Latter-day sequels to Alone in the Dark have nothing on Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This first-person adventure from the creepmeisters at Frictional Games who gave us the unsettling Penumbra trilogy is the true follow-up to the original escapades of sleuth Edward Carnby. The game oozes Lovecraftian menace as it strands its protagonist alone in the insanity-inducing darkness of a haunted ruin where spooks lurk around every other corner. In some ways, the game is actually superior to its legendary inspiration, with no cheesy action sequences separating you from the ghoulies and ghosties that want to either eat you or drive you round the bend.
Alone in the dark? Yeah, but you won't want to stay there too long given the whole insanity thing. (Credit: Frictional Games)
You take on the role of Daniel, who awakens in the darkened halls of Brennenburg Castle at the start of the game with a bad case of — you guessed it — amnesia. Early stages have a bit of a Memento vibe, with Daniel trying to discover hints about his past through reading notes that he apparently left for himself and searching through old diary entries and random scraps of paper. Hints are also provided by flashbacks that regularly pop up out of nowhere. It's a little cliched, but Frictional does some smart things with the old hero-with-amnesia gimmick. The story is fascinating and is told through easily digested chunks scattered through the game. Read everything you find, and you'll be drawn into a chilling castle populated by a lone protagonist who is a bit off his nut and being hunted by shadowy somethings that are more than a teensy bit spine-chilling. From the very beginning, you know you're being pushed toward some great revelation that won't be all sunshine and lollipops. Yet at the same time, you can't wait to get there.