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Author Topic: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem  (Read 1832 times)

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Hero of Fire
A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requie...
« on: August 29, 2007, 07:43:26 am »
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A Hoffy Review:
Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem

Developer: Silicon Knights
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: USA: June 24, 2002, AUST: November 7, 2002
Genre: Psychological Horror
Rating: M (ESRB), MA (OFLC)
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Players: 1

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was released in 2002 on the Nintendo GameCube, standing as the first and only game Nintendo has ever published to receive an M rating by the ESRB. The game takes on the style of the Resident Evil games, though rather than being a standard survival horror game, Eternal Darkness serves as a psychological horror, and probably one of the well-renowned ones in recent generations. The game offers about 10 hours of gameplay, but don't let that send you mad - the story spans over hundreds of centuries and locations - from a deep temple in Persia, to a sinister cathedral in France, and even an underground city of man-eating, so-called "Guardians" - as the players discover the history of the Roivas Family and the Ancients.

Gameplay & Controls: 6.5
As Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a five-year-old game, playing the game after playing a more revolutionary survival horror game, say, Resident Evil 4, you'd expect that the game would look pretty bad when it stands up against such recent releases. Well, in a way, it does. I understand Eternal Darkness' controls and gameplay mechanics are based on the mechanics of survival horror games at the time, but to be honest, it feels inconvenient - at first. The targeting system takes some getting used to and the fixed camera can be bothersome at times. But Eternal Darkness has got a lot to offer in terms of puzzles, exploration and - when you get used to it - battling. But when it comes to the insanity system, the game becomes a notable and worthwhile experience. Whenever you see a monster, your sanity meter will decrease, and the only way to return your sanity is to either kill the monster or cast a spell. Insanity causes bizarre effects like blue screens of death, odd background music, wall banging, camera rocking and even TV muting (I had a bizarre experience with that one). The spell-casting system is also incredibly unique and engaging. Though, one last gripe... boss battles. Just two? Hardly challenging? Not enjoyable.

The protagonist, Alexandra Roivas.

Visuals & Graphics: 9.5
Once again, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a five-year-old game, and there are going to be some issues. But actually, the graphics are superb for the GameCube. It's beyond me how good these graphics must have looked in 2002, they're terrific. Facial expressions are believable; all textures on paintings, walls and floors have immense detail. The game presents it's dark atmosphere well with reasonable lighting and excellent cinematics. The only issue I found was with the FMV sequences - the quality was horrid. Otherwise, the game looks and feels great.

Sounds & Music: 8.0
Okay, I understand it's a "psychological-horror" game and the background music isn't meant to have rhythm or beat. That said however, the background music played in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was a little bland, especially considering you heard the same sounds over and over. The background music consists of mild harmonics, soft whispers, and sometimes tribal voices. Although there wasn't a lot of variety, the background music and sounds served it's purpose, and contributed hugely to the insanity of this game. Hearing a woman screaming, a baby crying, footsteps in the distance, a zombie's head hitting the ground; it's all very immersing, because you just don't know if you're supposed to be hearing these sounds or not.

By the way, there are zombies.

Story & Presentation: 9.0
The story in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is not only one of the best I've witnessed, but one of the most outrageous. The story begins with Alexandra Roivas as she is informed of the mysterious and illogical death of her grandfather. Alexandra, eager to find answers, explores her grandfather's mansion and discovers a book known as the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Each chapter of this book details the experience of a person in history who was somehow meddled into the plans of the return of an ancient race, the Ancients. In my experience with the game, most characters either ended up going insane, turning into zombies and otherwise dieing. You get immersed in the storyline, because you don't completely understand what's going on until the last few moments of the game. It's downright strange, but it's great. I loved how the Tome of Eternal Darkness told a new chapter... with style, and with dialogue that really played with the mind. Eternal Darkness is a dark game and it's presented in a dark manner. And if that's not enough, you can also go back and watch all of the cut-scenes later, and even view a detailed "Autopsy" guide depicting each enemy and it's behaviour and weaknesses. What's that? Is it scary? Well, take a look in the bathtub and you might find out...

