24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This was my first GameCube game, which was provided free with the console. It's a very good thing that it was provided for free, otherwise I'd probably have never owned a copy.
Let me explain a bit, when I bought my console, I wanted one of the cute Japanese puzzle games with it, but none of my choices was in stock. So I ended up choosing Eternal Darkness, much against my better judgement since I had planned to obtain Resident Evil Zero, as my choice of horror rpg for this platform.
It all worked out well in the end - this was one of the most instantly impressive games I've seen. It's well thought out, and the attention to detail is startling. You'll have seen a lot of reviews on this site rave about the sanity system, which stands out as one of the things that the developers got absolutely right. As your sanity slips away the camera angles and soundtrack change, adding just an extra little edge to the whole thing. There are other effects as a result of this too, but you're better finding out about these yourself. I actually found that I preferred playing with the character quite low on sanity - it just added something to the whole experience (although - it turns out that there are occasions where this is a disadvantage - make sure you stay quiet when the trappers are near ;-)
The puzzles are not the most complex, but are balanced enough to not have you charging from one location to another frantically looking for some detail that was missed the first time.
Similarly with the combat - it's fairly easy to master, and I found that there weren't many things I encountered which had me reloading to try to kill again. Especially if the spells are used intelligently.
The magic system was nicely implemented, with various characters discovering the building blocks of the spells for you to assemble. This reminded me of an old Amiga game, but I admit that I may have just dreamt that.
This is a game which is totally accessible right out of the box. Superb use of the graphics capabilities, with a soundtrack that just somehow fits each chapter. I was completely drawn into it to the point of staying up too late for "just one more room", and that's not happened to me in a long time.
If you like the horror rpg genre (and I do), then I doubt you'll be disappointed by this. I really found very little to fault it, and so it must get the full 5 stars.
Did someone mention a sequel ?? Please ??
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Imagine a house. It's the middle of the night, faint moonlight creeps through the windows, eerie shadows are on the floor and you're the only person there. Suddenly, you hear a noise from another room. You open the door slowly to find nothing. A loud knock follows from a new door, but again, you find nothing on the other side. Then the cry of an agonising man surrounds you followed by the maniacal laughing of the creature he had the misfortune to meet. You search frantically all around you, but you'll never find it because it's not really happening...
If this is putting you off already (and I don't blame you if it is), I would advise you stay away from Eternal Darkness. Before I began this game I was perfectly fine with the dark, random noises or the odd nightmare about satanic demons trying to disembowel me. Now I fear to sleep most nights. I haven't even completed the game, yet I'm afraid to play in broad daylight with friends, let alone at night by myself. This game forces you to ponder over every move, not just with its devilish puzzles and frantic action but in the way you react to your environment. This will become clear once the games' horror aspects are explained.
The story begins with Alex Roivas, a young and rather nice looking woman, who is rudely awoken by an inspector from the Rhode Island police, reporting that her grandfather has been murdered. Two weeks later and frustrated by the incompetence of police failing to discover precisely what happened, Alex decides to venture into her grandfathers mansion herself to find answers. What she finds though is the Tome of Eternal Darkness, a strange book that is bound from human flesh and bone. And thus begins the game and her nightmares...
The book is a starting point for the games levels and tells of a story that spans many years, containing events of heroes who have battled against the world's dark forces. Guiding Alex around the mansion prompts the discovery of chapter pages from the Tome, each with their own story. Upon reading it, you are transported into this chapter where you assume control of a new character, whether it is a Roman Centurion or a physicist from the 18th century. Natural preconceptions of this character shifting are obvious; "it's too rushed or random for players to get accustomed with their new hero". But surprisingly enough the characters are all interesting and the game mechanics remain similar throughout. Although the early chapters are linear and structured similarly to tutorials, nobody likes being thrown headfirst at the deep end, especially when the deep end consists of blood, zombies and giant...lets not spoil it.
Any fan of third person adventures with horror twists has every right compare this with Resident Evil, but as you delve deeper you'll discover this game is no carbon copy. What sets this above Capcom's survival series are the unique features that often lack in modern computer games. Firstly, the cinematography techniques are well executed as the entire game has a very cinematic style. Cut scenes are animated beautifully, acting from the characters is superb and this helps the games' impressive script receive more credit. The cut scenes are an integral part of the story so there are many, but not to the point where they dominate the gameplay like in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
The narrative and attention to detail has been carefully considered by Silicon Knights (the game's developers). Influences from classical writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft are present, and the detail to weapons and armour, game environments and background history is exceptional, as they further reinforce the detail and interest of the games dark influences. The use of 'Magick' is included, as each character collects different artefacts during each chapter. The Circles of Power determine the strength of a spell, so the more points in the circle the greater the power. Codices decipher Runes and Spell Scrolls are essentially recipes for spells. It's nice to see unique spells that enchant items or reveal invisible passages, and it helps that the Tome of Eternal Darkness stores them for you so future characters won't need to re-learn them like in some RPGs.
