As some of you may know Immortal Alexander and I tend to play horror video games together, we’ve almost finished making our way through our “Watch Us Die” play-through of The Evil Within, but somewhere along the way we got totally distracted and started playing Eternal Darkness.
(fantastic distraction if you ask me)
I won’t get into it too much, as our guest post from Immortal Alexander will do a better job, but I will say, I’m enjoying the heck out of this game.
Anywhoo, on to today’s guest post by Immortal Alexander:
Why “Eternal Darkness” is the greatest horror video game of all time
In August of 2005 I was sifting through a bargin bin at my local electronics store looking for a deal on used Nintendo Gamecube games. A very lonely looking copy of Eternal Darkness was laying on the shelf next to a small handful of games.
It was only $8 so I thought why not? The Resident Evil remake for the Gamecube was awesome and this game had to be at least a decent carbon copy of that Capcom masterpiece.
I went home, poured myself some soda, filled a paper plate with some cool ranch potato chips, popped the game in a turned on my little purple lunchbox (gamecube).
After the playful gamecube boot up animation my senses were treated to a creepy opening cinematic that showed the aftermath of what looked like some kind of violent ritual, images of our solar system, and a bright blue glow emanating from the center of what appeared to be Stonehenge.
I immediately realized my most egregious error: I had underestimated what I assumed was just another video game. I slumped on my bed pulling the covers over my body to keep me safe from the horrors that lived within this gaming experience.
My mouth agape, controller in hand, I pressed start. This game drew me into a world I can only describe as timeless evil, the inner workings of the human mind, and the soul. Deeply inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft this game made me feel dread and desperation in a way that no other medium had done for me before.
Eternal Darkness is a third person adventure game with weapon based combat, magick, and some light puzzle solving as it’s core mechanics.
The real meat of the game however is its atmosphere.
Atmosphere and how it played with the sanity of the in-game character and on you, the player.
The events in this title start off as a rather strange murder mystery and slowly turns into a fight for all of mankind and your very soul.
The main character is Alexandra Roivas who’s uncle, Dr. Edward Roivas, has been murdered. This drives her to investigate the murder on her own after the local detectives fail to solve the case of her uncle’s death.
During her own investigations Alexandra discovers a book called “The Tome of Eternal Darkness” in a secret passageway within her uncle’s mansion. This is no mere book, but a gateway to the past that will not only unravel the mystery of her uncle’s death but also teach Alexandra how to defend herself against the darkness that is slowly creeping into her world.
As Alexandra discovers and reads new chapters in this book she relives the past experiences of all the other who have come across this tomb. You, the player, get to play in different time periods and learn about eternal gods who are plotting to enslave all of humanity.
One of the most unique features of this game are the “sanity effects.”
Your in-game character has a life meter, a magick meter, and a sanity meter. As you encounter supernatural creatures your sanity is slowly drained. If you do not execute these creatures your sanity will continue to deplete until you start to see and hear things that may not be there.
This can include phone calls in the present day from Alexandra’s now dead uncle, blood dripping down the walls, and statue busts following your every movement as you walk past.
If your sanity goes dangerously low the real fun begins. Your tv volume can lower unexpectedly, or your character’s head could even just fall right off its neck followed by desperate pleas from your character excaliming “This Can’t Be Happening.” That is only a small taste of what can happen as your sanity is ripped from your very essence! (I’ve added a video at the end of this post that shows all of the sanity effects in the game. But beware, it’s chalk full of spoilers.)
The atmosphere, the sound design, the lighting, the score, the writing, and the performances from the phenomenally talented voice actors all drew me in and never me let go.
To this very day I can still feel that world clawing its way through my cerebral cortex making me obsessed with this game all over again. Its mere mention sends feelings of dread and delight awash over my mind and soul. If you love the works of H.P. Lovecraft, atmospheric horror, or slow paced horror that creeps under your skin you owe it to yourself to hunt down a copy of this game.
Currently you would have to buy or own a 1st generation Wii with a disk drive or a Nintendo Gamecube in order to play this title. I recommend it very highly as there is really nothing else quite like it in the world.
For some more information on this title please check out this handy dandy link on your way to enjoying this masterpiece of the macabre!
As long as I can remember my thoughts have always been filled with images of other worlds and fantastic beasts. My imagination is informed by the media that I consume daily with ravenous glee. This is one piece of media that has always been gnawing its way into my cerebral cortex.
“Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.” was released and published by Nintendo on June 24, 2002 in North America and developed by Silicon Knights for the Nintendo Gamecube. When the Nintendo Gamecube launched in November of 2001 I had read about the original Resident Evil game being remade for my Nintendo home console. In the same magazine I and saw another article about “Eternal Darkness.” This was a game with magic, and monsters that looked kind of like zombies roaming strange looking historical locations. A lot of people were saying that it was just a cheap Resident Evil knockoff which influenced me to not pick this game up until much later. They could not have been more wrong.
Bonus (contains spoilers) all of the ways the game’s “Sanity Effects” messes with you as you play:
Thank you guys for visiting today and if you’d like to hear more about horror gaming, leave Immortal Alexander a comment below.
Have you ever played Eternal Darkness? Do you think he’s right? What do you think is the best horror game ever?