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"Of course, one benefit of this is that the mandatory 'You're going to LOVE what happens next! For some reason I think I'm the only person to have ever played this game and now I'm going to tell you ALL about it!' posts from certain Forumites are actually going to serve a purpose this time."
     -Ben, Tales of Destiny Part 1

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Eternal Darkness : Part 1
By Jeanne
Posted 09.05.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Well, here we are again, my friends -- the first recap of another game. "But Jeanne, you already have a hundred billion games to recap!" you may say, possibly in a whiny fashion. First of all: shut up. Second, sometimes I get the urge to start recapping a particular game. Besides, how many of you are suicidal over waiting a bit longer for the next Chrono Cross recap? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Our newest addition to the site, as you may have already guessed for some reason, is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. A short, rather interesting horror-type game for the Gamecube that was released in 2002. You can practically hear Nintendo screaming "SEE?!?! WE'RE NOT JUST FOR THE KIDDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE'RE SEEEEEERIOUS!!!!!!!!" Or maybe that's just the voices in my head.

While I enjoy this game quite a bit, and yes, even beat the three different paths just to get the miniscule "epilogue" scene, I can't say I'm anywhere near as hardcore as any of the game's rabid fans. So to minimize the possibility of receiving any of those wonderful explanatory e-mails/posts that I love so very much, I actually went out and did extensive research on the game and its storyline. And by "extensive research" I mean that I looked it up on Wikipedia and GameFAQs. After wading through the obligatory fanwanky explanations for some of the game's bigger plotholes, I did find a few bits of info that might be useful.

Also, I learned that the storyline of this game is loosely based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Which I'm sure is really spiffy and shit, but I haven't read any of them. Hey, don't look at me like that -- any time I spend reading is time I can't whack off with my tiny wiener. And for a gay 12-year-old British boy who can't get any, that's just not an option. So you'll have to forgive me if I miss the chance to make an awesome and witty reference -- just think of this as another opportunity to feel totally superior to me.

Since you can't count on any decent plot explanations and H.P. Lovecraft references from me, you'll just have to be content with the usual penis and gay jokes. Well, why else would you be reading this? I mean, one of the reasons I ultimately decided to recap this was the cover art that features planets aligning over a series of phallic pillars. I'm not going to lie to you here.

I think that's enough disclaimers and explanations to save me from the brunt of obsessive gamer e-mails, so let's just jump right in.

A whole bunch of shit happens before the New Game screen even appears, and lucky for you, I'm recapping all of it. To set the mood, a jittery, glowy quote from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" appears over a black screen. Voice-acted, no less. "Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering... fearing... doubting..." Nameless Creepy Guy reverbs. This is our first magnum-sized clue that this game is supposed to be -- wait for it -- dark and creepy. Or maybe it's the second clue, since the title Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem doesn't exactly conjure up visions of brightly-colored platform jumping with frolicking forest creatures. For those who haven't suffered any severe brain damage, the title should also clue you in that the game designers will likely attempt to fuck with our sanity. Hey, at least they're honest about their intentions -- most other games on this site have the same effect, and they're supposedly epic and heroic adventures. Only time will tell if anything in Eternal Darkness measures up to the horror level of the neck-humping or pond scenes.

The next screen features a roaring, translucent zombie with green eyes that segues into the Nintendo logo. Nope, still not as disturbing as anything Tidus-related. "Nintendo," Nameless Creepy Guy #2 monotones, taking the fourth swipe at us with the Creepy Mallet. Then comes the game company, Silicon Knights', logo. "You too will come to understand fear as I have," Nameless Creepy Guy #3 informs us. Jesus, even the Dolby Surround Sound logo has an unsettling sound effect. Shit, guys, I think we kind of get it now. No, really.

Thankfully, that's all she wrote in the way of creepy introductions. Just kidding! Man, you guys will believe anything. Do you really think the game designers would leave out the obligatory Confusing Opening Montage? We see a series of what looks like planetary orbit drawings, some Latin text, and a guy with a fabulous headdress staring at the moon. Headdress Man is actually an animated, rotting skeleton. Which means there's probably a lot of erotic fanfiction about him. More planetary shots, a glowing red symbol, another roaring zombie, running blood, a glowing green symbol, more drawings, a fly's-eye-view of writhing maggots, bloody flesh, torture implements, some Latin chanting over more glowing text, more planets aligning, aaaaaaaand the penis pillars from the cover art. I'm just beginning to get a strange sense about the game -- it's quite subtle, but...yeah, I think they might be going for creepy here. Jesus.


Finally, the title. And the New Game screen. Or, as they call it here, Start Game. See how paranoid I am that someone's going to correct me on this? You people need help. After some wrangling with the memory card system (the outlines of the memory cards appear on either side of a CREEPY skull-in-ribcage), the official intro begins.

