Alone in the Dark (series)


Alone in the Dark (series)

"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. Though many credit the popular "Resident Evil" game series for creating the 3D survival horror genre, "Alone In The Dark" was actually the first 3D survival horror game when released for the PC in 1992.

Game list

The series contains the following games:

The Games

"Alone in the Dark"

The original game in the series, and one of the first two games to use polygonal characters over pre-rendered backgrounds. The game is considered to be one of the first, if not the first, survival horror games.

Guinness World Records awarded the game a record as the "First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition.

Created by Infogrames and released for PC in 1992, Interplay made a port for 3DO in 1994 that was only released in USA.

"Jack in the Dark"

"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 2"

The sequel to the original "Alone in the Dark" but viewed as a drastic departure from the original game. "Alone in the Dark 2" is much more action-oriented than its predecessor, with a much greater emphasis on firearms and shootouts, and resulting more difficult combat.

Originally created by Infogrames and released for PC in 1993, it was ported to 3DO by Interplay in 1995 and released only in USA.

An enhanced port under the name of "Alone in the Dark: Jack is Back" was developed by Infogrames and released in 1996 for Sega Saturn and PlayStation. It was known in USA as . The Sega Saturn version was also released in Japan under the original name of Alone in the Dark 2.

"Alone in the Dark 3"

The final game in the original trilogy and the last game to utilize the same engine and characters as the original game. Released for PC in 1994, "Alone in the Dark 3" attempts to return to the gameplay style of the original game.

A version of Alone in the Dark 3 for Windows 95 under the name of "Alone in the Dark: Ghosts in Town" was released by Infogrames in 1996.

"Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare"

The next generation of the Alone in the Dark series, "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare" was created by Darkworks as a console survival horror game, 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.

It was released in 2001, developed by Darkworks for PlayStation and Dreamcast, and by Spiral Studios for PC and PlayStation 2, also with an alternative portable Game Boy Color version developed by Pocket Studios.

"Alone in the Dark (2008)"

A new generation of the Alone in the Dark series, "Alone in the Dark" was created by Eden Games as a console survival horror game once again. Initially known as "Alone in the Dark: Near Death Investigation", the game was finally rebranded as simply "Alone in the Dark" despite being a whole different game to the first title in the series, leading to confusing continuity. 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 style controls, the environment plays a big part of core gameplay, as the player can pick up any object, even decorative, and use it as a melee weapon or combine to make different styles of weapons. Many elements from scenery, like boxes and doors, can be interacted and even be destroyed, and fire, generated in real-time, plays a prominence role in the matter as objects can be set alight and consumed by being exposed to the fire, which is also extinguishable.

It was released in June 24th 2008, developed by Eden Games for PC and Xbox 360, and by Hydravision Entertainment for PlayStation 2 and Wii. A PlayStation 3 version, developed by Eden Games, is also set for release in late 2008.

Comic Books

An "Alone in the Dark" comic book entitled "Life is a Hideous Thing" was published by Semic Comics in 2001 in France, and translated by Image Comics in the U.S. in September 2002. It was also translated and published in Italy and Spain.

This comic book was written by Jean-Marc Lofficier and drawn by Matt Haley & Aleksi Briclot. Its story took place just before the "Alone in the Dark 4: The New Nightmare" game. It starred Edward Carnby and introduced Aline Cedrac, both on the trail of a mysterious conspiracy in Tibet.

Films and Tie-ins

In 2005, an "Alone in the Dark" movie was released. A direct sequel to the fourth game in the series, "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare", the movie has little-to-no relation to the original trilogy of games from the 1990s. The movie contains plot elements that directly contradict those in "The New Nightmare", thus it is not considered canonical. Guinness World Records named the film the "Lowest-Grossing Game Based Movie" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition.

Production on a fifth installment of "Alone in the Dark" was confirmed when screenwriters of the movie stated that the director, Uwe Boll, looked over preliminary monster art from the new game to get inspiration for the film's creatures. However, the game was delayed and Darkworks the development team behind , eventually worked on another survival horror game, "Cold Fear", released in early 2005. Atari Inc.confirmed in 2006 the production of "" by Eden Games development studio and Hydravision studio.

Characters

Main:
"Edward Carnby" - a private detective. In the first 3 games, depicted as a middle-aged PI during the late 20s/early 30s. Later games depicted him as a younger adult in the present day.
"Emily Hartwood" - a niece of Derceto's last owner: alternative protagonist to Carnby in the first game, goes on to become an actress and appears in the third game.
"Grace Saunders" - an 8-year-old daughter of Saunders family kidnapped by One-Eyed Jack's crew.

Mentioned through series:
"Jeremy Hartwood" - last owner of Derceto mansion. Professional artist. Horrified by nightmares hanged himself in the loft.
"Howard Hartwood" - Jeremy's father. Bought Derceto's ruins in 1875. Rebuilt it as it had been before fire. Unearthed and
explored its underground tunnels. Choked on his own blood.

Villains:
"Ezechiel Pregzt" - given name Bloody Ezech. A bloodiest pirate in all seven seas. Anchored his ship Astarte near New Orleans,
Florida. Made a hideout in a swamp. Was hanged in 1620 by Welsh.
"Eliah Pickford" - a reborn Pregzt. A loathsome adventurer, who bought land in Louisiana and built the mansion, Derceto.
Died in a blazing fire in June of 1862 that destroyed the house.
"One-Eyed Jack" - an 18th century pirate whose ship operated out of a secret cave under a cliff near Hell's Kitchen. Made a pact with Elizabeth Jarrett that granted him and his crew immortality as zombies, survived into the late 1920s as bootlegging mobsters
"Elizabeth Jarrett" - former plantation slave who became a powerful voodoo practitioner.
"Jededeth "Jed" Stone" - a prospector and founder of Slaughter Gulch, Califonia. Was vandering around the Mojave desert
when eventually found a sacred place called "Field of Braves" where he found golden eagle inside Indian's grave. Implied to be the offspring of Pregzt and Jarrett.

Origins

The original game engine was created by Frédérick Raynal as a pet project while working at Infogrames. With the help of Didier Chanfray, who made the 3D models, a working prototype of the attic (the game's first room) was designed. An internal contest was held to create the art to complete the 3D prototype. Yaël Barroz's art was selected and she was introducted into the game's core team. Frédérick Raynal directed the project.

Shortly after "Alone in the Dark"'s initial release, a major disagreement between the team and Infogrames' director (Bruno Bonnell) took place regarding the direction of the sequel. As a result, most of the original team left Infogrames to create a new studio named Adeline Software International.

According to an interviewEDGE Magazine 150, pages 104-107] made just after the release of "Alone in the Dark", portions of the sequels were designed by the original team before leaving. The interview presented a sketch of the house that was used in the sequel and mentioned the fact that Carnby could be dressed as Santa Claus.

Engine

The game engine is the first known to use interpolated animation. This keyframe-driven system relies on computer power to compute the animation frame between the keyframes. This approach has the advantages of reducing the game's memory footprint (requiring less memory to store) and adapting to each computer's power.

The game engine developed for "Alone in the Dark" was reused in its first two sequels ("Alone in the Dark 2" and "Alone in the Dark 3") without substantial changes. It was later updated and used in Infogrames' "" (1996).

References

External links

* [http://www.atari.com/aloneinthedark/ "Official Site]
*moby game|id=-group/alone-in-the-dark-series|name="Alone in the Dark" series
* [http://dmoz.org/Games/Video_Games/Action-Adventure/Survival_Horror/Alone_in_the_Dark_Series/ Category at ODP]


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