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Jeremy Hartwood has committed suicide in his Louisiana mansion, Derceto. You take the role of either Edward Carnby, a private investigator, or Emily Hartwood, Jeremy's niece, and investigate the suspicious death. The three-floor mansion is reputed to be haunted by its eccentric past owner. Very quickly, you realise that it is. Warped rats, zombies, and giant worms are among the foes who are after you, and you must somehow escape.

Alone in the Dark is an action-adventure survival horror game. The action is displayed from a number of fixed viewpoints. The backgrounds are 2D painted images, while the player character, all items, and monsters are rendered as 3D models.

To escape the mansion, you'll have to solve a number of puzzles. They usually involve finding an item and using it in a proper place. Apart from items necessary for the puzzles, you can also find books and documents that can be read, healing items which can be consumed to restore hit points, and weapons.

Weapons come in handy since Derceto is full of various monsters. Some monsters can be killed with weapons, but others are either impossible to kill or require a bit of thinking to take down. Note also that you have limited amounts of ammunition, so you have to use firearms carefully.


Alone in the Dark PC-98 Ahh, the slick intro, with the 3D car...
Alone in the Dark DOS What, you had a nightmare? Don't jump out of the bed with a dagger, dude...
Alone in the Dark PC-98 Oh wow! That's an item! Very nice, zoomed-in, 3D... item
Alone in the Dark iPad Found a Lamp

Promo Images

Alone in the Dark Other In-game item model
Alone in the Dark Logo
Alone in the Dark Screenshot
Alone in the Dark Magazine Advertisement Page 85

Alternate Titles

  • "鬼屋魔影" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "Screams in the Dark" -- Working title
  • "In the Dark" -- Working title
  • "Call of Cthulhu: Doom of Derceto" -- Working title
  • "AITD" -- Common abbreviation
  • "アローン・イン・ザ・ダーク" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Truly a remarkable game DOS Zovni (10627)
The original and best. 3DO Melvin Raeynes (26)
An excellent classic game. Period. DOS Yeba (65)
The grand-daddy of survival horror DOS Alan Chan (3618)
A landmark arcade adventure which started the survival horror genre. DOS Sycada (191)
Horror, Cthulhiana and great fun DOS Christian Svindseth (2)
What can I say? A game genre in itself! DOS James1 (244)
A fantastic game, better than the remake DOS BlaringCoder (171)
The grand-daddy of survival horror - it's just not very scary. DOS RussS (819)
The House the Lovecraft Built DOS Terrence Bosky (5458)

Critic Reviews

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) DOS Jan 14, 2004 10 out of 10 100
Com Club DOS Jan, 1993 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Electronic Games DOS May, 1993 98 out of 100 98
Just Adventure Macintosh 2002 A- 91
PC Joker DOS Dec, 1992 87 out of 100 87
Abandoned Times Magazine DOS Oct, 2011 8.5 out of 10 85
Just Games Retro DOS Aug 27, 2006 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
IGN Italia iPad Jun 02, 2014 6 out of 10 60
The Video Game Critic 3DO Oct 29, 2001 D 25
Retro Gamer DOS Oct 28, 2008 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
Crime doesn't pay 28 Daniel Saner (3423)
Nov 08, 2011


1001 Video Games

Alone in the Dark appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


All backgrounds were rendered in 3D via multiple camera angles, then converted to 2D.


Alone in the Dark was made with a budget of US $400,000.

Christmas CD re-release

There was a Christmas CD re-release with all the patches and Jack in the Dark.


According to the French book La saga des Jeux Videos, by Daniel Ichbiah, the original title would have been In the Dark. The idea came from the Infogrames' PDG, Bruno Bonnell, and one of his collaborators, Eric Motet. The player would have been constantly in the dark, having only 3 matches he could use to progress.

Frederic Raynal, an Infogrames coder who was working on a 3D engine in his free time, tried to integrate the project very soon, but he didn't succeeded in convincing Eric Motet. He then finished his 3D engine and made a demo with an Infogrames artist Didier Chanfray. The result was shown to the managers in 1991 and it was judged so good Raynal became the project leader.

After a first attempt by the team itself, the scenario was written by Hubert Chardot, an independent writer who had worked for the 20th Century Fox and was a real Lovecraft fan. The definitive version was finished in only 3 afternoons, the whole team participating. Chaosium, judging it was unfaithful to Lovecraft's work, refused to validate it, thus losing any right to perceive royalties on it. It's also at this moment that the definitive title was chosen.

Last but not least.. when the project was in its early stage, Frederic Raynal met Yael Barroz, an Infogrames artist which integrated the team. They married very soon.

More details can be found in the book already mentioned; this is just a partial summary.

Inspiration to other games

Besides the obvious sequels, this game also "inspired" two other Infogrames Cthulu games, Shadow of the Comet and Prisoner of Ice. Two books in the game refer to Lord Boleskine and his ill-fated expedition to Illsmouth, which was later used as the basis for Shadow of the Comet's plot. Another book refers to the Prisoners of Ice who are featured in the Infogrames game of the same name.

This game is widely reported as being the inspiration for the Resident Evil series for both its graphical innovation and "survival horror" plot. But in terms of the graphic engine, a similar approach was used in Cruise for a Corpse.


The story was inspired by a supposedly true event. A man by the name of Edward Carnby spent a night in an old house by the name of Decerto to prove that it wasn't haunted. The following morning it is reported that Carnby used a pay phone to call someone called Gloria Allen and according to a witness he looked like "he'd been fighting 'gators all night."

Virtual Dreams

Before its release, Infogrames announced that Alone in the Dark would be the first in a new series of games; The "Virtual Dreams" series. Each game would have a totally different plot and setting, but they would all use the same engine. The original Alone in the Dark box (at least, in Europe) had different cover art, and featured the "Virtual Dreams" title. The game was later re-issued in its current box design, and there was no further mention, from Infogrames, of the "Virtual Dreams" series.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • February 1996 (Issue #139) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #88 on the 150 Best Games of All Time list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #14 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (being dragged into the underworld and sacrificed after)
  • GameFan
    • Vol.3, Iss. 1 - Best 3DO Action/Adventure Game of the Year in 1994
  • Game Informer
    • October 2005 (issue #136) - one of the Top 25 Most Influential Games of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #34 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • ECTS Awards 1993
    • Most original game
    • Game of the year France
    • Best graphics
Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Andrew Grasmeder, Big John WV, hydra9, Joshua Dove, Karthik KANE, Sycada and Yeba

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Contributed to by Brian Hirt (10020), Sciere (780625), Kabushi (257603), Terok Nor (32358), Scaryfun (17977) and Indra was here (20853)
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