All this would be redundant and gimmicky if the underlying game didn't react in a similarly freeform fashion. Most spectacularly, fire is far more convincing here than in any other game: it burns slowly over wood, spreading to other surfaces in a way that convinces the player that it's entirely natural. Not only that, but it damages what it touches, so that a table will crumble into charred lumps. Alone in the Dark's fire is used both as a weapon and a helpful tool to light the way forward in darkened corridors. All you need to do to turn a lump of wood into a convenient torch is hold it over something that's already burning.
This keenly observed physics simulation also props up AitD's horrors, making for some intriguing puzzles. One example has Carnby stymied by that old standby, the live electric cable dangling in some water. Instead of turning off the power, as is usually the case, you have to fish the wire out of the water using a pole or something. It's an interesting take: the puzzle is more to do with the careful manoeuvring of the realistic wire than asking the game's internal logic to do it for you.