Friday, December 17, 2010

Alone in the Dark, it is.

Fear of the dark. I have a phobia that someone`s always there. That`s what Bruce Dickenson said about being alone in the dark in 1992, exactly when Infogrames launched the epic video game "Alone in the Dark".

It`s also exactly when I got the game from our neighborhood`s game store, which proudly sold solely pirate (meaning illegal, not jolly roger) games. Back then, on the Asian side of Istanbul we had this game store - The guy was recording games to floppy discs from his extremely illegal hard drive. He got himself a Mustang through the investments of people like me.

Anyway, I played this game, and played once more. Honestly, I usually don`t play games twice, especially the ones with a plot (as opposed to racing, soccer etc). And I never ever play again, if the game has a horror aspect to it. See, that`s my thing - I`m a jumpy guy, I get easily scared in horror games.

Above is the reason why I played the game twice: It was my first game that I could choose one of two characters! Edward Carnby, or Ms. Emily Hartwood. Nothing changes depending on the character, but still!!

The game is set in 1924 in Louisiana. A classic, yet cool haunted mansion story. It`s mainly an adventure game with some fighting aspects built into it. What you fight against are zombies, other supernatural enemies, rats etc. But the main trick of the game is the changing camera angle. 

The camera angle changes as you move within a room, adding a cinematic feel to the game. Items and characters in Alone in the Dark are three-dimensional, rendered upon a two-dimensional fixed background. A good example of adapting to a more realistic world! Mixing polygons and 2-D prerendered background images required a fixed camera angle back then, which designers used to their advantage to create dramatic scene setups appropriate for a horror-themed game.

Similar to Veil of Darkness, one of the scare elements of the game is the lack of technology - poor sounds and irrecognizable faces of monsters. Aahh, sweet times. 

Have you ever been alone at night
Thought you heard footsteps behind
And turned around and no-one's there ?
And as you quicken up your pace
You find it hard to look again
Because you're sure there's someone there...fear of the dark.

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