Franchise: Alone in the Dark
aka: Alone In The Dark 2008
Alone in the Dark
(Infogrames, 1992) is an Action Adventure
the progenitor of the Survival Horror
genre. It was also the first game to feature 3D polygon characters over fixed 2D backgrounds
, allowing for cinematic camera angles. Featuring a mix of combat, puzzle-solving, inventory management, and exploration, the game was well-received and made a rather large impression at the time. Set in the 1920's, the game had players take the role of private detective Edward Carnby or socialite Emily Hartwood, who were locked in the haunted mansion of Derceto, searching for a way out while battling zombies, monsters, and a lurking evil inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.Alone in the Dark 2
(1993) is more linear and combat-oriented
, featuring a tommygun-wielding Edward Carnby facing off against 1930's mobsters led by the villainous One-Eyed Jack to rescue kidnapped child Grace Saunders. As it turns out, Jack and his gang are in fact immortal pirates, the crew of the Flying Dutchmen, who made a pact with witch Elizabeth Jarret and perform regular human sacrifices to retain their life and youth. There were also a few stealth segments where players took the role of Grace Saunders and had to evade the mobsters searching for her.Jack in the Dark
was a short free PC game released in 1993 as a teaser for the upcoming Alone in the Dark 2
and using its then-current engine. Using all of the standard Alone in the Dark
mechanics, the small Grace Saunders, dressed as a witch for Halloween, must escape a haunted toy shop.Alone in the Dark 3
(1994) takes place in an abandoned Wild West ghost town, with Carnby attempting to save Emily Hartwood (who was filming a western film along with a film crew in the deserted town), who has inadvertently awakened the ghosts of the town's evil inhabitants, led by prospector Jebediah Stone. Although still linear, the game featured a more balanced mix of combat and puzzle-solving.Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
(2001) is a re-imagining of the series. Taking place in modern times, the game featured a new protagonist (also named Edward Carnby. No relation.
), who teams up with linguistic expert Aline Cedrac to unravel the mystery of Shadow Island and its reclusive inhabitants, the Morton family. This ultimately puts them into a battle against the Creatures of Darkness, reptilian shadow monsters originating from an underground underworld known as the World of Darkness. The game featured many control, gameplay, and presentation elements taken straight out of the playbook of Resident Evil
. It's most unique feature was the use of the flashlight to reveal hidden details of the environment, as well as to drive back some of the light-sensitive monsters.
The film Alone in the Dark (2005)
did borrow a few bits from The New Nightmare
but had little else to do with the games that came out before it.
Although not an Alone in the Dark
game per se, Cold Fear
was originally supposed to be Alone in the Dark 5
. Although the end product ultimately had nothing to do with the series, it can still be considered Alone in the Dark AT SEA
In 2008, a new game in the series was released, rebooting the franchise. Known simply as Alone in the Dark
, the game features the original Edward Carnby from the original games, waking up in modern day New York City alive, unaged, and with a major case of amnesia just in time to witness living fissures wreck the city and turn many of its inhabitants into vicious monsters. Taking place in Central Park, the game was a Gameplay Roulette
featuring elements of First Person Shooters
, 3rd Person Platformers
, Driving Games
, Beat Em Ups
, etc. It also borrowed quite a bit from Boll's film; this was not prudent
In August 2014, Atari announced a new entry, Alone in the Dark: Illumination, scheduled for release over the holiday season.
Also see the Characters page
and the WMG page
The series contains examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: In the third game you will find an empty shotgun. Acquiring the ammo for it (and realizing the item is meant to be ammunition) is a Guide Dang It moment: it shoots gold coins.
- The zombie holding said gold coins supposedly can only be killed by a golden bullet, either by the gold coins mentioned above or a single golden Winchester bullet found elsewhere.
- Action Commands: Used in the 2008 Alone in the Dark to try and escape if you get eaten by a fissure.
- Action Survivor: Carnby and Hartwood were like this in the original Alone in the Dark. By the sequels, Carnby has become a Badass Normal paranormal investigator, an occupation shared by the new Edward Carnby from The New Nightmare.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: The 2008 game has an advancing road of doom in the first major driving scene.
- Aerosol Flamethrower: One of the weapons in the 2008 game.
- All There in the Manual: The enemies in The New Nightmare aren't named in-game, and their names can only found in the Prima strategy guide: they're called Ophtalmicid (the monsters that are seen attacking the dogs in Carnby's path), Hound of Tindalos (the dog-like monsters), Photosaurus (the monsters in the attic who are afraid of light), Arachnocid (the spider-like monsters), Luxrat (the rat-like monsters), Night Ripper (the huge scorpion-like monsters), Phocomelus (the aquatic monsters) and Procuraptor (the library boss in Carnby's path).
- Alternate Continuity: The New Nightmare is in a different continuity than the original series, but the 2008 game is a direct sequel, with Carnby having been kept in stasis by Lucifer since 1938.
- And I Must Scream:
- Captain Pregtz from the first game was turned into a tree and has lived in an underground city for 300 years. Subverted in that he still has servants waiting on him hand and foot. Er, branch and root.
- Jack in the Dark, despite being a kids game, features sentient toys living in an abandoned toy store for years. Despite this, they don't seem to mind much.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Playing as the Damsel in Distress Grace in the second game.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: The two endings of AiTD 2008 boil down to picking who gets possessed by Lucifer.
- Another Side, Another Story: The New Nightmare has you play as either Edward Carnby or Aline Cedrac, who each have their own path in the story. Carnby's side of the plot is based mainly on fighting the monsters by physical means, particularly with his trusty double barreled revolver, while Aline's is more centered on puzzles.
- Apocalyptic Log: Jeremy Hartwood's diary in the first game. Also, one of the first things you find is the suicide letter of Jeremy Hartwood. It is literally written just after he has unwittingly released the evil of the mansion and hears the footsteps of the newly awakened abominations closing in.
- Arbitrary Equipment Restriction: During the 2008 game, during a light based puzzle section near the end of the story, the flashlight you have throughout the entire game suddenly becomes unusable until after the puzzle is solved.
- Artifact Title: The 2008 game: you're not alone, and it's not dark (because everything is on fire). Subverted slightly when an upgraded version was given the subtitle Inferno.
