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YMMV / Alone in the Dark

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The game series contains examples of:

  • Anticlimax Boss: The first game final boss. To beat him, Emily/Edward must cross the flooded room and reach the altar while dodging the Deep Ones and the fireballs, then put the talisman on the altar, light the lamp, and eventually throw it right in the tree.
  • Awesome Music: The 2008 game, despite being notoriously buggy with controls up the arse, has downright outstanding music composed by Olivier Deriviere, who has also composed for Obscure II.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The ending of the first game, where after stopping the evil Pregzt, the player character walks out of the Hartwood manor to a sunny day, is greeted by a ride to get them out of there and gets in... only for the driver to be a laughing skeleton man that drives off with the player in tow. There is no Cruel Twist Ending, and not even a Scare Chord, with the cheerful ending music continuing anyways. The sequel doesn't bother to mention it either.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Original game: Ezechiel Pregzt is a former pirate known for his barbaric murders and inhumane actions. Slaughtering entire crews of ships before he reached into the occult, Pregzt murdered other pirates who refused to assist him before setting up the manor, Derceto, in Louisiana. Sacrificing people regularly to the Old Ones, Pregzt was sealed away deep under Derceto and sought to drive the Hartwood father and son into insanity with repeated mental torture so he may possess them, all to open up earth to the Old Ones and let them cause the apocalypse.
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    • The New Nightmare: Alan Morton was a Creepy Child who developed an obsession with the monsters in the shadows. When he grew up, his obsessions increased to the point where he began experimenting on corpses to help the creatures escape from the World of Darkness into earth. Alan eventually resorted to vivisecting human victims, among whom was his own father. He also enslaved his brother Obed to help with his schemes. By the time of the game's events, Alan intends to open the gate to the World of Darkness, unleashing its eldritch biosphere to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • First Installment Wins: The 1992 original is the most critically well-regarded of the series and had the most definite impact on shaping the Survival Horror genre.
  • Goddamned Bats: In the 2008 game, Vampirez are bats that attack if the player gets too close and are almost impossible to hit. Since they look like bats and are minions of Lucifer, they could be literally considered to be Goddamned Bats.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Greater-Scope Villain of The New Nightmare is a Nazi heir who has reached the highest levels of the United States government (with their knowledge and consent) as part of the fight against Communism. This significantly predates both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the American political environment following the 2016 Presidential Election.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The second game has a document that references people named Commstock and DeWitt. To add to that even further, The Dragon of the game is Elizabeth.
    • After the 2008 reboot, James McCaffrey would then be in another video game that's also a psychological, episodic thriller where the main gameplay mechanic involves light.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • HI GUY! Explanation 
    • I don't have your example! And FUCK you anyway!
    • I'm the Light Bringer! I'M THE FUCKING UNIVERSE! Explanation 
    • "Neither alone nor in the dark" is a very common comment regarding Alone In The Dark: Illumination and the fact that it's a co-op shooter entirely based around lighting things up to hurt enemies.
  • Narm: Quite a bit.
    • In the first game, upon walking down to the second floor, the double doors slam, followed by the evil laughter. Said laughter came off... rather Goofy sounding.
    • In the second and third game, the mooks will say something upon spotting you. The things they say? "Morning sir!" "Hi guy!" or "Hey you.", all of them sounding hilarious.
    • From the 2008 reboot we get this gem; "I don't have your stone! And fuck you anyway!"
    • During Edward's narration intro in the first game, he noticeably slurs slightly as he talks, sounding as if he's slightly drunk. Taken even further that in his image to the right, there is a bottle of alcohol on his desk.
  • Narm Charm: While the original trilogy has its share of Narm, it's mostly of the enjoyable sort. The polygonal graphics are extremely cartoonish, contrasting with the darker environments of more modern survival horror games and making the appearance of the Off-Model characters more frightening than the monsters. While the first game focused on puzzle-solving and evading monsters inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos, the other games went in more action-oriented and more over-the-top directions: the second game included the hero gunning down zombies with a Thompson while dressed in a Santa Claus costume while the third had Carnby mowing down cowboy zombies with a Gatling gun. The cherry on the cheesecake is easily the So Bad, It's Good voice acting: almost every text is read by an over-the-top narrator, often with overblown drama and ridiculous accents.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Resident Evil is often credited for inventing Survival Horror, when all it did was coin the name for it and bring the genre into the mainstream. The Alone In The Dark series invented the actual gameplay model years earlier (while survival horror as a specific theme was established by the earlier RPG Sweet Home).
    • The criticism that "You're not alone and it's not dark" isn't new to Illumination. The reboot and The New Nightmare drew identical snarky comments over the presence of a partner character and light-based puzzles.
  • Polished Port:
    • The initial Windows / Xbox 360 version of the 2008 game was rushed out the door in a notoriously buggy and unfinished state. The Updated Re-release of the 2008 game for PlayStation 3, subtitled Inferno, fixed glitches from the other releases and even adds a few extra scenes. While not without its flaws, Inferno was vastly improved and closer to what the developers envisioned.
    • The PlayStation port of part 2, subtitled One-Eyed Jack's Revenge gives the game improved character models (higher polygon counts and more detailed textures). It also copied the control scheme of the classic Resident Evil titles, adding a run button, more responsive Tank Controls, and generally making the game a bit less frustrating to play.
