Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, alternatively known as Alone in the Dark 4, is the fourth installment of the survival horror video game series Alone in the Dark created by Darkworks and published by Infogrames. The game was released in 2001 on several platforms including Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Color. It was followed in 2008 by Alone in the Dark: Inferno, it is the first game in the series to receive an M rating.
Set on October 31, 2001. Edward Carnby's best friend and partner, Charles Fiske, has been found dead off the coast of Shadow Island, a mysterious island near the coast of Massachusetts. Carnby's investigation quickly leads him to Frederick Johnson, who informs him of Fiske's search for three ancient tablets with the ability to unlock an incredible and dangerous power. Johnson pleads with Carnby to take the place of Fiske and reopen the investigation in order to recover the tablets. Carnby accepts and makes it his mission to find Fiske's killer. Johnson introduces Carnby to Aline Cedrac, an intelligent, young university professor. She joins Carnby to recover the missing tablets and assist Professor Obed Morton, who she believes to be her father. While flying over the coast of Shadow Island, Carnby and Aline's plane comes under attack by an unknown creature. Carnby and Aline both jump out of the plane and parachute to the ground, but are separated immediately. Carnby lands in the dense forest just outside a manor, while Aline lands on the roof of said manor.
The player is given the option of choosing which of the two protagonists they play as. 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. The two occasionally meet up, and the main areas of plot intersect.
The player soon comes under attack from Creatures of Darkness that appear out of nowhere and seem to be living shadows. These Creatures of Darkness are eventually revealed to be reptilian, silicon-based life forms from the center of the Earth, an enormous world of dark caverns known as the World of Darkness. Shadow Island apparently contains one of the many portals to this underground world. True to their name, the game's enemies are averse to light (which apparently turns them into ash), and this figures heavily in gameplay. Players can use their flashlight to repel certain creatures, and killing them is accomplished with such light-producing ammunition as "magnesium bullets" and "phosphorus shells."
Light plays a significant role in this game. One of the game's main features is the flashlight that can be used to light up the game's darkened scenes, revealing hidden details and uncovering items. To this end, the developers crafted an unusual graphics engine which allowed the 3D player character's flashlight to properly illuminate and cast shadows on the 2D, pre-rendered backdrops. This was accomplished by rendering the backdrops at various levels of illumination and including information on the distribution of objects in the scene. The graphics engine could then properly use brighter versions of the backdrop where the flashlight was expected to be casting light, and leave shadowed areas dark.
Game Boy Color port
While older hand held systems would often abandon 3D environments entirely in favor of easier to render 2D sprites, the Game Boy Color received a relatively faithful port of the home console game. The Game Boy Color's cartridge-based format necessitated the loss of the full motion video cut scenes from the other versions, and many game play areas had to be shrunk in size while some were eliminated entirely. However, the basic pre-rendered environments and 3D character imposed over top of them remained. While the home console versions could be completed in six to eight hours, the Game Boy Color port could be completed in just one.
In 2005 a film adaptation was released called Alone in the Dark. A direct sequel to the fourth game in the series, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, the movie has little-to-no relation to the original trilogy of games from the 1990s. The movie contains plot elements that directly contradict those in The New Nightmare, thus it is not considered canonical. It was directed by Uwe Boll and was a box office flop, costing $20,000,000, which was not recovered, although it made a profit on the DVD market. Guinness World Records named the film the "Lowest-Grossing Game Based Movie" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition. An Unrated Director's Cut was released in Germany, France and Australia and was #1 on the German DVD market for three weeks.