- Artificial Stupidity: The first hallway you enter, there is a large chasm in the floor, and a door to your left, and to your right. If you take the door to your right, a Zombie will follow you in. If you take the door to your left and block the door. You'll eventually arrive at the other side of the chasm and you can see the zombie walking into the blocked door.
- Attack Its Weak Point: All of the humanoid enemies in the 2008 game can only be killed by igniting the fissures on their bodies.
- Back from the Dead:
- The members of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad in Alone in the Dark 2 will resurrect an hour or so after being killed, unless you physically destroy their contract with the Devil first.
- In Alone in the Dark 3, Carnby himself comes back from the dead (thanks to a little Native American magic) after being shot by the Big Bad. In fact, the sight of Carnby digging his way out of his own grave even scares the undead skeleton-arm zombie sheriff member of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad so much he drops his gun and runs away.
- Badass Longcoat: Edward has one in The New Nightmare.
- Badass Normal: Edward Carnby and Emily Hartwood are among the few Survival Horror protagonists able to punch/slap/headbutt zombies to death with their bare hands.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Both endings to 2008, more or less, although one is a potential Sequel Hook.
- Battle Theme Music: In the original game, a Scare Chord plays and the music gets creepier when an enemy appears.
- Black Cloak: The human villain Crowley and his men in the 2008 Alone in the Dark.
- Booby Trap: One MacGuffin in the third game is a suitcase full of money rigged with explosives. You can open the suitcase before disarming it.
- Bookcase Passage: Both the first and fourth game have one.
- Booze-Based Buff: In the original trilogy, Edward Carnby drinks from various hip flasks scattered about to gain health.
- Border Patrol: In the first game, the thing outside the front door, and the Chthonian Worm that blocks the secret passage from the basement (which you need to unlock anyway to get back in later).
- Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Used in the 2008 game in the museum, where you need to use a sword to hack off a guard's arm to get past a scanner. It's all right, he's already dead.
- Breakable Weapons:
- The first game features breakable ammo: if you fall into the water, all your shotgun cartridges (and matches) will become useless.
- The Old Cavalry Sabre from the first game. It breaks in two after a couple of strikes. It is necessary for a puzzle later in the game, but thankfully you can use the two broken halves to solve it as well.
- The second and third game has automatic weapons that will be "jammed" at certain points in the game, most likely to prevent them from becoming DiscOneNukes.
- The 2008 game had weapons which fell apart literally in about a dozen strokes. Combined with unlimited supplies of some mooks, this can get pretty aggravating.
- Brown Note: The Tomes of Eldritch Lore in the original game will either weaken Carnby (Fragments from the Book of Abdul) or kill him dead (De Vermis Mysteriis) upon reading unless he is standing on the pentagram in the room where you find them.
- California Collapse: The Big Bads in Alone in the Dark 3 wants to use a nuclear bomb to crack the San Andreas fault and send California into the ocean.
- Camera Perspective Switch: The 2008 game had the ability to switch between first person and third person. Generally speaking it's easier to notice things in third person but easier to control in first.
- Camera Screw:
- The 2008 game occasionally has some poor angling for the third-person camera. However, the ability to switch to first person view almost any time as well as a lock-on function for melee combat help to alleviate this a little bit. However, the camera still likes to be dramatic and epic in certain scenes, so maintaining control of a car after a dramatic jump is a little addled.
- And, of course, the original was the originator of the fixed-camera survival horror angle where movement was based entirely on camera angle, sometimes resulting in pressing a given direction walking you halfway across the room and then repeatedly switching between views because the camera angles were flipped 180 degrees.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- There are Chekhov's Guns all over the place in the first game, e.g. an Indian cover, a heavy statuette and others whose use isn't quite obvious at the beginning.
- In the third game, while you're in the town hall, you find a barrel of silver salts that has no use at that moment. Much later, there's a part where you must fight werewolves, against whom those silver salts come out very handy...
- Climax Boss: The sword fight against the pirate ghost in the original Alone in the Dark. The battle against the huge Museum Beast about 1/2th of the way through the 2008 Alone in the Dark (complete with awesome battle music: "End to a Prelude" on the official soundtrack).
- Closed Circle: In the original game, trying to exit the mansion via the front door reveals the exterior to be an otherdimensional void which promptly eats you.
- Collapsing Lair:
- Conspicuous CG: Alone In The Dark and its sequels managed to mostly subvert this trope by using pre-rendered 3D scenes as backgrounds combined with real-time polygonal foreground characters and an intelligent masking system that made sure they integrated with the environment more or less seamlessly. The often creative use of camera angles helped the illusion.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: In the first game, when exploring the library, one of the first things the player will probably notice is that one of the bookcases is lighter and more pixelated than the others. Guess which one hides a passage to a secret room.
- Continuity Nod
- The Big Bad of Alone in the Dark 3 is revealed to be the child of the Big Bad from the original Alone in the Dark and The Dragon from Alone in the Dark 2. Also, one of the villains in The New Nightmare is named De Certo, after the haunted mansion in the original game.
- All 3 games in the original trilogy as well as The New Nightmare feature an "unseen being watching your character through the window" scene at the beginning of the game.
- Continuity Reboot: The New Nightmare disregarded the story of the original trilogy and changed the timeframe from the 1920's to the modern era. The franchise was rebooted again in 2008, although it is implied that Carnby there is the same one as the original trilogy, having been kept in stasis by Lucifer for 70 years.
- Convenient Weakness Placement: While the zombie pirates in the second game are not actually immortal, "killing" them will just send them back to the place where they signed their immortality pact (namely their pirate ship). And once on board they can only be Killed Off for Real by weapons forged during the time of the pact (signed in 1725). It's a good thing they keep their 200-year-old swords and flintlock pistols (and cannons) in pristine state for you to kill them with once you are on board.
- Copy Protection: The original series had this, and notably ratcheted it up in the second game. The first game required two objects from the game to be entered, which was already saying something given the large number of one-use clutter. The second game, however, was a bit more complex. When you entered the first screen, it had a message something along the lines of "Protection Ace of Hearts over Three of Clubs First Hole". This could be disregarded, and if one tried to enter the hedge maze without inputting a code with the F keys, the game would say "YOU DIDN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION" and smite you. It turned out the manual told what the question is, and the game came with a number of hole-punched playing cards. Only by correctly laying the cards over each other and examining a hole could you figure out the required code to get on with it.
