Alone in the Dark

Review: Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark is a classic survival horror video game that follows the story of either Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood, who are both investigating the mysterious death of Jeremy Hartwood in his mansion, Derceto. The game, released in 1992, pioneered in 3D survival horror, utilizing pre-rendered backgrounds to create an immersive experience.

In Alone in the Dark, you’ll once again follow Emily Hartwood and Edward Carnby on a thrilling adventure in Derceto Manor as they attempt to find and save Emily’s uncle, Jemery Hartwood.

Pieces Interactive revisits several elements of the original Alone in the Dark series and gives them a different scenario. Throughout the game, you’ll find plenty of references to the three original titles while enjoying a new experience.

Journey through a nightmare

Set in the 1920s, Alone in the Dark follows the journeys of Emily Hartwood and Edward Carnby. The story begins when Emily’s uncle, Jeremy Hartwood, claiming to be cursed, goes to Derceto Manor, reimagined as a psychiatric hospital, to seek help. However, feeling increasingly threatened, he sends a rather dark letter to his niece. Worried about her uncle, Emily hires private detective Edward Carnby to accompany her to Derceto to find her uncle. But little did they know what they were getting into.

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Alone in the Dark is an adventure, survival, and horror game. It has an interesting storyline and heavy atmosphere, with simple gameplay. You’ll have to solve many riddles and puzzles and defend yourself against monstrous and deadly creatures. This game emphasizes human psychology and how individuals can interpret things differently when living through the same experience.

Return to Derceto

Pieces Interactive has taken many elements of the original Alone in the Dark series and given them a different scenario. Throughout the game, you’ll find plenty of references to the three original titles while enjoying a new experience.

Set in the 1920s, this title follows the journeys of Emily Hartwood and Edward Carnby. The story begins when Emily’s uncle Jeremy Hartwood, claiming to be cursed by the ‘black man’, goes to Derceto Manor, a psychiatric centre, to seek help. However, feeling increasingly threatened, he sends a rather dark letter to his niece. Worried about her uncle, Emily hires private detective Edward Carnby to accompany her to Derceto to find her uncle. But little did they know what they were getting into. Mysteries, curses, and many ‘disturbed’ people will be at work in this place, which could well be cursed.

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Alone in the Dark is an adventure, survival, and horror game. Its thrilling storyline, heavy atmosphere, and simple gameplay will surprise you. You’ll have to solve many riddles and puzzles and defend yourself against monstrous and deadly creatures. Alone in the Dark emphasizes human psychology and how individuals can interpret things differently when living through the same experience.

Alone in the Dark Stumbles With Gameplay

Regarding gameplay, Alone in the Dark is a straightforward game. It’s straightforward to play, and the controls are intuitive and straightforward.

Each place you explore will have object and environment markers with which to interact. You’ll have two types of exploration ‘zones.’ You’ll be able to explore the Manor without hindrance or real threat, but you’ll also have to explore ‘dark’ places. These areas will be outdoors and populated with threats of all kinds, such as traps, monsters, etc.

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Derceto Manor isn’t a sprawling place to explore, but as the game progresses, you’ll get a feel for the pressure and anxiety this building brings.

When you start your playthrough, you can choose between the two protagonists, Emily and Edward, but not only that, you can also choose between playing with help (extra clues) or without help.

If you play with help, markers on the map will show where you have everything you need to solve a puzzle, the rooms where you still have things to do, and so on. On the objectives menu, you’ll also get hints on how to solve certain puzzles using your clues.

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But if you don’t want any help of this kind, you can choose to play unassisted, with nothing to help you except your memory and detective skills.

A state of psychosis

The commands will be displayed for each puzzle to help you solve it. For combat, you’ll be armed with a firearm. But you’ll have to be careful, as ammunition is limited. Make sure you don’t miss too many shots. Throughout the game, you’ll find other firearms, such as submachines and shotguns. You can find hand-to-hand weapons in dark places, but be careful, as these break down after a few hits. There are also throwing objects such as Molotov cocktails, etc.

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One of the significant drawbacks of this game is the subpar combat system. While the game’s intention to create a horror-like feel is commendable, the way the three guns are handled feels cumbersome. The process of fighting monsters in Derceto is often tedious. The behaviour of many enemies feels the same, and they are often unaware or incapable of reaching you, frequently getting stuck on the scenery or even each other when they appear in groups, which can be comical.

Guns might be the better choice, given how uneven melee feels, as it often feels underdeveloped and incomplete. The same goes for long-range tools like the Molotov, which I wanted to feel more like something out of Resident Evil. Instead, it feels like tedious action in which you’re essentially unable to move at an average pace, and either needs to use explosives on the spot or abandon.

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Depending on which character you choose at the start, you’ll experience the story differently between Emily and Edward. Not only will you be able to see events differently, but the other characters will also react differently to you.

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Verdict

Alone in the Dark isn’t the most entertaining game but has moments of excellence. Combat is simple and doesn’t justify what it intends to do in any tangible way. Despite that, the leads are excellent and do a commendable job bringing the story to life. The main narrative has moments where it’s entertaining and commands your attention; ultimately, impressive contemporaries are doing the same but better.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Alone in the Dark
Review: Alone in the Dark
Liked
Exploring Derceto can be entertaining
Great use of main cast
Didn't like
Puzzles vary, some are good, most are mid to bad
Combat is underbaked