With the relatively low hardware power of the Wii compared to its competitors and the PlayStation 2 still going strong, many publishers felt compelled to deliver two independently developed variants of their games, rather than just ports. This happened to both Ghostbusters, which replaced the graphics with a cartoon style and added several features, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, which turned out an entirely different game.
The SD versions of Alone in the Dark, developed by Hydravision Entertainment, lie somewhere in the between – the plot is clearly based on the same original concept and pounds along similar locations and setpieces, but it has been thoroughly rewritten. Stages are redesigned (and usually made shorter), and many characters appear differently, with a new script and a new dub for the voices. The female lead, Sarah Flores, underwent the greatest change, making her an entirely different character, but even Carnby comes off as much less of an asshole here. The main villain also shows up much later, making the first part of the game feel rather laid back, as there’s “only” a skyscraper breaking down around you and a few ordinary Humanz attacking. The whole script features much less “in your face” mentality, and while dialogs are still corny, they’re not as awkward and unpleasant to listen to.
The mechanics also fall into the category “similar, but not quite the same.” Plenty of stuff can still be picked up as melee weapons, swung by waggling the analog sticks (or the remote on Wii), and fire plays still a role, although a not quite as central one as in the HD versions. Enemies don’t have to be incinerated anymore to get rid of them; instead they’ll eventually succumb to gunfire. As a result, the MacGuyverism is also toned down significantly.
Whereas the big versions open up into a sandbox-like structure in the later chapters, here the stages (whose number is up to ten to compensate their shorter length) remain linear throughout. There are hardly any car segments left, and in most of them Carnby isn’t the one who holds the steering wheel. That’s definitely for the better, though, since the car controls aren’t any better than on Xbox 360. The rabid floor fissures are actually a bit cooler than in the big versions, cause Carnby now has to grab on objects in the fissure’s way to pull himself out.