  • The Scrappy: Sarah Flores in the 2008 reboot, considering how annoying and useless to the plot she is.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Rather than having a dedicated "run" button, the original game required you to either double-tap the walk arrow or quickly tap the action button then hold the walk arrow at a very specific rhythm. Either way, the command is extremely fickle and would not work unless your timing was 100% perfect.
    • The inventory system in the reboot. Trying to find the right items while being attacked? Have fun trying to navigate the unintuitive and difficult to use inventory system that will end with you never picking what you need.
    • Driving was flaky, hard to control, and added a lot of Fake Difficulty to the game.
    • The New Nightmare has Respawning Enemies that refill every room any time you leave and come back. This being a Survival Horror game, health and ammunition pickups never self replenish. Infinite bad guys, finite supplies; you do the math, and the decision to completely omit melee combat of any kind doesn't help.
    • The New Nightmare's Game Boy Color port one-upped its console big brothers by also sporting RPG-type Random Encounters, complete with Fight Woosh that takes you to a dedicated combat zone. Problem? You can't use unarmed attacks and have no option for running way from these fights, so if you run out of ammo, you're pretty well fucked.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The first game was probably the western Trope Codifier (along with Resident Evil) for most Survival Horror tropes. Yet, today, the visuals and animations appear quite primitive, and some of the voice acting is far from professional, which tends to dilute the effect. The game itself doesn't look very dark either, and lacks the sorts of graphical elements that make more modern games actually scary. The game's tech does give an Uncanny Valley feel to it that can be quite creepy in its own right. While the graphics of the first game may not seem impressive now, they were considered cutting edge back in 1992.
    • The series pretty much invented the Survival Horror video game genre for anyone not in Japan, inspiring many other franchises, many of which greatly improved upon the formula, making the game mechanics seem dated in comparison to some people.
  • Sequelitis: The second game is generally seen as one of the worst in the series, due to a combination of rushing it out to try and capitalize on the original's success (the director later acknowledged in an interview that they knew the game was buggy and unbalanced, but weren't concerned about the quality) and attempting to cash in on Wolfenstein 3D's success. The end result is it's essentially a shooter, but it made no attempt to change the base gameplay (you'll often end up getting shot at from offscreen, and in the unlikely event that you do manage to get an enemy in your view, good luck aiming at him) and ends up borderline unplayable. The entire "horror" thing is also completely absent, with it taking the little moments of silliness that were common in contemporary horror games and cranking them up to eleven until the game became a self-parody. It really says something when the most famous part of a "survival horror" game involves bludgeoning zombie dwarf cooks to death with a frying pan while wearing a Santa outfit. Fortunately, the third game reintroduced the adventure elements from the original and took itself a bit more seriously.
  • So Bad, It's Good: As seen under Narm, the 2008 reboot is sometimes seen as this, especially in terms of its story.
  • Special Effects Failure: In the 2008 reboot, there's a gameplay mechanic that shows scratches and wounds on Edward's body the more he gets hurt. The problem is that the wounds look like they were just glued onto Edward's body, which makes it look incredibly fake. And in some cutscenes, wounds would sometimes glitch and hang off of Edward's character model.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The rather forced relationship that develops between Carnby and female companion/sidekick Sarah Flores in the 2008 Alone in the Dark.
  • That One Boss: Li Tung in the third game. He moves and attacks much faster than Carnby can, and can close the distance very quickly and jump-kick you from halfway across the room you fight him in. Beating him essentially requires running back and forth, popping off Winchester shots whenever you get the chance.
    • A couple from the fourth game.
      • The Procuraptor in the library can take a lot of damage, which forces you to use the rocket launcher. Even then, you can't damage it in its normal state, but shooting it with any weapon (even the revolver) will cause it to enter a vulnerable state during a few second where you can actually damage it. However, since this is not obvious, you can waste a lot of rockets by using them during the first state. If you didn't find enough rockets, expect a very long fight as you'll run out of them and have to resort to the shotgun.
      • Alan Morton. A brutal Lightning Bruiser with no clear attack pattern (thank goodness he can only attack at close range). And to top it off, he's a Puzzle Boss (your weapons can only knock him out for a while). You have to knock him out and find the right door which will lead you to a magical spear that kills him with one hit. And if you reach a door while he's up, he'll teleport and slam you down. But once you know the right door...
  • That One Level:
    • The insanely frustrating driving level down 59th Street in the 2008 Alone in the Dark, because the steering is lousy. Though some believe the look and sound of that level make up for it.
    • And the driving section with the bats, coming soon afterwards, where they drag your car up (possibly to your doom) and/or stop sticking to it completely at random; the black goo, which might or might not react to your flashlight, eating you up; and that final driving section, timed, where it's plenty possible to miss the right turn at the end.
    • Fixed in the PS3 Inferno port. While the 59th Street driving section is still unlikely to be beat at first try, the improved controls, Sarah's giving you directions as well as there being checkpoints along the way actually render the whole sequence somewhat fun if still challenging.
  • That One Puzzle: The flashlight puzzle in the Morton family crypt in the fourth game. It's as simple as moving your flashlight to draw a M. However, the controls in the Playstation versions, while good elsewhere, are horrible for moving the flashlight, which means you'll likely mess up the drawing and spend a long time there having to restart over and over.
  • Uncanny Valley: Ironically, these days the scariest things to come out of the original trilogy are the models of the human characters, notably the protagonists with their primitively blocky models and unsettlingly tiny pinhole pupils.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Say what you will about the gameplay of the 2008 reboot, but sequences like climbing around on the crumbling building and the mad drive through New York are absolutely spectacular to watch.

I don't have your Stinger! And FUCK you anyway!

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