Survival Horror Wiki

Alone in the Dark is an early example of the survival horror genre. It released for MS-DOS in 1992.

Set in 1920s Louisiana, the game features a haunted mansion with puzzles, ghosts & monsters, and a weight-based inventory.


In 1924, Jeremy Hartwood, a noted artist and owner of the Louisiana mansion Derceto, has committed suicide by hanging himself. The player assumes the role of either Edward Carnby, a private investigator who is sent to find a piano in the loft for an antique dealer or Emily Hartwood, Jeremy’s niece, who is also interested in finding the piano because she believes a secret drawer in it has a note in which Jeremy explains his suicide. Upon entering the house, the doors mysteriously slam shut behind the player character.


Players may choose from one of two protagonists, Edward Carnby, or Emily Hartwood. The player must avoid supernatural enemies, explore the mansion, solve puzzles, and gather clues about the mansion's nature. Inventory is weight-based, which means heavier items take up more space.


Although Alone in the Dark was not the first survival horror, previous exemples includes games like The Screamer, Zombi, War of the Dead and Project Firestart.

It was however, the game that popularized the genre, this success would go on to inspire directly or in-directly, a mass of imitators, like: Ecstatica, Doctor Hauzer, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dino Crisis, Fatal Frame, their many sequels and basically any other third-person, horror games with a focus on exploration, and even a few non-horror ones.

Most important was the use of cinematic camera angles, limited inventory and ressources, as well as a puzzle-like based exploration.

It also spawned several sequels, mainly Alone in the Dark 2, Alone in the Dark 3, Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare, Alone in the Dark: Inferno, Alone in the Dark: Illumination and even two movies.