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7. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Silicon Knights | Nintendo | 2002
A deeply captivating horror adventure that finds clever ways to keep players off-balance while piling on the scares
What made it so great?
Cribbing heavily from the works of classic horror scribe H.P. Lovecraft, this terror epic spans thousands of years, putting players in control of a dozen people forced to battle unimaginable horrors from beyond the cosmos. Load this up, and you'll explore a haunted ruin as an escaped Cambodian slave; bash your way to the dark secret at the heart of an old cathedral as a Franciscan friar; and fight your way out of a horrific dungeon as a Canadian firefighter, among others. And the whole time, you'll be spooked out of your mind.
The beauty of Eternal Darkness is that it doesn't need to use sudden shocks to scare you shitless. Even the monsters and traps aren't that terrifying when compared to the delight the game takes in messing with your head. You might enter a room and suddenly be decapitated, only to reappear unharmed in the previous hallway a few seconds later. Your size changes. Rooms turn upside down. Disembodied voices howl madness into your ears. And it all gets worse as your character gets pushed further and further toward the brink of sanity. Are the demons attacking you real, or have you just gone crazy? Who says it can't be both?
Get ready to play
Gameplay-wise, Eternal Darkness is a steep cut above your garden-variety Resident Evils and Silent Hills. While the characters you'll control all vary in their abilities, a few are remarkably agile, and most can cast spells and hack through the game's monstrous corpse-creatures with ease. But be ready for weirdness - Eternal Darkness wants to make sure you never quite get used to its scares, so it rarely uses the same one twice.
Been there, done that?
If you want to skip the creepy tension and cut straight to the mind-raping insanity, Killer 7 is the way to go. It's hard not to be outraged by its on-rails, two-button exploration, but stick with it and you'll be sucked into a deeply involving, surreal adventure in which you'll play as seven facets of a mad assassin's shattered personality. Oh, and the shooting's pretty awesome, too.