We hear you! We know you want Wii reviews of multiformat games. The problem is that publishers are often unwilling or unable to provide them. That was the case with Alone in the Dark - with Atari's usually helpful staff for once unable to assist us in our search - so in the end we gave up asking and bought it ourselves. We're going to look pretty silly if it turns out you're not interested. Not as silly as Alone in the Dark looks, sounds and feels on the Wii, mind you, despite developer Hydravision's valiant attempts to wrestle Eden Studios' ambitious Xbox 360 design into the constraints of the Wii's relatively underpowered hardware.
Credit to whoever worked on the first-person controls, though, because the combination of nunchuk analogue movement and Wii remote aiming is one of the few highlights. Point to the edge of the screen and the responsive Wiimote controls steer player-character Edward Carnby in that direction with a sensible degree of acceleration. You can only look so far up or down, which is a problem in a game where you spend a lot of time picking things up or examining your surroundings, but it's forgivable, and the way your viewpoint re-centres is intuitive and unintrusive.
Those of you with a working knowledge of the Xbox 360 version will know that first-person is only part of the view, though, because Alone in the Dark is a survival-horror game that switches you between third- and first-person depending on the scenario you face as you fight zombies and solve puzzles to uncover the truth about your past. And actually, the other controls aren't so bad in some respects either.
At sea in an ocean of blockbusters, Alone in the Dark has no choice but to punch above its weight: high production values, biblical clashes between good and evil, and precociously elaborate game mechanics unite, embraced by a rigid but versatile single location and tempted in every direction by a developer unafraid, perhaps even desperate, to sling every idea at the wall and hope the majority stick.
Beginning in an apartment block overlooking New York's Central Park, which the game centres around, you're thrown behind the eyes of a drowsy Edward Carnby, woken as a captive in the grip of amnesia opposite a weary, cudgelled old man called Paddington. As grimy henchmen drag you away to your death, an unexplained force wrenches the building apart, coincidentally fashioning your escape at the tips of its grumpiness. Dragging yourself through the collapsing structure - grasping the complex controls as groggily as the character you're playing finds his own feet - you meet the key players and catch the gist: an ancient ritual has unleashed something, it's grouchy, and everyone's priorities are going to be shaped by its thrashing arousal.
Soon dumped in Central Park with a gun, a flashlight and a ready supply of explosives and scavenged first-aid kits, Carnby is instructed to head to the museum to meet someone - someone he shouldn't be able to meet - and as the adventure expands and contorts, Alone in the Dark offers a counterpoint to modern survival-horror. The genre's core values - inventory management, tension as a by-product of fumbling and panicking, and elaborate puzzles - are as they were, but Carnby is a practical hero: he heals himself by manually bandaging and patching cuts and gashes, and he solves puzzles with his hands and whatever else he can cobble together.