Best First-Person PC Adventure: Dark Fall: Lost SoulsBest First-Person PC Adventure: Dark Fall: Lost Souls

As a slideshow-style 2D adventure game with limited animation, Jonathan Boakes’ Dark Fall: Lost Souls relies on its imagination to scare you... or rather, using your own imagination against you. Where other horror games bludgeon the player with monsters and combat or cheap scare tactics, here you’re all alone with creaking floor boards, tinkling wind chimes, squawking crows – these little touches are the only signs of life, which makes it all the more eerie when you starting hearing other… things. Maybe you aren’t so alone after all? Further exploration keeps you on edge with a constant reminder that something is very wrong in the old Dowerton train station and hotel, from the creepy mannequin pageantry to syringe-stabbed mattresses to actual otherworldly entities appearing in the dark, often just on the periphery of view.

That’s perhaps what makes the game so great as a first-person experience. Your role may be the anonymous “Inspector”, but the fear is your fear, the perspective is your perspective. This proves important, because for all its ghostly inhabitants, Lost Souls has a very human element as well. Indeed, it’s debatable which is the more haunted: Dowerton or The Inspector himself. Of course, there’s much more to a game than being scared, and this adventure backs up its horror quotient with solid gameplay and graphic quality that’s much improved (and put to good use) over the two previous Dark Fall games. At the end of the day, though, you’ll want to be frightened, and there’s a reason we called this game “one of the scariest point-and-click adventures ever”. For that accomplishment, it deserves the Aggie for this year’s top first-person title.

Best Sound Design: Dark Fall: Lost SoulsBest Sound Design: Dark Fall: Lost Souls

The emphasis on sound effects to enhance a frightening experience is one of the most important conventions of the horror genre, but perhaps one of the most underrated. While the impact is often subtle and difficult to gauge on its own, any door can give you chills when it swings open into the unknown with a slow, agonizing creak that dares you to step inside and see what lies in the darkness beyond. There are lots of doors in Dark Fall: Lost Souls. But it doesn’t end there, as series creator Jonathan Boakes understands full well what a key element sound is in building up an atmosphere of tension and dread.

Slowly exploring the darkened halls of the abandoned Dowerton train station and the labyrinthine corridors of the nearby hotel is an often unnerving experience: though rarely a genuine danger, horrors lurk in every shadow and restless ghosts wait in hiding until you’re distracted. However, it's the carefully planned soundscape that builds this tension: long before any visual shock comes the groan of the timeworn floor boards, the ominous whistle of the wind, the whispers – "Over here!" – murmured behind your back. These sinister noises are bound to raise the hair on the back of your neck, creating an almost unbearable suspense that needs a release. They may be as old as gothic fiction itself, but for its hauntingly effective use of these gimmicks, Dark Fall: Lost Souls deserves our Best Sound Design award, and Jonathan Boakes the thanks of every horror buff for once again delivering a genuinely terrifying aural experience.


“… the story is wonderful. It has all the elements you need – an obsessed protagonist haunted by his past, a missing girl with a dark fascination for the occult and an abandoned building housing a horror from the past…”

“…genuinely creepy and compelling, and it may make you reconsider playing with the lights off…”

“…Dark Fall: Lost Souls is an excellent adventure game…”

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