Alone in the Dark is a leader in the gaming world as it is considered to be the first game that popularized the survival horror genre, setting the stage for series like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Not only that, but - despite its age - the trilogy remains scary to this day.
Entering the house of terror
Alone in the Dark: The Trilogy 1 + 2 + 3 includes the original three Infogrames’ games, which were published between 1992 and 1994.
The first installment remains the best in the series, which has you choosing to play as either Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood. Taking clear inspiration from the stories of HP Lovecraft, Alone in the Dark takes us back to the 1920s to investigate the strange happenings in a mansion in Louisiana. The house is full of mysteries and documents that reveal what happened - all of which you are free to explore when you are not fighting off the supernatural apparitions that dog your every step.
In Alone in the Dark 2 once again follows the character of detective Edward Carnby. This time the action takes place in a house located in New York’s Hell's Kitchen, where you must investigate the disappearance of a child. But nothing is as it seems and again strange presences make an unwelcome appearance.
Finally, Alone in the Dark 3. Here – once again in the role of detective Carnby - you look into the disappearance of a movie crew in a ghost town known Slaughter Gulch which is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert. And yes, I know, they probably got what the deserved. But in a twist on the tale, the missing crew include Emily Hartwood from the first game.
Challenging puzzles and an unsettling aesthetic
The mechanics of all three Alone in the Darks combine exploration of the world with collecting clues and solving puzzles. It is also important to hang onto every inventory item you find, as these can serve as makeshift weapons when you come across enemies.
The original Alone in the Dark has a nonlinear path: investigate the house at your leisure and slowly reveal its mysteries (trying not to die to the many monsters). In contrast, although the maps are larger, both Alone in the Dark 2 and 3 have a much more linear and restricted route to completion.
What all three games share is the great challenge posed by their puzzles and the unnerving style of each environment you visit. If you were born in the 21st century, this saga’s graphics will not be as impressive as if you played them back in the 90s. But they do remain chilling thanks to the eerie "Lovecraftian" aesthetic and use of audio.
A classic we don’t mind repeating
Alone in the Dark is a benchmark in horror games, so just for its historical relevance it remains a series worth (re)playing. If you didn’t experience it the first time, don’t be put off by its dated graphics, it is still an unnerving horror game filled with challenging puzzles.