Heart of Darkness

Moby ID: 262
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Andy is a child who likes playing with his dog Whiskey, doesn't particularly enjoy going to school, and has a knack for inventing complicated gadgets. One day Andy and Whiskey are strolling through the park, when suddenly a solar eclipse darkens the sky, and after a moment Andy realizes that his dog has been taken away. But science can solve everything, and Andy heads to his treehouse, which is home to his outstanding inventions, including a spaceship! If you thought it was just a toy, you thought wrong, because Andy boards the ship and pilots it into the heart of the Darklands, a world controlled by the evil Master of Darkness. Andy takes out his gun (another splendid invention of his) and prepares to fight the evil sorcerer's minions. Nothing will stop the boy from rescuing his beloved dog!

Heart of Darkness is a cinematic 2D platformer designed by Eric Chahi, the creator of one of the genre's progenitors, Another World. Though the game has many fast and furious action sequences, including shooting hordes of dark creatures, it is built like a series of tasks, each requiring different approaches, from arcade-style shooting or jumping to interacting with the environment and solving puzzles. Like its spiritual predecessor, the game is linear; completing a section usually takes Andy to a different location, where another task awaits him.

Andy has several guns at his disposal, though in certain locations he will lose his weapons and will rely on the player's wit or quick reaction to survive. Andy will also gain magical energy, which can be used to grow or destroy trees. Similarly to Another World, many hazards are placed on the hero's path; despite the child-oriented premise, the game contains graphically explicit death scenes, which occur if the player is not careful or quick enough to save Andy from a gruesome demise.

Heart of Darkness features orchestral music and pre-rendered animated cutscenes. It comes with a pair of 3D glasses, which allow the player to view certain scenes in the game in 3D.

Spellings

  • ハート・オブ・ダークネス - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

188 People (163 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 38 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 90 ratings with 8 reviews)

Out of This World at the Heart of Darkness...

The Good
Phew! Almost 6 years in the making and at last it's RELEASED! You can't get yourself asking, "why it took so long?" I don't have the answer, neither believe it's so important: If you like the game, there is no problem!

In general, I liked the game. Especially being able to find yourself again in a world similar to Another World and Flashback after all those years is a great enjoyment --just like playing the Curse of Monkey Island! So as expected Heart of Darkness improves the known quality to a incredibly lifelike experience.

The opening intro of the game is a perfect example for this thought. This stunning animated cutscene is just like watching a movie, like watching an earlier work of Steven Spielberg. It's not difficult to understand the interest of him in making a computer generated movie with the story of Heart of Darkness. Maybe, it'll be a second Toy Story affair, eh? Who knows? Amazing Studios (the developer of the game) is currently working on setting up a new company to handle CG movies.

The Bad
Although I like the gameplay, it's definitely frustrating to play. You didn't manage to cross the section you were in? The game immediately sends you back to the action and waits you perform your required skill. Unfortunately there is no alternative way to find in Heart of Darkness!!

For a 1998 game the low-resolution graphics could also be a problem. But you can't blame the developers for this because it's in the making for a long long time. So you had better amuse yourself with the 3D dimension they had filmed for the end sequence :)

The Bottom Line
One state-of-the-ART! 'Nuff said...:)

Windows · by Accatone (5186) · 2000

Grade-A platformer.

The Good
Heart of Darkness is an excellent game, disregarding 3D accelerated graphics, complicated interfaces and all that mumbo-jumbo, Heart goes back to the basics and delivers a gaming experience based only on the ingenious and inventive machinations of these 2D gods that used to be Delphine soft. It truly is one of those cases when it's "so old, it's new"

The story is inconsequential (which is unfortunate, see "the bad") but the gameplay is nothing but genius. It combines excellent level design with simple yet interesting puzzles, and some of the most beautiful 2D artwork ever to grace a platform game. The game uses the time-honored super-fluid animation Delphine was known for in their previous games, and also includes breath-taking animated backgrounds which makes the game stand firmly as an example of how great, detailed art can enhance a game experience. The music too is top notch, with an impressive arrangement of orchestral music that is so good it rivals some of the best orchestral music found on feature films.

Heart of Darkness is truly a game too good to be true. One wouldn't think that someone would actually do a game like this in this day and age. But it's simple yet inventive gameplay, it's attention to detail, and it's great production values make it a timeless jewel.

The Bad
Well, essentially the resolution is too small. The game uses only 80% of the screen and the graphics sometimes produce a startling amount of "pixelitis" which is a real shame considering how beautiful the art in this game is. Aside from that you have the fact that the game is too short, which isn't necessarily bad, but since it's so damn linear it makes the game take a real value hit. You can't really expect to pay more than 20 bucks for the kind of value you get here. Also the final confrontation seems downright cheap, it's "shoot everything and get to the last screen!"...

But those are mostly small gripes. The only real problem I have with the game is that sometimes it seems like a waste. Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but I don't exactly enjoy the fact that it is so kiddie-oriented. I mean, remember Out of this World? If you look at both games they are essentially the same: character trapped in strange world, trying to get back (or simply survive) and who gets involved in native problems. Gameplay is the same. So what makes "World" better than "Heart"? The underlying maturity that was present in it. "World" had a clear message in it, and created an emotional storyline, with great characters and somewhat deep connotations without a single line of dialogue (well unless you count your alien buddy's grumbling). I can't help but think that if "Heart" had dared to be mature it would have been elevated to the category of all time classic like it's predecessor, now it is simply an excellent inspired platformer.

