I'm not usually a fan of horror games but...
WhenI first heard about this game I figured it was just a clone of the Resident Evil games, a franchise of which I was never a fan. As I researched it, however, I found a much more interesting game. Eternal Darkness starts out like your standard murder mystery. You play the role of Alexandra Roivas, a young woman who travels to her family's ancestral home in Rhode Island after learning of the grizzly death of her grandfather Edward. It quickly becomes apparent that this was no ordinary crime. Disgusted by the seeming incompetance of the Rhode Island police, Alex vows not to leave the Roivas Manor until she discovers the truth. While exploring the family house she discovers a hidden library wherein she discovers an ancient book, the Tome of Eternal Darkness. As she reads it she discovers the true implications of her grandfather's death and a threat to humanity far greater than she could ever have imagined.
Gameplay wise Eternal Darkness has it all. The game is divided into a series of chapters, each centered around one of twelve characters, from a Roman Centurian to a Cambodian slave girl, to a monk during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, to several members of the Roivas family. There are four or five major locations throughout the game, which you'll revisit several times with several different characters. There's also a unique magic system, spelled Magick in the game. Spells are created by combining runes and power circles. Depending on how you align your spells they can have a variety of effects. There are four alignments, each one associated with one of the four godlike beings around whom the game centers. Three of these alignments are necessary to complete the game.The fourth is optional but well worth finding. The three main alignments also have a bearing on other aspects of the game. Each one of them can conquer one of the others but will be particularly vulnerable to the third. Remembering which alignment will conquer which will help you survive. The fourth, optional alignment can counter all three of the main ones.
Perhaps the game's biggest selling point was its highly innovative sanity system. In addition to the red Life and blue Magick meters, each character also has a green Sanity meter. Each time a character sees or is seen by a monster, he or she will lose a certain amount of sanity. Various types of monsters will sap various amounts of sanity. As your sanity depletes you will begin to experience visual and auditory hallucinations, some of which can be quite scary. You might enter a room and hear sounds of someone being tortured in another room, or you might walk into a room and have your head suddenly fall off, followed quickly by the rest of your body.Some of these effects can be quite fiendish and won't just scare the character.
The audio in Eternal Darkness is amazing.Apart from the aforementioned auditory hallucinations, the game has an excellent, if admittedly not very varied, musical score. The voice acting is also excellent, being provided by such notables as Neil Dickson, Richard Doyal, Kim Mai Guest and the incredibly hot-sounding Jennifer Hale. The sound effects are also excellent, though the Zombie footsteps sound to me more like they're eating rather than walking.
Overall this is an excellent title for the Game Cube. If you like a good, suspenseful game with a gripping story then this might just be for you. You just may want to think long and hard before you play it at home alone at night with the lights off.
Reviewed by: Bryan Peterson from Twin Falls, Idaho on 2/4/2014