Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a masterfully crafted horror adventure game, one of the first of its kind. There is no shortage of game time here, more than thirty hours and it has the definite chance of replay value. This game was originally intended for the Nintendo 64 before that console took a headline, then it was decided that the game should wait and come out on the Game Cube. This game was many years in the making, but it was definitely time well spent. This game didn’t fall short of anything; the graphics are outstanding, the gameplay has a lot of variety, and even the sound is amazing. It just shows what people can do when they really put their heart into it and have the money to back it up.
The graphics in this game are so detailed that they have been meticulously thought out and perfectly implemented. The only part of the graphics that is anything less than perfect is the character models which can be a bit blurry, but only at certain points during the game. All the different time periods have an authentic feel thanks to lots of textures done on the walls and floors. The characters’ clothing also has textures that allow the clothing to look more realistic during movement. Eternal Darkness has really set the bar very high for all games to follow.
The sound of this game creates a mood that allows the player to feel as if he has truly traveled back in time. You feel as if time were eternal. The voice acting was spectacular; one of the best I’ve heard for a video game and I hope to hear it again. This game is really wonderful.
The gameplay is far from repetitive. You play as twelve different characters and each one of them comes from a different time period. Each character has their own special abilities and weaknesses that you must adapt to. Older characters can’t run as fast or as fast as younger ones, but younger characters can’t take stress either. Each character carries a different weapon than the previous one and their performance with magic varies according to their knowledge. You start the game as Alexandra Roivas, who arrives at her grandfather’s mansion when she finds out that she has died. Alexandra searches the mansion for clues about her grandfather’s murder when she comes across these stories of her ancestors. As she reads each story, you act it out using the characters she is reading about. Some of the characters to look forward to are Pious Augustus from 26 BS in Persia, Ellia from 1150 AD in Cambodia, Karim from 565 AD in Persia, Dr. Maximillian Roivas from 1760 AD in Rhode Island, USA, and Dr. Edward Roivas from 1952 AD also in Rhode Island, United States. Alexandra uses these stories as clues to her grandfather’s death.
Alexandra begins to learn that there is an ancient evil that has been around for eons. The ancients once ruled this planet long ago before they were banished and imprisoned. There are secret organizations run by power-hungry people trying to free the ancients from their imprisonment; they use blood rituals, worship and sacrifice. However, there are some people who are chosen to save humanity, they don’t know why or how they are supposed to do this, but it is their burden nonetheless. Alexandra is one of these chosen few.
Alexandra must access and explore every part of the mansion to find out what is going on. The things that may seem insignificant may contain the most important information. Along the way, she must keep her sanity about her because when her sanity fades, things aren’t always what they seem to be.
Each new character has one or two puzzles to solve to progress through the level. Most of these riddles are not too difficult, but some of them can cause a bit of a headache. Just remember, sometimes it’s better to take a break and come back with a clearer head; usually you will find that he was looking you in the face the whole time.
Melee fighting has a remarkable lock-on system that allows you to target different parts of your enemy’s body. You can cut off an arm, a leg, or even a head. The head is usually the best place to start because they can’t find you once you’ve got it out. Take off the head and then work to subdue the rest of the body.
The magical part of the game starts after finding The Tome of Eternal Darkness; however, then you must find spell scrolls, codexes, and runes. You use different combinations of these three things to create spells to cast that will make you stronger in some way or your enemy weaker. When you cast a spell, make sure you don’t move until the spell is over or your magic will be wasted. Find a spot far enough away from your enemies to do this.
Your character comes with a sanity meter that will let you know how he is handling the stress of the environment. When they see something that scares them, the sanity meter will start to drop and you don’t want that. When the sanity meter goes down, all sorts of weird things start to happen and you can’t tell if it’s real or just the characters’ imaginations. Once the meter is very low when you see a monster, you will lose life. To regain sanity kill enemies or use the spell for your sanity.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is best played with the lights off and the volume up. If you’re over 21, grab a beer and some snacks, snuggle up with just a blanket, and prepare to be totally freaked out. This game is a step in the evolution of video games; there is no turning back.