With the release of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem there is only one thought in our mind: it's about time. It's been in production it seems forever since it was mentioned back in '99. With the move to the Gamecube from the N64, there was some major hype towards this game as the release date came upon us. Did it dissapoint, well let's shed some light on the darkness.
In Eternal Darkness there are elements form other genres with its own inovation that mixes and gels very well. Take the presentation and key&item search of Code: Veronica, with the adventure themed and magic elements of Soul Reaver, and add an inovation known as the sanity meter, stir it all up and it becomes a nice package.
Battle system: it is similar to Resident Evil in the fact that you hold down the Right shoulder button but that is as far as it goes. It adds whatever direction you are holding the analog stick, is what part of the body you are going to attack at. Hold up and attack the head, hold left or right and attack its respected appendage, hold down or not move it at all and you will attack the torso. Also with a slew of melee weapons and long range weapons this system is very effective. The only negative thing about this is when there are multiple enemies attacking at once is selecting a different enemy takes gettin used to. Releasing the right shoulder button fully and press it again could result targeting the same enemy, you have to slighty release the button but not all the way to slecet a new enemy. When more than two enemies are attacking this can be rather annoying.
Magick: The magick in this game can only be described as simplistic yet deep. The system can be broken down into three catagories: circles of power, power runes, and normal runes. The circles of power defines how powerful a spell will be. With a 3 pt. circle of power being the weakess, the 5 pt. circle of power is the medium range, and the 7 pt. circle of power is the srongest. Many spells that are created will be able to use all three to judge the power of the spell. The power runes defines the power behind the spell. All magick is powered by ancients in the game and the power runes are names after each ancient. The normal runes are the ingredients to finish a spell. In the end there might not be a large amount of spells but with the three circles of power and four power runes adds a lot of depth. Simple yet deep.
Sanity Meter: At first this might be a gimmick yet as you go along in the game it adds a lot to the gameplay. When a monster sets its sights on you your sanity meter will drain. The lower the meter becomes the more your character starts to hallucinate. The hallucinationis will go so far as to mess with the you, the player. I won't go into detail what they are but let us say you will find yourslef purposely draining your meter to see all the effects. There are ways to gain sanity however. Finishing an enemy off will gain sanity back, special items will, and spells will to.
The control in this game is rather smooth. The direction you turn the analog stick in is the direction your character will go. The left shoulder button is run while the right is used to aim while attacking. The start button is to open up the menus, the A button is to attack, and the B button is the action/examine botton. The Y and digital pad are used as quick keys for your magick. This is helpful when you are in a battle and need a spell quick. However the drawbacks are the digital pad is small sometimes you will use the wrong spell and you have to remember which spell you assigned to which button. The latter is more annoying but neither of them are fatal. In all the controls work well and are smooth as silk throughout.
Three words I have for this are: oh my god. The sounds in this game are phenomenal. The music fits every situation and time period perfectly. When your sanity meter is low you will hear things that will make your skin crawl since it sounds so awsome. And the realism to the other sounds are exceptional. When you fire an elephant gun it sounds like an elephant gun and when you hit your sword on any material it will sound like how it would in real life. With the sound you add some great voice acting that hasn't been in games since the Soul Reaver and Metal Gear Solid games it equals a treat to the ears. The voice acting is top notch with the voices that fit with every character in the game. This all wraps up nicely in Dolby Pro Logic II, simply amazing and has to be heard to feel the full impact.
The graphics in the game fit rather nicely what the game sets out to do. Each period of time looks as it would and looks wonderfully done. The lighting is beautiful with examples of how the sun beams through a window to the sparks of a magick spell. The framerate also runs extremly high and consistant. There are only two knocks agianst the graphics: the game is rather dark to see and some of the characters show their roots started on the N64. While Roberto and Paul look well done and their movements are rather smooth, some characters like Alex and Micheal Edwards look a little blocky. There is also some slight clipping with arms going through enemies and walls but not bad enough to damper the experience. Overall the graphics might not be on par with Resident Evil for the Gamecube but the graphics fit the game nicely.
The story, while not original, is still very intregeing. You are start as Alexandria Roivas( savior backwards) who is trying to solve her grandfathers mysterious death. While searching her grandfathers mansion for clues, she runs into a book known as the Tome of Eternal Darkness. After coming in contact with the book the story spands over two millineum that uncovers a plot that includes ancient evil. The story is very H.P. Lovecraftian in its roots based off of his Cthulhu mythos. The story is well implemented with its chapters and in game cut-scenes through out the game. It is fantastic.
Action/Adventure games majority of the time do not have much replay value. Well this game is different with its three paths and an ending that will tie up all the loose ends, it is a duty to go through again. There is a Eternal mode that lets you play with invinciblity, unlimited magick, etc. Not a lot to look forward to but with its story and sound another playthrough should be worth it.
Eventhough some aspects of this game are not perfect, the positve fairly outshine the negatives. With an engaging story, magnificent sound, superb voice acting, and professionalism that hasn't been put into a game in a long time, this game didn't dissapoint and lived up to its hype and much more. The darkness is here and it will consume us all.
Community review by raziel (July 05, 2002)
A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.
If you enjoyed this Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!