Sanity for no one!

May 21, 2004 by Tim

Where to begin…

Alright, I’m going to move discussion about the collection book to the end of the news post for a change. Let me talk about games for a moment.

I like old video games. My best friend went and suggested to me a GameCube title by the name of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requim. It was a game I had seen on store shelves, but had never shown any interest in it. I suspect that’s because it was released before I owned a GameCube. And by that time I was already trying to keep up with the new games, without worrying about the existing library beyond the handful of must-haves. So I missed out on Eternal Darkness for quite a while.

Anyway, I got a chance to pick it up used for like nine smackeroos. I’m a big advocate of used games. I think recycling games is a great idea, and barring a rare exception, I never buy a game new if I can get it used.

So I started playing it last night, and it is really nifty, if not alltogether confusing as hell at the moment. There are a lot of great features in the game, but the highlight of them, and the one that my friend told me about to intially interest me in the game, is your Sanity.

The game plays like a fairly standard survival-horror. Fixed camera angles, third-person view, creepy as hell. A major difference (and there are a few) is that you have a sanity meter. Whenever an enemy spots you (an undead, or other equally frightening being for instance) your sanity meter begins to drain. The equivalent of losing your nerve in the face of danger, I suppose.

The deal is this: As your sanity meter gets lower and lower you – you guessed it- become more and more insane. This perpetuates itself by strange occurances in the game world, that do in fact make you feel a little bit loopy in the brain-bits.

It starts off rather subtle, and gets increasingly hallucinogenic as you progress. For instance, lose a bit of sanity, and the entire world will start to tilt in one direction, ever so slightly. You’re not sure if it’s just your eyes, or if it’s really happening. This is followed by the occasional shake of the camera, just enough to make you blink a couple of times.

The more sanity you lose, the worse it gets. Soon you start hearing things that you have no business hearing. Voices and conversations. Animal sounds. Amplified ambient noises. Soon, your character begins talking to themself, with panicked assurances that everything is going to be alright.

It culminates with the spastic. You’ll be running down a hallway, then there is a flash, and you’re back at the beginning of the hallway again. You’ll start to see things that aren’t there. You hallucinate. You character’s head might, oh I don’t know, pop off, requiring you to pick it up and carry it with you. Eventually your lack of sanity starts to effect your health. All of this going on while you’re attempting to complete an already creepy, dark, survival-horror game.

You can regain sanity by performing finishing moves on fallen enemies. The equivelant of regaining your confidence, apparently.

All in all, it makes for a very fun game. The graphics aren’t terrible, but I’ve seen better. I mean, the game is a couple of years old. But if you haven’t played it, I do suggest giving it a whirl.

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