- Cosmic Horror Story: A major element of the franchise's flavour, most prevalent in the fourth and first game, the latter of which containing many monsters taken directly from the Cthulhu Mythos, and several other direct Lovecraftian references, including the Necronomicon and De Vermis Mysteriis. The name of the mansion from the first Alone In The Dark 1992, Derceto, is revealed in-game to be an alias of Shub-Niggurath, the Mythos' equivalent of a fertility deity...
- Cranium Chase: In Alone in the Dark 3, at one point you encounter a beheaded invincible zombie. To defeat him, you must take his head, which is lying on a nearby table, and throw it to a pit, so that the zombie jumps to the pit looking for his head.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure: In the first game every item has a certain (hidden) weight. Once your inventory reaches the weight limit, you cannot pick up anymore item. Fortunately you can reasonably guess most items' weight (hint: don't lug the gramophone around).
- Cycle of Hurting:
- In the first game, enemy attacks can cause your character to flinch. In the second game, being overwhelmed by enemies or even one enemy with a Tommy gun can stun-lock Carnby until he is dead.
- In The New Nightmare, one particular enemy, the Ophtalmicid, can be stunlocked very easily, as it flinches a lot when shot. This was most likely introduced because Carnby is forced to kill one of them before getting the shotgun, using only his revolver, which requires a lot of bullets (about six shots).
- Darkness Equals Death:
- Subverted in the 2008 game, where the main characters randomly end up in a dark room lit only by the fire of their automatic guns; they wipe out the evil attempting to kill them. Those not in the darkness, in well lit areas, will end up dead by the end of the scene.
- Also, in The New Nightmare, all enemies are weak to light, but Photosaurus in particular are extremely affected by it. The flashlight will force them to retreat a few steps, and turning on the lights of the room they're in will instantly kill all of them.
- The Dead Can Dance: A group of ghost ballroom dancers guards the pirate's key, and you must play the Danse Macabre ("Dance of Death") record on the gramophone to make them dance and move away from it.
- Deadly Gas: The original game has a smoking parlor where the smoke will drain Carnby's health unless you extinguish the ashtray with a water jug.
- Demoted to Extra: Emily is a playable character in the first game, completely absent in the second, and returns in a supporting role in the third.
- Depth Deception: A few areas in the original trilogy have pathways concealed by walls that appear to come together but are actually separate walls.
- Die, Chair! Die!: The 2008 game also features "Burn Chair, Burn".
- Downer Ending: The 2008 game has a "pick your poison" pair of downer endings. Giving the player an option to choose which one is kind of like twisting the knife.
- Down the Drain: The New Nightmare has a sewer level early on in Edward's scenario. Though not very long, Edward's speed is halved by being partly submerged in water, and the place houses a particularly nasty Eldritch Abomination, the Phocomelus, that will pop from beneath to One-Hit Kill him if he takes too long to reach the exit. Except trying to speed up catches the creature's attention. You spend the level alternating between slow/fast pacing and trying to hold off the creature with all your ammo, which can knock it back unconscious for a few seconds AT BEST (it can be killed, but it requires six shots with the revolver, the only weapon you have at that point).
- Drop-In Nemesis:
- Dungeon Bypass: There's a teleporter in the second game that allows you to skip the entire hedge maze area.
- Electrified Bathtub: In the 2008 game, there are some points where you have to pull electric cables out of the water so you can traverse through the area without getting zapped.
- The End... Or Is It?: The original game ends with the hero destroying the evil force and escaping the mansion into daylight, hailing a passing cab and getting in, only for the driver to turn around and reveal himself as a cackling zombie. Of course, since he appears in the sequel, presumably this experience wasn't ultimately negative.
- Escort Mission: In Inferno. Sarah, who accompanies the hero in the first half of the game before finally deciding to remain in a safe place, acts more as a tag-along rather than an actual escort mission, even though you do need her help in certain places. Thankfully, bullets in the head are only minor annoyances for her, and she rarely actively gets in your way. Her comments make you want to mute the TV, though.
- Everything Fades: Each game features this in a different way.
- In the first game, monsters' corpses disappear into a cloud of colorful bubbles (or smoke) soon after killing.
- In the second game, the zombies' corpses filter through the floor if they're killed in their mobster form (to show they'll come back again later), and they crumble to bones and disappear if they're killed in their pirate form (to show this time they're getting Killed Off for Real).
- In the third game, monsters' corpses transform into a black cat, then disappear.
- In the fourth game, monsters disappear in a burst of light.
- Evil Chef: You have to defeat one of these in the second game (twice, as enemies in that game have the habit of not staying dead).
- Failure Is the Only Option: In the 2008 game: Take your pick of allowing Sarah to be possessed by Lucifer, or killing her and having Carnby become the embodiment of Lucifer himself and unleashing the forces of Hell on the world.
- Feelies: The original trilogy boxes include fictional printed newspapers from the 1920's, which expand a bit the setting and sometime contain subtle clues for the games.
- Fisticuffs Boss: In the first game, there was a pirate midboss. Throwing an item or firing a projectile weapon simply caused him to do a graceful flip over the projectile. Ultimately, you had to defeat him with mélêe weapons.
- Floorboard Failure: The original game contains an immediately fatal example in the upstairs hallway, requiring you to cut through the bedrooms to avoid it.
- Flying Dutchman: In 2, the antagonists are the crew of the famous ship.
- Follow the Leader: In The New Nightmare, the controls, presentation, and gameplay are a little too similar to Resident Evil to be coincidental ("a little" being a major understatement). Note that Tropes Are Not Bad, and this also means the game is much more faithful to the first game's spirit.
- Franchise Zombie: Both games after the original trilogy.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Featured in the second game. The frying pan can even block most of the blow darts from the Evil Chef. After the chef exhausted his darts, he will go into a frying pan duel with you.
- Gainax Ending: The endings to the 2008 game.
