The ghost pirate One Eyed Jack (no relation to Twin Peaks) has kidnapped a little girl. A detective called Striker has located her, but just as he's about to free her again, a creepy clown doll comes to life and strangles him to death. Enter Striker's colleague: Edward Carnby, in a distincly more modern suit than the one he wore in the first game. Arriving at the mansion (appropriately called Hell's Kitchen), he's immediately faced with zombies... carrying machine guns.
This sets the tone for the whole game: fighting, fighting and more fighting. Mostly not fistfighting, but gun battles. Instead of gothic, moody scenery with lots of dusty and informative bookshelves, roaring monster hordes are waiting around every corner. In the movie genre, the development of Alone in the Dark is like Dawn of the Dead being a sequel to The Legend of Hell House.
The armed monsters are tough, because it shows the graphical engine simply hasn't been made with this sort of fighting in mind. The seemingly random perspective changes make aiming at distant targets hard and sometimes impossible - especially in the situations when the sprites have got a huge distance from the virtual camera. Ammo isn't exactly plentiful, either. To get along, a lot of trial and error is required - i.e. trying a door or corner, being axed (in a literal sense) and then trying again until you manage to kill your enemies without too much damage. And saving in order to face the next challenge.
The most interesting sequences are actually the ones in which the player takes control of the little girl instead of Mr Carnby. Being unable to stand up in a fight, the game is suddenly all about getting around confrontation - which offers a lot more suspense than hitting zombies in the face.
All this basically shows one thing:, as a series, quickly went into a dead end. The first part could take credit for an innovative graphical concept. When the second part came out only a year later, graphics had already taken another step and suddenly, the shallowness of the gameplay became all too obvious. It's entertaining enough, but not too much. New and good ideas are tragically absent.