2. Alan Wake General hints and tips

Collectible Notes

There are six collectibles in this game: 100 Coffee Thermoses, 30 Chests, 11 Radio Shows, 14 TV Shows, 25 Signs and 106 Manuscript Pages (91 of which are available on any mode, while the other 15 are only available on Nightmare Difficulty).

Coffee thermoses and can pyramids will not appear again on your subsequent playthroughs if you already collected them in your previous playthrough.

Collectibles will be saved to your statistics (you can check them pressing cn_start while playing) as soon as you pick them up for the first time. You will clearly see the saving icon in the bottom-left corner when you collect something. If you die after collecting something, and restart a checkpoint triggered before picking it up, that item will be in its specific location again, but you won't need to collect it again for achievement purposes since the statistics were already updated (and they are what matter for the achievements).

In other words, you don't have to worry about collecting the same item again if you die/restart a checkpoint, because as long as it was saved in your statistics it will count for the achievement.

The above note is also true for any other statistic, and this makes the "restart checkpoint" a valuable help for grinding kills with your weapons, since your stats will be updated if you restart a checkpoint, and you also get your ammo back (provided you had them when you hit the last checkpoint which you will restart). With the short loading times of this game, this practically means having infinite ammo and infinite enemies to collect kills and mop up those achievements in a short time.

Some collectibles have a surplus. In particular, there are 12 Can Pyramids and you only need 5 for the achievement related to them.
There are more than 11 Radio Shows (actually, the extra ones are not radio shows but random transmissions), but the extra ones are not related to any achievement, and they won't count for the stats neither (this means you can't collect one of the "extra ones" instead of one of the regular shows, because it wouldn't count).

There are more than 25 Signs, and the extra ones are not related to any achievement/won't count for the stats (same as for the radio shows).
In the Walkthrough, everything which is calculated in the stats will be described; the rest might or might not be mentioned, since it's not necessary (and doesn't add anything to the gameplay anyway).

General suggestions

The only important suggestion in this game is: learn how to escape. Alan Wake isn't meant played as a First Person Shooter; you do not need to kill every enemy all the time. Alan Wake is a Survival game, and often the key to surviving is getting the hell out of there. By tactically fleeing to the next 'Safe Haven' checkpoint, you will be actively conserving your scarce supplies for the fights that you have to take. Ammo will not be a problem on Normal mode; it can be limited on Hard mode; and it is definitely very limited on Nightmare mode. For this reason you will need to use a technique which we call "back-running". The nature of this is explained in the story Walkthrough at the point where you will start needing it (Episode Three). But essentially it involves stunning enemies with your torch and using cn_LB to dash towards to the next safe location, while periodically looking back and stunning the enemies repeatedly.

It goes without saying that you want to save your best weapons (in particular, Flares, Flashbangs and Flare Gun) as a reserve plan for real necessities. As explained in the overview page, We will lead you to an extremely conservative approach of the game, and if you follow our suggestions about when to fight and when not to fight, you will end every Episode with plenty of powerful ammo. Sometimes however, you will lose all your supplies at the end of some episodes, it is advised therefore to start using some of your more powerful items towards the end of each episode. And using as few items as possible will prepare you for the Nightmare difficulty challenge anyway.

Keep in mind that Alan has very low stamina, and the sprint (holding cn_LB) won't last for long. Unless you know that there won't be enemies ahead, it's always a good idea to walk without sprinting (or at least not using all your stamina), so you can be ready to use it if any enemies spawn nearby.

The revolver is your bread and butter, use it on all weak enemies and on singular tough enemies. Whenever you find the shotgun and hunting rifle on your normal playthrough you should use them to gain progress towards the '50' kills requirement. The revolver is much more common than them, and you need to grind 100 kills with it. Among the other two, the Hunting Rifle is less common than the Shotgun, and also more powerful: you should use it quite often. If you hit 50 kills with the Hunting Rifle, try to stick with the Shotgun from that point on. If you also hit 50 kills with the Shotgun, simply use your favourite weapon (the revolver kills won't need grinding since they come naturally).

Here is a little guide to the different types of enemies in the game, namely the 'Taken', including a damage chart which should give you an idea on the power of weapons: don't try to "learn" it or play according to it, because the context (the total enemies and your distance from safe haven), and not the single enemy, is what really matters when it comes to a decision on which weapon to use.

