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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 92%
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
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For over two decades, few companies were more family friendly than Nintendo. It was under protest that the Super Nintendo started getting M-rated games from the third parties; getting kicked in the wallet by Sega over the original Mortal Kombat can change executive decisions really quick. While Nintendo allowed third parties to put mature content on their consoles, they avoided making adult games of their own until 2002 when they published Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Though that release seemed out of character for Nintendo, it showed that the Big N not only wanted to appeal to adults with their then-new GameCube but scare the living crap out of them, too.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem tells a tale that spans centuries. The connecting character is Alex, a young woman investigating her grandfather's murder. While searching his Rhode Island mansion, Alex finds a book bound in human flesh called The Tome of Eternal Darkness. As she finds the missing pages of the book, she follows various characters caught up in a battle between ancient god creatures. The plot goes everywhere from psychological horror to gothic and stays chilling throughout. The game can even be played through three times based on a decision made at the beginning with a hidden ending after all three playthroughs.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game doesn't stray far from Resident Evil or Silent Hill when it comes to its minute-to-minute gameplay. The characters have weapons and artifacts to find to fight off the Lovecraftian monsters and solve simple puzzles. However, there are two major additions that make all the difference. The first is that environmental hazards play a huge part in the game, not just to make the ruins explored more treacherous but also to add new ways to deal with enemies. Watching a lich get chopped up by a spinning sawblade I passed was very satisfying. The other is the Insanity Effects. Contact with the various horrors in the story will lower the green Sanity meter causing numerous effects that break the fourth wall. Some are as benign as shaking the camera and killing the sound, and some are as cruel as popping up a blue screen of death and telling the players their memory card was erased. This is one of the most creative ideas ever put into a horror game!

The game still looks and sounds excellent fifteen years later. The creature designs are disturbing particularly the Ancients, and the locations have a very haunting ambiance. The animations may look a little mechanical and the camera can sometimes fail to give the best views in the booby trapped corridors, but those things don't hurt the look that much. The ambient sounds and very subtle music gave me the creeps effectively, and the voice-acting was excellent all around.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem proved to the world that Nintendo could kick ass even in the adult market. This is one of the best first-party exclusives on the GameCube and one of the best horror games ever made. There is quite simply nothing like it, and it's worth checking out for anyone with the nerves for it. Open the tome this Halloween, and take a peek.
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