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Alone in the Dark
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is a pretty gruesome survival horror game. Your character must kill zombies and other supernatural creatures with a handgun, incendiary devices, and other fire-based tools (players learn alot about how to make fire bombs). Bodies are scattered throughout the landscapes, some even decapitated. Blood is evident on walls and floors, while zombies spit blood at your character. The game also includes some pretty strong language.
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What's it about?
Atari, known best for its classic gaming library, takes a frightful turn with the release of ALONE IN THE DARK. While this survival horror adventure incorporates some unique concepts, there are too many scary features lurking in the shadows. As Edward Carnby, you rove New York City's Central Park investigating a supernatural phenomenon. As you progress, you'll uncover not only Central Park's dark secret, but mysteries about your character. Perhaps the story's most interesting element is an episodic layout. Each level is treated like an episode of a television series. When you return to the game, you're treated with a brief recap of what happened previously. Levels end with closing credits, allowing you to absorb the game in small chunks. If certain sections are too difficult, you can even skip to the next part.
Alone in the Dark is a mix of multiple game genres, including first-person shooter, platformer with puzzle solving, and open-world exploration. You'll kill zombies one moment, then hop in a car to escape a barrage of creatures, or study how to get out of a decimated skyscraper. A key component to the game, as well as your primary weapon, is fire. Most enemies can only be killed by burning. A clever inventory system offers great variety in determining how you do this. Combine flammable liquid and a handkerchief to create a Molotov cocktail, pour liquid on ammo for fire bullets, or grab an aerosol spray can and lighter to create a mini-flamethrower.
Is it any good?
While the choices are robust, pulling them off is a vexing matter. Combat is maddening. You're constantly flipping between a first-person and third-person perspective, often to your detriment. Players can only throw items or melee attack in third-person, and can only fire their gun in first-person. Shooting is difficult because the mechanic lacks a more precise aim feature. Driving is equally frustrating since cars are nearly impossible to control. Moving and striking with objects like axes looks and feels stiff. Alone in the Dark's attempt at blockbuster status is unraveled by subpar gameplay mechanics.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.