Alan Wake's American Nightmare is a third-person psychological-horror action-adventure game developed by Remedy and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade) on February 22, 2012. It was later ported (with help from Nitro) to the PC as both a self-published downloadable title (released via Steam in North America on May 22, 2012) and a retail title (in Europe by Nordic on June 29, 2012).
A spin-off of the original Alan Wake, the game is stylized as an episode of the in-universe fictional television series Night Springs (a parody of The Twilight Zone) set sometime after the events of the original game. Players reprise the role of Alan Wake (known in the game by the narrator as the "Champion of Light"), a best-selling novelist who, in a twisted series of events, ends up in the fictional rural town of Night Springs, Arizona. When Alan's evil doppelganger, Mr. Scratch (known in the game by the narrator as the "Herald of Darkness") unleashes the forces of darkness (determined to take away everything that Alan loves), he must find a way to alter reality and foil the doppelganger, unaware that Mr. Scratch has a trick up his sleeve.
Unlike the original game, which had a heavy focus on atmosphere and themes of melancholy, Alan Wake's American Nightmare is more light-hearted (with themes of low-budget sci-fi horror films). The game is also more heavily focused on combat, refining the gameplay found in the original while adding a variety of new weapons (including a nailgun, a crossbow, and a fully-automatic shotgun) and new forms of Taken to fight (such as the Splitter, who splits into two as you shine a light on it). The game also features a new survival mode (titled Arcade Action), where players must fight numerous waves of Taken for ten minutes ("until dawn") in an enclosed space (with weapons and equipment scattered around).
Light is the player's most valued ally in American Nightmare, not only is it used as a deterrent to keep the taken at bay, streetlights can be found all over that are used as checkpoints that save progress and heal the player's health.
The taken are cloaked in darkness which they use as their shield, this is where the flashlight comes into play, using the flashlight on a taken will eventually remove their shielding, albeit the time varies depending on the enemy type, once weakened the player is able to finally destroy them with their primary weapon. That's not to say this is the only means of dealing with enemies, throwing a flash bang grenade at a group of taken will instantly weaken them, handheld flares can also be used to give the player breathing room, and finally the flare gun, which will destroy most enemies upon impact.
Manuscript pages make a return (along with radios and televisions), filling in more of the backstory of Alan Wake, and characters in the game, these pages are read aloud by Alan himself. That's not to say this is the only purpose of these pages, in addition to fleshing out the lore of the game they are also used for unlocking cases which can be discovered in the three areas featured in the game. Each case contains a unique weapon, from an assault rifle to a combat shotgun. There are 53 manuscript pages in the game.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare features a variety of new and returning weapons and equipment to help Alan survive.
Unlike the predecessor, Alan is always carrying his trusty flashlight to slowly extinguish the shields of darkness around his enemies. Flashlights can no longer be upgraded (to heavy-duty flashlights and modern lanterns) and Alan can no longer extinguish the darkness without focusing on it. His flashlight also recharges quicker than in the previous game.
Also unlike the predecessor, Alan no longer has to scavenge the surroundings for packs of batteries (which are used to quickly recharge his flashlight once he uses the charge up to focus on an enemy). Alan still carries up to 10 batteries, but they are recharged automatically at Ammo Boxes.
- 9mm Pistol - Alan's default semi-automatic handgun.
- Nailgun - Fully-automatic. Found in the Rest Stop.
- Revolver - Found in the Rest Stop.
- SMG - Fully-automatic. Found in the Rest Stop and requires 3 manuscript pages to unlock.
- Magnum - Found in the Rest Stop and requires 10 manuscript pages to unlock.
- Sawed-off Shotgun - Found in the Drive-In and requires 30 manuscript pages to unlock.
- Pump-action Shotgun - Found in the Rest Stop.
- Carbine Rifle - Semi-automatic. Found in the Observatory.
- Hunting Rifle - Bolt-action. Found in the Observatory and requires 15 manuscript pages to unlock.
- Assault Rifle - Fully-automatic. Found in the Drive-In and requires 20 manuscript pages to unlock.
- Combat Shotgun - Fully-automatic. Found in the Observatory and requires 40 manuscript pages to unlock.
Along with some of the standard enemies from the original game (including standard Taken, agile Flankers, and the Poltergeist), Alan Wake's American Nightmare features a variety of new enemies to deal with (each with their own unique ability).
Like the original game, most enemies have a shield of darkness that must be extinguished using bright light. The Poltergeist and Spiders are not found in Arcade Action mode.
- Splitters - Crowbar-wielding thugs who have high health and no shield of darkness. However, if a Splitter is exposed to bright light, he splits into two weaker (yet more agile) forms (which can be splitted a second time).
- Grenadiers - Although they are weaker than standard Taken, Grenadiers can attack at longer ranges by throwing grenades at Alan. These grenades are timed and release a small cloud of concentrated darkness, harming Alan (and even other Taken).
- Spiders - Usually found in groups, spiders can be destroyed by either burning them with bright light or shooting them with weaponry.
- Spectres - Humanoids (resembling birds) that can transform into flocks of ravens (that cannot be harmed) to escape danger. While they have no shield of darkness, they are both strong and agile (and can withstand attacks by Alan without flinching).
- Giants - Giant hulkish enemies wielding a very powerful concrete-saw. They can withstand a lot of damage from Alan's weaponry and can quickly kill Alan.
Arcade Action Mode
The game features a new action-oriented survival-based game mode known as Arcade Action Mode (also known as Arcade Mode or Fight 'Till Dawn), where players control Alan as he fights off waves of Taken for ten minutes (until the sun rises) while earning score and scouting the map for weapons and equipment. This game mode has five maps (each of which must be unlocked by playing previous maps):
- Cemetery (no stars required for Normal, 12 stars required for Nightmare)
- Ghost Town (1 star required for Normal, 15 stars required for Nightmare)
- Oil Field (3 stars required for Normal, 18 stars required for Nightmare)
- Caves (6 stars required for Normal, 21 stars required for Nightmare)
- Trailer Park (9 stars required for Normal, 24 stars required for Nightmare)
Players earn stars by completing each map with a certain amount of points (up to three per map, per difficulty). Points are earned by defeating enemies (and surviving the whole ten minutes), and can be multiplied by earning multipliers (gained by defeating and dodging enemies, slowly drained over time, and lost completely when hit by an enemy).
Scattered around each map are a variety of weapons and equipment to help Alan survive. Certain weapons must be unlocked via the amount of manuscript pages collected throughout Story Mode. Safe Havens and Ammo Boxes can be found in certain areas and recharge every few waves. Each wave has a short cooldown period, allowing the player to easily collect items.
Along with ramping up the toughness of enemies, Nightmare versions of each map switches the weapon and equipment placement (requiring players to re-learn the map) and disables the cooldown period between waves, treating it as a traditional survival mode.
Like it's predecessor, American Nightmare features a mix of licensed and original music.
|Old Gods of Asgard (Poets of the Fall)||Balance Slays The Demon|
|Poets of the Fall||The Happy Song|
|Ed Harcourt||Watching The Sun Come Up|
|CPU||Dual Core 2 GHz Intel or|
2.8 GHz AMD
|Quad Core 2.66 GHz Intel or|
3.2 GHz AMD
|RAM||2 GB||4 GB|
|OS||Windows XP, Vista or 7||Windows 7|
|Video Card||GeForce 8800 GT or|
Radeon HD 2900 Pro
|GeForce GTX 275 or|
Radeon HD 4870
|Free Disk Space||8 GB||8 GB|