Eternal Darkness? You howl in your befuddlement and confusion, just what in the name of Satan’s sweaty scrotal region is that? Well, you demented individual, it actually goes by the rather grandiose title of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. This may sound like a dark, depressing Romanian soap opera, but it was an early Gamecube title, released in 2002. It is notable for being one of a scant few survival horror ventures on the system (alongside the Resident Evil series and… y’know, that other thing… remember the game in which Mario is stabbed by marauding koopa assassins in the shower, a la Psycho, while washing his Italian hairy bits? Me neither), one which never quite garnered the acclaim it deserved.
In summation, then, it dwells in the ghastly purgatory of ‘didn’t get the sales to warrant a sequel’ and ‘gathered just the right rabble of cult fanatics that would sell their own grandmothers to see another installment released.’ For the uninitiated, then, let’s take a look at just why Eternal Darkness needs to be coerced into today’s realm of HD wonderment.
First and foremost, the premise is probably the most compelling I’ve ever seen in the genre. The main player (well, technically, as we’ll see) is Alex Roivas, a young woman traumatised by the hideous murder of her grandfather. After speaking with the police in his mansion on Rhode Island, she happens upon a book of insidious evil, the Tome of Eternal Darkness. This charming volume is bound in human skin, and recounts the tale of humanity’s war against the ‘ancients.’ This conflict has taken place surreptitiously over millennia, fought by chosen men and women throughout the ages.
After some light puzzling shenanigans, you’ll acquire a chapter of the book, which you can ‘use’ in your inventory to play that person’s installment of the story. An action/adventure/puzzler ensues, with a rather heavy emphasis on combat. There aren’t any anachronistic elements to speak of, so you’ll fight off foes using broadswords in the middle ages, archaic pistols and rifles in the early 1900s and contemporary machine guns of mash shred-dy death on your protagonist-hopping journey.
While doing so, you’ll be hampered by the game’s wondrous ‘sanity system.’ A meter, alongside your HP and magic, will show this, and deplete a little each time you are attacked by an ungodly abomination from the depths of Lucifer’s left nut (which occurs with alarming frequency here). You’ll gain a little back by performing a finishing blow on a stricken opponent, which you’ll not want to miss an opportunity to do. Should your sanity fall too low, your character’s ‘hallucinations’ will have detrimental effects on gameplay. You’ll hear the cries of ghostly babies in the walls. Your head will spontaneously fall off upon entering a room, only for you to see that you were ‘dreaming’ and you haven’t passed through the doorway yet. The fake ‘your game save has been erased’ screen was the most alarming incident this mechanic caused, and was a dastardly stroke of brilliance from the developers.
Suffice it to say, then, that Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was a revelation. Quite apart from being truly innovative, the plot -while utterly unhinged- was riveting, and it provided literal psychological horror, of a sort that even movies have little success with. In the decade since its release, though, cancellations, Nintendo renewing the trademark on the property, studio disagreements and… cancellations again have conspired to deny us a sequel. Will one ever emerge? Who can say.
Source of images: nintendospin
Posted on April 13, 2013 by admin