The Taken

There are different methods to handling different types of Taken:

  • Basic Taken - can be handled simply by shining your flashlight on the nearest one, boosting and then shooting them a few times. On normal difficulty they only take 1 or 2 shots to put down but they get very tough on Nightmare due to their large numbers. Be aware of how quickly they can take Alan down compared to how close they are and stay mobile. Stun them with a flashlight boost if they get too close before finishing them off with your pistol. Only use a shotgun or rifle on them if you are being attacked by a large group or it's a waste.
  • Runner Takens - can be identified by their jogger sweat suits and their bladed weapons. They're prone to trying to sneak up from behind or on your sides to deliver a combo. If a few of these guys circle you in then you can lose a lot of health, so be careful. They have fairly strong darkness shields, but they go down to just a few shots even on Nightmare. You just have to get through that barrier and then they fall. Never bother using anything other than your pistol on these guys.
  • Fast-Moving Takens are very rare, and will first be found only as boss enemies. They move so fast that it's hard to keep track of their position (though you can spot them if you use a quick shot of boosted light with LT, since it aims automatically wherever the enemy is, provided it's in your field of view); they have a strong darkness shield and are very resistant against bullets too. Unless it's a mandatory fight, it's usually a good idea to run over them and despawn them at the nearest safe heaven.
  • Assault Takens/Woodsmen Takens are the big guys with the axes. These boys are incredibly tough, as they have very strong darkness shields and a lot of health even once it goes down. It takes around six pistol shots or two shotgun blasts to kill them on Normal difficulty, and it only gets worse on Nightmare difficulty. When they appear try to get rid of the lesser enemies first so you can focus entirely on these guys. A flash bang that hits them directly is almost always a death sentence for them, so if you decide to use one be accurate about it.
  • Chainsaw Takens are very rare, but they're basically just tougher versions of the Woodsmen. They're fairly slow and lumbering, but they have a powerful shield and a lot of health. If you have a rifle this a great place to use it, and a flare wouldn't hurt if they try to get too close to you. They often come alone or with a few Runners so you can just focus on the big guys.

While it will seem like there are more Takens than these in the game, the differences will only be in their appearance: in the woods the basic Takens would wield a hatchet while in a rainy area they would wear a raincoat, but their patterns would be the same.

Damage Chart

DifficultyEntityRevolverShotgunPump-ActionHunting Rifle
Hard Ranged3111
Hard Tele-Flanker6442
NormalAssault Chainsaw6342
HardAssault Chainsaw7442
NightmareAssault Chainsaw13573

Game Songs

These are the songs you can listen to in the game. They are not related to achievements. Most of them will play automatically after the radio shows.

Episode One - Coconut (Harry Nillson): it can be played at the jukebox for Odin Anderson, in the Oh Deer Diner. Once in the town, you’ll start looking for Carl Stucky at the Oh Deer Diner. Examine the Alan Wake cardboard standee with B, and oblige the locals by turning on the jukebox the same way.

Episode One - In Dreams (Roy Orbison): after the first arrival at Diver's Isle, on Cauldron Lake, go back to the car to listen to a song.

Episode One - Air Kissing (Violet Indiana): starts after listening to Radio Show # 01.

Episode One - Up Jumped the Devil (Nick Cave & The Badseeds): starts after listening to Radio Show # 02.

Episode Two - Shady Grove (Among the Oak & Ash): starts after listening to Radio Show # 03.

Episode Two - The Beaten (Barry Adamson): starts after listening to Radio Show # 04.

Episode Two - Haunted (Poe): plays at the end of the Episode.

Episode Three - (How Can I Be Sure) Anomie Belle: starts after listening to Radio Show # 05.

Episode Three - Electric Cadente (Dead Combo): starts after listening to Radio Show # 06.

Episode Three - Black Night (Charles Brown): starts after listening to Radio Show # 07.

Episode Four - Backbone (The Rumble): starts after listening to Radio Show # 10.

Episode Four - Children of the Elder Gods (The Old Gods of Asgard): triggers during the massive fight near the end of this Episode.

Episode Four - Young Men Dead (Black Angels): starts after listening to Radio Show # 11.

Episode Four - The Old Gods of Asgard; The poet and the Muse: Once the Episode is over.

Episode Five - War (Poets of the Fall): turn on the optional radio (one which doesn't count for the achievements) in a warehouse before the transformer yard.

Episode Six - Space Oddity (David Bowie): plays once the adventure is over.

Easter Eggs

Episode One - On the notice board with the diver's picture, just before you execute your first jump.

Episode Two - In the corner, on the wall of Wake's office in his New York apartment.

Episode Four - On the wall in the sitting area of the upper mezzanine level, in the Cauldron Lake Lodge.

To access the Easter Eggs in the game you must either be a US resident/ or have a US GT, as one links you to a website where you can get a code for a premium Alan Wake theme (you need a US account for that). The other 2 are US phone numbers one for Alan Wake's answering machine and the other for Doctor Hartman's. You need a MS Tag scanner to be able to read them and get the codes.

Thanks to IceGod on xbox360achievements for his tips on how to access the easter eggs by using the MS scanner.

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