’s all those ammo clips and Molotov cocktails that scupper Carnby’s rope antics?). Opened by turning the Remote and Nunchuk outwards – nice enough idea – but this flasher has a nasty habit of zipping up during more frantic encounters. It too easily confuses the ‘give me weapons’ outwards turn with the ‘put away everything and make me totally defenceless’ outwards flick. Not great with a demonic ‘thing’ getting up in your grill.

More Info

GenreAdventure
DescriptionThis survival-horror game isn't quite what it should have been - but when those credits finally roll we're quietly confident that you'll have got your money's worth... Just about.
Franchise nameAlone in the Dark
UK franchise nameAlone in the Dark
PlatformXbox 360, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii
US censor ratingMature
UK censor rating18+
Alternative namesAitD, Alone in the Dark: Inferno (PS3)
Release date24 June 2008 (US), 20 June 2008 (UK)
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