- Gatling Good: The third game features a hand-held gatling gun early on. Unfortunately it will most probably become jammed before you can even use up all the provided ammo.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: Despite following you around for a good portion of the game, Sarah Flores in the 2008 Alone in the Dark is unkillable, and won't even be targeted by monsters. She vanish into nothingness if you die and respawn, but she'll either teleport at the destination or just be ignored until the next gameplay segment. It's mostly one of the game's many glitches.
- Game-Breaking Bug:
- 2008 Alone in the Dark seem to be made of these.
- In the 59th Street level you'll find that your vehicle can and will get stuck into invisible walls. The rest of the game doesn't get much better; driving never outgrows the invisible walls, which also invade jumping puzzles, while combat is helplessly random due to both the accuracy required (enemies have only specific weak spots) and the problematic collision detection.
- There is a sequence where you must drive a car from a building near Central Park all the way through some of the nearby streets in order to escape a gigantic fissure wreaking havoc on the city, however, during the very last part of the ride, a very nasty bug will sometimes prevent the map from correctly loading during the last jump, making you fall to your death and forcing you to repeat the whole driving sequence.
- When playing the original trilogy in modern computers, you may find that the game glitches when having to push heavy objects. While they were intended to be pushed in a few seconds, they may actually take a lot to be pushed. The worst example of this happens at the start of the second game. You must push a huge anchor statue that is blocking the entrance to a hedge maze while three mooks are shooting you. You're supposed not to fight the mooks, since they're quite hard to beat, and instead ignore them and enter the maze as soon as possible. If done fast enough, the guards won't have enough time to harm you. But, if the statue happens to glitch, the guards will have shot you to death before you've moved the statue a few inches, so you have no choice but fight those mooks.
- Game Over Man
- In the original Alone In The Dark, if (when) you lose, one of the zombies in the house may bring you to a certain altar, in front of a certain tree. A Fate Worse Than Death.
- In the second game, Carnby's dead body is tossed off a cliff into the sea by one of the zombie pirates you fight throughout the game should you bite it. Playing as the little kid, the scene cuts to Carnby being held by his hands on a ship's mast as soon as you get hit or caught at all.
- In the third game, if you are killed by the ghost cowboys, there a scene of your body strung up upside down with the ghost gathered around you.
- Gameplay Roulette: The 2008 Alone in the Dark features so many different gameplay genres, it's hard to categorize exactly what the "main" gameplay genre of the game is.
- Ghost Butler: Happens in the beginning of the first game in the Derceto mansion.
- Ghost Pirate: The antagonists in the second game were a band of zombified pirates kept "alive" though voodoo.
- Ghost Town: The third game takes place in one, in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The New Nightmare features a battle with a nightmarish Insectoid Winged Demon from Nowhere Mini-Boss in the Library, the Procuraptor (although most likely it was the monster responsible for crashing the helicopter in the initial cutscene). Before that, some sort of sea monster, the Phocomelus, attacks you in the sewer (if you play as Edward) or out of a rug (if you play as Aline).
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: In the 2008 game, Edward Carnby has a rather large, puckered scar over his left eye. It's more prominent than most "good guy" scars, but still reasonable enough to fall into the category. At the end of the game, when he becomes Lucifer, his scar turns into a super-evil all-out rake-burn on the left side of his face. Significant, evil, "I cut my face with glass" scars are also a sign that someone has been possessed by Lucifer in the game.
- Grand Theft Me: Ezechiel Pregzt of the first game is trying to find a new body to inhabit, and has been luring people to Derceto to that end.
- Guide Dang It: Too many to count in the original trilogy, as well as The New Nightmare, but some examples from the first game:
- Pregzt, the final boss. What in the game hints at burning him with the lamp? Nothing in the game, but the instruction manual has specific directions for what to do, only written backwards, i.e. eert eht fo retnec eht ta ti worht dna pmal eht thgiL. Guide Dang It, indeed, because most people ignore PC game instruction manuals outright, if they got one with the game at all. There's only a painting in the gallery that hints this.
- Hand Cannon: Carnby's revolver in The New Nightmare, which is able to shoot two bullets at once.
- Hassle-Free Hotwire: In the 2008 game, Edward can get in to any car around Central Park, pull a few wires out and there's a little minigame for you to get the right pair together. Can be slightly difficult when you've got a few enemies bearing down on you though.
- Haunted House:
- Have a Nice Death
- Hedge Maze: The beginning of Alone In The Dark 2 is set in one, in the garden of One-Eyed Jack mansion.
- Hidden Supplies: In the first game you will find a revolver hidden inside a shoe box, which itself is buried under a pile of coal. A good thing too since this gun is waterproof.
- Hive Mind: All the monsters in the 2008 Alone in the Dark are merely puppets controlled by a single entity, Lucifer.
- Hollywood Fire: The 2008 game is pretty blatant with its otherwise innovative fire system. No convection or deadly smoke here.
- "Home Alone" Antics: In the second game, during the part you play as Grace you must put in play several traps against the zombies, since you can't attack them directly.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The final bosses of The New Nightmare.
- The zombified Alan Morton, no matter how many times you knock him down, always gets back up. After stunning him, you have to run into a mundane alcove which contains a spear, which Carnby automatically uses to kill Morton.
- Likewise, Obed Morton is so difficult to defeat that to many players he seems like a Hopeless Boss Fight, such that even most of the game's walkthroughs indicate the only way to finish the game is to use an exploit to run past him instead of fighting him. You actually can kill Obed by shooting him (and it doesn't even matter what weapon you use either), but you can only hurt him when he's in a certain pose (he should be knocked backwards if you hit him correctly, indicating you got it right).
- Hyperactive Metabolism: The main source of health replenishment in the original trilogy came in the form of whisky-filled hipflasks. Considering the sheer amount of booze in the second and third games, it's a wonder Carnby was able to stand upright, let alone aim a gun. They were so loose with the liquor from enemy drops and static pickups that protagonist Edward Carnby must go from simple Badass Normal to Drunken Master.
- I Am the Noun: The 2008 reboot features the line "I'm the FUCKING UNIVERSE!!!"
