ALONE IN THE DARK: THE NEW NIGHTMARE
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 11, 2016
HAHAAAAA, we’re back! And this time, we’re on time! This is mostly due to the fact that I once more fired my entire crew and hired a new one. And not just any crew; I’ve attained the services of one of the finest crews this planet has to offer: Richard Dean Anderson, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Michael Dudikoff and Bruce Campbell. So yes, I’m stoked about today’s journey. I mean, come on; if this crew doesn’t kick ass, than I don’t know who does! Yes...? Sure Chuck; of course you can play with the controls, knock yourself out... NO! ...Damn, too late. Oh well, I just hope he didn’t knock himself out too hard. I’m sure he will be right as rain in no time!
So, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re as thrilled as I am about this week’s Big Red Timemachine. Join me and my AWESOME crew as we travel back through the mists of time and land in 2001, in search of a dark and mysterious game that occasionally managed to scare the living hell out of us. It’s time for us to explore the aptly named ‘Shadow Island’ and the forces of evil that reside there; it’s time for Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.
Developed by Darkworks and published by Infogrames, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare is the fourth installment in the Alone in the Dark series and, as far as I’m concerned, one of the best. It lets you play as either the series hard-ass protagonist, detective Edward Carnby or the young and talented university professor Aline Cedrac. In doing so, The New Nightmare uses the same basic game mechanic as Resident Evil 2, where the player also got to choose from two protagonists at the start of the game. The choice of protagonist, the horror-survival genre and the fact that they’re both awesome is the only thing these two games have in common. Beyond that, the comparison ends. Where Resident Evil’s plot mainly revolves around the Umbrella corporation and their plans to dominate the world, which always end in tears (and a whole lot of zombies roaming the earth), The New Nightmare’s story has more to do with the supernatural, rather than manmade horrors.
But, back to the main characters of the game; if you choose to play as Edward Carnby, the game will mainly focus on combat, while Aline’s story revolves more around solving puzzles. This choice makes the game suitable for both the more action oriented-, as well as the more laid-back gamer. So make your choice but choose wisely, or it might just be over very quickly once monsters start crawling out of the woodwork. I usually played the game as Edward Carnby, mainly because he had a double barreled pistol that I liked very much! I did, however, play the game as Aline Cedrac once or twice and I must say that I liked playing her side of the story quite a bit as well.
So what’s the deal here? Why are we on this forsaken island in the first place? Well, here’s the short version: Edward Fiske, Edward Carnby’s best friend, is found pushing up daisies on the aforementioned Shadow Island. Carnby decides to investigate his friend’s death and shortly after, meets Frederick Johnson. Johnson tells him about Charles Fiske’s search for three mysterious and powerful tablets and implores Carnby to pick up where Fiske left off. Then he introduces Carnby to Aline Cedrac and, pretty soon, the duo sets off to Shadow Island in a plane. When they’re approaching the island, the plane is violently attacked by an unknown creature and Carnby and Aline are forced to bail out. They both land safely on the island, but have gotten separated while parachuting from the plane (hence the choice of character when you start the game). And so, your new nightmare begins...
Visually, The New Nightmare looked awesome! The dreary and dark environments seemed to come alive when you lit them with one of the most important pieces of equipment at your disposal: your flashlight. Although the scenes were 2D pre-rendered, the cunning use of multiple, differently lit renderings of the same scene made it look like they were lighted in real-time, just like a 3D scene. The character models were expertly crafted and very detailed. Especially the Dreamcast version of the game looked stunning at the time. The monsters you fought looked downright creepy and the overall environments enhanced the feel of desolation and mystery.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare wasn’t one of the easiest games to play either. The monsters you’d encounter really packed a punch and it could also take a while for them to actually die. Luckily, you find out that these strange, hostile creatures come from an enormous cavernous the center of the earth and have an aversion to light, so your flashlight is as important a part of your survival kit as your weapons as you set off to uncover the mystery of the three mystical tablets and track down your friend’s killer. Once in a while, you’ll meet up with the other half of the protagonist-duo, intertwining and connecting the two separate storylines.
Being a fan of horror-survival in general, I immensely enjoyed playing Alone in the Dark: The New nightmare. Its characters, its environments and its story are all well crafted and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for quite some time. I honestly believe it might even be able to up against the Resident Evil games of the same era and hold its own against these horror giants. So, for now, I can only conclude these ramblings by saying that I absolutely love this game and are already looking forward to playing it again!
So, gentlemen, are we all set to return to base? Ah, I see Chuck has finally woken up. How are you feeling? Dizzy? Good, that ought to teach you to never do that again! Yes, Steven? You want to what? Go get a burger?! Well, I guess that’s alright. Does anyone else feel the need for some junk food? All of you?! Oh alright, I’ll wait here while you go and stuff your faces. Go on, knock yourselves o... NO WAIT!!
...Oh, come on!
ALONE IN THE DARK: THE NEW NIGHTMARE
Darkworks & Infogrames