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YMMV / Eternal Darkness

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Mantorok. The Chessmaster who created a millennia-spanning Gambit Roulette and exploited an Enemy Mine situation with humanity in order to eliminate the only possible checks on his power? Ultimately benign entity who is willing to coexist peacefully with humanity? Some combination of the two? A third option is he's merely taking Revenge against those who have effectively given him a painful death lasting thousands of years.
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  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: Given all the numerous times a visual depiction of each Ancient's dominance over each other is shown, you will never find yourself forgetting how the Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors works. You also need to sit through all the tutorials regardless of whether or not you've finished the game.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • The Black Guardian has shades of this, with it being pretty easy despite easily killing Paul Luther, with attacks that don't do that much damage and are easy to avoid. The problem though is that damaging in its second phase borders on Guide Dang It!.
    • Pious, especially if you have the Enchanted Gladius. It's fairly easy to stay out of his melee reach and his only other attack being the Magickal Attack, which you can avoid by moving.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The soundtrack is notable for being very ambient and yet very memorable - especially when your character begins to lose sanity. The two bosses of the game also have awesome themes.
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    • "Black Rose" plays once throughout the entire game without a loop, and is an absolutely beautiful and breathtaking piece.
  • Breather Level: Michael Edwards's chapter, gameplay-wise. You're given a bloody assault rifle to kill guardians with. Fitting, as it is the last chapter before the end. Even when you run out of ammo, Michael has a huge health bar and a massive amount of stamina.
  • Complete Monster: The Roman Centurion Pious Augustus serves one of three evil Ancients in exchange for power and immortality. Over the course of two millennia, Pious causes numerous tragedies for humanity: destabilizing the Holy Roman Empire by killing its emperor; building a monument to his Ancient out of the bodies of countless slaves he has captured; and engineering a conflict in World War I within a hospital to feed many injured soldiers to his bloodthirsty demon servant. Using a time of planetary alignment, Pious tries to bring his Ancient master into reality, putting the whole world at risk of destruction to maintain his power.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • Early in the game, Edward Roivas refers to himself as a clinical psychologist. However, later, he mentions his training in psychiatry. Clinical psychology and psychiatry are two different fields that require entirely different training and degrees (a Ph.D for psychology, an MD for psychiatry).
    • "Augustus" was an honorific used by emperors; a mere soldier like Pious would not have it as part of his name.
    • Alright, maybe it's not strictly "critical" as much as it's a case of language evolving, but Pious describes the annihilation of every Guardian in Ehn'Gha as their being "decimated". He was a Roman centurion - he should know that that only means killing one out of every ten!
  • Cult Classic: Garnered critical acclaim upon its release, but merely good sales. It's often considered one of the best games on the GameCube and the best game Silicon Knights ever made.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Alex's chapter is largely a repeat of Edward's chapter, but with the gauntlet of guardian monsters replaced with a series of obnoxious electrified floors, making you stop every thirty seconds to replenish your shield, and the only enemies encountered there aside from one group of Horrors are Trappers.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Foe Yay: Pious gets quite creepy with Alex at one point, calling her "my sweet", declaring that she's his and he's waited centuries for her, and that she will "succumb to his desires". That he's in the guise of her grandfather's ghost for most of this makes it even creepier.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The sanity effect that jokingly promises a "sequel" to the game becomes less funny now that there never will be a true sequel to this game.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Mantorok rune. Even beyond the fact that Mantorok's Enchant Item spell is not only strong against all other ancients, it also poisons enemies you hit with it, doing additional damage. Its Recovery spell, likewise, recovers both health and sanity. A Mantorok shield will protect from all damage types and poison. A Mantorok Magick Pool spell will regenerate your health, magick and sanity all at the same time, making you nearly invincible. The most powerful spell in the entire game, in fact, is that the Reveal Invisible spell, normally cast only when the plot demands, will, if cast with a Mantorok rune, actually invert, making you invisible. This means that only boss monsters and Trappers will detect you. You can run around cutting their heads off and most monsters won't even fight back. Zombies will stand in one place swinging wildly and Gatekeepers will slowly rotate to face you, but will not attack.
    • It is possible to discover Magick Pool as early as Lindsey's chapter, although you don't get the scroll until Edward's. A Ulyaoth pool will render most Squishy Wizard characters nigh-invincible; a Mantorok one will render anyone invincible if they can afford the high magick cost.
