BY DIRK LAMMERS
Alan Wake, a bestselling suspense author suffering from writer's block, heads to the fictional town of Bright Falls, Wash., for some rest and recreation. But after his wife, Alice, tries to coax him into writing his first manuscript pages in two years, Wake takes off from their cabin to blow off some steam, but returns when he hears her screams.
She disappears. Wake wakes up behind the wheel of his crashed car deep in the forest, and the mystery begins. He learns that an evil darkness has descended on the forest and has infected some of the town's inhabitants. Armed with axes and sickles, the "Taken" can lumber slowly, then dart at Wake with a frightening pace of acceleration.
To defend himself, Wake starts with a flashlight and pistol - a clever combination. The first step is to expose the enemies with light to weaken them, and the second is to fire his gun to finish them off.
The plot is vague at first, but it's revealed as Wake stumbles on pages of a manuscript. He's apparently the author, though he has no recollection of writing it.
It's paced nicely and keeps players on the edge of their seats. The only knock is that the "light, then shoot" combat grows repetitive as you get deeper into the game.
RATING T for Teen
PLOT An episodic psychological thriller with possessed townspeople
DETAILS Xbox 360, $60
BOTTOM LINE Offers tons of creepy thrills