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Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem

version: usa - year: 2002 - developer: silicon knights - publisher: nintendo - format: game cube, mini dvd - condition: mint - rarity: not very

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review - Since its N64 failure, Nintendo has been wanting to change its image of a kids company. Maybe the videogames mainstream market was changing direction or maybe the average age of players was increasing but sales started to be weaker for Mario's company. In Eternal Darkness, the shift in image is especially visible.

The game is aimed at a mature audience and it deals with topics that are actually very far from being childish. Silicon Knights' 3rd person adventure game could be initially mistaken for a mere Resident Evil clone. The mansion, the luxurious environment of the entrance, the red carpet and the staircase all contribute to create a feeling of "been there, done that". As soon as you will pick up your pad though, this superficial likeliness will disappear in a second. The controls for instance, will feel immediately way more intuitive while the tale is actually far from being just a zombie invasion affair.

The whole adventure rotates around a millenarian fight of humanity against ancient evil forces that once roamed the Earth. In particular, the Roivas family members seem to be able to see beyond the veil of reality to uncover the presence of horrible and powerful monstrosities that plot against our race. Inspired from the 19th century tales of Edgar Allan Poe and Lovecraft, Eternal Darkness' story flirts with our most profound fears, plays with our perceptions of reality and dances on the waning brim of sanity, always menacing to push our mind one step further into insanity!

All this is wonderfully achieved through the clever use of astonishing sound effects and eerie music. You will hear footsteps when nobody is around, people laughing around you when you will be alone...walls will start bleeding, while you will be left wondering if you went insane.

To reinforce this aspect, developer Silicon Knights introduced a highly original concept: the sanity meter. Every time you will encounter supernatural beings of any kind, your sanity meter will decrease while you will be more prone to hallucination attacks (once, I inexplicably got the dreaded windows fatal error blue screen but it was all because my sanity was basically gone!). Luckily once killed, finishing off defeated monsters will give some of your sanity back. Other meters play an important role: one of them measures your health and the other your mystic energy. Every time you use a spell, your magic meter will decrease but walking around will gradually replenish it.

Eternal Darkness gameplay features a generous amount both of combat and puzzles. In particular, combat is very convincing since it will be possible to target specific body parts. As a general rule, it is always better to aim at your enemies head. Spells also play a major role into fights since you will be able to summon monsters to help you or to erect protective shields to boost your defences for instance. The time traveling aspect of the game increases the variety of the adventure and I thought that at the beginning of the game, when playing as the Roman Centurion Pious, it was very interesting to hear him talk in Latin with the other legionaires (non Latinists such as myself don't need to worry as there are English subtitles!)

All in all, the adventure will last about 16 hrs which is very respectable plus, there are actually multiple endings to uncover, depending on the choices made at the beginning of the game . The fact that Eternal Darkness' gampeplay has been supervised by Nintendo is an additional guarantee of quality. Not only the game has an exquisite story, with great voice acting and atmospheric audio-visual effects but it also shines in the gameplay department. On the bad side, cut-scenes have a grainy look that is almost reminiscent of Saturn games (not as bad though!) and this was kind of a disappointment. Other than that, in a word, Eternal Darkness is one of the best games I played in recent times!

Bottom line: An amazing trip through time and through the human psyche....9/10

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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