244: The Tragedy of Alone in the Dark

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Great article as usual. I like the idea of the developers allowing you to do all those extra things in the car, the glove-box opening and such.

Also, if Lucifer came up to check his stoct portfolio and found that the Economic Crisis had fucked it over, wouldn't he just destroy the world in anger and frustration that he had wasted his inheritance?

I was SO close to getting this game on release due to it promising so much that seemed new. Thank God I listened to the reviews, otherwise that would have been 40 quid down the drain. I agree with Yahtzee on this one, though. It did look good but failed to deliver. Reminds me of The Conduit a bit, as that promised a lot. But that promised good graphics for the Wii, which it succeeded in making, unlike a lot fo 3rd party content.

If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right. If a game is worth playing, what makes it worth playing? You'd want to play it right, since your idea of right will be my variant of left.

Perfection is quite a fickle thing. We can never quite get to that point where we say ''This is perfect, it cannot be improved any more than it has been.'' due to the fact that someone may not like it thus making the whole thing, well, imperfect. When someone has brilliant ideas but is unable to shovel them in to a product correctly they're usually shunned, but it doesn't make the idea any less of a good idea if you believe it to be so.

Even if Alone in the dark was a monolithic goose-chase in several areas, it has still made an advance of some kind and I believe that's what matters.

Also an off topic, Many great ideas were spawned in sheds.

It's curious that Yahtzee is the one behind that article, because the AITD ZP is one of the few that made me think, 'I agree with him, but I still would like to play this game'. The only other is, God forgive me, the MW2 one.

Overall, I can forgive anything if a game provides an interesting enough thread for me to hold on to. I can forgive sloppy storytelling if there's fun gameplay, I can forgive frustrating gameplay if there's an interesting setting, I can forgive a drab setting if there's a unique way of acquiring items. One of my favourite games ever is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, which was quite drab and quite easy for what was supposed to be a horror game that you need to play three times, but I still loved it, because what it did well, it did perfectly. Another one is Body Harvest, which managed to have bad graphics even compared to other first-year N64 titles, but I still consider to be the best GTA style game ever made, simply because no other GTA style games let you destroy giant alien scorpions with either WWII tanks or 60's sedans.

Unfortunately, my rental doesn't carry AITD for any console I own, I have swapped my modded 360 for a legit one in a series of strange but unnoteworthy events, and I'm not about to actually pay money for it, so I'll never know if I'd actually like it.

But here's a statement that will need some defending: I think that being a colossal failure is far closer to greatness than being simply mediocre.

I don't think it really needs defending as it's a perfectly valid point. In an ocean of mediocrity, an island of shit is still an island.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Why can't Lucifer ever rise for some other reason, like to check on his stock portfolio?

You could call that game, "Jesus Saves; Satan Invests".

At least they tried to make a game that wasn't the same crap copy pasted from another formula. It's nice to see innovation in work, it's just a shame it turned out to be total shit, but hey, maybe their next game, "In the dark with my friend" may learn and turn the ideas into working, fun mechanics, along with a cast of likeable, well at least sensible, NPCs

The demo was as far as I got.
It got me in, and then let me down... strange for a demo to mirror a game so succinctly.

I was just thinking, that this is better than the film version at least... right?

They say genius and insanity are separated by a fine line. Guess this game is on the insane side of the line...

"Being a colossal failure is far closer to greatness than being simply mediocre". Wow, that's deep, man. i got to remember that line...

does the ps3 version ditch the evil tree burning bit? fuck man that was the shittiest bit of a game i've ever played.

i agree the fire physics are good but far cry 2 was a unique game for use of fire as an attack stratagy and therefore is more amazing than this game

Interesting read, but I thought that the point you made towards the end:

"An average developer might say to themselves, "We don't need to put all that in because there's no reason to do it." A better developer would say, "Let's put it in anyway and let the players come up with reasons.""

went against one of your main criticisms of Fable 2:

"You CAN, but why would you want to?"

I personally agree with the latter, so I'm curious as to what makes a difference when it comes to the cars in AITD. (I have not played AITD)

Sadly all true about this missed opportunity of a game, still I also missed the lovcraftian setting of the origional as well, my first dissapointment with the game was hearing it was set in the modern era.

I like how he didn't swear all that much. I counted only 1. It was good cos it seemed as an author he distanced himself from his "Zero Punctuation" persona.

I understand on the "almost great" thing.