But the icing on the cake is the Sanity system. Everytime you encounter an enemy, a portion of your Sanity meter is drained, depending on the wrath of the undead enemy. When a small percentage suffers, voices may come from nowhere and blood may ooze down walls or drip from the ceiling. About half way and only brave players will handle the screams of babies. The real mental challenge is when your meter is completely dry. I won't spoil it for you, but the effects are so subtle yet shocking, you'll be out of your mind with uncertainty and paranoia. Killing enemies recovers your Sanity, so being smart and running away is now the wrong thing to do. To get the most out of this innovation though, I dare you to purposely play while 100% insane, which you'll find even more rewarding if you own a Dolby Pro Logic II set-up.
Satanism, black magic, the dark arts, mental hallucinations; it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realise this isn't a typical Nintendo game. It has been a very brave gamble to rid the company of its supposed kiddie only audience and has thankfully paid off. The originality of the Magick and Sanity systems make Eternal Darkness terrifying, ingenious and a GameCube exclusive. It lacks the immense detail of visual graphic horror from Resident Evil, but the psychological horror more than makes up, as it is genuinely scary. Don't expect to be playing this game once purchased...it will only end up playing you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2002
...To sum up the plot in one line is tricky but basically there is this god called Mantarok who keeps three ancient powers in check, but these ancients have ambitions for greater things... oh yes.
The game starts out with the brutal murder of the main character's (Alex) grandfather, she decides to investigate the murder herself as there are no clues and the police are stumped. Eventually she finds a secret room and the Tome of Eternal Darkness, this is where the game starts proper.
The first level is to control a Roman Centurion called Pious Augustus who has been given the mission to seek out powerful ancient artifacts. This is the first nifty bit about the game, how you complete this mission affects the rest of the game. At the end of the level Pious comes across three artifacts each one representing the ancients Mantarok keeps under control. Which artifact Pious chooses dictates which ancient sets upon world domination and the ancient Alex must fight against.
The game itself plays out over 2000 years of humanity's history, from the age of the Romans to modern day. As you progress you take control of various people who have important parts to play in the history of the Tome of Eternal Darkness and the fight against the ancients.
It's through this Tome that each new character you control gains the experience of the people previously, such as magic spells and knowledge of the fight against the ancients.
Although I'm repeating what other's have said, the game does start off like Resident Evil but that comparision is way off the mark. The two games couldn't be more different if they tried.
The controls are less restrictive than RE and the combat is more involving. Hand-to-hand and projectile weapons are the order of the day and the variety of weapons you get to dispatch the bad guys is quite impressive. One thing that I've never been able to get to grips with are combos, sometimes you're character will attack several times in succession but I've never been able to work out how to do it when I want to, maybe I should read the instructions!
The graphics are a joy to behold (especially the Forbidden City at the end of the game), the FMV is not. The clips seem to be very blocky (a sure sign of being compressed) and not as long as they should be but then I suppose they had to fit everything onto a little disc after all. They serve their purpose though and only crop up now and then.
Another nifty thing about this game is the sanity meter, the more mosters you face the lower the meter gets. You can regain sanity by killing these monsters but it's a lot more fun to play this game with low sanity. Although do be careful as if you sanity meter runs out your health starts to decrease.
The developers of this game have been quiet clever in the things they throw at you, the most disturbing thing are the screams and shouting you'll hear in the background. You'll hear some really nasty stuff as well. Among my favourites are the silly things like faking the TV turning off and the volume levels changing (the volume display actually appears on screen and the little green bars decrease) would have been excellent except for the fact the volume gauge on my TV looks completely different!
I won't go into too much more detail as it'll spoil the surprise, I don't think the insanity thing is too gimmicky and works well with the whole game.
The magic system is good fun too, you collect runes as you progress through the game which you then use to cast incantations. It allows you to experiment with different combinations and this way you'll learn new spells before you pick up a scroll which tells you what it's called and what it does. You'll just have to experiment to find out the effects of these unknown spells.
Playtime is about 12 hours but this will vary on how quickly or slowly you take it through the game. The puzzles aren't exactly taxing and the game leads you gently by the hand to the next section. But apart from this it's top quality enjoyment through-out.
