Alone in the Dark (shortened to AitD) is a survival horror game released by Infogrames in 1992 for PC. In 1994 a port was made for 3DO by Krisalis Entertainment and published by Interplay Entertainment.
Alone in the Dark is one of the first Survival Horror games and one of the first games to utilize 3D models superimposed on pre-rendered backgrounds. The game was awarded the title of 'First 3D survival-horror videogame' by Guinness World Records.
The player collects items around the mansion to solve puzzles and interact with their environments by selecting actions in the menu.
It is the year 1923. The owner of the Louisiana mansion Derceto, Jeremy Hartwood, died a few days ago. The police report, filed after a cursory investigation, concluded that the well-known artist had taken his own life. His devoted butler confirmed that Hartwood had been suffering from considerable mental depression for some months. He had placed even more strain on his already delicate health by translating the many ancient manuscripts contained in Derceto's extensive library. He also suffered from insomnia and the few hours of sleep he had were troubled by particularly disturbing nightmares. He appeared to be convinced of a mysterious presence in the old house.
Derceto is now empty. Rumors abound of a curse or of an evil power dwelling within its walls. Such stories are not uncommon with houses like Derceto, especially in this particular area. For some days now, however, a cloud of doubt has hung over your mind...
What are those strange lights inside the house during nightfall? What could account for the eerie noises to be heard each time you approach? Why did Jeremy commit suicide? What compels you towards the house? What is Derceto‘s terrible secret?
Depending on which character is chosen, a small backstory is provided before the introduction. Except for the opening and a small text in the living room, gameplay is the same to both characters.
Seconds after the presentation and introduction cutscene, the game allows the player to take control of the selected character in the loft. Monsters will make their first attack, the player must then progress through the house, fighting off various creatures and other hazards in the house, including a whole staff of staggering zombies and various monsters, booby-traps and arcane books, in order to solve the mystery of Derceto and find a way out.
On my door, a dull brass plate says "Private detective". The few friends I have call me Carnby; the others call me the Reptile. I don't care to think what my banker calls me. These days, I leave my letters unopened; bills and threats to send in the receivers just ruin my day. When an antique dealer called Gloria Allen contacted me, I slipped into my best shirt, holstered my .38, and got to her shop as fast as I could. I was expecting something sordid: blackmail probably. Boy, was I wrong! What I was asked to do was visit a property called Derceto and find a piano in the loft. It was an old piano, with secret drawers; the kind people who buy stuff in antique stores go crazy over. The Derceto house is supposed to be piled high with classy junk: furniture, books, paintings. It looked like whoever owned Derceto was about to get cleaned out. I was going to bring up the subject of money when Gloria Allen handed me $150 and a key. I kept myself from grinning at the thought of my banker's surprise. He doesn't like his victims getting away. I looked over a copy of the police report. The former owner of Derceto, a guy called J. Hartwood, had hanged himself in the loft. The coroner concluded it was a clear-cut case of suicide. I promised Gloria Allen I'd give the place a look-over. My report will be ready in a couple of days. I've been reading up on the history of the old house; it's the kind of place ghosts run away from in terror. Grisly murders, curses, lunacy... Luckily, devil-worship makes me smile, so this is my idea of a paid vacation.
The attorney's letter came as a deep shock to me. My uncle Jeremy had died by his own hand! The coroner's report was unequivocal: he hanged himself in the loft. My initial surprise and distress past, I considered the news; it seemed clear that Derceto had exercised a thoroughly morbid influence on my uncle's mind. That creaking old mansion, with its unusual tales, its secret library door, the ancient upstairs clock, all those occult books that my uncle could not resist reading, in spite of his fragile nerves... Fate had pointed its finger. Derceto had trapped its prey. Mr. MacCarfey, the family lawyer, suggested selling the old house; I immediately opposed the idea. My duty is clear: I must go to Derceto. I tremble at the thought of those dark corridors, those brooding portraits. Yet I am convinced that uncle Jeremy left a note, a letter of some kind, explaining his fateful decision. I remember his voice saying, "Look at the piano, Emily... Look harder." Maybe the secret drawer will yield up an explanation. I have the feeling things will not be so simple. Life is a mystery, containing more mysteries. Jeremy taught me that much. Now is the time to confront the mysteries. Derceto is waiting for me. I pray that my fear is nothing more that the fruit of my imagination. Nothing will ever persuade me that my uncle was insane. But why did he, according to the police report, block the loft window with the old wardrobe?
- Demon Chicken
- Deep One
- Animated Armor
- Creature on the threshold
- A remake for Alone in the Dark was in development, however it was cancelled.
