Jwlar - Alone in the Dark: A Complete Retrospective and Analysis

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

The beginning of 3D Survival Horror as you know it.

I apologise for my bad French pronunciation, despite 3 years of taking the subject in school, I still suck at it.

The music throughout this video is from all 3 games in the original trilogy, and for the most part, uses the Orchestral versions instead of the original MIDI/AdLib FM versions.
Some songs are also related to the games being shown on screen: A Link to the Past, Sweet Home, Alpha Waves, Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark 2008 and Little Big Adventure.

Most footage has been edited to fit a 16:9 ratio for a better viewing experience. The game is best played in its original 4:3 ratio.

Timestamps, click to skip ahead!
Introduction 0:00

--Birthing a Genre--
The Horror Genre Before 1:41
Infogrames and Early 3D 3:45
Building a dream team 5:43
1 year of endless development 11:07
A Huge Success 17:24
The CD ROM Version 19:45

--Gameplay--
Gameplay Intro 23:01
The Controls 28:05
The Loft and Combat 34:01
The Style of Play 42:35
Ambience 49:01

--Story--
A Lovecraftian tale 55:57
The Background 57:21
The Story as we experience it 1:14:12

--Legacy--
Legacy 1:21:28
Should You Play It? 1:28:00
The Reboot 1:29:30
Outro 1:32:53

Alone in the Dark (1992): A Complete Retrospective and Analysis in text form:
“Survival horror.”
A genre dominated by Resident Evil. Indeed, that was, and still is, one of the benchmarks for survival horror throughout its many variations. But Capcom's lucrative series owes its existence to a game that created its most famous elements, 1992s Alone In The Dark.
Inspired by the stories of HP Lovecraft, Alone in the Dark took a genre that languished in the 2D plane, and brought it into three dimensions, with polygonal characters engaging with flat, pre-rendered backgrounds. This innovative approach brought gaming closer to photo-realism than any other game at that time.

Frédérick Raynal's masterpiece is the textbook that Resident Evil would follow, combined with Japanese exclusive Sweet Home, to launch the Survival Horror genre into the mainstream. Four years prior, Alone in the Dark redefined how action and adventure could be used to create suspense. Becoming a huge commercial success, and a lucrative franchise.
It has been re-imagined, rebuilt, and travelled across media, but the series has never quite matched what made this first game so special.

How did a game that was released in the same year as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and a Link to the Past, push the boundaries of gaming so far ahead of the competition? And what about this classic game, from its presentation, gameplay and story, made it so influential to a genre whose name didn’t even exist? These are the questions we will answer in this video, grab some snacks and sit back as I present to you; the complete retrospective and analysis of Alone in the Dark.
 
Nice, a game I actually want to hear the background on. Played this on 3.5 floppies back in the day. Still have a “Clue Book” that came with it that is amazing, tried to get it onto GOG but I guess they couldn’t hunt down who to get permission to/pay royalties to if they bundled it into the game. The Clue Book has a whole walk through of gradually clearer hints for each section, plus a bunch of the scary stories from the books for casual reading. And a floorplan, and letters from the game characters.

Man I wish games did shit like that again. If Deluxe Editions included amazing manual/clue books instead of shitty steel books I'd buy them.
 
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ViolentP

Member
Nice, a game I actually want to hear the background on. Played this on 3.5 floppies back in the day. Still have a “Clue Book” that came with it that is amazing, tried to get it onto GOG but I guess they couldn’t hunt down who to get permission to/pay royalties to if they bundled it into the game. The Clue Book has a whole walk through of gradually clearer hints for each section, plus a bunch of the scary stories from the books for casual reading. And a floorplan, and letters from the game characters.

Man I wish games did shit like that again. If Deluxe Editions included amazing manual/clue books instead of shitty steel books I'd buy them.
That little book was gorgeous. Wish I still had mine.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
I played Alone in the Dark around 1998. We already had RE2 by then, and yet I had a blast. AITD was not the easiest game - clunky movement, even clunkier combat, some cheap insta-death traps and, above all, the very concrete possibility of saving into an unwinnable state. Quite a far cry from the much more refined RE. But still a very fascinating, very playable game. Even if you screwed up, you could restart from scratch and redo everything pretty quickly. I think you can finish it in less than half an hour if you know everything.


Nice, a game I actually want to hear the background on. Played this on 3.5 floppies back in the day. Still have a “Clue Book” that came with it that is amazing, tried to get it onto GOG but I guess they couldn’t hunt down who to get permission to/pay royalties to if they bundled it into the game. The Clue Book has a whole walk through of gradually clearer hints for each section, plus a bunch of the scary stories from the books for casual reading. And a floorplan, and letters from the game characters.

Man I wish games did shit like that again. If Deluxe Editions included amazing manual/clue books instead of shitty steel books I'd buy them.





Also… there’s orchestral versions of the OSTs? Like, officially released ones?
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Wow, so the video is all about the first game? Being that long, I thought it would cover the whole original trilogy, but those other games are just briefly mentioned in passing.
I was too young and my English was still too crude 25 years ago to understand the whole background story of the game, so I remembered almost nothing about it. I’m glad the video explains it all.

This is a great retrospect on AITD1, well worth the watch.
And holy shit, Frédéric Raynal has one hell of a head o’ hair, lol.
 
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