There is some replay factor as there are three ancients to fight against and the monster look different depending on which ancient it is you're up against. But other than that there's nothing else to tempt you back after you've finished. But then it's a pretty satisfying game to play so this isn't too much of a negative.
I'd give this 4 1/2 stars if I could but I can't and 5 is just a bit too much to award this game.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2002
This is probably in my top three games of all time, alongside Mario Sunshine and Goldeneye. Its amazing, it takes ideas that have been around in games for a while and combines them superbly to create an incredible gaming experience. At times reminsicent of the vintage Lucasarts adventures (Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle), even the classics 7th Guest and Resident Evil - although one with a far better control system! However some of these games especially the horror ones were only part of a good idea. Eternal Darkness takes the idea and transforms it into not only a stunning visual experience (download the movies and weep PS2 owners), but one of the most immersing games of all time.
The plot which I wont go into for fear of spoiling it is one which would put most Hollywood scriptwriters to shame. The languages spoken in the game all all authentic from Latin to medeval French! Some of the visual effects have never been seen beofre in a video game.
You control 12 characters during the game and to see the epilogue you must finish it three times using the three alignments. This is the game I bought my GC to play and I was so amazed by it I played nothing else for the first two weeks I had the console.
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2002
I've been waiting for this game for a LONG time. It started out on the N64 in 1998 - a whopping four years ago. In 2000 it got lost in development hell, then appeared in release lists of what was then know as 'Project Dolphin,' now know as GameCube.
Back then and up to its release many called it a Resident Evil clone. However from playing the game I can say that that is NOT true - Eternal Darkness is a completely different game. Although it's not as scary, the horror it presents in it's play is quite different. Whereas Resi worked with gore and jump-out-of-yer-seat scares, Eternal Darkness relies more on the subconcious of the player and how they are choosing their paths through the game.
The game starts with murder. Alex Riovas, of the year 2002, discovers that her grandfather is dead. But it's not just a simple case. Oh no. The corpse is headless.
What ensues is Alex exploring her Grandfather's mansion, uncovering a book (the Tomb of Eternal Darkness) and she starts to read. It tells a tale spanning 2000 years, and eventually leads up to the mystery of her Grandfather's murder. But as she reads, you play as the character she is reading about. You play as 12 characters in all, ranging from Pious Augustus of Ancient Rome, to Paul Luther, a 15th Century Monk. All these people's lives are linked and play a part in the massive plot.
To play Eternal Darkness is a lot easier than it's peer, Resident Evil. Instead of the turn 'n' run system emmployed in Resi, the analogue works much like Zelda, where you can run freely and change direction easily. The fighting is ingenious too, allowing you to target separate area of a monster's body to explot their weak points. There's a spell system as well, which is fully customisable and is used infrequently as the solution to a few of the games none-too-taxing puzzles. But they make a welcome change from the hack 'n' slash action play most of the time.
Something I had high hopes for but turned out to be mostly a gimmick was the Insanity Meter. Naturally, fighting hordes of monsters is sure to have some detrimental effect on your character - represented by a bar on the screen. Your insanity drops as you face monsters, but killing them restores your mental coaliegance. if you Insanity Meter drops too far, you become insane and what ensues is a series of nifty (and sometimes terrifying) effects. They can be hilariously obvious such as your character's head exploding, or more subtle like flies swarming over the 'camera lens' or your inventory emptying itself. Although it can be effective (I was fooled a good few times) I feel it could have been used to a greater effect.
Thanks to the stunning plot, the game grabs you and doesn't let go. This is as close to an interactive movie as you're gonna get, it really is that immersive. However the flipside is that you'll complete the game fairly quickly, not including the full game with all the secrets.