- I Can't Reach It: An early puzzle in the 2008 game has you balance a fire extinguisher on a wooden platform, then pull a rope to carry it to the upper floor where you can retrieve it and use it to clear out some flames. Because the game won't let you just carry it up the climbable ledges on the other side of the room.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Seen, strangely, in the wild west-themed Alone in the Dark 3. It's revealed that the Big Bad discovered uranium back in the 19th century, used it to create monstrous mutants, and was planning to build a nuclear bomb to crack the San Andreas fault and sink California into the ocean.
- I'm a Humanitarian: In the original game, if the player samples the stewpot on the stove the player character reacts with "Ugh, human flesh." and loses a point or two of health. How did they recognize the taste?
- Implacable Man: The mutated Howard Morton in The New Nightmare. Also a Recurring Boss.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The New Nightmare had a triple-barreled shotgun and a double-barreled revolver.
- Improvised Weapon: In the 2008 game, most enemies can only be killed by fire. If no fire is around, the player must use inventory items to improvise. Alcohol can be poured on bullets to make fire bullets, or the bottle can be thrown and shot midair for an explosive weapon. There are also classic examples, such as the flamethrower from a aerosol can and lighter, or using cloth and a bottle for a molotov cocktail.
- Incendiary Exponent: The 2008 game gives the player the ability to set pretty much anything on fire. And shoot bullets that are on fire. In fact, said flaming bullets are one of the game's best weapons, and are never in short supply.
- Infinite Flashlight:
- Seen in Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, where the flashlight was a core element of gameplay.
- Averted in the 2008 Alone in the Dark, where the flashlight had to be periodically reloaded with fresh batteries.
- Averted in the original game, where the lamp consumes oil, a finite resource.
- In Name Only: The 2008 game has little to do with the games before it, being an Actionized Reboot drowning in many, many different gameplay styles. While the main character is revealed to be Edward Carnby, he's also pretty much Carnby in name only.
- Invincible Minor Minion: The Elwood Brothers in Alone in the Dark 3, a pair of unkillable gunslingers whose sole purpose was to railroad you through the town of Slaughter Gulch by killing you if you tried to go somewhere the developers didn't want you to.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: There are items like this all over the place in the first game, e.g. an Indian cover, a heavy statuette and others whose use isn't quite obvious at the beginning.
- It Will Never Catch On: Alone in the Dark 2 Feelies include a newspaper, containing a short article about a Western movie being currently shot by someone named J. Ford, stating that this genre won't have any success.
- It's A Small Net After All: In the 2008 Alone in the Dark, when asking a doctor to check his online database, the first and only result that comes up for "Edward Carnby" is someone who disappeared in 1938. It's not that uncommon a name...
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: A puzzle in the second game.
- Key Under the Doormat: In the 2008 game you can sometimes find a car key in the sun visor, saving you the tedious business of hotwiring the vehicle.
- Kill It with Fire
- The main premise of the 2008 Alone in the Dark. All the major monsters can only be permanently killed with fire. Fortunately, you can shoot flaming bullets, toss molotov cocktails, attack with aerosol spray flamethrowers, or simply set a chair or baseball bat on fire then whack monsters with it.
- This is also the method by which the Big Bad of the original Alone in the Dark is finally dispatched.
- Large Ham: "I'm the LIGHT BRINGER! I'M THE FUCKING UNIVERSE!!!"
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Carnby's condition in the 2008 Alone in the Dark.
- Late to the Tragedy: Alone in the Dark 3 has Carnby arriving shortly after ghosts have wiped out the film crew visiting a wild west ghost town. Central Park in the 2008 Alone in the Dark is also like this, as you get there after Lucifer has already trashed the place.
- Left Hanging: The entire continuity of The New Nightmare. The game ends with a strong Sequel Hook, as Shadow Island and its gate to the shadow world are destroyed and Lamb, who arranges a cover-up, now has the Abkani tablets and knows the location of at least two more gates, but no direct sequel has been ever made. The planned comic book series was to follow Carnby and Aline after the events of Shadow Island, but only the first issue was ever made.
- Leg Cannon: Shorty Leg in the second game is a overweight Pirate with a machinegun in his pegleg.
- Lightning Reveal: A lightning flash in one of the outside areas in The New Nightmare shows a massive horde of ghoulish humans surrounding you for an instant. It's an early prelude to when you return to the location later and encounter just such a force, but thankfully you happen to have found a gun that fires emulsified light. Similarly, another flash in the library will give you a glimpse of the Procuraptor before it actually attacks.
- Limited Loadout: In the 2008 Alone in the Dark, Carnby's inventory consists of what he can hold in his hands and the very limiting confines of his jacket, although you can also keep caches of things scattered about whatever stage you're playing in.
- Limited Sound Effects: The original game came as close to averting this trope as technology could allow at the time. Footstep sounds changed depending on whether the character was walking on wooden floorboards, rugs or tiles, sounds echoed when in the underground tunnels... while most of this is taken for granted nowadays, back in 1992 it was a remarkable achievement.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Captain Pregzt in the first game, and Alan Morton in The New Nightmare.
- Lovecraft Country: The New Nightmare, is set on Shadow Island, Massachusetts. Complete with shadow monsters, ancient mysteries, large manor house and isolation.
- Macgyvering: In the 2008 Alone in the Dark, you can combine various inventory items for assorted effects. I.e., taping a box of bullets to a fuel can to make a stronger bomb, or pouring fuel onto your gun's bullets to shoot flaming bullets.
- Magical Native American: The shaman who helps Edward in Alone in the Dark 3, as well as Edenshaw in Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.
- Master of Unlocking: In the third game, a watchmaker managed to create a watch that can open any safe and door lock from a distance. Unfortunately within the game the watch works like an antimatter key which can only open one specific door.
- Menu Time Lockout: Averted in the 2008 game, although the monsters do seem to move a bit more slowly than they otherwise would whenever the player is accessing his inventory. This still doesn't help much, considering the inventory system is agonizing to use in a hurry.
- Mind Screw: Both finales to the 2008 Alone in the Dark.
- Molotov Cocktail: The 2008 game emphasizes improvised fire-based weapons, like aerosol can flamethrowers and Molotovs.
- Mook Horror Show: In the third game, Edward Carnby bursts out of his grave miraculously alive and well, causing the undead guy who had just finished burying him to flee in terror.
- Morton's Fork: The 2008 game: let Sarah live, and she becomes a Tragic Monster. Kill her, and you become the monster.
