Image the setting. You’re strolling round a grand mansion, testing out keys on locked doorways, investigating each nook and cranny, and easily attempting your finest to determine the place you should go and what you should do. The rooms are well-lit and the furnishings neatly positioned collectively. By all accounts, it’s a fairly nice-looking setting, and but one thing feels off. After all, it doesn’t assist that the ambient soundtrack throughout this part of the sport is somewhat grim, to say the least.
Positive sufficient, as you examine a seemingly unassuming bathtub, Everlasting Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem hits you with one in all gaming’s most terrifying, efficient leap scares of all time.
Is it a monster? A zombie, maybe? If franchises like Resident Evil and Alone within the Darkish have taught us something, it’s that we should always usually count on any scares to be the results of some dreadful creature stalking the hallways or lurching at us from darkish crevices. Not so, on this case. Right here, the digital camera rapidly pans right into a close-up of the tub, our protagonist Alexandra Roivas witnessing a imaginative and prescient of her personal lifeless physique partially submerged in a pool of blood, her head slumped again, eyes unseeing. The accompanying scream kicks in at full pelt, inflicting anybody witnessing the scene for the primary time to leap of their seat and fairly presumably hit pause whereas they dig out a clear set of underpants.
In case you’re not fairly sufficiently old to have been gaming throughout the GameCube period — or if blood, guts, and Lovecraftian horror weren’t age-appropriate on the time — then you definitely’ll have missed out on the magnificent one-two punch that was the discharge of Resident Evil (REmake) and Everlasting Darkness just some months aside. The pair are nonetheless thought of two of the best survival horror video games of all time and considerably altered public notion of Nintendo’s “kid-friendly” GameCube. Certainly, Everlasting Darkness stood as the primary M-rated revealed by Nintendo since, properly, ever.
Though each are held in comparable regard, the methods wherein Resident Evil and Everlasting Darkness approached horror have been considerably completely different. The previous caught very a lot to the system that made the sequence such a monumental success throughout the PS1 period (clearly, as a result of it’s a remake), whereas the latter gave us one thing fully completely different: an journey set throughout a number of time durations from 26 BC to 2000 AD boasting not solely a variety of weapons together with primitive swords and modern-day firearms, but additionally magic programs. Sorry, magick.
It’s not the psychological trauma of the tub leap scare that really units Everlasting Darkness aside from its friends, nevertheless. That accolade is reserved for the exceptional sanity results that the sport throws at you if you happen to’re not cautious. Indicated by a inexperienced gauge to the left of the display, this may slowly deplete as you encounter enemies and different nasty creatures; let it drop a certain quantity and also you’ll begin to discover unusual issues starting to happen round you.
I keep in mind seeing the ‘blue display of demise’… I blurted out a curse phrase and promptly hit the reset button on the GameCube earlier than the impact might conclude. I didn’t have an entire lot of persistence these days.
At first, it is perhaps one thing fairly delicate, just like the digital camera tilting only a tad an excessive amount of, faces from statues following you across the room, or maybe blood dripping from the ceiling or down a portray. Ultimately, nevertheless, the sport will begin to get fairly wild with its trickery. I keep in mind the primary time it threw up the ‘blue display of demise’ with an entire bunch of error messages. I didn’t even hesitate; I blurted out a curse phrase and promptly hit the reset button on the GameCube earlier than the impact might conclude. I didn’t have an entire lot of persistence these days.
It was solely after I rebooted the sport and the sanity impact popped up once more that I realised what was occurring. By glad coincidence (or maybe by design?), the very same factor occurred close to sufficient immediately, with the blue display filling my imaginative and prescient. Devastated, I believed one thing had gone significantly incorrect with the console, so I simply sat there for a number of moments, staring on the display with a clean expression. After a number of seconds, in fact, the sport pops again up accompanied by the anguished wailing of whichever character you occur to be taking part in as.
“OH,” I believed. This was a trick. After all it was. Not solely had I began noticing bizarre issues occurring for the character, however now the sport itself was truly attempting to trick me. I felt fairly foolish having hit the reset button so rapidly, however the feeling rapidly modified to reverence; I couldn’t imagine a recreation could be so daring as to make you suppose that it’s damaged, and I completely liked it. After that time, I purposefully stored my sanity meter as little as potential purely to see what other forms of results would possibly happen.
After all, it wasn’t the primary time a online game tried to interrupt the fourth wall; a number of years prior, Konami’s Steel Gear Strong featured maybe essentially the most well-known instance of all with the Psycho Mantis boss. Famously, it reads your save recordsdata from different PS1 video games earlier than supplying you with the choice to swap controller ports, thereby fooling Psycho Mantis and stopping him from “studying your ideas”. It was an extremely intelligent second in gaming, however the way in which that Everlasting Darkness takes this idea and runs with it’s arguably much more spectacular. Is it any marvel that developer Silicon Knights went on to create a GameCube remake of Steel Gear Strong?
Regardless of how efficient Everlasting Darkness’ system proved to be again in 2002, it stays ‘trapped’ on GameCube; Nintendo has accomplished nothing with the IP past a number of token trademark renewals. It’s a disgrace, significantly when you think about the truth that the corporate truly patented the sanity system idea (which has now expired), suggesting variations on the theme would possibly seem in otherNintendo video games. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. A religious successor to the sport often called Shadow of the Eternals was deliberate by ex-Silicon Knights devs and at one level had veteran Steel Gear voice actor David Hayter connected, however the venture turned mired within the controversy and authorized proceedings between Silicon Knights and Epic Video games and nothing ever got here of it.
So we arrive right here, precisely 20 years on, with no signal of Everlasting Darkness being given a brand new lease of life. The sport hasn’t been re-released in any style and, provided that GameCube has but to obtain any sort of Nintendo Swap On-line assist, it hasn’t even been ported wherever. That being mentioned, I’d urge everybody who has but to expertise the sport to hunt it out — purchase a GameCube, purchase a Wii, hit Ebay, do no matter you should do. Everlasting Darkness stands as probably the greatest survival horror video games ever created, and also you’d be completely insane to let it go you by.
Nonetheless not satisfied? It is Phil Spencer’s favorite GameCube recreation. That is proper, Uncle Phil!
For these of you already within the know, be happy to share your tales of quantity management points and management mishaps beneath. Additionally, be happy to comfort us with the data that every one the craziness of the previous few years has simply been one significantly elaborate madness impact.