The Darkness Within series is truly a game saga that will send shivers up your spine. It takes players to a disturbing corner of the human psyche; exploring nightmares, the occult, and a frightening psychological world. This Collector’s Edition includes both volumes: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder and The Dark Lineage.
To make life easy for me and you, I will split this review into two covering both games.
Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder
As police detective Howard E. Loreid, you are tasked with solving the murder of Clark Field, a wealthy man involved in the occult. Your suspect is Loath Nolder, a highly respected former private investigator who mysteriously abandoned his last case for reasons unknown. Soon, you discover that your own horrible past is connected with the madness that is about to swallow you. You experience lucid, horrifying dreams and are tormented by paranormal happenings. What’s real and what’s notquickly become indistinguishable and slowly but surely you lose your grip on reality.
You start the game in bed awakened by the ringing of your mobile phone after having what seems a bad nightmare. The game looks and feels like a Myst game. You move around the screens using your mouse in a point-to-point style environment. The game has eerie sound effects and is pretty dark for most of the time. This fills you with anticipation for what is going to be around the next corner. The graphics are not too bad, although its not hard to design a game interface based on basically single screen art. It is however not bad looking and has a pretty well detailed display.
The control system is very basic indeed and takes no time at all to master. You move around the screens by clicking on objects and combine stuff you pick up with items in your inventory. All the usual things you expect from a point-and-click adventure.
The game itself starts you off with a fair bit of interest with its horror-esque story, as you try and gain a perspective on exactly what is happening, and you are soon drawn into the story of what happened to Detective Loath Nolder. Throughout the game you are faced with flashes of madness that makes you wonder what is reality and what is not. This adds to a pretty enjoyable element to the game if you are a fan of adventure titles.
To round this game off, I would say that if you love dark, scary and easy to play adventure games then you will most likely enjoy this first game in the Darkness Within series. If not, then stay away as it does get a bit boring after a while when you are seeking for a very small object you may have missed when searching painstakingly for a clue on each individual screen laid out in front of you.
Darkness Within 2: The Dark Lineage.
Having been released from the mental hospital where you unsurprisingly ended up after the first Darkness Within game, The Dark Lineage sees you investigating who set you free and why they did it. This leads you to the depressing town Arkhamend where a Victorian mansion hides some terrible secrets, as does your own past. As the atmosphere grows darker, so do the surroundings, leading you to forbidden, snow-clad woods with dim underground buildings and tunnels, filled with demons and forgotten creatures of the past.
As the Dark Linage hunts you down in this second Chapter of detective Howard E. Loreid’s life, you are faced with your very own story and fears. The game has a completely different and much more immersive feel to it than the first. No longer does it have the stilted point-to-point mechanics, this is a brand new 3D environment that means you can now wander around almost at your own will, and get down and dusty poking about all the dark corners. This is immediately noticeable as you start off in a strange dark house, again after getting out of bed (what is with this lazy character I hear you scream?) The Dark Lineage’s completely new feel is a very welcome one after playing the first game. However, I would not recommend you jump straight into it having not played the first one, as the game does sort of carry on from the original Darkness Within game, particularly in terms of the main character’s development.
Again, you use your mouse to move around and also the keyboard this time. You feel you are in a much more first person point of view as you wave your lantern around looking in all the dark corners. There is much to poke and push about, however, you will find much of it is neither necessary or essential to the story and will not reveal anything of value. I felt many of the interactive objects and scenery elements were there to try and build atmosphere more than anything else. Although this is great, as it really gives the game more of a open world atmosphere, it can lead to much frustration as you end up following red herrings. However, I liked the way the game felt and the way it tried to make you much more immersed in it’s environments.
As a round off; both games have there good points and bad points. The first one is pretty good, and the second is a huge jump and defiantly the better of the two. I would recommend this game double act only to someone that loves poking around for hours and searching every area of a game. If not, then stay away, you will get tired of the slow gameplay quickly. I don’t want to spoil the games for you as the storylines are good and I quite enjoyed the way the second game grew and developed Howard E. Loreid’s background. Lets just hope the search for the truth doesn’t drive you as insane as it did him.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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