All in all, I would recommend this stunning game and although it IS flawed, you can appreciate that the four years of development have been used wisely.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2003
Flawed it might be but Eternal Darkness : Sanitys Requiem is still a great Gamecube experience. A slightly gentler and more theatrical form of survival horror than say Resident Evil, Eternal Darkness follows the attempts through the ages of an ancient demon to escape into the real world. The game is split into chapters set in different parts of the world and at different times in the past with a different lead character in each. The game mechanic is fixed-camera third-person and each chapter is set in motion by the actions of the contemporary heroine, Alexandra Roivas, exploring the legacy of her grandfathers spooky mansion. Each character has different physical attributes and weapons and surroundings are tightly keyed to the historical era. Traditional strength and magic meters vary in size between characters befitting their physical and mental attributes. Each character also has a sanity meter and strange things happens if this is allowed to fall too far. Cinematic cut-scenes are used to good effect with fine voice acting and animation. The game is very tightly scripted and linear in the extreme but amazingly the player barely notices this as s/he is guided from chapter to chapter. My only real complaint was that about half-way through the 18 hours or so of gameplay, a pattern became apparent in the chapters and, without spoiling the plot, it became rather obvious what would happen at the end of each segment. The brooding sense of darkness hanging over much of human history comes over well throughout though and the game uses sound to good effect with wails, screams, squelches and shuffling sounds. I highly recommend this game for it's depth , theatrics, strong and epic plotline. It is a game to be savoured at some length however and definitely not a 10 minute party piece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2004
This is the reason why I brought a Gamecube in the first place. A psychological thriller playing the part of 12 different characters in 11 chapters spanning time periods from as early as 26BC to 2000AD with the ability to use magic and weapons both modern and ancient. Exploration and puzzles all play a part in settings such as Persia, France and the Middle East. The controls are easy to use, there is a map which develops as you explore each area and, providing there are no enemies near, you can save your game whenever you like. It's the insanity meter which stands out though as something original and entertaining. When your insanity meter is drained through encounters with various enemies, such as Zombies, there is a chance of an hallucination. There are at least 30 insanity effects that can occur, which I will not describe here as it would spoil your enjoyment of the game. Ok, just one then to give you an idea of what to expect; the sound will disappear from the game with the word "MUTE" appearing in the top corner of your t.v. screen. You may not be taken in by that particular insanity effect but there are others which will get you going before you realise what's happened. I've just completed this game for the 2nd time, joining Halo, Ico, GoldenEye and Metal Gear Solid as the only games I've gone back to finish again over the last 6 years or so. I'd strongly recommend you give this game a try. You would be insane not to!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2006
when i first got this game, i thought this game wouldnt be enough to scare me. but it did! especieally when you play late in the night. the sound effects and the music makes the whole atmosphere of the game scary. the storyline is awesome and has some twists and turns. the gameplay is the best. it hooks you up straight away. i say this has the third best graphics after resident evil 4 and metroid prime. your gamecube is simply not complete without it. SERIOUS! BUY IT NOW!!!!!!!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2012
They don't make `em like this anymore, in fact, they only did this once. This unfolds like a book for an experience unlike any other game. The control system's a little ropy but that doesn't matter because it's all about the centuries-spanning story. The emphasis is less on physical fighting and more on the magic system which has an interesting mix-and-match mechanic. The visuals hold up pretty well for a decade-old game too. The sanity meter's a nice gimic while it lasts but you'll soon get the ability to keep yourself out of the Land of the Lunes. Having characters from different times and different places keeps things fresh with matching weapons to go with it. It's also good to return to some of these places centuries after, seeing the changes the evil has wrought. If you can find this, snap it up.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2007
One of the first handfuls of games to be released on the GameCube, Eternal Darkness (ED) promised an epic storyline and gory gameplay, and so kept many players eager to get their hands on this next-gen title. Its theme of horror and the supernatural made ED take a firmly mature stance as a game in contrast to "family-friendly" Nintendo titles. Originally conceived as an N64 title but cancelled, it was exclusively re-developed for the GameCube by Silicon Knights, the makers of the Playstation hit RPG Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Fortunately, ED lives up to many of its expectations; however, there are a few minor issues with the game. But these don't prevent it from being an outstanding GameCube title and an innovative horror classic.
The premise of ED is of an epic pschological-horror-adventure and one that is, for the most part, in the mould of survival horror titles such as Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark 4 (AITD). The principle character in the game is Alexandra Rovias, a student who becomes rapidly drawn into a supernatural mystery following the gruesome mutilated murder of her Grandfather, Edward Rovias. Without spoiling the plot too much, she delves into the chapters of a book called the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Upon reading the chapters, she learns of how other people throughout history have encountered the Tome and the ancients who persistently seek to destroy humankind. The great part of the game is that you get to play a diverse range of characters as you progress through the chapters. But I'll come to the gameplay later. The storyline, though, is one of the most successful aspects of ED. The plot is absorbing and its mature horror theme is very welcome considering the target audience of other GameCube games. The supernatural theme of the story is drawn from horror writers such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and there's plenty to show for it. With well thoughtout characters, detailed backgrounds and historically authentic scenarios, ED's concept triumphs as a hybrid in the survival/ horror/ adventure department.