All that wouldn't imply a change in the game itself, the game can convey a somber and serious tone sometimes, which make it contrast a lot with the cutesy cutscenes. In fact, I often thought when playing it that those who made the game and those who made the cutscenes must have been thinking of different games altogether. In the game itself you have a more dark and moody conception of the gameworld, and you have some downright mature details like some exceptionally gory death animations (ps. If anyone wants to know how to convey gore and death without the blood just check this game and enjoy Andy's many deaths). But whenever you go back to the cutscenes, it's back to cutey-land, and if you told me that they told a nice storyline then yeah, I guess I could accept it, but the story here is nothing to remember.

...Ahh tsk, tsk. Well I guess you just can't have it all, huh?

The Bottom Line
Regardless of all my grumping this is a great-great-great-great game. Just don't dream about what it could have been and you'll be fine... or if you have no problems with the kiddie factor then dive right in!

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2001

One of the most underrated, best Adventure/Side Scrolling games of all time. Period.

The Good
(Note: I am talking about the PS version when I played it, but the PC version is still identical to its PS counterpart, so what I say about it is true to both versions of the game. So please forgive the console sounding overtone.) One day, I was looking for a good Playstation game to rent, like any other Friday. Unfortunately for me, Final Fantasy VII was out, the one game I had bought a PS to play. Then I spotted a copy of Heart of Darkness. Whats this I thought, another cheap animated Disney-type kid's game? A closer examination revealed that this was that game more delayed than Daikatana, in development for four years. Without wanting to go home open handed, I picked up this game and never knew about the awesome ten hours that would follow. HoD is very much like underrated and unknown SNES and PC classic, 'Out of this World'. It's a 2D, side scrolling adventure through a land of shadows about a kid named Andy and his dog that stumble into a fatasy world that could make a better movie than Jedi Knight or the console game Metal Gear Solid. It's THAT good. Cinemas are of course 3D CG, and some of the best acting and overall time Amazing Studios took to make this game. Cinemas are so good, and fit perfectly into the story; you won't know what the heck is going on without these cinemas; you'll WANT to know what happens next in the seamless Gameplay to Cinema transfer. Of course gameplay is the meat of any game and HoD has got it in spades. It's 2D side-scrolling, one-way-to-get-passed-obstacle gameplay with puzzle elements that are excellently put in the game at the right time. Some people will call it very hard (which it is sometimes, but you keep playing to advance the storyline) and demanding in making you do exactly what the designers want you to do may sway some players from it, which is unfortunate, because the game is so good, its one of the finest games ever. I would say more about it but it would ruin it. So good, Steven Speilberg wanted to make a movie based on it. Anyway, if you like Out of this World, or like good games, buy this, even though its too short, you WILL want to play it again, because the characters and storyline are very memorable. For the sake of all things good, buy it! It even revives and pays tribute to the long dead side scroller genre, and does the genre justice. Possibly the last great side scroller.

The Bad
Hmmmmm.......too short, although I'll go backto it again, I smell a sequel. Also, sometimes you will hate the do-what-the-developers-wanted-you-to-do gameplay, but aren't other greats like Half-Life the same way?

The Bottom Line
2D/3D side scrolling goodness with an EXCELLENT storyline and cinemas.

Windows · by Dragoon (106) · 2000

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
european publisher pierre martin (5) Feb 19, 2021
Willy Beamish? John Peterson Oct 1, 2009

Trivia

Aliens

The friendly aliens Andy runs into in his adventure are called "Amigos", this is Spanish for "friends". In fact they all speak in Spanish in the English version, although they do so in loose, unconnected words.

Copy protection

This game is one of the early users of CD-based copy protection.

Development

Eric Chahi (main creator of Heart of Darkness) worked on the game from September 1992 to June 1998 (5 and 3/4 years). The game is based very loosely on the Joseph Conrad novel of the same name.

DirectX

Although the installation program insists that you need DirectX 6.0, the manual says HOD will run on NT 4.0 with SP3.

Extras

  • The game comes with a small pair of 3D-glasses with which you can check the after-final animation which is black and white until you put those glasses and see the depth and get a feeling of what you see as real 3D picture.
  • Some releases of this game on CD-ROM contained a Making of Heart of Darkness video documentary, which had interviews with the development team.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for this game is performed by The London Symphony, and composed by Bruce Broughton. Release date is 1999. The CD also contains a Demo of the game.

Tracklist: 1. Main Title 2. Andy's Mission 3. Big Mistake 4. Andy's Friend 5. Space Island 6. Vicious Servant 7. Back to the Lair 8. Meteor Destroyed 9. The Plot 10. Andy's Victory 11. End Credits

This soundtrack was available on the Intrada label (www.intrada.com).

Story

Though the game is not a sequel, add-on pack, nor spin-off, the game has a striking similarity of story to 1990-1992's Commander Keen series.

Information also contributed by B.L. Stryker, Garcia, MAT, Narushima, Swordmaster, Yeah No and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

PlayStation added by Grant McLellan.

Additional contributors: MAT, DreinIX, Zeikman, Patrick Bregger, Bart Smith, finsterhund.

Game added September 5, 1999. Last modified February 24, 2024.