    • If you so choose, you can walk around in circles to build up your magick, which you can use to heal and restore sanity.
    • Melee weapons are stupidly overpowered compared to the crossbow and various handguns; it's not until you find shotguns or rifles that distance attacking is superior to getting up close and personal.
  • Goddamned Bats: Trappers, which can only be hit with projectile weapons, usually come in groups, are small and tend to blend in with the scenery, make annoying chirping sounds when alerted, have deceptively long reach with their attack, and their attack teleports you to a small room with some enemies and health/magic/sanity refuelers and forces you to waste several seconds getting out of it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hype Backlash: With how much of a list-topping Cult Classic the game became in the early 2010s, this was inevitable. The much-touted sanity effects have been criticized by newer players who see them as a novelty that's not only easy to avoid, but also do little to actually hinder the player. The game's status as a psychological horror title has also been questioned by a small few who view it as a horror-themed Action-Adventure game rather than an actual horror game.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Between your infinite magick reserves and the ability to target enemy heads and arms when fighting them, this is a common criticism of the game, especially with its tendency to be lumped into the Survival Horror genre, which it is decidedly not.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "CHARLEMAAAGNE!"Explanation 
    • "This... can't be happening!"Explanation 
    • "Pargon!" Explanation 
    • "MAY THE RATS EAT YOUR EYES!!"Explanation 
    • Nintendo constantly renewing the game's trademark and then just sitting on it has become the go-to example for tempering expectations regarding game developers hinting at reviving cult IPs.
  • Narm: Alex is menaced by Pious posing as Edward's ghost at one point, and she sends him away with an angry "Get away from me!" and what amounts to a gesture that looks like she was going to grab his crotch, given that she was sitting and he was standing over her.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Michael Edwards' chapter is considerably less scary than any other part of the game. The unfathomable creatures of the beyond aren't quite as nightmarish when you're a heavy set firefighter with an assault rifle/grenade launcher.
    • During Edward's chapter he gets a vision of a horrendous worm. His solution: take a swig of booze. Jump scare instantly turns hilarious.
    • The bleeding walls sanity effect becomes this on replays, since it takes 3 minutes to play out and you won't get other sanity effects as it happens. If you're going for the Golden Ending or just speedrunning, it's actually nice to see, instead of the other ones that could waste time.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Anything related to Max's chapter, but special note to the scene with him locked up in the asylum. Also, Pious' transformation into a lich.
    • As far as sanity effects go, the Bath Suicide Jump Scare is a big one, since it's the only jump scare in the entire game and one that you have to see.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • The sanity effects are ultimately this unfortunately. Besides giving the player a potentially paranoia-inducing scare, the effects actually don't hinder the player at all in a gameplay sense. Unless the player is skittish, there really isn't that much of an incentive to conserve or restore sanity.
    • Despite six characters being able to equip torches, only Anthony's chapter ever involves burning part of the scenery to progress.
  • The Woobie: Several candidates:
    • Ellia just wanted an adventure. She got it, probably saving Mantorok in the process. Pity it involved her imprisoned within her own dead body for centuries before the end.
    • Anthony, who fought against all odds, was cursed, knew he was likely a dead man, and ultimately failed. The fact he spent 600 years suffering before Paul released him from his torment doesn't make it better for him.
    • Paul Luther, who spends the duration of his story completely out of his depth and terrified out of his wits. Ultimately, his fate at the hands of the Guardian and the look on his face can't help but make you feel for the man.
      • Likewise, the custodian in Paul's chapter, his only ally who also ends up getting killed, possibly by Paul's own hand (ambiguous on purpose), and ends up having his soul bound to an altar until the defeat of Pious.
    • Karim ends up falling for a woman who sends him on an impossible quest to gain her affection. When he actually manages to reach his goal he discovers she's slept with the first rich charmer who came along, and is now dead because of it. Despite this, he still loves her and agrees to stay and guard the artifact sacrificing his own life. When Robert finally releases Karim from his duty it's clear the only thing he believes was gained from his sacrifice was aiding humanity.
    • Really, most of the characters, due to the fact that most of them are thrown into an age-old power struggle, with no preparation and an incredibly high chance of death or worse.


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