Chances are you don't know this guy, but considering how bad Alone in the Dark was maybe that's not such a bad thing!
There's something about Alone in the Dark that just doesn't sit right with me. It's not the terrible controls and the inconsistent graphics. It's not the terrible voice acting and the unsatisfying endings. All that was addressed months ago when I reviewed the game. Hell, the thing that troubles me about the game has nothing to do with the actual game itself. Instead it has to do with the game's box art. Every time I look at it I come up with the same question: Who the hell is that guy?
Before the game came out I was convinced that this was none other than the protagonist of Alone in the Dark, Edward Carnby. After all, both characters have similar brown hair and jackets on. This assumption only makes sense, Edward has been the featured player in just about every Alone in the Dark adventure (including Uwe Boll's abysmal movie). But after playing the game I quickly realized that either the artist caught Mr. Carnby on a bad day or this isn't the man I thought it was. The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that this cover has absolutely nothing to do with the game I begrudgingly played through.
How can I tell? For one thing the guy on the cover looks to be at least twenty years younger than the middle aged (and scarred) Edward Carnby. Sure his hair is somewhat similar, but the entire face looks completely different. The Edward Carnby of the game looks like he could be played by Eric Roberts (star of Best of the Best 2), while the guy on the cover looks more like Val Kilmer with a bad dye job.
And it's not just the jaw that gives it away; it's also the facial hair. The guy on the box clearly has some facial hair (you can see the
Edward Carnby is a lot of things, but left handed he is not!
top of his lip has a slight mustache), yet the real Edward Carnby is clean shaven ... even at the end of the game. And did I mention that the two people are wearing completely different jackets?
Still not convinced? Perhaps the most damning evidence is that the real Edward Carnby is not left handed. That's right, the hero of Alone in the Dark uses his right hand to do all of the shooting, contrary to what the box art shows. Think that maybe they flipped the artwork for some reason? Think again, because if they had done that then the scar would be on the wrong side. The only excuse I can think of is that Edward is ambidextrous ... but judging from the
Gomer Pile: S.T.A.R.S.
dozen or so hours I put into this stupid game I can tell you from first-hand experience that this guy is definitely not ambidextrous. Hell, he can't even walk in a straight line half the time, let alone use both hands to accurately fire a gun.
Oddly enough this isn't the first survival horror game to employ a mysterious character for the box art. Let me ask you, who exactly is the S.T.A.R.S. member on the front of the Resident Evil box? I can tell you right now that it's not Jill Valentine or Albert Wesker, and judging by the weird scarring on the face it doesn't look anything like Chris Redfield or Barry Burton. The truth is, I've played every Resident Evil game there is and this doesn't look like anybody from the series.
Why are all of these survival horror games so afraid of putting the real stars (no pun intended) on the cover? You don't see this with other genres. If
Is it too late to change the way Resident Evil 5 looks to this cartoony art style?
you buy a Madden NFL game with your favorite footballer on the cover, you better believe he's actually there in the game. When you buy Halo you know that the guy that looks like Master Chief will be the main star of the game. Across the board it's like that, yet when it comes to the survival horror genre the various companies feel like they need to shield us from the real protagonists of the game.
The truth is that it really doesn't matter, they could put the most beautiful image on the Alone in the Dark cover and it would still be a horrendous game. Perhaps Atari (or whoever had the misfortune of designing the box art) knew what they were doing, since it has caused me to think about the game long after I wanted to erase it from my brain. What's more, it was perplexing enough to cause me to write a stupid article about it, giving Alone in the Dark a little bit more buzz. But let this be a warning to you: If you were thinking about buying Alone in the Dark simply because of the beefcake on the cover, then you might want to take a step back and think again. This is yet another example of the good people at Atari tricking you into buying something you really don't want.