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The Worst Horror Game of All Time

VO: DP WRITTEN BY: Shannon Stovall
The Greatest Horror Game of All Time Survival horror is one of the biggest and most popular genres in gaming, and it also happens to be one of the hardest to really do well. When done right, these games are heart-pounding, tense, and completely immersing. When done wrong, well, let’s just say they’re terrifying for entirely different reasons. While some of the best games in the genre are all incredibly different from one and other, they have a number of key things in common: an awesome and enthralling story, creepy and intense atmosphere and music, and perhaps the most important thing of all - the controls, well, work.
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Worst Horror Game of All Time: “Alone in the Dark” (2008)

Survival horror is one of the biggest and most popular genres in gaming, and it also happens to be one of the hardest to really do well. When done right, these games are heart-pounding, tense, and completely immersing. When done wrong, well, let’s just say they’re terrifying for entirely different reasons. While some of the best games in the genre are all incredibly different from one and other, they have a number of key things in common: an awesome and enthralling story, creepy and intense atmosphere and music, and perhaps the most important thing of all - the controls, well, work.

The forefather of the genre is undoubtedly 1992’s groundbreaking “Alone in the Dark.” Developed by Infogrames with a story and setting based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft, the game took the world by storm with its unique gameplay which would come to define the Survival Horror genre. Don’t believe us? Just ask the “Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition” that named it the "First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game." Is that really a world record? Anyway, it’s success spawned a number of sequels, and even a couple of movies, but the true success can be seen in the way that it went of to spawn and influence an entire genre.

Which is part of what makes 2008’s “Alone in the Dark” such a travesty, and a slap in the face to not only its predecessor but the genre as a whole.

The game actually had two developers: Eden Games worked on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions, while Hydravision Entertainment developed the versions for the PS2 and Wii. While Hydravision maintained the overall plot of the game, they also made many changes, including overhauling and changing some levels, adjusting some of the characters’ roles and backstory, and making the way you interact with objects and the atmosphere drastically different. Whether it was related to these changes or the lower graphical capabilities of these systems, this version did even worse with critics, putting yet another nail in what was once a World Record setting series’ coffin.

The story was seen as the least broken element of the game, with most critics and gamers finding it at least somewhat engaging and interesting. You play from the perspective of Edward, who joins up with a few other characters in an attempt to keep Lucifer from invading the earthly realm using an unlimited power, given to him by a set of stones. The catch: Edward happens to be in the possession of one of those stones. Along the way, you must fight monsters and other creatures in a battle to save the world from chaos and destruction. Seems interesting and straightforward enough, right?

Now that we’ve covered the sort of good, let’s get into the bad. The game offered an interesting and somewhat ambitious feature that allowed the player to interact with pretty much all objects in the environment, grabbing and throwing items at will. Because of this, however, it’s hard to figure out what exactly you’re supposed to be doing at any given time. The game’s progression and tasks, in large part, are a mixture of trial and error to find the step or action needed to move forward. On top of that, the combat is simplistic and repetitive, the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired despite having some decent elements, such as the fire effects, doesn’t make up for the horrible interface. Add the abundant glitches and bugs, and what you end up with is one frustratingly awful experience.

We’ve covered the “good,” the bad, and now we get into the ugly, the really, really ugly. While the bugs, glitches and tedious progression are enough to make you want to put down your controller, the controls themselves will make you want to throw your controller across the room. Horrible hit detection, practically impossible to use driving controls, and horrible camera perspectives effectively made gamers want to send this game to Hell.

But possibly the most egregious of all is the fact that the follow-up to the game that started it all as far as survival horror goes simply isn’t scary. Sure, it’s moody, maybe even a bit creepy, but scary? Not even a little bit. What makes a good survival horror game is the sense of dread and fear that comes when you realize that whatever lurks around the next corner could quickly lead to your death. In “Alone in the Dark,” you’ll have a harder time fighting the controls than you will any of the enemies thrown your way. The original was groundbreaking because it required the player to think their way out of a treacherous situation, while any challenge you face in the 2008 version can basically be solved by flailing a two-by-four at any demon you come across. That’s reason enough for us to name 2008’s “Alone in the Dark” the Worst Horror Game of All Time.
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