I felt that way about the Endwar multiplayer. How it could have worked; all of your matches matter, winning or losing ground for you faction, trying to win the war. Your units also develop and improve with time becoming veterans from game to game. You don't throw your troops away as you do so often in other RTS games, you want them to live to fight the next battle. Equally this meant it really hurt the other guy when you killed one of his units as opposed to disabling it. Air striking evac helicopters being quite spiteful.

In the end the connection problems were frustrating, there was no way to co-ordinate gaining ground with other players, you had no idea how many battles had happened or where on that day. If there have been 2600 battles at JFK airbase then spending all day battling there won't swing the result.

Winning airbases to provide air support etc. seems good in theory but all it meant was that people wouldn't play on maps where they had no support. All the Americans waiting to get a game on "their map", all the russians doing the same on their map.

Then there were the times when battles go back and forth for days so you are stuck on the same maps until something changes.

I'm hoping there will be a sequel now they have trialed it and seen what does and does not work.

I'm glad I read this . It gave me a final reason to try the game.
No, I'm not a Yahtzee fanboy.

well said that man. some bloke called herbert mellville said "it is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" says so in my diary. The driving is seriously bad i agree but you could argue that it introduces the element of luck into the mix which is the surely the biggest thing separating heroes from the characters who meet grizzly demises along the wayside. speaking of which, hasn't john mclane had his nine lives many times over?

I agree, it could've been great.

In fact, I hope there's a PC version and some fans are modding it fervently right at this very moment.
Or, baring that, that a new set of just as ambitious, but slightly more practical, developers make another Alone In The Dark game with just as much potential but with all of it actually there and used.

Tonimata:
"de jour"

It's spelt "de jour"

Nope. It's "du jour".

Quick French grammar lesson: in cases like these, depending on if the noun is masculine or feminine you can either use "de la" or "du". Jour is a masculine noun so you have to use "du".

Trust me, I'm Canadian.

As I read this, I started thinking to myself that all of this sounds familiar. A game that was trying to be innovative and was full of great ideas, yet did everything so poorly that it ended up being so bad that it was almost good. All I had to do was take one quick look at my PC game collection to realize I was thinking of Jurassic Park: Trespasser.

I think Trespasser and Alone in the Dark have a lot in common. Both tried to be innovative, both tried behave realisticly, both of them were hyped up enormously, and of course both of them failed miserably. There isn't a single thing in Trespasser that isn't broken, but you can always see the potential seeping out of there. Just think about it, a survival-horror FPS set on an island full of dinosaurs, where just about any object can be used as a tool or weapon? On top of that, it was supposed to have realistic physics, which was an even bigger deal back in 1997. It sounds awesome on paper.

But of course, Dreamworks insisted that the game should come out with the Lost World movie, which means things had to be rushed and ideas had to be dropped. The result was a colossal failure in every way possible. But even so, you can see the groundwork for what they originally intended, and as you play it you can't help but think of how awesome it would have been if the game had been made right. Such a shame.

What i liked was that every car-model is hacked the same, so the red one had a different wiring, and the policecar and so on. That meant an experienced player would hop into a car and hack it in no time, while an inexperienced player would fumble around with the wiring and sound the horn, or turn on the lights before hitting the right one, a moment that almost always unnerved me, because i never cared to check if nearby monsters react to the horn or lights suddenly turning on (and if you come within a mile of them, they knew you where there anyway<.<).
So the Game had its moments...sure...i remember the first levels being totally taken away by the gameplay and i was astounded enough to save an fumble around with my inventory to see what cool gadjets id come up with, and how many things i can smash and light up aflame.
Also the detail that in the Trash, you find almost empty aerosol hands, empty bottles and stuff, and in cardboards and lockers, youd find full stuff.
I was laughing when i found a full bottle of Jacky Ds in a Policecar.

But after it took to Central Park, it all went downhill. I ran out of ammo pretty fast because at some points, the Central Park BOMBARDS you with enemies, and you need to hit the itty bitty lines on their bodys with flamable bullets to actually do something (especialy the big ones)...
I like games were the weakpoint is a big bulb on their torso, called HEAD.
Also the Black Mass was a cool idea, yet it was badly made. The Glowsticks pretty much only worked when thrown into (great you could pack 7 of them in one "pocket" so you really had enough) and the Flashlight was outright useless...so i usually used flaming chairs or tablelegs when possible.

And also, if it was a linear game, i bet it would have been much better recieved.

XMark:

Tonimata:
"de jour"

It's spelt "de jour"

Nope. It's "du jour".