- Musical Spoiler: Present in The New Nightmare. For example, if this track is sounding, you can bet there are monsters nearby, even if you can't see or hear them yet. However, if after killing some monsters this one starts, you can relax knowing you've killed everyone in the area.
- Names To Run Away From:
- Mor: The Morton family in The New Nightmare.
- Religious Names: Derceto (Syrian goddess), the haunted mansion in the first game.
- Unpronouncable Names: The Big Bad of the first game is an undead pirate named Pregzt, and there's also a giant Sand Worm called the Chthonian, named after an HP Lovecraft beast, although it looks nothing like Lovecraft depicted (which was more like a squid).
- The New Adventures: The New Nightmare.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The worse of two endings to AITD '08, if you kill Sara, Lucifer takes control of you instead, becoming even more powerful than otherwise.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The series seems to love this trope.
- The first game has a pirate zombie as a boss.
- The second game featured zombie pirate mobsters (wielding 1920's era firearms in the beginning, then dressed and equipped as pirates) as the game's enemies. One member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad was even a zombie pirate mobster ninja!
- In the third game, you fought zombie cowboys, a zombie cowboy ninja as a boss, and during a short section of the game, zombie cowboy werewolves.
- Non Standard Game Over: In the first game, the normal Game Over shows a zombie dragging your dead body to the altar of Pregzt, where it shows the text "The End". Nonstandard game-overs occur if you die in or near the final boss room, get eaten by the giant plant guarding the front door, or happen to read "De Vermis Mysteriis", in which case it just says "The End" on the screen where you died.
- Not Using the Z Word: The Prima strategy guide for The New Nightmare refers to zombies as "hybrids". Justified in that it accurately describes their origin: they were artificially created by Alan Morton combining human corpses with DNA from the Creatures of Darkness, making essentially Creatures of Darkness that are much more resistant to light.
- Obvious Beta: The 2008 game, most obvious in the 360 version. The PlayStation 3 version fared better, but still had its issues.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Prominent in the dark, haunting soundtrack to AITD 2008, with Ominous Bulgarian Chanting, courtesy of composer Olivier Deriviere and the female choir The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices.
- One-Winged Angel: In The New Nightmare, both of the Morton brothers undergo a monsterous transformation to become the game's final bosses. Alan Morton just turns purple and grows to about 8 feet tall, whereas Obed Morton turns into a large, two-headed, jet-black bipedal reptilian monster.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The first game features a ghost woman sitting in front of a fireplace, as well as several ghost dancers in Jacob Marley Apparel in the ballroom. If any of these are disturbed by touching them, they will shapeshift into a swirling multicolored mist which proceeds to chase the player. If it makes contact again, it's a One-Hit Kill to you. Fortunately, they are not intangible, i.e., they can't pass through walls or closed doors.
- Paper Key Retrieval Trick: Used in the second game by Carnby to get into the underground wine cellar.
- Parachute in a Tree: At the beginning of The New Nightmare, Carnby gets snagged in a tree while landing on Shadow Island.
- Paranormal Investigation: Carnby is like this in the second, third, and fourth games in the series. In the first game, he's a regular detective (who mostly makes a living following cheating husbands), and in the fifth game he's got amnesia.
- Pirate Booty: In the second game, Carnby can find (and keep) a pouch full of pirate gold coins. Unfortunately this does not rescue him from his supposedly Perpetual Poverty status.
- Plot Tumor: Burning the Evil Roots (of an Evil Tree, of course) in the 2008 game. Padding at its best. A nod to the original game, where ths Final Boss is an evil tree that must be burned.
- Poison Mushroom:
- "Fragments from the Book of Abdul" and "De Vermis Mysteriis" in the first game. The first book drains your health, the second kills you immediately unless you read them while standing on a very specific spot in a secret room.
- The Whiskey in the second game will mess you up big time (and make the game Unwinnable) if you drink it. Instead, you have to give it to a certain guy to obtain a Santa Suit, which is critical for entering the house without arousing suspicion (Guide Dang It).
- Pop-Star Composer: Stewart Copeland wrote the credits song for The New Nightmare.
- Powered Armor: Seen, strangely, in the wild west-based Alone in the Dark 3. The Big Bad dons a primitive suit of Powered Armor (which even has an Arm Cannon!) to fight you in the final battle.
- Previously On: Used in the 2008 game, when a player chooses to continue a playthrough or restart from a previous point after leaving. The game was set out in episodic form, so this trope is quite fitting.
- Production Foreshadowing:
- A couple of readable books from the first Alone in the Dark make reference to a Lord Boleskine who became mad after a visit in New England during the XIXth century. Lord Boleskine's travel to New England has an important role in the background of Shadow of the Comet another Lovecraft-themed game of Infogrames, which have been released after Alone in the Dark.
- The newspapers included in the Alone in the Dark 2 Feelies mentions the current shooting of a Western movie. Alone in the Dark 3 plot is about the rescue of the people shooting a Western in a ghost town.
- Public Domain Soundtrack:
- Alone in the Dark features three vinyl disks that can be listened ingame with a gramophone: Posthumous Opus 69 (Frédéric Chopin), The Beautiful Blue Danube (Johann Strauss), and the Danse macabre (Camille Saint-Saens), the latter being used in one of the riddles of the game (see The Dead Can Dance entry above).
- The pirates of Alone in the Dark 2 are several times heard playing the Irish song Garryowen (inclunding in one of the Game Over screen). Also, an instrumental version of "Vesti La Giubba" from Pagliacci is played in the "Game Over" screen when Our Hero Is Dead.
- Puzzle Boss: In the first game, the stairway is blocked by a pair of Lovecraftian Nightgaunts, who are invincible to physical attacks and can only be defeated by their own reflections. Got either of the mirrors broken by a monster? Too bad!
- Quirky Mini Boss Squad: The Big Bads of Alone in the Dark 2 and Alone in the Dark 3 both have a band of several colorful minions whom you fight throughout the games.
- Rainbow Speak: In The New Nightmare, any info on the books you can find that's required to solve a puzzle is highlighted in red.
- Rat Stomp: In the original game you must dodge rats in a wine cellar while looking for ammunition in that room. The rats can't be killed, but if they touch you, they wear down your life force and you are liable to die.
