Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Alone in the Dark

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chris-littlechild - September 17, 2014

Before there was Resident Evil, before there was Silent Hill or Fatal Frame or any of the other ball-busting horror superstars, there was Alone in the mothereffing Dark. If you're of stout heart and steely scrote, join us in the most piss-poor looking little slice of hell you ever saw.

Back in the mists of time, survival horror wasn't even a thing. This was 1992, after all, and we all had more important things to be assed about in 1992. Like Ice Cube having his ‘Good Day,' the release of Aladdin, and the Pope deciding that Galileo wasn't a massive bastard after all. What a year it was.

‘92 also spawned Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Super Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat and other rather sexy gametastic. Including, y'know, the one we're here to prattle about today.

Yep, Alone in the Dark hit the PC fourteen years ago. It's regarded as the grandpappy of the genre (or what would become the genre; Resident Evil needed another half-decade to get its shit together and arrive), the first notable dicking-about-in-a-big-ol'-haunted-house game. Let's take a look.

This is the story of the Derceto mansion, rumored to be haunted by some demon or other. Its rich-ass owner, Jeremy Hartwood, hangs himself, which presumably harms the tourist industry to this doomily doomy house of doom even further. This is perfect fare for private investigator types, though, which is where we come in.

If you squint a bit, you can just make out a dude in a shitty green sweater shooting at... whatever the hell that thing's supposed to be.

The protagonist is Edward Carnby (or a woman, but she's far less famous in Alone in the Dark series history so who gives an eff abuot her?), dispatched to the mansion for... reasons that escape us. Something about a piano. All we need to know is that he's in the house, and shit is about to hit all kinds of fans.

The game's influence on Resident Evil is all too clear to see. You cruise about the house,solving puzzles and dispatching/hauling ass from various angry supernatural mofos. The game was inspired by the crazy-ass work of H.P Lovecraft, which tells you all you need to know about the creepy bastards that live in Derceto.

This little doozy was critically acclaimed, and damn right it was. Sure, it has the kind of half-assed visuals that make you want to punch your own eyeballs in the face, but that's to be expected. It looks (and kinda sounds) like hell, but we can't judge anything from the early nineties on that. Alone in the Dark brought us all kinds of essential Evil-isms.

Those static, pervy stalker-y static camera angles? The limited inventory? The lurking monsters? The big dodgy house? You saw them all here first. Really, 1996‘s ball-busting Resident Evil has this earlier effort to thank for all of them. That's quite a legacy, right there.

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