Darkness Within

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a game by Zoetrope Interactive
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Horror Games, Point-and-Click Quests, Lovecraftian Games
Darkness Within
Darkness Within
Darkness Within
Darkness Within

Horror games with H.P Lovecraft’s influence are very hard to avoid, being a gamer, everyone has seen or heard of games that make you explore tombs, ancient ritual sites and burial grounds inspired heavily by the creator of Cthulhu. Zoetrope Interactive’s Darkness Within is one of such horror games, inspired by Lovecraftian lore; the game is a slow and methodical adventure game with a horror narrative and story.

The game takes you step by step through diving deep into many tombs, wells and New England locations to slowly link together connections that lead to the ancient evil that lurks quietly underneath and in the nightmares of the protagonist, Officer Howard Loreid; who is investigating a murder suspect, the titular Loath Nolder.

Slower than a Turtle with Weights on its Back

Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder is a point and click horror adventure, the point and click feature works both in its favour and often against it, the game’s point and click design makes the pacing harrowingly slow which increases the players’ focus on the graphics, that are quite poor for the time of release, even with a low budget. But it works in its favour sometimes because most of the times you are trying to prop hunt pixels in the locations that you visit.

The pacing is evidently visible as the game progresses and you unlock more and more areas to investigate; it is a linear game which means you have to solve the puzzles, which are often sloppy in their design. The puzzles are often tiring to make sense of, even after acquiring all the clues, there is tedium in putting together the right combinations, so much so that at some point I put to bed the task of figuring out the puzzles and just trying all of the combinations until eventually the right one clicks.

Howard is not particularly a great protagonist, with almost all of his decisions being hard to made sense of, which hurts the narrative quite a lot, even though the main investigation is very interesting to follow with, his mind being driven into insanity with hallucinations and nightmares, and lack of reason for him not asking for any help with it is very concerning and the game has an abundance of that.

Intensity in Atmosphere

The graphics might not be the highlight, but the ambient art design in the game makes for a stellar atmosphere in the game, the nooks and crannies of each location you visit in Howard’s car are well thought out and put on the screen, making them fun to investigate.. The design of its locations, however mundane they might be, feels real, and this deliberate design choice peaks your interest as a player in the corners and shadows of each location, curiosity spiking as you wonder what is hiding in the secret passages of an underground well.

The music and sound design does a great job at enhancing the experience that comes with it as well, with the sound design doing a great job at portraying the creeks of doors and floors in the New England houses, and the music building intensity in the atmospheric design of the locations unlike anything else in the game.

A Complicated Verdict

While I do not dislike the game, it feels tedious to play at times. With a barn burner pacing, sloppy puzzle design and pixel hunting, Howard Loreid’s investigation of Loath Nolder leads to some interesting and exciting conclusions in the Lovecraftian story; that while not being too hard to push through for the story, does some serious things to make you work for it.

7

The game has graphics that aren’t too polished, but the art design making up for it in creativity, along with a story that is bound to intrigue any horror fan.

Pros

  • Great art design
  • Ambient sound design
  • Great sound track, complimenting the themes and art
  • Slow pace working in hunting down the clues
  • Barn burner of a story, with a great payoff

Cons

  • Slow pacing making the adventure tedious
  • Sloppy puzzle design
  • Graphically weak

Download Darkness Within

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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