Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness - PS1 - USA.jpg

PlayStation - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Amazing Studio
Publisher Infogrames Multimedia, Tantrum Entertainment, Interplay Productions, Ocean Software
Published 1998-07-04
Platforms PlayStation, Windows
Genres Active puzzle, Adventure, Cinematic platformer, Platformer, Puzzle
Themes Adventure, Cartoon
Distribution Commercial

Heart of Darkness is a cinematic platformer developed by Amazing Studio and published by Infogrames Multimedia and Tantrum Entertainment for PlayStation on 1998-07-04, and for Windows later that month.

In the game's story, a boy genius named Andy is observing a solar eclipse when shadowy aliens show up and kidnap his dog. Andy hops into his homemade spaceship and pursues the aliens, but becomes stranded on their home planet. He must survive the hazards of the planet, avoid the aliens, rescue his dog, and find a way home.

The game was originally meant to be released on DOS, then set to be released on 3DO, Amiga CD32, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2, and Saturn, but development was delayed, and each of those platforms did so poorly in the USA, each port was canceled. The game languished in development hell, and the initial publisher dropped the game at the end of 1996 resulting in the game being deemed vaporware. The developers continued working on it, and, in 1997, Infogrames Multimedia picked up publishing rights and the platform was changed again to PlayStation and Windows. A Game Boy Advance port was announced, but never finished. The 3D graphics were made using 3D Studio and the 2D graphics were made with Deluxe Paint and Deluxe Animator. The game is not related to the Joseph Conrad novel of the same title.


Own?No. The game was never sold.
Won?Yes. Normal difficulty.

My high school girlfriend's brother had this game for his PlayStation, and I spent many hours playing it with her. We got to an extremely difficult section late in the second disc and we couldn't get past it. After scores of failed attempts, we gave up on the game. Over 20 years later, I was looking for old games I had started but never completed, and was reminded of this game. I was glad to see it again, and I got to see the scenes that I had missed when my girlfriend played the game without me there. Though I still got extremely frustrated, I made it all the way back to the final section only to realize the place were we kept dying was actually the final boss battle! This time, I had the endurance to grind the final couple screens for several hours until I finally beat the game on normal difficulty. I do not own this game.


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6 7 6 8 3

Best Version: Windows

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The 2D animation and character design is fantastic, and the hazards and monsters are interesting. Many of the death animations are deliciously gruesome.
  • The idea that shadows can come alive and hurt you is very creative, and the designers did a great job with it.
  • The score by Bruce Broughton is wonderful, the sound effects are great, and voice acting is top notch, certainly better than most games of the era.
  • I appreciate that the game gives hints when you die too many times in the same area.
  • Though I found it hokey, the game is full of slapstick comedy that would probably appeal to the game's target demographic.
  • The game has some nice features after you beat it like the ability to play from any section, watch any cinematic, and a sound test.


  • I would have preferred more frequent checkpoints. Having to avoid the same traps and fight the same combat over and over again becomes tedious.
  • The plasma cannon is a very unreliable weapon. Shooting the shadow monsters sometimes kills them immediately, other times, it takes several seconds of continuous fire to kill them. This makes it difficult to plan out your battle strategy. The slow-moving green "powers" aren't any better and are frequently dodges by monsters in an unpredictable manner.
  • The 3D character design looks awful, Andy especially, and the technology at the time just couldn't produce decent-looking textures; everything has a plastic shine to it.
  • The maggot monsters, which constantly hide from your attacks until you begin climbing out toward them, are really annoying.
  • The game uses compressed video in the background where traditional animation would have sufficed. This results in portions of the background looking bad with lossy artifacting.
  • The final "boss," is mostly just a really hard section of the map. I would have preferred a one-on-one battle to him just hovering the the background lobbing fireballs at you.
  • The game is entirely unrelated, so I don't fault them much on this, but Andy is quite derivative of Commander Keen.


  • The loading time between deaths on the PlayStation original starts out as annoying, but, as you get further into the game where death becomes more frequent, it becomes painfully irritating. Some sections are poorly mapped into memory and require loading even when you die on the initial screen. This kind of delay was unheard of on cartridges, and uncommon even on computers of the time, so it just served to make the PlayStation look like an inferior console in comparison.
  • Late in the game, the checkpoints get fewer and further between and you have to repeat long difficult battles over and over again until you get lucky enough to pass them. The ending battle against the dark master is excruciatingly frustrating. While it may be shocking to say, this is actually one of the easier cinematic platformers!


Box Art



Longplay - PlayStation.
Longplay - Windows.


Strong female character?FailThere are a couple girls in Andy's classroom, and female Amigos, but they're just decoration.
Bechdel test?FailNo women ever speak.
Strong person of color character?FailEvery human character is white.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Heart of Darkness
Japanese ハート・オブ・ダークネス Hato Obu Dakunesu Heart of Darkness


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