Overall: 8.2
I won't lie - Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem starts off on a pretty boring note. This is mainly due to the fact that you have not a clue what is going on, or where the story is going to wander. In that sense, all you have to live off is the puzzles and scenery, which is pretty bland until about the third chapter. I found myself exploring temples for over an hour before moving off into some better areas. The battle system kind of annoyed me at first, but it's not particularly complicated and thus isn't hard to get used to, even though it could be better. It's not particularly a long game either, you can finish it in a few days. But the only way to get the best ending is to finish it three times, so it's got plenty of lasting appeal. But when it comes down to it, Eternal Darkness isn't about beating zombies, reloading your guns or finding a save point. It's about going insane, discovering secrets and waiting for the inevitable moment when The Darkness comes.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 01:04:54 am by Hoffy »

Re: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Re...
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2007, 07:51:12 am »
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Nice formatting in the post. The review was weird, you gave high scores despite saying they were "bland"? Still, nice details.

I won't be picking this up, but thanks for the review. Now review something new =).
the a o d c


Super Fighting Robot
Re: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Re...
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2007, 11:28:49 am »
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This topic needs more bathtub and asylum scene.
Re: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Re...
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2007, 03:10:09 pm »
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See, I would have to disagree with a lot in the review... I think the gameplay controls horribly, especially combat.  That and I especially liked the sound, and hated the graphics :)
Re: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Re...
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 08:20:41 pm »
  • odens knop
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You barely said anything about Magick, and nothing about the alignments (Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath, Chattur'gha, and Mantorok).  Also I loved this game, the insanity things are just crazy! :D  Minimal spoilers below, nothing that has to do with the story and such.

    * Sounds, including women and children crying out of fear and pain, phantom footsteps, slamming doors, and the sound of a blade being sharpened, accompanied by the whimpering and screams of its victim.
    * Paintings turning to nightmarish depictions. For example, an idyllic mountain landscape turns to hell on Earth.
    * Walls and ceilings bleeding. Attacking them causes more effusion. Blood dripping from the ceiling can cause damage to the player.
    * When casting a spell, the player character's body above the waist violently explodes.
    * Appearance of large numbers of monsters that are not really there, and disappear when attacked.
    * The player character's head falling off. When picked up, the head begins to recite Shakespeare (specifically, Scene I, Act III of Hamlet).
    * Character or monsters shrinking or growing.
    * A version of the blue screen of death.
    * Statues and busts turning to look at the character. They turn back to original position when the character faces them.
    * Character whimpering and babbling to him or herself.
    * A "to-be-continued" message (leading the player to believe they have reached the end of the game) and promising continuation in a sequel game: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Redemption.
    * Body parts systematically falling off one by one.
    * Character walking into a room from a previous or future chapter that uses the same location.
    * Character accidentally shooting him or herself while reloading.
    * Character entering a room on the ceiling; after a while the player finds him- or herself back outside the door used to enter the room.
    * Character sinking into the floor.
    * Entering a room as a zombie, forced to wander the environment in this form until destroyed (and thereafter reappearing at the room's entrance as though nothing had happened).
    * When trying to save, instead of the usual "Do you wish to overwrite saved data" screen, there is a "Do you wish to delete all save files" with the options "Yes" and "Continue without saving." No matter what you do, all files appear to be deleted.
    * A volume bar appearing (much like that on some televisions) that shows the volume increasing, decreasing, or being muted.
    * The word "VIDEO" appearing in the top-right corner in green text on an otherwise black screen, mimicking the "video" channel setting on most televisions when the game system is turned off.
    * Insects superimposed over the screen, making it seem from the players perspective that they are swarming all over the television.
    * A character enters a room and finds it full of zombies. An error message is displayed, claiming that the controller has been disconnected. Meanwhile, the zombies attack and kill the helpless character.
Re: A Hoffy Review: Eternal Darkness Sanity's Re...
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 03:42:23 pm »
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A character enters a room and finds it full of zombies. An error message is displayed, claiming that the controller has been disconnected. Meanwhile, the zombies attack and kill the helpless character.

Haha, I loved that one. But the list is missing some of the best effects.
Such as:
 - When entering a room, you appear and walk around on the ceiling for a while before falling back down to the ground.
 - The gamecube appears to actually reset, and it shows the GCN logo and plays that intro tune.
 - A screen appears out of nowhere stating that you've completed the demo, and to please go out and buy the full version now.
 - The room will suddenly start to shrink, eventually violently crushing the player.

Man, I LOVED that game. Soooo unique, and soooo great for it's time.
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