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Survival Horror






Silicon Knights



M (Mature)



June 2002



- Engrossing story

- Pick-up and play control

- Extreme lack of bad camera angles

- Wicked sound design

- Good voice acting

- Great graphics

- Messes with your head



- If you use a pacemaker, steer clear



Review: Resident Evil (Gamecube)

Review: Resident Evil Zero (Gamecube)



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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

Score: 9.7 / 10


After my first play session with Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (ED), my shirt was damp with sweat and my heart was beating a whole lot faster than it should have been.  I felt like I’d been mowing the lawn in the noonday sun.  However, I knew it was the adrenaline.  Something about survival horror games gets my blood pumping – maybe it’s the zombies, the creatures from the netherworld, or the dark shadowy corners.  Whatever the reason, ED sets me on edge so much that I can’t play for more than two hours in one sitting – it’s about as much as my nerves can take.


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Other survival horror games have done this to me but to a lesser extent.  This is because ED messes with my head.  But more on that in a minute.


ED begins with a gruesome murder and everything slip-slides downhill from there.  ED’s strongest feature is the fact you never know what’s coming – what’s at the bottom of the hill.  Starting the investigation into the murder, the player assumes the role of Alexandra Roivas, the corpse’s granddaughter.  It’s not long before she comes across a book titled “The Tome of Eternal Darkness” in her grandfather’s secret study and players are shifted to the role of a Roman Centurion.  There a dozen characters to use as the game progresses.  As Alexandra, every time she finds and reads a new page from the Tome of Eternal Darkness the perspective shifts to another time and place.  But the discoveries made by the characters in those different periods have an affect on Alexandra and each character reveals bits and pieces of the over-arching story, which is full of twists but progresses “logically.”  The execution is flawless – and that’s all I’m going to say about the story because if I continued I’d be set to spill the beans.




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There’s quite a bit of ED that could be termed “flawless” but highest on that list is the audio.  If I’ve ever come close to wetting my pants while playing a game it’s with ED.  Most effective is the thudding of someone pounding on a door, even though you’re by yourself. (This made me look over my shoulder.  HINT: Play during daylight hours.)  Or the burbling whisper that continually crops up saying something indecipherable.  These sounds effects are put to full use when your Sanity Meter is drained.



In the course of the game, characters come across various creatures that drain your character’s sanity.  As the Sanity Meter is drained the game akes on a life of its own.  Your on-screen character can fall to pieces – literally – or your TV starts to display some odd behavior (this really tripped me up) or the entire screen tilts off-kilter.  Couple this with the sound effects and you have to really concentrate on what may (or may not) be happening. When the meter drops low enough health begins to be affected.  To replenish Sanity you must perform “finishing” moves on the various undead creatures and fortunately these moves are only a matter of a button press (just in case you’re thinking Mortal Kombat finishing moves).


ED is extremely user friendly in the control department.  Locking onto enemy body parts and cleaving heads has never been easier.  Interacting with objects and environments is also easy.  The character’s head turns to point out areas of interest and to get a more detailed look (when the A button shows up in the top right corner of the screen) only a button press is required.  Managing inventories is similar to Resident Evil and creating a roster of useful spells is also easy.  Let’s just slap the “flawless” label on this portion and move on.


In aide of the control is the sterling camera.  This thing is rock solid.  Say good-bye to awkward camera angles – kick ‘em in the ass too.  Every camera choice has been deliberately and carefully chosen and never once did I take damage or get killed due to a poor camera angle.  (Although using a long sword in a confined space did – ineffectively wailing against a wall instead of a zombie is not the best plan of attack.)  And, of course, the camera highlights the fantastic graphics.


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ED sports some really spiffy graphics and animation – amazing when you consider it began life as an N64 game.  Sometimes jumps to another platform mid-development don’t always work out, but ED makes full use of the Cube’s hardware.  All the small touches bring ED a level of detail that is approaching on Hollywood film standards.  I’m told that the office space of Silicon Knights is littered with various swords – new and old – and highlighted by various other pointy objects.  This love of bladed weapons is obvious, as they all look perfect.  Also deserving of attention are the spell effects.  At a few points I cast an incantation just for the sake of watching the light show.  The levels, spread throughout time, are equally detailed and really capture a sense of place and any puzzles that present themselves are dealt with in a logical manner.


Puzzles aren’t overly taxing.  Paying attention to your surroundings will solve most problems but then there are instances where you really have to work at it.  Either way, the puzzles are integrated into the story – and the story is powerful enough to keep you playing right to the end, and possibly three times through to explore the three different paths available.


I’ll stick my neck out here and say, that Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a must have for GameCube owners.  Everything about it is done right.  Control is easy to grasp, the audio, graphic, and level designs are top shelf, the storytelling is head and shoulders above most other games, and the Insanity Meter ads a sick twist – it gets the adrenaline pumping.  Definitely worthy of your attention!


- Omni

(August 21, 2002)

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