- The game has been added to the list of the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by Tony Mott.
- Initially the game was to feature two characters little more than teenagers, but because the graphics engine made the movements slow and cumbersome creators decided to make actors a man and a woman of advanced age.
- In some game books are references to Shadow of the Comet, and the follow Prisoner of Ice, both of Infogrames games inspired by the pantheon of HP Lovecraft and part of the same universe of Alone in the Dark. The references to the first game are present in the books Memories and Diary of a Journey by Lord Boleskine, while the second is in the Terra Incognita of Jacob Van Ostadte.
- The character Alistair Boleskine quoted in several papers in the game also makes reference to Aleister Crowley (British esoteric) and his villa in Scotland Boleskine House.
- Almost all the names mentioned in rinvenibili documents during the game are based on the developers' names or misspellings thereof.
- A characteristic feature of Alone in the Dark is that some camera angles are through a window, from an enemy's point-of-view. The most common being when a zombie chicken watches the player before come crashing through the window. There is also a shot in the intro, when the player is walking towards the house and someone (probably a ghoul) is watching the player through a window on one of the upper floors. This camera technique is used up until the fourth game and honored by many other video games of the same kind.
- In the strategy guide for the game, in addition to the Deep Ones (arising from the story of Lovecraft The Shadow over Innsmouth), the Chthonian and Nightgaunts (arising from the story The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) there are references to other Lovecraftian creatures that don't appear in the game, such as Dimensional Shamblers and Hunting Horrors.
- Some sources on the internet (incorrectly) suggest that the story of the game was inspired by an urban legend: a man by the name of Edward Carnby spent a night in an old house by the name of Decerto to prove that it wasn't haunted. The following morning it is reported that Carnby used a pay phone to call someone called Gloria Allen and according to a witness he looked like "he'd been fighting 'gators all night.". (According to his page on this very wiki, he's actually named after the character "John Carnby" in Clark Ashton Smith's story "The Return Of The Sorcerer")
- Prior to release, Infogrames announced that Alone in the Dark would be the first title in a new series of games called Virtual Dreams. Each game should have had completely different storyline and settings, but everyone would use the same graphics engine. Although the project was later canceled, the logo Virtual Dreams was left on early versions of the European box of the first Alone in the Dark.
- Following the release of Alone in the Dark, the game's designer, Frédérick Raynal, married with the game's 2D programmer, Yael Barroz.
Differences between the versions
The first edition was published for MS-DOS floppy disk, in 1993 was released on a CD-ROM which included a dubbing of dialogues and a digitized version of the soundtrack; other conversions are available for Macintosh, for 3DO and FM-Towns. In Italy, the first version of Alone in the Dark was published allegedly by CTO in 1992 and distributed on four 3.5-inch floppy disk, the entire game has been subtitled in Italian. Along with the game it was also an envelope containing a copy of the fictional newspaper The Mystery Examiner, fully translated and a book of codes for anti-piracy protection to be inserted at the beginning of the game. The second Italian edition of floppy disk possessed a completely new packaging than the first edition, also was including a floppy disk bonus containing the spin-off Jack in the Dark, but was removed the copy of Mystery Examiner, as the exclusive preserve the first edition floppy. A third version, this time in CD-ROM was always published in 1993 by CTO, the edition available to the English dubbing and subtitles in various languages, including Italian.
Realized & Directed by
- Frédérick Raynal
- Franck De Girolami
- Yaël Barroz
- Jean-Mare Toroella
Modeling 3D & Animation
- Didier Chanfray
- Hubert Chardot
- Franck Manzetti
- Oliver Robin
Original Music & SFx
- Philippe Vachey
- Mixed by Sequence Coda
- Frédérique Bourgin
- Lionel Frappé
- Serge Plagnol
Special Thanks To:
- Bruno Bonnell
- Bernard Montibert
- Eric Mottot
- Veronique Salmeron
- H.P. Lovecraft
Box art Gallery
Sources and References
|Alone in the Dark I|
|Characters||Edward Carnby · Emily Hartwood · Ezechiel Pregzt · Jeremy Hartwood|
|Creatures/Enemies||Ghoul · Zombie Chicken · Spiders · Rats · Cave monster · Bathtub Monster · Flying Creatures · Cigars · Deep Ones · Nightgaunts · Vagabond · Ghosts · Animated Armor · Animated Portraits · Cthonian|
|Misc||Derceto · Items · Documents · Weapons|
||Alone in the Dark • Jack In The Dark • Alone in the Dark II • Alone in the Dark III|
||Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare • Alone in the Dark (2008)|
||Alone in the Dark: Illumination|