#ThrowbackThursday #Horroctober edition: Alan Wake – Week 1

Those who have been reading Bar Harukiya since last year may recall that I used to mix things up with #ThrowbackThursday, covering a “Retro Club” game alongside my Final Fantasy IX playthrough, you may even recall I did things a little differently last October as I spent that month playing Gregory Horror Show, you know, playing a horror-themed game during October in the build-up to Halloween. I’m returning to the idea again this year, but again trying something different that will see me taking a break from FFIX (I know, another one, will I ever complete it?), though this decision has been partially forced upon me by the need to repair my PlayStation Vita, so for the next few weeks, Thursday’s will be taken up by me chronicling a playthrough of a horror game. There were a few I was going to choose from, Project Zero (Fatal Frame to you guys in America), Silent Hill 3, Alien Isolation, but ultimately I settled on Alan Wake, no particular reason behind it, other than I’ve always heard its interesting.

I missed out on this when it first came out, I bought a cheap Xbox 360 copy some time ago but never got around to play it. I even dug it out of the loft this time last year before settling on Gregory Horror Show, then Epic gave away the “New Nightmare” release, which without looking at it properly is a stand-alone sequel of some sort, but I know its not Alan Wake. I also own it on Steam but didn’t realise until I downloaded it on Game Pass for PC, which is how I’m playing it now. As with my Final Fantasy IX playthrough, I’ll be posting my progress each week, I’m aware it’s not the longest of games, but I’m kind of a slow player and cutting down into chunks allows me to take notes for these posts and hopefully drag it out to write my impressions of the game overall on the last Thursday of the month.

We open with the old cliche, Alan Wake is driving along at night, someone steps out into the headlights and Alan runs him over, however when he gets out of his car to investigate, the lights of his car turn off, Alan staggers and the hitchhiker disappears, the car is damaged and a storm is beginning to build, in the distance, Alan spots a lighthouse and decides he best go there. En route I spot something glittering on a bridge that has a massive hole in it, the glittering item is a Thermos flask and the game tells me I have 99 more of these to collect. I have to take another route. There’s a small, rickety-looking wooden footbridge that leads to some stairs, as I begin to cross it the hitchhiker appears behind me wielding an axe, he chases me and starts shouting a bunch of stuff that suggests he knows Alan, declaring that “he’s the story now”. Once Alan has escaped his pursuer, he notes that he recognises him from a story he’d been writing.

As I continue to head in the direction of the lighthouse the hitchhiker appears again, this time he somehow increases the intensity of the storm and Alan has to sprint for it, coming across yet another rickety bridge, on the other end a man in a green letterman jacket calls out to head towards him, he shouts that his name is Clay Steward and points Alan in the direction of a hut that will provide safety. Alan runs through the doorway, but it slams shut behind him, leaving Clay to be brutally murdered by the hitchhiker. Inside Alan says he needs to find a way out to continue heading for the lighthouse, three TV’s suddenly switch themselves on and on each is a persons eye, scanning the room whilst “Die, Die, Die, Die” followed by maniacal laughter emits from the speakers. There’s a door in the back, on it is a poster that looks a little like the poster for John Carpenter’s The Thing (though its not), the wall its on bursts open and a voice summons me to “follow the light”, I do as I’m commanded.

Outside the voice prompts me to head into the light from a lamppost, there Alan’s health is restored and I continue to follow the directions of the voice who tells me “The darkness is coming but its currently sleeping”. It says it has awoken me to show me my dreams, or something. It then summons a torch and instructs me to shine it at the hitchhiker that has, once again, appeared before me, it seems to burn him and eventually removes the shadow that had been covering it. A revolver is then placed on a tree stump by the voice, I pick it up and shoot at the hitchhiker, defeating it, for now, the voice then tells me that it will now give me back “my dreams”.

“In the nightmare, the darkness was taking over the World. The light house was the last safe place in both”

As I make my way to the lighthouse more and more hitchhikers appear. I use the tools I’ve been provided to dispatch as many as I can but quickly begin to run out of bullets, deciding the best course of action is to just run for it, I begin to sprint for the lighthouse, though another hitchhiker appears behind me and makes the storm even stronger, throwing objects at the bridge I’m attempting to cross and forcing me to dodge them and the holes they’re creating. Once inside, Alan can get his breath back, he looks up the staircase, but the screen turns black

“He’s here.
Wake up.”

Alan wakes up, startled, he’s still sat in his car, its daylight and a woman, presumably his wife, is sat next to him, the car is parked on a river ferry.

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