Quick French grammar lesson: in cases like these, depending on if the noun is masculine or feminine you can either use "de la" or "du". Jour is a masculine noun so you have to use "du".

Trust me, I'm Canadian.

Thanks for the reminder. I admit to wrongness, and clearly having learnt French has done nothing good for me. Again, thanks for the correction.

Also, f*cking love the avatar

I don't think there's been a better way to describe that game.

For a change, I share the exact same opinion on that game that he did. Not to say that I worry about that stuff on a daily basis but I keep thinking, 'God damn it, Alone in the Dark could have been a GREAT game had they not let it release with so many many flaws.'

Also, that whole 'Chapter' system was an incredibly bad idea. One should have to play through the game, not be able to skip all the way to the end of it. ~_~

Oh the "Car jumps 2 miles into the air" thing is a pretty common bug? I thought i'd just destroyed the engine of Midnight Club 2 that one time.

This article was pretty great, shows a sign of Yahtzee that you don't really get from ZP.

Shooty implementation is what hurts most games these days, since I been playing games since the late 80s I focus more on gameplay than story (thus why I can;t get over bioshock failing so hard).

I dunno whats worse not trying enough to finish a game or instead of finishing it you fill it with spam....

All they did was create good fire physics with a crappy game attached

I actually enjoyed Alone in the Dark, although I don't have a huge standard when it comes to getting some fun out of a game. It helped that the game's combat was pretty much "kill it with fire". Alone in the Dark had it's problems but I did see potential in it, shame it didn't live up to it overall though.

That reminds me of something I heard years ago, about the difference between famous and infamous--that there isn't one.

"The main problem with point-and-click adventure games like Monkey Island is that the puzzles only ever follow one particular thread of logic; a cooking pot could be used as a crash helmet, for example, but not to hammer in a nail." It is unusual for me to say this, but this article got me to think of uses for things such as Natal and Move, I've always been under the impression that the two were nothing more than gimmicks alluding to something like the much greater like the Holodeck. Taking the above quote into consideration I think I dare say this could be an actual revolution in the adventure game genre, or even games in general. Crazy? I think so. But imagine the things that could be lying around in a game world, this harkens (thought that was a word) back to when I would wander around the rooms of Portal looking for the possible uses of the items lying backstage. I would try to jump on the water bottles just to peek up a ledge to place a portal in an area just out of reach of conventional portal-placing methods. Now imagine if we could take something like those everyday items or that stupid paint game Natal and Move have been showing off and instituting such a feel into a Half-Life 3 or an adventure-type game such as Alone in The Dark and being able to use the items lying around (with in-game physics) that is realistically possible such as nailing in something without a hammer or even leaving messages for someone in a multi-player puzzle game, this could successfully recreate the Ratman feel in newer games without us HAVING to solve the puzzle the way our predecessors have, madman scribbles everywhere and vague references to items that may not even exist anymore. Using human spatial ingenuity and creating multiple threads of logic in a game, admittedly level design would have to up itself a great many notches, is a very fascinating prospect.

yourbeliefs:
I'd really like to see him try out the PS3 version. That was basically the "We fixed most of the major fuck-ups of the 360 version" version of the game. I played the demo and found it to be quite functional and easy to get into.

Ooooo Beaten to the punch.
Yeah Inferno on the PS3 fixes a lot of the issues that were in the 360 version. Its by no means perfect but I'd suggest its worth playing to yahtzee just to see them sidestep those rakes

I was one of the few people, who played through the entire game, and let me tell you something: It was hard. All the car sections are incredibly hard to pass, and the game has so many problems it's hillarious, BUT everytime I got so enranged I thought I hated the game a new concept was introduced that was intruiging and functional enough to use. If you're really resilient I reccomend buying the game.

Nurb:
I remember playing the demo and playing with fire in it, but since then I've completely forgotten about the game until this article!

Also, was anyone else creeped out when they played the original "OMG THE MONSTER IS SHAMBLING OVER SLOWLY FIND THE SWITCH! FIND THE SWI-*DEAD*" Poly-rific AITD?

yes, kids, there was a time when this was creepy to folks
image

That still creeps me out a little. In fact, the main character creeped me out.

yahtzee, I would recommend trying the PS3 version, subtitled "inferno" if you get a chance. it's completely reworked. new driving mechanics, new controls, glitch fixes, additional content, you run instead of walk now, going into inventory pauses the game, etc.. it goes from a 4/10 game on 360, to a 7/10 game on ps3.

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