The narrative is well executed through ED's visceral gameplay. Warning: this is not a game for the faint-hearted! You play in third-person perspective through many spine-chilling environments. You'll encounter a number of grizzly foes from the dead, mostly the ever-familiar zombies. The combat system in the game works great. Chopping up zombies' limbs has never been as fun whilst a quick shot to the head with a rifle will dispatch them easily. The adventure element is over-simplified, puzzle solving is simplistic but a more unique aspect of the game is the spell system. You can collect runes & codices to create and decipher spells that can be used for a myriad of vital functions. Some create a personal shield, others reveal hidden doors, some create magical attacks and others can even let you possess and control enemy creatures. Effective use of spells is the key to mastering this game. But many puzzles dissolve in actions no more complicated than pushing levers or placing objects in position to open secret doors. This I found to be a disappointing aspect of ED, more original puzzles would have set this game truly apart from other survival horror titles. Given the intellectual framework of the game, puzzle design should have lived up to it and also one that is enhanced with the RPG-esque spell casting elements. Also brilliant is the sanity meter. Keep you're sanity level high by quickly dispatching monsters. Otherwise you'll hallucinate and see yourself mutilated, shrunk, standing on the ceiling and even have your T.V switched off! Very original and tremendous fun!
The graphics of ED are perhaps its second strongest facet for its time, with meticulously detailed environments and lush texturing. The GameCube is pushed to the limit at many points with gorgeous lens flare and coloured lighting effects. But certain character textures are well done and others of lesser quality. The weapons and item details are good, so are the environmental details of the game's locations. These range from a grandiose and creepy Rovias mansion to underground tombs, cathedrals, also a jungle-infested temple complex in Cambodia. ED is a globetrotting adventure that subtly alters the games locations as they are revisited by characters from ancient times to the modern world. I do have one moderate gripe, though. The game could have had more varied locations rather than just levels that are a collection of tunnels, corridors and `box rooms'. Some outdoor locations would have added greatly to the expansive approach of ED. The main location is the Rovias mansion; packed to the brim with `haunted house' style secrets. Despite minor inconsistencies in the graphics and visual presentation, ED does a very good job in the `looks' department.
A key factor in survival-horror games is audio. Mess up on the sound and your horror game is nothing more than a tacky ghost ride. Thankfully, the aural experience of ED is punchy and stark, greatly reinforcing the gameplay. There is a rich variety of music, ranging from tracks that draw from chants of Franciscan Monks to a Middle-Eastern/ Arabian theme. Music is atmospheric and brooding but not highly original. It very much serves as `background' rather being used in a dynamic sense during gameplay. But some tunes are again, rushed through in creation. Sound effects are, for the most part, strong. Monster effects and weapons' sounds are audibly graphic and tangible. Little details of fire crackling and footsteps are very immersive. However, some effects have been blatantly attached from stock libraries, but this a minor criticism of an experienced gamer that has spent far too much time in game worlds! This only slightly diminishes the authenticity of the rest of the audio presentation in the game.
So far, ED has more or less delivered on areas of graphics, audio and gameplay to quite a high standard but there are other notable areas of the game that don't feel as well produced. Firstly, there is the clunky inventory. This is perhaps the most deplorable aspect of ED. It is reminiscent of Resident Evil and AITD and all those annoying `Mix' `Equip' and `Combine' options that you had to choose just to fire a gun! It has simply been tacked on with very little thought, straight from yesteryear Playstation games. It is outdated, outmoded and does the opposite of creating a smooth gaming experience. Nowhere is this felt more than in the cantankerous spell system! The inventory and menu system could have been refined a lot more and many screens could have been rid of altogether. Secondly, despite the evolutionary advance in console technology, games as a form of interactive art have not progressed beyond the `B'-movie scripting and voice acting. The dialogue is at some parts strong but in others mediocre. The voice acting varies in quality, and the dramatic tone is non-existent in the roughly edited cut scenes, occasionally reducing the game to a 2nd class horror experience.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem seems to be one of the most ambitious game projects ever. The scope and breadth at which it tells a supernatural tale is broader than many other games. But there are many inconsistencies throughout ED. Several areas of the game truly shine but others simply seem `hashed together', like the weak level design. Also, a few additions such as a first-person view and a moveable camera would have helped in giving more player control. The re-play value is supposed to be high. You need to play the game through three times in effect to destroy all three gods but I merely saw this as subjecting gamers to repeat déjà vu experiences. The difficulty is set on the easy/ intermediate side, and is not too draining on the reflexes or the cranium. ED is unique in many welcome ways but falls short due to graphical and audio cutbacks, a lamentable inventory system and mixed dialogue & voice acting. Overall, I enjoyed the game to a large extent and it is definitely a must try and a possible must own, for many open-minded GameCube gamers.