With the leviathan Xenosaga behind me, it was time to press on. I needed something engaging but not too long (after a 60 hour game, it takes me a while to recharge my batteries enough to take on another monster). Eternal Darkness (Gamecube) called to me from the shelf. I’d played it about half-way through some time back and got distracted.
Eternal Darkness is one heck of a creepy game. You need to play this one in the dark. It’s a bit like Resident Evil with better controls, more magic (I think…I’ve never played very far into a RE) and really varied environments. It is not for the kids. We’re talking human skin lampshade stuff.
The idea behind the game is that you’re a girl investigating her familiy’s history, and in doing so, you keep ‘flashing back’ to different places and periods of time. So far I’ve been back to Persia, circa sometime BC and as far forward as 1952. You tend to visit locations several times, hundreds of years apart, which brings a neat “been here, but wasn’t able to do that” feel to the game.
Of course, the big hook was the whole way the game tries to scare you by breaking out of the box, so to speak. Sadly, this has been so publicized that it probably won’t scare anyone now. If you’ve heard about it, you know what I mean (most of the things that happen rely on you being taken unawares). If you haven’t heard about it, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Suffice to say the game plays with your head pretty effectively in the early stages. Once you get deeper into the game, you have ways of controlling your sanity, plus most of the games ‘tricks’ really only work once.
Anyway, so far, this is a really good ride. Sound and graphics are great, level design is really neat. A real sense of claustrophobia in some dank dungeons. Lots of “Indiana Jones” style trap avoidance, and most of the puzzles are easy enough that they’ll make you think for a few moments, but won’t stop you in your tracks. This allows the engrossing story to keep its talons in you. Oh! And you can save almost anywhere so it’s a good game for short sessions. While it might fall all apart in the endgame, I rather doubt it. But I’ll be sure to let you know.