- Recycled Title: The fifth game.
- Resources Management Gameplay: In the original game, you have a limited amount of oil for your lamp. Keeping your lamp lit is necessary in some dark rooms. If you run out of oil, you're screwed because you won't be able to get past some rooms or find important stuff in them. Same applies to healing items: you only find two throughout the entire game. Not to mention weapons, which break or run out of ammo rapidly, and are also finite in number.
- Respawning Enemies:
- The New Nightmare had plenty of monsters that would spontaneously regenerate when the player left the room and returned. Not too big a deal, until you find out that health and ammunition items don't self replenish. Ever. This serves as an outstanding example of why the Respawning Enemies trope is so rarely used in Survival Horror.
- The Game Boy Color version of the same game did the same thing, but also sported Random Encounters. Since there are also no melee attacks and no way to flee monster battles, running out of ammunition during a fight renders the game unwinnable.
- While you're in the World of Darkness, enemies are able to respawn even within the same room. Thankfully, the crystals you use as ammo for the lightning gun also respawn there.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Unlike the rifle, the revolver in the first game doesn't have a big recoil and its cartridges are waterproof.
- Ribcage Ridge: The escape tunnel in the first game looked like a spine with ribs.
- Rule of Three: In The New Nightmare, although you encounter Recurring Boss Howard Morton many times, you're only forced to fight him three times: in the library, in the graveyard, and in the fortress roof.
- Save Game Limits
- The original 1992 one only let you have one save. If you made another it replaced the previous one. Woe unto you if you make a mistake rendering the game unwinnable and then save. Later editions included multiple slots.
- Save Token: The New Nightmare required a Charm of Saving to save the game. There was a scenario early on which allowed the player to get as many Charms of Saving as desired, though.
- Saving Christmas: The Gaiden Game Jack In The Dark. You play as Grace Saunders — a young girl who would be important in the then-upcoming Alone In The Dark 2 — and have to rescue Santa Claus from a Living Toy version of the Big Bad of Alone in the Dark 2.
- Scare Chord: The original trilogy used a classic string tritone hit to good effect.
- Scary Jack-in-the-Box: The short game Jack In The Dark (a promotional game for Alone In The Dark 2) is set in a toy shop and has an evil jack-in-the-box (who has the appearance of the main game's Big Bad) for a villain. The jack-in-the-box turns the toys evil, using them to kidnap Santa.
- Sheathe Your Sword: Carnby's zombie double in 3 can only be defeated by dropping your gun and approaching it unarmed.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: At least the "Path of Darkness" ending to the 2008 game. If you shoot Sarah, Lucifer's Evil Plan fully succeeds, and the possessed Carnby opens the gates of hell, heralding The End of the World as We Know It. Earlier, it is said "Lucifer's failure is also his reincarnation".
- Shows Damage: The 2008 game has injuries that look more like stickers applied over someone's clothes, rather than actual injuries.
- Soft Water: Inverted in the first game. Shortly before the dark maze and final boss room, there is a large room with a maze of catwalks over a pool of water. Although it's only about a 10-20 foot drop, falling in the water causes instant death, no matter what your health. At least until you destroy Pregzt, after which it strangely becomes Soft Water. Definitely not toxic water, either, since going in the water in other parts of the caverns (which connect to this room) doesn't kill you.
- Solve the Soup Cans: Done in the original trilogy, and The New Nightmare.
- Some Dexterity Required: As shown in the trope image, the 2008 game. The game allows for players to switch between first and third person and use a variety of improvised weapons, set items on fire to permanently kill enemies, and mix items together in the inventory to make things like fire bullets, an improvised flamethrower, or a bomb that you shoot out of the air. Problem is, the inventory tends to be extremely finicky (requiring you to use a thumbstick to scroll through Carnby's jacket pouches and stop the stick precisely at the right spot to get what you want), and virtually every button had a specific use that may or may not change depending on what you're doing at the time; even putting away your flashlight and gun can be a pain for newcomers. Melee combat tried to be flexible by allowing for several different swings and precise movements of held objects for pushing items or holding them against a flame, but Carnby moves like a tank and doesn't swing much faster than he turns. And the inventory screen doesn't pause the game, meaning that rapidly building a bomb or fire bullets that will actually kill an enemy or grabbing a healing spray or bandages to avoid death involves fighting the imprecise and complex interface while you try and avoid getting smacked in the face.
- Songs in the Key of Panic: Whenever a monster or other hazard appears in the first game, a Scare Chord plays and the music changes.
- Spinventory: The first three games. Very possibly the Ur-example.
- Spooky Silent Library: In The New Nightmare, although you fight a Mini-Boss there at one point.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: The original Alone in the Dark started this trend, providing the template for most later Survival Horror games.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: The franchise used numbers for the original trilogy of DOS games and some of their ports, but not the later Multi-Platform games.
- Survival Horror: The game that started it all.
- Swords Akimbo: This is the (rather cool) fighting style of Alone in the Dark 2's Big Bad and final boss, One-Eyed Jack.
- Sword Fight: Alone in the Dark had a swordfight against a pirate ghost as a major encounter about 2/3rds of the way through the game. Alone in the Dark 2's climax involves a series of sword fights against the Quirky Mini Boss Squad of pirates.
- Take Up My Sword: A literal case occurs in the second game. A captain killed by the Big Bad claimed that he would die by the captain's sword. In the final battle, you need to get the sword (which has been stuck in the planking of the ship's quarterdeck for centuries and is still in usable condition for some reason) to win the fight.
- Tank Controls: Due mainly to the prerendered background style.
- Tar and Feathers: In the third game you will find both sitting in a corner. However only the tar is useful in game.
- Ten-Second Flashlight: Averted in the 2008 game. Your two main inventory items are a pistol and a flashlight. The flashlight operates on batteries (which you find scattered throughout the game) and does eventually run out of power, but each battery lasts for a good few minutes, which can last you a while if you switch it on and off as needed. Not to mention the fact that after you burn one of the evil roots (don't ask, it's complicated), you get an ability that makes killing enemies easy, as long as you keep your eyes closed. It's that kind of game.
