Alone in the Dark 2
for PC (DOS)

Mr Creosote:Popular Vote:
Company: Infogrames
Year: 1994
Genre: Adventure, Action
Theme: Misc. Fantasy / Fighting / Horror / Pirates
Language: Français, English, Deutsch, Italiano
Licence: Commercial
Views: 29166
Review by Mr Creosote (2010-07-22)

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: Alone in the Dark, 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.

Comments (9) [Post comment]

Herr M.:
Actually I think it was a good idea to not rehash the haunted house scenario again. Opinions may vary on whether it's a good thing that they changed the pacing so massively too, but since I cheated the hell out of this game and had a lot of fun in doing so, I still have a soft spot for it. Except for said passages with the little girl, where I didn't have the nice health buffer that I got by drinking that bottle of posion again and again.
The toy clown was "epic", yes.. i guess that was supposed to attract people to it, but as the following scene unfolded i immediately lost my interest :)
Mr Creosote:

Also, the setting is quite patchy, isn't it? It starts out teasing you with another haunted house, but it cannot be entered. Instead, you get the stupid hedge maze and the underground tunnels. And then there is suddenly an anachronistic pirate ship? :confused:

The best section of this game is actually the sequence with the little girl. Carefully sneaking makes a welcome change.

Yes, but those weren't even monsters, but just buncha disfigured gangsters... which ironically were more difficult to rid of... :)
Mr Creosote:
When you're out of ideas, just shove in more monsters ;)
I'd argue on the statement that it's just as good as its prequel. First off, it's somewhat less inviting, the scenery is a bit dull. Secondly, plot is kinda vague and unattractive. And thirdly, the gameplay is TERRIBLY difficult compared to the 1st chapter, so it actually makes you wanna quit it as soon as possible and play something else instead. I never played it a lot, as i would get bored of dying now and then. So yes, here i'd agree with the rating. 3 from me too.
Very good game, like its predecessor is very entertaining and innovative for its time. the grandfather of survival horror.

As for successors of Alone in the Dark, I'm still surprised that Resident Evil for some reason decided to use an improved version of Alone in the Dark's system. It never was the best, even being greatly improved for Resident Evil, which manages to use it better, but still is a nuisance when you have to shoot zombies and monsters from a distance, which happens frequently.

But apart from the problems they both have. Between Alone in the Dark 3 and Resident Evil passed only two years and the difference is enormous. Another thing that shows they should have made something new instead of recycling the same game. And before anybody says anything, the Playstation may have had hideous 3D graphics, but still they weren't much different than those of Alone in the Dark series. Just take a look at the AiD2 remake for the console.