Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
|Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare|
North American box art
Spiral House (Windows/PS2)
Pocket Studios (GBC)
|Publisher(s)||Infogrames Entertainment, SA
|Series||Alone in the Dark|
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, alternatively known as Alone in the Dark 4, is the fourth installment of the survival horror video game series Alone in the Dark, developed by Darkworks and published by Infogrames Entertainment, SA. The game was released in 2001 on several platforms including Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. A PlayStation 2 version of the game was also released several months after and only in Europe.
Set on October 31, 2001. Edward Carnby's best friend and partner, Charles Fiske, has been found dead off the coast of Shadow Island, a mysterious island near the coast of Massachusetts. Carnby's investigation quickly leads him to Frederick Johnson, who informs him of Fiske's search for three ancient tablets with the ability to unlock an incredible and dangerous power. Johnson pleads with Carnby to take the place of Fiske and reopen the investigation in order to recover the tablets. Carnby accepts and makes it his mission to find Fiske's killer. Johnson introduces Edward to Aline Cedrac, an intelligent, young university professor. She joins Edward to recover the missing tablets and assist Professor Obed Morton, who she believes to be her father. While flying over the coast of Shadow Island, Edward and Aline's plane comes under attack by an unknown creature. Edward and Aline both jump out of the plane and parachute to the ground, but are separated immediately. Edward lands in the dense forest just outside a manor, while Aline lands on the roof of said manor.
The player is given the option of choosing which of the two protagonists they play as. Carnby's side of the plot is based mainly on fighting the monsters by physical means, particularly with his trusty double barreled revolver; while Aline's is more centered on puzzles. The two occasionally meet up, and the main areas of plot intersect.
The player soon comes under attack from Creatures of Darkness that appear out of nowhere and seem to be living shadows. These Creatures of Darkness are eventually revealed to be reptilian, silicon-based life forms from the center of the Earth, an enormous world of dark caverns known as the World of Darkness. Shadow Island apparently contains one of the many portals to this underground world. True to their name, the game's enemies are averse to light (which apparently turns them into ash), and this figures heavily in gameplay. Players can use their flashlight to repel certain creatures, and killing them is accomplished with such light-producing ammunition as "magnesium bullets" and "phosphorus shells."
Light plays a significant role in this game. One of the game's main features is the flashlight that can be used to light up the game's darkened scenes, revealing hidden details and uncovering items. To this end, the developers crafted an unusual graphics engine which allowed the 3D player character's flashlight to properly illuminate and cast shadows on the 2D, pre-rendered backdrops. This was accomplished by rendering the backdrops at various levels of illumination and including information on the distribution of objects in the scene. The graphics engine could then properly use brighter versions of the backdrop where the flashlight was expected to be casting light, and leave shadowed areas dark.
Development and release
For the first time in the series, the game was based on console development and released as a multiplatform title. Darkworks handled the development of the PlayStation and Dreamcast versions, the latter being released one month after the PlayStation version and featuring major graphic improvements instead of being a direct port. Spiral House ported the Dreamcast version to Windows and it was released at the same time of the Dreamcast version, but the Windows version suffers from sound conversion issues which turn the overall soundtrack of the game into noticeable worse quality renditions. Spiral House also ported the Dreamcast version to the PlayStation 2 and released it several months after, with the added improvement of lip synchronization for the polygon models during cutscenes.
A Game Boy Color version of the game was separately developed by Pocket Studios. While older hand held systems would often abandon 3D environments entirely in favor of easier to render 2D sprites, the Game Boy Color received a relatively faithful version of the home console game. The Game Boy Color's cartridge-based format necessitated the loss of the full motion video cut scenes from the other versions, and many game play areas had to be reduced in size while some were eliminated entirely. However, the basic pre-rendered environments and 3D character imposed over top of them remained.
Outside of Europe, the game was released in North America by Infogrames in the same platforms which was released in Europe except for the PlayStation 2 version, which was only released in Europe. In Japan, the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 versions were planned to be released by Capcom, but these Japanese releases were cancelled. The game was eventually released in Japan for Windows in 2002 by CyberFront, featuring English voices and Japanese subtitles unlike the Japanese versions of the previous Alone in the Dark games which were fully dubbed to Japanese.
The PlayStation version was released in May 2012 as a PSone classic on the PlayStation Network. As of September 1, it is also compatible with the PlayStation Vita, but is not compatible with PSP due to porting issues.
As of October 29, 2013, the Windows version was released on Steam.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare was well received. The PlayStation version received a score of 77, the Dreamcast version a 75, and a lower score for the Windows version at 66 from Metacritic. IGN staff gave the PC version a more positive review with a score of 8.0 out of 10.0, the Game Boy Color version received mixed reviews with Craig Harris giving a low score of 4.0 but GamesMaster magazine scoring 90% and The Sunday Times scoring 4/5 along with awarding Game of the Week.
In 2005 a film adaptation was released called Alone in the Dark loosely based on the fourth installment. It was directed by Uwe Boll and was a box office flop costing $20,000,000, which was not recovered, and poorly received by critics, although it made a profit on the DVD market. Guinness World Records named the film the "Lowest-Grossing Game Based Movie" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition. An Unrated Director's Cut was released in Germany, France and Australia and was #1 on the German DVD market for three weeks.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (video game)". Giant Bomb.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare". MobyGames. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (PS2) Release Summary". GameSpot. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- Capcom editará en Japón Alone in the Dark
- アローン・イン・ザ・ダーク 新たなる悪夢 日本語版
- Makuch, Eddie (May 26, 2011). "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare rated for the PS3". GameSpot. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (PS1)". Metacritic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (DC)". Metacritic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- IGN Staff (July 12, 2001). "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare PC Review". IGN. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- Harris, Craig (July 6, 2001). "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare GBC Review". IGN. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare GBC Review". Games Master. June 2001. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare GBC Review". Sunday Times. May 20, 2001. Retrieved May 14, 2015.