Alone in the Dark is a 1992 survival horror game developed by Infogrames. The game has spawned several sequels, as part of the Alone in the Dark series, and was one of the first survival horror games, after the 1989 Capcom game, Sweet Home. Alone in the Dark set the standard for later rival popular survival horror games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
This game is known to take place in the same continuity as Infogrames's slightly later game Shadow of the Comet, as a book located in the game makes explicit reference to elements of Shadow of the Comet's backstory.
In 1924, Jeremy Hartwood, a noted artist and the owner of the Louisiana mansion Derceto, has committed suicide by hanging himself. His death appears suspicious yet seems to surprise no-one, for Derceto is widely reputed to be haunted by an evil power. The case is quickly dealt with by the police and soon forgotten by the public. The player assumes the role of either Edward Carnby - a private investigator who is sent to find a piano in the loft for an antique dealer - or Emily Hartwood, Jeremy's niece, who is also interested in finding the piano because she believes a secret drawer in it has a note in which Jeremy explains his suicide. The player, either as Carnby or Hartwood, goes to the mansion to investigate. As the player enters the house, the doors mysteriously slam shut behind him or her. Reluctantly, he or she continues up to the attic. In that room, the action begins.
Seconds after the game allows the player to take control of their character, monsters will make their first attack. The player must then progress back down through the house, fighting off various creatures and other hazards in the house, including a whole staff of staggering zombies and various monsters (not all of which can be killed), booby-traps and arcane books, in order to solve the mystery of Derceto and find a way out.
It is eventually explained through documents found throughout the game that the house was built by an occultist pirate named Ezechiel Pregzt, and beneath the house are caverns that were used for dark rituals and other occult doings. The overall goal of these rituals was to increase his fortunes and unnaturally extend his life. Pregzt's original body was incapacitated after he was shot and Derceto was burned down by encamped Union soldiers during the American Civil War. However, Pregzt's spirit lived on within his dried-up corpse, and had been placed by his servants in an old tree in the caverns underneath Derceto (which is, as Pregzt explains in one of many books lying around the house, an alternate name for Astarte or Shub-Niggurath). It would be possible for him to regenerate himself, though that requires a living body. Jeremy Hartwood committed suicide to prevent being used for this purpose; so Pregzt now focuses his energies on the player.