Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Image from larry_z on Photobucket

What a name, right?  Eternal Darkness was the very first horror video game I beat all by myself.  Normally when it comes to gaming in this genre, I like to watch other people play.  (This is mainly because it scares the crap out of me.)  But, when I finally mustered up the courage to play this game – I fell in love with it.

What the Heck is Going On?

You are Alexandra Roivas, a strong-willed college student searching for answers over the mysterious death of your grandfather.  The game begins with you sneaking back into Grandpa Roivas’ mansion to find out what the heck happened to him.  The entire place is eerily quiet – no monsters jumping out…nothing.  This all changes when you find a secret room that holds The Tome of Eternal Darkness.  The Tome is a mysterious book that contains the history that forms the basis for the game.  Alex relives the experiences of eleven other people whose stories are listed in the Tome.  The answers that she finds are far more terrifying and complex than she ever expected.

Why Alexandra Roivas is awesome

  • Alex is a powerful woman.
  • She is attending school in Washington State.  (Represent.)
  • Her outfit is a simple pair of jeans and tank top.  No visible cleavage.  Very functional.
  • She’s feisty, brave, and not afraid to get messy.
  • Alex knows how to wield numerous weapons.  (Not just guns!)
  • She doesn’t have a love interest.  All she cares about is finding out the truth about her grandfather.  In other words, I like to pretend that Alex is gay.
  • Despite playing as multiple characters, Alex is the main protagonist who (ahem potentially) saves the day.

Gameplay and Features

Alignments: There are three alignments that you can choose in the beginning of the game – Ulyaoth, Chattur’gha, and Xel’lotath.  Each alignment determines which enemies will dominate, how your powers are affected (health, magic, sanity), and ultimately the outcome of the game.

Sanity: The sanity meter is probably the most terrifying thing about this game.  If your sanity gets too low your game starts to do really, really weird stuff.  Basic in game stuff can include scary/creepy noises, suddenly having your head chopped off, or walking on the ceiling (none of which are actually happening.)  I never got my sanity meter low enough to affect my GameCube because that just freaked me out.  When a game starts messing with your system because your in-game character is crazy, that’s some scary shit.

Magik: All of the characters you play can use magik to help them in their quest for answers.  Spells are useful in restoring health, sanity, solving puzzles, and just generally progressing through the game.  When you cast spells this creepy, whisper voice says all the runes you are using for each spell.  For some reason, this always made me feel cool.

How did I get through it?

Whitney Houston.  And Frank Sinatra.  This was my sophomore year of college and the game scared the crap out of me.  So every time I had to defeat an enormous boss, I would turn the sound off and play “I Want to Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston really loud.  This was particularly useful and hilarious (especially when defeating the Guardian.)  There’s something about that song that diffused every situation.

As for Frank Sinatra, that was just creepy awesome.  My roommate liked to listen to The Very Best of Frank Sinatra while I played this game and it was just…weird how it lined up exactly with the game.  You should try it.  That’s some Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz amazingness right there.  For example: The lyrics “I get a KICK out of you” were sung during a cut scene where some minion was digging a knife into a corpse perfectly in time with the words.  Besides, because of the ample amount of cut scenes, it was like a glorified Frank Sinatra music video.

Should you play it?

Yes.  You should definitely play this.   It’s a totally underrated game!  There was talk of a sequel awhile back and I’m really disappointed that was never followed through on.  It continues to be one of my all time favorite games.  The story is rich and you get to play a ton of different characters.  It’s challenging but beatable.

Plus, Alexandra Roivas is one of my favorite heroines in video games.  She’s got her priorities in order.  She’s fit, sexy and she cares about her family.  She doesn’t need anyone but herself.  Eat your heart out Lara Croft.

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