Reply To: Alone In The Dark 2 & 3

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I’m not much the wiser but I’ve finished Time Gate. It was essentially another Alone In The Dark with all the technology being the same except you can hold shift to run and there are now FMV cutscenes. It STILL had the bug on fast machines making it impossible to push things around. It beggars belief that this hadn’t been fixed on the engines 4th outing.

As for the plot, I can’t honestly say I know what was going on even now I’ve finished it. Story telling was not exactly a strong point of the AITD series and seemed to get worse as they went on. In essence though, you play the descendant of the last of the Knights Templar who starts the game being attacked by some sort of dark knight who you quickly dispatch with an axe you happen to have embedded in the desk for just such an occasion. Your fiancĂ©e (who hasn’t been introduced) is apparently missing and you are told to go to the museum if you want to see her again. So you go there, get threatened by a villain called something like Wolfram and ultimately get pushed down a well, at which point you levitate out of it in a load of light and wake up as your descendant back in the 1300’s. Cue adventures in an ancient monastery trying to rescue said fiancĂ©e who it turns out is also in the 1300’s somehow. There are evil monks, demons and ghouls around trying to get in the way. You have to restore jewels on the tombs of some dead templars so their ghosts can give you useful objects. You get to transform into an ass-kicking, gold armor wearing eagle at one point. It’s odder than ever and makes precious little sense. The puzzles are no better but there are hints and you are told if you aren’t close enough or at the right angle which makes the trial and error a whole lot easier.

I can see why the subsequent sequels never happened after this one I have to say. It’s really showing it’s age and the first Alone In The Dark was so much better years earlier. There is no atmosphere at all and the formula is getting old. There have been some minor changes to combat with the addition of blocking by holding control but in the end the combat is worse than before mainly because of the lack of range weapons in the 14th century. The whole interface has been made graphical but while it may look fancier it is way more clunky than the original. If you liked the Alone In The Dark games, then Time Gate fits the bill for more of the same but it needed more innovation and better design. I think on the whole, we can be glad that the engine got retired at this point.

That’s enough Alone In The Dark for me for one month so I’ll stop here rather than moving on the The New Nightmare.