Alone in the Dark: The Trilogy
The first adventure in the trilogy sends you on a chilling foray into the macabre mansion of Derceto, shortly after the suicide of Jeremy Hartwood. You have been hired by a local antique dealer to catalogue valuables left within the mansion. As you seek out the mansion's precious antiques, you are plunged into a nightmare of torturous howls and an evil presence that fills the house. Now you must make your way through this spine-tingling adventure alone ... and in the dark.
In the second installment, the notorious One-Eyed Jack has kidnapped poor little Grace Saunders and taken her to his terrifying mansion known as the infamous Hell's Kitchen. From your initial climb up the slippery sheer cliffs above the raging sea to the horrors inside, only your razor-sharp instincts can save you from the cutthroat gangsters, smugglers and pirates who have a real thirst for blood ... yours.
In the final chapter of this trilogy, you travel to the Wild West ghost town of Slaughter Gulch to piece together a dusty puzzle: the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood heroine Emily Hartwood and her film crew. But before you can break the curse that grips the town, you must outwit and out-draw the trigger-happy sharpshooters, deranged prospectors, and bloodthirsty lost souls who lurk there.
Alone in the Dark: The Trilogy brings these three award-winning games together into one package that combines adventure gaming and arcade action.
In all three games, you play "Supernatural Private Eye" Edward Carnby. The game interface is fairly straightforward -- you use the keyboard to direct your character onscreen and control how he interacts with the objects around him. The keys are not configurable, and there is no support for using a mouse or joystick to control your character, but the interface is basically the same for all three games, so once you have mastered it in one, you won't need to learn anything new to play the other two.
A cinematic-style display is used throughout the game, with the camera angle shifting around as you move. While this provides a unique feel to the game, it can be distracting and occasionally makes it very difficult to control your character's movement. It can be especially difficult to aim a weapon while fighting the bad guys. The views are interesting, but since you have no control over when they change or what viewing angles are used, they can become distracting.
The puzzles in the games are quite challenging; making it through all three will require a lot of thought and planning. Each game has a huge assortment of items that you will need to pick up and interact with to solve the puzzles, and a fairly easy to use inventory system to keep track of them. Some of the items are not needed at all, making it much more fun than adventure games where if you can pick it up, you will need to use it somewhere.
The graphics in the games combine detailed static backgrounds with characters and objects rendered as 3D polygons. When compared to games like Quake, the 3D is fairly crudely done, but the characters are very recognizable and their movement onscreen is very smooth. The animation of the main character is particularly good -- he walks just like a real person, throws punches, kicks, pushes, and even head-butts.
All three games in the trilogy have a full array of sound effects, which are mixed into the gameplay convincingly. Your character grunts when shot, doors creak, chains rattle, and wind whistles in the windows. The music in the games also adds to the spooky atmosphere, but many newer sound cards do not play it correctly—it was designed for the older FM-synthesis-based Adlib or SoundBlaster compatibles.
The manual is small, but covers the basics of installation and gameplay. Most of the game background and story are given in cut-scenes at the start of each game, so not much is required in the documentation. Other than learning the game controls, there's no real need to read through the manual.
386 DX-33 (486 or faster recommended), 4 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, mouse, DOS 5.0 or higher, 256-color VGA graphics, SoundBlaster or 100% compatible sound card.
All three Alone in the Dark games are a lot of fun to play and provide hours of challenging puzzles. The awkward camera angles used in the games do make movement and fighting difficult in some cases, but fans of adventure games will find plenty to enjoy. If you have never tried the series or have only played one or two, I would recommend picking up the trilogy.