- Title Drop: Edward mentions that he's "alone in the dark" during the intro of Alone in the Dark 3. He'll say it again every time you enter a dark room in the same game.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The first game includes Fragments of the Book of Abdul and De Vermis Mysteriis. Reading the former will hurt you and reading the latter kills you. The Vermis is found with another book warning you that reading such tomes can be harmful (and mentions the Vermis by name), but the game doesn't tell you what a book's title is until you've already read it.
- Too Awesome to Use:
- Guns can end up being this in the 1992 game if you're reluctant to waste what little ammo you have, although the rifle's ammo should best be used up before heading into the underground caverns, since falling into the water there will wet the cartridges and render them useless.
- In The New Nightmare, each path has one weapon for which you won't be able to find ammo, thus being limited for the whole game to the initial ammo coming with the weapon. In each case, it's a weapon you'll seldom use in the path with less ammo anyway: ammo for the plasma cannon is found in Carnby's path, which is more action-oriented and features Night Rippers much more often, for which the plasma cannon is the weapon of choice; ammo for the grenade launcher is found in Aline's path, which has Howard Morton as a Recurring Boss, for which the grenade launcher is the weapon of choice.
- Toy Time: The series did this with the short freebie Jack In The Dark, about a little girl trapped in a toyshop.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
- The first game has quite a few:
- There are two "evil books" in the library's secret room (which is already a Guide Dang It to find). The first, "Fragments of the Book of Abdul", hurts you, while the second, "De Vermis Mysteriis", instantly kills you if you so much as look at the front page. That is, unless you are standing on the pentagram symbol in the room, Guide Dang It.
- If you accidentally bump into a ghost (touching the one by the fireplace is almost certain on the first try), they come to life as a swirling cloud of psychedelic death that chases you around the house until it kills you.
- Another unavoidable first-time death occurs in the hallway leading to the library, where the woodsman painting starts throwing axes at you. Further down the hallway, a painting of an Indian starts shooting arrows that home in on you, at which point death is inevitable. The player learns the hard way to put the Old Indian Cover on the woodsman painting and to shoot the Indian painting with the bow and arrows.
- Simply opening the front door of the house results in death. One of the books you can find contains something that could remotely be considered a clue to this, but it's obscure enough that it's doubtful a single player has ever been stopped from trying to open the door in good faith (rather than to see the death) on their first playthrough.
- The 2008 game is also rife with moments like this, such as the part where you have to scale the side of an exploding building. Such instances are often due to shoddy game design.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The much-hated driving levels in the 2008 game.
- The Unfought: The 2008 Alone In The Dark builds up to a climactic showdown between Edward Carnby and Lucifer... and just when it looks like the two are about to throw down, the game ends with a Gainax Ending.
- The Unmasqued World: In the 2008 game, giant demonic "living" fissures open up and swallow New York City. Try explaining that away. Or the various horrors that accompany it, such as swarms of demonic bats, or the fact that any water the touches the cracks becomes living darkness.
- Unwinnable by Design:
- In the original game, you need two small mirrors to defeat the Nightgaunts at the top of the stairs and proceed further into the game. If a monster attacks you just once while you are carrying the mirrors, they will shatter and are Lost Forever. There are only two mirrors in the entire game. Without both of them intact, the game is unwinnable. Other possible unwinnable situations are entering the caves beneath Derceto (it is a Point of No Return) without every required plot itemnote , neglecting to unlock the passage back into the basement so you can get back after the bridge collapses (depending on what version you're playing), and running out of fuel for the oil lamp, which you need to reach and defeat the Final Boss.
- The second game has a bullet-proof vest which reduces damage and keeps Carnby from getting stun-locked. It has limited durability, and if you break it before an area where you must fight off multiple gun-wielding enemies at once, all you'll be able to do is watch Carnby in a Santa suit repeatedly flinch and then fall down dead.
- In the third game, advancing in the plot requires to shot a villain with a golden bullet (one hit is enough to kill him). There are exactly 11 golden bullets in the game (a single Winchester round and a bag of gold coins kept by the enemy himself, that can be stolen from his hands with the whip). To be fair, running out of golden bullets is borderline to Unwinnable by Insanity (though the way to acquire the gold bag is itself a Guide Dang It moment), as this enemy is easy to target as he doesn't move, and you earlier saw his own Wanted Poster with an explicit clue saying that you'll need a golden bullet to kill him.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: The New Nightmare had a frustrating glitch where a plot-critical item simply didn't appear. This happened way too often for the developers not to know about it. The only option was to grit your teeth and reset.
- Updated Re-release:
- The 2008 Alone in the Dark was re-released on the Playstation 3 as Alone in the Dark: Inferno, with exclusive new levels as well as improved, faster and more responsive controls. The Scrappy Level has also been made easier and much less frustrating.
- Alone in the Dark 2 had a CD re-issue, with the difficult initial garden maze skippable and a further sequence with child co-star Grace.
- Alone in the Dark 3 was re-released in 1996 as Alone in the Dark: Ghosts in Towns, a Windows 95 compatible version.
- Victory Pose: In the original game the apparently stuffy Carnby / Emily celebrate with a big jump when they leave the mansion.
- Weakened by the Light: The Creatures of Darkness from The New Nightmare are weak to light, some creatures being repelled by flashlight while light producing ammunition like "magnesium bullets" are deadly to all of them.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The rifle is the most powerful weapon in the 1992 game... but is rendered a useless paperweight if you fall in water.
- Weird West: Alone in the Dark 3 takes place in an old west ghost town, and has undead cowboys.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the third game, the corrupt sheriff under the Big Bad's orders is last seen at the scene of Carnby's resurrection. While all of the other members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad are killed by the end of the game, the sheriff isn't encountered again.
- When Trees Attack: The boss of the original game is a tree (inhabited by the Big Bad) that shoots fireballs at you.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: The horrific monsters in the 2008 Alone in the Dark are listed as Ratz, Vampirez, and Humanz. If anyone thinks they could sound less lame in the original French... they don't.
- You Don't Look Like You: The entire original trilogy is the only time Edward Carnby ever kept his appearance consistent. Carnby himself has his appearance changed about three times, and that's not counting the Uwe Boll movie but rather counting his ingame appearance after the boxart of the 2008 reboot!