Difficulty: Average, Varies Slightly
This wonderful game for the Nintendo Gamecube is your basic survival horror game with a slight twist. The game begins with Alexandra Roivas (or Alex) receiving a call from the police about the death of her grandfather Edward Roivas. With no clues for the police to follow, Alex vows to discover what has happened to her grandfather. As the story progresses it focuses on Pious Augustus, a Roman centurion. His quest for a rare artifact eventually leads to his becoming possessed by The Eternal Darkness and ultimately the attempted summoning of an ancient to dominate and destroy the world. You play as nearly a dozen different characters spanning much of human history in distinct chapters as the story advances. Each character comes with their own set of weapons and items to reflect the current time period. The gameís story lacks depth and seems a little bit cheesy at times, but the story is not what this game is all about.
The unique thing about this game are the insanity effects. Itís kind of difficult to explain what they are like but I will do my best. In the game, as you see a monster you slowly lose sanity. Once the sanity bar is low enough, strange things may begin to happen. These could include, the volume appearing to change on itís own, bleeding walls, flying books, phantom phone calls, your character spontaneously dying only to be revived a second later, etc. The list goes on and on. The insanity effects make playing the game an interesting experience. You never quite know what is real and what is not, and what will happen next. The games controls are quite fluid and you wonít find yourself having trouble manoeuvring around the maps very often. The combat is quite simple and allows you to cut off arms and heads in order to dispatch your enemies. The game has a small set of monsters, including zombies, three-headed beasts, annoying monsters called trappers and vampires. A more diverse group of enemies would have made the game more interesting. The game has a few puzzles, most of which are not too challenging. The game doesnít take very long to complete, (only about 12 hours the first time through) but you can replay the game two additional times to collect the rest of the artifacts resulting in a special ending. One thing I will say about the game is it can feel a little repetitive towards the end because you end up visiting the same locations multiple times. This along with the small set of enemies can make the game seem repetitive. On the other hand, the occasional insanity effect can keep things interesting and make you want to keep playing.
The games graphics are well done, and the numerous cut scenes look great. The game environments are dark and spooky, and the occasional knocking at a door or telephone ring can startle you. This is a great game if you canít take the constant scares of a game like Resident Evil or Silent Hill. The background music and sound effects helps to generate the ambient spooky atmosphere present throughout the game. Although you can choose your difficulty level it is not obvious at the time how it is done. The artifact you choose at the beginning affects how much life, sanity or magic that you lose during the game but nowhere in the game is this apparent. My first play through was actually on the hardest difficulty where you lose more health than normal. Despite this shortcoming, the various difficulties are all pretty close together and does not affect the gameplay very much, (even on the hardest difficulty the game was not overly challenging).
Overall this is a great game and it can be purchased for about $25.00 CAN right now. Overall I would recommend that you buy this game if you like survival horror games because the insanity effects are great.
All images stolen from http://www.ign.com
Jamie-February 11 2005 21:42:17.