A game like Eternal Darkness would have slipped under many radars. When you think about horror games, chances are your mind doesn’t immediately jump to the Nintendo GameCube’s library. That’s perfectly understandable. After all, Nintendo has worked hard to establish their family-friendly persona. Sure, Nintendo has hosted Capcom’s Resident Evil Franchise since the N64, but their consoles still aren’t really known for horror games.
When I think of horror games, my mind tends to drift towards the PlayStation’s library. Franchises like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Project Zero (Fatal Frame) and Clock Tower will forever go down as classics. Every now and again though, a lone contender slithers out from the darkness and leaves an eternal impression on those who play it.
Meet Eternal Darkness
Eternal Darkness is a psychological horror action-adventure game and you’ll find out exactly why it’s that in due course. Developed by Silicon Knights. It was first released in North America on June 23, 2002. In October of the same year, it released in Japan and in November, Europe. The game was originally planned for release on the Nintendo 64 but eventually made its way to the GameCube instead.
Eternal Darkness has a non-linear timeline. It spans through multiple time-periods from 26 BC to 2000 AD. Throughout the game, you play as a multitude of unique characters within various environments.
The game starts you out playing as student Alexandra Roivas. Her only living relative has been found murdered and she must venture to her family estate to identify the body.
“I don’t understand. Why are you showing me this? Can’t you check dental records or something?” Alex asks the detective leading the case.
“No, we can’t check dental records… there’s no head”. He responds.
This abruptly sets the tone of the game. Dark, disturbing and shrouded in mystery. Alex takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery surrounding her grandfather’s murder. She soon uncovers The Tome of Eternal Darkness, a book bound in human skin which details past events in various people’s lives.
From here on out, you’ll play as various characters, learning their stories to understand what connects them.
Eternal Darkness – Tearing Down the Fourth Wall
Eternal Darkness takes a unique approach to the horror game genre. It’s unique in the sense that it breaks the fourth wall between you and the game. I don’t want to spoil too much but I will say this. Don’t ever trust this game.
Using “sanity effects” it tries to screw around with your head as much as it does the protagonists. There are times throughout where you’ll be genuinely questioning yourself.
The sanity effects are a brilliant feature in Eternal Darkness and are something which I believe many modern-day horror games could benefit from.
Fine! If you really, really, really want to know more about sanity effects in Eternal Darkness, I’ve included a video below which showcases them. BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
Eternal Darkness – The Verdict
If you love horror games and are looking for something new to try out, you need to play Eternal Darkness. With very few horror games present on the GameCube, Eternal Darkness takes a massive step away from Nintendo’s traditional family-friendly titles. A unique game, with plenty to offer. Go and grab yourself a copy.