Dark Fall: The Journal
Description official descriptions
This first-person, point and click adventure is an atmospheric ghost story which takes place primarily in an old train station and a nearby hotel in Dorset, England.
The game begins as you listen to a phone message from your brother urging you to meet him immediately because "something has gone wrong" and that "what they were looking for has found them." You leave immediately and, upon arriving, you discover that your brother is only one of many whose disappearances are unexplained.
Your investigations into the past and present will involve reading diaries, newspapers, letters and other records to uncover the secrets hiding in the buildings. You will be finding clues to puzzles as you explore the creepy environment where apparitions come forth without warning.
The in 2009 released Classic Edition adds support for Windows XP and Vista, new sound effects and other technical adjustments.
- Обитель Тьмы - Russian spelling
- 黑暗之秋 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (Windows version)
41 People · View all
|Graphics Department Manager
|Graphic Design and Layout
|Director, International Communications
|Design, Programming and Creation
|Voice Actor (Timothy Pike)
|Voice Actor (Polly White)
|Voice Actor (Tom Oliver)
|Voice Actor (Matilda Fly)
|[ full credits ]
Average score: 69% (based on 38 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 1 reviews)
After the introduction, you find yourself near the abandoned Dowerton Hotel and railroad station in England where at least 12 people have been missing since the 1940's. Your main goal is to find your brother whose frantic phone message pleaded for you to come and investigate. Soon you discover that two modern-day students were there recently - ghost hunting! Telltale signs of their progress were left behind, but they themselves are nowhere to be found. Clues as to what happened to them and the others before them are scattered throughout the hotel, station and the grounds. By reading newspaper articles, notes, signs and books, you learn that something evil was unwittingly released - and somehow kidnapped everyone! The only way to leave this place and free all of the victims is to reveal ancient runes which, when recited in a secret chamber, will cast away "the darkness" forever.
To become really immersed, Dark Fall is best played in a semi-dark room with the volume on your speakers turned up! The sounds and voices you hear, as well as the visions you see, will make the hairs on the back of your neck tingle. The whole place is old, dark and run down, providing just the right atmosphere for this incredible thriller. Even though it was dark, I had no trouble seeing hot spots and other things of importance.
The interface is fresh and easy to learn. The original XXv Productions release, which I played, included gameplay instructions on the single disc. Amazingly, absolutely nothing is installed on your hard disk! The entire game is played by running the executable file on the cd. Inventory items are collected and displayed at the top of your screen at all times. When you encounter a place to use an item, you simply click on it from that display and it is automatically used. Subtitles can be turned on or off by pressing your F1 keyboard key during the game. Saves are tiny text files and are saved to your hard drive anywhere you want.
There is an on-disc hint system in HTML format which can be read outside of the game. Those hints are good and vague but do provide just enough to get you going again.
You play the game totally alone in 1st person "Myst"-like fashion - except for the apparitions that is! This particular game couldn't have been done any other way, in my opinion, and adds to the experience of being in a sort of time warp.
There are plenty of areas to explore - 35 rooms in the hotel, plus several more in and around the railroad station including an old barn. There are several hidden, secret rooms to find too. As you progress, you'll need to go back to many of the rooms a second or third time. But, there is really no unnecessary legwork since by that time you really want to go back to them.
Keep pen and paper handy while playing - you'll be taking lots of notes! Except for one or two, good clues can be found for all of the puzzles. And the puzzles themselves are well integrated into the plot. You'll be unlocking several different types of puzzle boxes, using "ghost-hunting" gadgets and a computer (for which you need to figure out a password), and using several pieces of old equipment (i.e. piano, slide projector). None of them are terribly hard if you've paid attention and use common sense. Most of the true puzzles range from easy to medium in difficulty, but the end game includes some sound and color puzzles, which are harder - so be prepared.
I experienced absolutely no lock-ups or problems with the game at all.
There is very little I didn't like about Dark Fall.
The game is made to take advantage of 32-bit graphics (which is great), but because of my particular video card, I had to play it using 24-bit. That was no big deal because the graphics were still good, but it made me want (even more) to upgrade my graphics card. The game featured a separate executable file for Low Resolution, so at least I could play the game. My only gripe was having to change my desktop to 640x480 before starting the game.
The end game puzzles were a bit difficult for me, but with the help of a hint file I made it through them.
The Bottom Line
This has to be one of the best adventures I've played all year! It didn't take long to become engrossed in the mystery. One night I was still playing in the wee hours of the morning and had to tear myself away just to sleep! And then, I had trouble getting to sleep for thinking about the game.
Dark Fall is not too terribly long, but not short either. It kept me enthralled for over 3 days (including a long night). The ending is satisfying too. I personally can't wait for the sequel!
Windows · by Jeanne (75975) · 2006
There is a subdirectory on the CD, which contains instructions for the gameplay, a making of and a full hint system.
Many of the railway station and hotel settings are based on the 1979 'The Railway Station' episodes of the British sci-fi mystery series 'Sapphire and Steel'.
Related Sites +
Another excellent Dark Fall walkthru
Hints for Dark Fall
These hints will help you solve the game without spoiling it for you.
Official Game Page
XXv Production's Dark Fall page
US Publisher's Official Page
The Adventure Company's Dark Fall: The Journal page
Walkthrough by MaGtRo
A review of The Journal by Interactive Fiction developer Andrew Plotkin (September, 2002).
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Jeanne.
Game added August 3, 2002. Last modified January 19, 2024.