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Eager to capitalize upon the success of their previous game in the Alone in the Dark series, Infogrames set on a voyage the second in the series just a year after the first game hit stores. Considered the first true 3D games, the Alone in the dark series has been a revolutionary movement in the video game industry to innovation.
Unfortunately, Alone in the Dark 2 does not make a very fitting sequel to the first in the series. Somehow the second game in a trilogy always seems to be the worst of the three, unfortunately, and that is no exception here. But that does not mean that Alone in the Dark 2 is a bad game, for many outstanding in the game do outweigh its bad ones.
I will start by analyzing the best part of the game. It's story. Though it does not evolve as you play the game like the first game, the extremely well explained cast of characters provide enough plot to keep the game very interesting.
The story begins with a man named Striker, who heads to the seaside mansion of Hell's Kitchen to investigate rumors of a little girl kidnaped by a gang of..er..gangsters headed by Jack. No, not Jack Sparrow, One-eyed Jack. Sound like a pirate name huh? Upon entering mansion, Striker finds the girl, but I bet he didn't count on Jack showing up on the form of a knife wielding clown. But luckily Striker sent a wire to our old hero Edward Carnaby, who has gained quite the fame from defeating the Cthulian sorcerer from the first game. He arrives at the mansion with a six pack (of dynamite) just as soon as you click Start a New Game.
But upon arrival, Carnaby finds out about a deadly voodoo curse upon some ancient pirates, and the true reason why the poor little girl was kidnapped. Help Carnaby and our damsel in distress, Grace Saunders, escape the vile depths of One-eyed Jack's Hell's Kitchen.
Now to discuss the inner workings of this pleasant game. Now compared to games like Dark Seed 2, which only came out a year after this, the graphics could have been better. But personally, I love the way the graphics are. It's like playing Lego Horror movie on your computer. Seriously, though, the animations are very realistic in contrast with the blockiness of the characters. Each person moves exactly how a real life person would move.
Unfortunately, the control scheme is not as smooth. I have frequently been frustrated while playing this game because I could not aim my gun or stop running into walls. (That's the screenshots you see for the game don't go very far from the beginning of the game)
The music is almost non-existant, which really doesn't make this game more scary. Lets face it, in contrast with the strange and freakish creatures of the first game, these real people and shadow ghosts just don't cut the cheese. (And we're thankful for that.)
The only scary characters in the game are the voodoo lady and One-Eyed Jack. The rest make you feel like you're playing Lego Godfather. Don't get me wrong, the only things I'm saying here are that the games not as scary as it tries to be, and that the control system is not good. But the control system has been bad in all the Alone in the Dark series, so its not that big of a deal. After all these were the first true 3D games, so you can expect it to be a bit hard to control.
So to conclude my review, Alone in the dark is a great mystery game, that, despite its flaws, has many redeeming qualities in the story which make up for everything else, and want you to always come back to the game for more.
Replayability may not be high (for me anyway, most of you will probably disagree with most of my points), but at least this game makes for a decent experience that some will love. I'd love to go higher, but in my opinion, this game just can't budge past a 3. You will probably disagree, so download as fast as you can, and enjoy this rare adventure jewel.
Alone in the Dark II is a pretty good game, I used to play it as a teenager. A mix of horror-shooter, strategy and adventure. I had the original version, which did not have enhanced graphics, CD music or speech, so my opinions will probably (definitely) be different to yours. But Infrogames still did a good job on the one I played. This game doesn't really have a fast paced bang-bang-smash shooter feel to it, but it still has good gunfights and bits where you have to be relatively fast.
In the same idea as Alone in the Dark, its predecessor, you walk around in chunky polygon environments with the occasional freaky surprise or gunfight. Dark, blue and gray skies, leather coats, depressing, dark buildings, it captures 1920s detective stereotypes quite well. This game really thickens the plot and gameplay with the card system and such, but still is an all round classic.
Your name is Edward Canby, a detective "private eye" in his mid 30s specializing in the supernatural areas. The year's 1924 (if I can remember), and a young girl named Grace has been kidnapped. Basically you're dropped out the front of this mansion to find out what's going on and get her back home (or at least out of the enemies' hands). The game gives a generous amount of cut scenes and clues along the way, also revealing a murder and the ever so suspicious pirate ship that seems to always be relevant to the story. The enemies in this game usually aren't zombies, monsters or freaky alien dog things like in Alone in the Dark I, instead you fight gang-members, blue men and one-eyed pirates.
I'd say the graphics are quite mediocre, the sounds rather low-fi, but the gameplay and suspense excelling further than other games of its time (Marathon 2, Doom 2, etc). Of course there are still the same frustrating puzzles as Alone in the dark I (Remember the stairs?), but they are relatively more self explanatory, if not then they explained in the game book. The success of this game ended up with three sequels (and I think also some movies?), one of which came out recently.
Give this game a go, (the card system is bloody tricky, I've totally forgotten how to use it).
Try playing it alone... in the dark... with the door shut...
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