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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
- reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 26 October 2002
Review Score: 8.9/10
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Nintendo's first GameCube horror/survival title has finally arrived in the form of Eternal Darkness that covers millennia and an ancient mystery revolving around a murder. Your primary character's name is Alexandra Roivas who has been called to bear witness to the body of her grandfather who was torn apart limb from limb. After identifying the body and being frustrated by the ineptness of the local police department, Alexandra decides to explore her grandfather's mansion for herself and see what she can dig up.
Once in the mansion, it's purely a case of find, collect and use items. Alex finds an old book in a room within the mansion and within it lies 20 centuries of family history and infamy. It's extremely hard for me to give you more information on the book as it is a key point to the game and the way you find it is a slight puzzle as well.
There are many things to examine whilst in the mansion and clues to be remembered. For the most part, they were not too hard however if something really stands out as being weird, maybe it's worth jotting it down on a piece of paper for future reference. And that's the single best piece of advice you'll get for this title.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem Features
- Players 1
- Memory Card 15 Units
- Dolby Digital
- Classification: MA15+
- Game Type: Psychological Thriller
- Skill Level: Intermediate
The title was originally going to take place on the Nintendo 64 console, but once plans were announced for the GameCube, those plans were scrapped and the game was given the overhaul needed to sound and look the part for Nintendo's new console. And that extra time taken shows within the game with it's high level of attention to detail in all facets of gameplay.
The game looks stunning and it's obvious that a lot of homework was done in getting the look of the different time periods right. In part of the game at the beginning you play the part of a Roman Centurion named Pious Augustus and his armour and weaponry look spot on. Whilst I don't profess to be an expert in ancient Rome (I leave that to the experts at Gauis Antiquities who assisted me with this), I have it on good authority that the uniform designs do look very authentic for the dress worn by the army at that time.
Developer Silicon Knights have taken the task of creating this game as something epic, with the true feel that you are part of something bigger and the murder of the grandfather is not just some detached part of the game, it feels personal and for that reason you are driven to assist Alexandra.
The title is slow to get started and if you are wanting instant action then this is definately not the title for you. It certainly heats up once it gets going but the first half hour or so are going to be spent doing some quality searching around the mansion. Another tip: Search as much as you can around the mansion before reading the book. This won't affect gameplay much but I found it to be a tidier way of playing the game.
The storyline is intricate and there are 12 different playable characters so make sure that you are keeping track of the storyline the whole way through. Most of the stories are fairly independent however you will find yourself nodding your head at points when something from one levels clicks with another. Also there is a key point in the game where you are going to be faced with 3 choices that will determine the path that your game takes, thereby giving players the chance to play the title 3 times with slightly different results. I like this approach as it certainly gives more value to the dollar in as far as long term value goes.
As with most of these games, my main problem is getting used to having no control over the game's camera which I do realise is essential so the developers can put in their little surprises to scare the heck out of me, but sometimes it does get annoying when your character should clearly be able to see the danger confronting him square in the face and he cannot. They have tried to counter this somewhat though by making the characters look at items that need to checked out to balance gameplay a little.
The audio in the game is chilling and really brings home the feeling of being there. In the Pious storyline when he walks down a corridor and a flaming torch pops as it's burning, Pious gets startled by the sound, and I must confess that you will too. Music is suitable and fits the mood of each time period you are playing in. It's especially confusing and suits during the fight for one of the Roivas' family members' sanity.
Last but not least I was impressed at even when everything was happening with a lot of characters on the screen at once with atmospheric effects and the system drawing bump mapping and the like that the game never slowed or chugged the entire time maintaining a constant impressive frame rate. We need this from more games.
Whilst we have covered a fair amount of information in this review, there are still many many more wonderous bits of information available on the game, but by mentioning them, I will only wreck parts of the game for you. The title is very heavily story driven and to refer to parts that impressed me will only give away things to you. All I can say in summary is that I do recommend this game to all fans of survival horror. It is a delight to play and looks and sounds great. The storyline is compelling and will have you intrigued until the very bitter end.
- Tory Favro
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