Fight your way through the levels against other bikers, finish high and use the prize money to customise your motorbike. Sound simple? Add the hazards of oncoming traffic, suicidal pedestrians, street furniture, other road users, crossroads – and it becomes quite a handful.
Alone in the Dark is a series of survival horror computer games from Infogrames. In most of the series, the gamer plays as private investigator Edward Carnby, who usually goes to investigate a haunted mansion or town that is full of undead creatures. The story is based on the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, although later games in the series drew inspiration from other sources including Voodoo, the Wild West, and the works of H.R. Giger. Six installments of the video game have been created, with various themes and locations. Also, a one-off comic book was created based upon the game.
Alone in the Dark, the original game in the series, was developed by Infogrames and released for the PC in 1992. It was one of the first two games to use polygonal characters over pre-rendered backgrounds. Guinness World Records awarded it the record of “First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game” in the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008 edition. Krisalis made a port for 3DO in 1994 that was released by Interplay.
Alone in the Dark 2, developed by Infogrames and released for the PC in 1993, was a drastic departure from the original game, being more action-oriented than its predecessor, with a much greater emphasis on firearms and shootouts, and resulting in more difficult combat. It was ported to 3DO by Krisalis and released by Interplay. An enhanced port under the name of Alone in the Dark: Jack is Back (Alone in the Dark: One-Eyed Jack’s Revenge in the United States) was released in 1996 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Both versions were also released in Japan under the original name of Alone in the Dark 2.
Jack in the Dark is a small game made during Alone in the Dark 2 production. It was used as a promotional game distributed at Christmas 1993 (just before Alone in the Dark 2 release). The game was on a single floppy in a golden wrapping featuring a Jack-in-the-box illustration on the top. It is a short adventure featuring the young child Grace Saunders. During Halloween, she enters a small toy store after dark and gets locked in it. There, the toys are alive, and Grace must save Santa Claus from an evil Jack-in-the-box. Jack in the Dark is an adventure game that focuses purely on puzzles and has no combat. Later CD versions of both Alone in the Dark and Alone in the Dark 2 came packaged with Jack in the Dark.
Alone in the Dark 3 was the final game in the original trilogy and the last game to utilize the same engine and characters as the original game. Released for the PC in 1994, Alone in the Dark 3 attempts to return to the gameplay style of the original game. A version of the game for Windows 95 was released as Alone in the Dark: Ghosts in Town in 1996.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, the then next generation game of the Alone in the Dark series, was created by Darkworks as a console survival horror, and shows significant influence from the Resident Evil series. The control scheme and gameplay is much closer to that of Resident Evil than the original Alone in the Dark games. Internally known as Alone in the Dark 4, the game was released in 2001, developed by Darkworks for the PlayStation and Dreamcast, and by Spiral Studios for the PC and PlayStation 2, also with an alternative portable Game Boy Color version developed by Pocket Studios.
Alone in the Dark was developed by Eden Games for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and by Hydravision Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Wii. It changed the focus of the series back to survival horror. Initially known as Alone in the Dark: Near Death Investigation, the game was finally rebranded as simply Alone in the Dark despite having only a few connections with the original game. The game sets apart from previous Alone in the Dark games by featuring 3D generated scenarios and interchangeable first and third person view for the first time. With complex puzzle-solving controls, the environment plays a large role in core gameplay; the player can pick up any object, even decorative, and use it as a melee weapon or combine them to make different styles of weapons. Many elements from scenery, like boxes and doors, can be interacted with. Fire, generated in real-time, plays a prominent role in the game, as objects can be set alight and destroyed by being exposed to the fire, which is also extinguishable. The PS3 version was released several months after the other versions as Alone in the Dark: Inferno. It had a few gameplay changes and fewer glitches, earning more favorable reviews.
The three original games took place in the 1920s and depicted the paranormal cases of a private eye called Edward Carnby. In 1924 (Alone in the Dark) he was commissioned by an antique dealer to investigate a piano in the loft of the Louisiana mansion Derceto, which was abandoned since its owner Jeremy Hartwood had committed suicide. In 1925 (Alone in the Dark 2) Carnby went on to solve a case involving the kidnapping of young Grace Saunders after the investigating procedures of his deceased partner Ted Stryker, with all the clues leading to an old mansion named “Hell’s Kitchen” and an infamous gangster who inhabited it. In 1926 (Alone in the Dark 3) he was called to investigate the disappearance of a film crew at a two-bit ghost town known by the name of Slaughter Gulch located in the Mojave Desert in California. The first game shared the protagonist role with Jeremy Hartwood’s niece, Emily Hartwood, who also took a role of damsel-in-distress in Alone in the Dark 3.
When Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare was made, the setting was moved from the 1920s to 2001, and a background legend was made up in order to explain that Edward Carnby belonged to a lineage of Shadow Hunters who were born the 29th of February of every 40 years and raised as orphan children in St George’s Orphanage, all of them going to the name of Edward Carnby. The name was depicted as a literal anglicized form of “El War Qarn’bi”, which meant “the one who battles evil incarnate and hunts out the shadows”. According to this legend, the original Edward Carnby was born in 1888 and went out of record after engaging several strange affairs in the years 1920 to 39. The Edward Carnby that played the main role in Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare is a different and younger character who was born in 1968.
The 2008 Alone in the Dark reinterpreted once again the series storyline. It follows the canon of the original trilogy, and ignores the events of Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. This is most noticeable due to the fact that this game’s plot, which takes place in 2008, claims that there has only ever been one Edward Carnby, who has been possessed since the late 1920s, and is now over 100 years old, though he retains his younger appearance. This means that the game’s Edward Carnby is the same as the original trilogy’s, despite bearing little to no resemblance to that character. The 2008 game makes no reference to the Carnby lineage of Shadow Hunters from Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, and makes no reference to that game’s protagonist who by all rights should be alive at the time of this game’s plot. As neither game has yet had a sequel, it remains to be seen which interpretation will remain canonical.
Edward Carnby is the main protagonist of the series, and is a private detective. In the original trilogy, he is depicted as a middle-aged private investigator during his late twenties or early thirties. The New Nightmare depicted him as a younger adult in the present day. In the 2008 continuation of the original trilogy, Carnby’s appearance was drastically changed. He has been the main protagonist in every game to date, with the exception of the mini game, Jack in the Dark, which instead features Grace Saunders, a character who appears in Alone in the Dark 2. He is also the main character in two movies loosely based upon the games.