Previews

Alone in the Dark

Preview: So many demons...

Aahh, Central Park. By day a tourist hotspot, by night, a meeting point for miscreants and, if Home Alone 2 is to be trusted, terrifying tramps with hearts of gold.

There's no pigeon lady to protect you in Hydravision's take on NY's grassy centrepiece, though - this be demon territory.

Quick rundown: you're Edward Carnby, a 1930's detective in 2008's Noo Yoik. Why so out of time? A mystery deserving of its own TV show, so no surprises to see Alone in the Dark chopped into episodic jaunts - complete with 'previously on' fade-ins. It's far more natter-free than any other TV show, mind.

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An opening segment sees a few words exchanged with some mysterious chaps holding you hostage before all manner of unpleasantness crashes the party, taking out limbs, floors and walls in the process. No party bag for that unpleasantness.

Park life

Fleeing demonstrates Atari's impressive dedication to matching the next-gen version of AITD pound for pound.

Not only showing off some impressive lighting effects - chair + fire = makeshift torch - there's a hearty dollop of the physics puzzling that so impresses on 360 and PS3.

Grab an object - waved around with the Wii remote - and you can smack beasties, pound through blocked entrances and ignite it for some arson-based fun.

The fire physics aren't as free-roaming as the next-gen's - such power would melt the Wii - but directing an extinguisher to smother a flaming blockage is neat nonetheless.

Our favourite element is Carnby's flasher mac. Kitted out with demon fighting kit - guns, petrol, lighter, etc - a traditional item inventory has been jettisoned for a hands-on approach - you scoop whatever you want from your handy coat pockets.

The best bit? You wrench apart your hands in a flashing motion to open your coat - great for nailing devil spawn and frail-hearted old biddies.

There's a really nice logic to AITD's world. It's the kind of place where alcohol plus bullet equals fire, or bandage plus bottle equals Molotov cocktail.

What we've seen isn't particularly scary - Atari have the survival down pat, but the horror is missing - but even so, it beats hanging with the tramps down at the local playground.

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