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Alone in the Dark

Oct 11, 2007

Having watched the way fire curls around wood and propagates across surfaces in Alone in the Dark, we can only advise that pyromaniacs everywhere should put their pennies away for a future purchase. You can almost choke on the smoke.

This time around, the survival horror series reprises the life of private investigator Edward Carnby in modern-day Central Park, New York. The devs have modeled the park down to 50cm accuracy, as well as making sure the major features are bang-on. It's an interestingly freeform space in which to set a survival horror game, when the rules of the genre usually insist that the developers retain rigid control of your wanderings. But then AitD is all about giving you options.

It begins with your inventory: Carnby has pockets jammed with helpful items, such as flares, bottles, blood packs, health-spray, a lighter, sticky tape, a knife, bottles of fuel, etc. Each has a use in itself, but it's the way you can combine items that makes things interesting. Let's say you need light, but in a specific place: strap sticky tape to the flare and toss it where you want it. It'll stick. To walls, to other objects, even to animals if you fancy a moving light source. It's a little thing, but it's the tip of a very large iceberg of customisation. Bottles of fuel can be combined with the lighter to make a deadly Molotov cocktail, but you can also pour bullets into the mix to increase the deadliness. You can even combine the health-spray and lighter to make a flamethrower.