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Gabe / on Thu, Jun 20 2002 at 11:13 am

Eternal Darkness

I was able to get my hands on an early copy of Nintendo’s new horror game for the cube, Eternal Darkness yesterday. I am only about five hours into it but I wanted to give you all some quick impressions of the game so far since I know many of you have been waiting for this title for a while.

The game kicks off with the main character Alex finding out that her Grandfather is dead and the police don’t have a clue why. She decides it’s up to her to check out his spooky old mansion and see if she can’t find some clues to his death. After only a few minutes it becomes obvious that your dear old grandpa was into some seriously fucked up shit. A hidden study holds a giant book made out of human skin and bones and freaky artifacts and paintings litter the walls.

As Alex reads each new chapter in the big book of death you actually get to play that characters story. Starting in ancient Rome you take control of many of the various characters through time who have encountered this book. While playing these chapters you will learn various magic spells and attacks. As Alex finishes reading each chapter she now knows these same spells. Chapters to the book are hidden throughout the mansion and the tricks you learn while playing them will help Alex as she searches the house for more pages. The control is excellent and the combat system is very well done. By using the trigger button you can target specific parts of an enemy’s body. I personally enjoy chopping off a zombies head and then watching him feel around for it in confusion. Each character you play as, including Alex has what is called a Sanity meter. Each time you encounter some fucked up shit, like say a giant three headed bug monster you loose a little bit of sanity. To regain this lost sanity you must kill the creature by deliver a “finishing blow”. This is easily accomplished by knocking his ass down and hitting the B button while standing over him.  If you let your sanity get to low you will start to hallucinate. You might for instance walk through a door and find that you are twice your normal size. Unable to fit through doors you’ll wander around confused until the character shakes off the hallucination and snaps back to reality only to find that you never even went through that door in the first place. This is one of the more tame visions you can have. I don’t want to give away too much but you will see some pretty crazy stuff when your sanity bar is empty. I am telling you this game is Goddamned scary. I’m not talking about Zombie breaks through the window, jump out of your seat Resident Evil scary. I am talking about some serious mind fuck scary. I am talking about bleeding walls and whispering voices kind of scary. Again I hate to give away too much but I will say that if you can you should play this game in surround sound and turn off all the lights.

Visually the game is okay. The graphics in the game are all real-time unlike Resident Evil. So while it might not look as good as RE it also doesn’t take ten minutes to open a goddamned door. The camera is not movable and will most often be stuck right in front of your character. This ads to the suspense as you will never be sure what you’re walking into.  The story is pretty deep and I’ll be honest with you’ at this point in the game I don’t really understand it very well. I’m not sure I am supposed to though. From what I’ve heard things will start to fall into place as I get a bit further. It’s defiantly very deep and any fan of H.P. Lovecraft will feel right at home with the ancient gods and tentacle beasts.

So far it looks as though Eternal Darkness was worth the wait. I plan on putting some more time into it today and I’ll be sure and let you know if my opinion on it changes. As of right now, I’d say that if you’re a fan of the genre you should definitely pick this one up when it drops later this week.

-Gabe out

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