Cue Latin chanting. A male voiceovers against a close-up on what is presumably human skin. "Flesh. Bone. Bound together with the oddest magickal incantation. This wretched book is where it all began so long ago." The view changes to some vertebrae. "Before time, before humanity. I am Doctor Edward Roivas. I am a clinical psychologist. I am also dead. This is not my story, nor even the story of the Roivas family. It is the story of humanity." And how sad is it that my first thought is how much I wish that Tidus had started out FFX with "This is not my story"?

Heh, he said 'bone.'

More shots of bones. Not that kind of bone, either. God, you guys. "Like it or not, believe it or not as you will. Your perceptions will not change reality, but simply color it." Close-up on an etched symbol, surrounded by skulls. "Humanity has been on the edge of extinction for two millennia." I'm sure we're supposed to be all "OH NOES!!!" over this revelation but considering how much time I spend on the internet, I can't say that human extinction would be all that bad. Seriously, go check out the Something Awful Weekend Web sometime and you won't disagree. "Ignorant of so much, and dependent on so few. The Guardians grow restless. Their time once again near." The fanwanky part of my mind just imagined Yuna's non-Tidus guardians on the verge of committing wankercide.

"Whether by fate or misfortune, my family has crossed their path, and they didn't take kindly to it," Dead Ed says of these mysterious and undoubtedly eeeeeeeeevil guardians. The camera draws back so we can see that all the previous flesh and bone shots belong to a book. Hence the description of a book bound in flesh and bone. The twists are just coming fast and furious, here. But if it was, indeed, this book where "it all began," then how could it exist "before humanity" if it's formed from human skin and skeletons? Maybe a wizard made it.

"Their attention turns to my granddaughter, for she is the last of my line," Edward continues as the book's cover slides open to show a Photoshop-filtered image of a young woman along with a creepy handwritten scrawl reading " the family." Thank goodness the writer included those ellipses in there. "And the last hope for humanity," Ed finishes. Of course she is. The filtered image zooms toward the screen so that we can see said granddaughter's cleavage, then it fades into a darkened, sepia-toned scene where she's wielding a gun. And I have control of her, yay!

According to the instruction booklet, the young woman is Alexandra Roivas, a grad student in abstract mathematics and number theory. This latter piece of information will never come into play in the game, ever. I'm guessing that the game designers wanted to give her that UBERSMRT character detail so that they could put her in a skintight, lowcut black tank top and tight black jeans, not to mention the perky blonde ponytail and still try to insist that they aren't holding back women's lib. As a card-carrying member of the anti-women's-lib movement, I know all the sly tricks.

A number of staggering, beef-jerky-like zombie skeletons advance on Ms. Roivas, allowing me to blow their heads off. This part -- though undeniably nonsensical -- is rather therapeutic. Unfortunately, it's one of those situations where you automatically die, no matter how proficient you are at discharging phallic weapons.

Attacked by a horde of supermodels!

As soon as the gun runs out of ammo and the zombies start to swarm Alex, the screen goes black and a random guy screams, "May the rats eat your eyes!" I'll have to use that one the next time someone pisses me off on the forums. Look out, it might be you. Alex pounds frantically on a door with barred window and some kind of slot, panting. "The Darkness comes!" Random Dude freaks. Some pyreflies form into the shape of a glowing old man, accompanied by the sound of a ringing phone. Alex approaches Glowy!Geezer, who intones, "Remember me, Alex?" I'm guessing she does, since she reaches toward him and all. That's certainly not something I would do to a ghost of someone I didn't remember. Or even someone I did remember. But that's not the point. Suddenly...Alex wakes up! I might be irritated at the overused "It was all a dream!" cliché, but since I'd be more irritated if that was the actual start of the game's plot, I'll let it go. This time.

We get a jack-offable close-up of Alex for the fanboys, followed by a shot of her alarm clock which reads "3:33." I'm not just wasting your time by listing some of these tiny details, by the way. That's foreshadowing. Alex picks up the phone, pissy, as some ominous music starts playing in the background, suggesting that all might not be well. "This is Inspector Legrasse of the Rhode Island Police," the caller says. "I'm sorry to disturb you, but there's been an accident with your grandfather." The wording makes it sound like her granddad has fallen and he can't get up, but Alex listens to the soundtrack and realizes that the truth is much direr. She'll hop on the next flight from Washington. At least she'll probably get first class. Hey, I like to look on the bright side.

Unfortunately, the game designers don't show us the entire plane flight, with its complimentary cocktails and a blissful lack of screaming babies. Instead, we cut directly to the late Edward Roivas's mansion, complete with ambulance, cop car, and giant phallic obelisk out front. Alex enters the library, where she meets Inspector Legrasse, a pudgy man with child molester facial hair. "I trust you had a pleasant trip?" he foot-in-mouths. She's all, "Yeah, it was fucking awesome except for the part where my grandfather is dead." Interesting factoid: Alexandra Roivas is voiced by none other than Jennifer Hale, she who also voiced Elena from Grandia II. Though Alex thus far meets many of the qualifications of a Mary Sue, she doesn't sound anything like that whiny, self-righteous douchebag from that other game. So kudos to Ms. Hale for having some actual range and not making my eardrums bleed all the time.

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