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Previews

Alone in the Dark

Preview: So very ambitious. So very dark. So many buttons

Man alive, is Alone In The Dark dingy. The screens grabbed from our near-finished build are so dark that we had to download a virtual torch desktop application just to see what the hell was going on.

Ironically, it is hell going on. We're not surprised it's so hard to see: the game's set at night, in a city losing electricity, with a hero donned in enough black fabric to keep a family of four emos fed for a month.

So what if Wii can't render the nightscape as anything more than blackness smeared with gloom?

At least Hydravision are trying their best to keep up with flashy next-gen counterparts.

No control

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Expecting your typical step-down port to Wii? You'll be surprised.

Hydravision isn't AITD's real dad - that would be Eden games - but Atari have pretty much pointed them towards the next-gen version and said "Make that on Wii."

And so they have. Sort of. Whereas on 360 and PS3 you can grab objects and direct them in 3D space, here you grab objects and have four remote swish attack options.

Whereas next-gen digital fire makes the real stuff look tame, here it's scripted for dramatic effect.

And whereas next-gen Central Park is sandbox open, on Wii you're shepherded by conveniently placed fissures.

But at least they haven't turned it into a minigame compilation. Well actually, having said that, there are enough novel controller asides to suggest that you are, in fact, playing a rather gothic instalment of Rayman Raving Rabbids.

Tap the minus button and you stare down at your battered and beaten body to apply medical spray and bandages to your individual seeping wounds.

Hop into abandoned cars and each button enables you to fiddle with sun visors, glove compartments and so on.

Choosing to hotwire a car brings up a wire-swivelling puzzle - an aside to an aside.

Then you have basic hand controls, which are a game unto themselves. Switching into first-person view, you twist out the two controllers to replicate the opening of your coat, giving you access to your inventory.

From here you pluck out the item you want to use - penlight, gun, ammo, bandages, alcohol spray - and wonder to yourself exactly what's holding the right side of your jacket so taught if your right hand is rummaging in the pockets.

Mysterious third arm aside, there's also an odd movement cap on first-person aiming - you can't look too far down or up.

With enemies getting up in your face you'll only need to blast forwards, but it's odd nonetheless.

Bravado

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Several scenes, such as an escape along a tumbling apartment block, lock you into a third-person view for an awkward mix of context-sensitive platforming and rope-climbing physics puzzles.

For some unholy reason, context-sensitive actions are mapped onto the minus button, but we honestly think the synching button is easier to press.

Shimmying along crumbly ledges as the Manhattan skyline tumbles is cinematic bombast at its best, falling to our death for the 50th time (note: deadly serious look in NGamer's tear-filled eyes) left our preview copy Alone In The Bin.

But then minutes later we were legging it through a car park, gunning the stupid grins off zombies and hotwiring a car to escape for freedom.

Then we were speeding down Central Park West as bits of skyscrapers rained down - making Cloverfield look like a trip to Grandma's house for a lovely Sunday roast.

Leaping into the park we were soon under siege in a public toilet with two hobos fighting over the medical supplies.

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