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Which holiday game will you play the most?

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Game Profile
Silicon Knights
GENRE: Horror
June 24, 2002
 Written by Jonathan Nicklas  on May 24, 2001

First Impressions: This game should for all intensive purposes be good and scary.

During E3 in 1999, Silicon Knights publicized their first 64-bit appearance in Eternal Darkness, an ambitious title categorized in the survival horror genre, exclusive to the platform. Courtesy of its potential and Nintendo's so called kiddy image, enthusiasts of the Nintendo 64 embraced the Canadian developer's offering. The resemblance to Capcom's Resident Evil franchise was apparent, and in addition to Resident Evil Zero, the Nintendo 64's lineup's outlook ascended into the midst of the plethora of pre-orders. Although cancellations of Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil Zero proceeded, devotees of Nintendo prevailed in the form of Nintendo GameCube ports.

On May 5, 2001, Nintendo signed a deal with Silicon Knights. Interestingly enough, the development studio's library and history with Nintendo was nonexistent. In the deal, Silicon Knight's status, in fact, climbed to second party, quite the honor indeed. "Silicon Knights creates and develops games by incorporating the best elements of art, character design, game play, and sound technology," says Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights' president. Indeed, Eternal Darkness corresponds to the Silicon Knights' philosophy.

The view of Eternal Darkness is third person. Interestingly enough, the game runs on a sub-engine of the Too Human engine. In the game, three meters are visible, the insanity meter, health meter, and the magick meter, yes, magick. The uses of the metres are evident. The insanity meter, specifically, is on-screen in addition to the others. As the individual's sanity descends to the pinnacle, hallucination transpires. Addressing the personnel of the title, you select one of 13 characters through a period of 2000 years. All characters' participation is crucial and significantly affects the outcome of the multiple endings. Individual characters each have various combos to utilize in combat scenarios. Typical attacks require you to lock on to your opponent and enable you to locate parts of the body including the head and arms.

To the controls, evidently, the A button is used to attack. Alternatively, the L analog trigger enables you to run while the R analog trigger locks on to your opponent. Courtesy of the pressure sensitivity of the triggers, precise and thorough gameplay is a priority. The control stick, obviously, maneuvers your character.

Attention to detail is meticulously presented. The Silicon Knights implemented facial expressions and realism in maneuvers. If a character is petrified, the character will walk cautiously. In addition, characters respond to the interactive environments. Attributes and stamina of characters is apparent as characters attain levels of exhaustion subsequent to excessive movement. An additional example of realism is limping because of injuries. If a character consecutively prevails in combat, conceitedness may inhabit your character. In all, Silicon Knights promise 40-60 hours of epic gameplay.

In terms of visuals, textures have been redone extensively. Characters include 4500-5500 polygons while the game sustains a frame-rate at 60 frames-per-second and maintains up to 20 characters simultaneously on-screen. Implemented visual effects include real-time lighting, all ray traced. Motions of movement are fluid and breathtaking additionally. Allegedly, texture layers in particular scenes go up to 16. Load times are additionally nonexistent courtesy of a technique enabling load times to come about at discrete moments and also due to the format of the optical disc.

Audio is a mixture of real-time and has a higher bitrate than a compact disc. Sound effects are all surround sound and realistic. ?We are going to fill that disc. Yeah, we are going to push that to the limits,? said Denis Dyack. Sound is sampled at 48 kHz, while dialog is fully voice acted. Latin voice acting is confirmed in addition to an individual from Terminator 2 who portrayed a psychiatrist as one of the voices. Perfect, isn't it?

Final Thoughts
Indeed, Eternal Darkness is scheduled to arrive at launch, and is a brilliant addition to the Nintendo GameCube's lineup. Undoubtedly, Eternal Darkness' potential is there, and Silicon Knights' debut on a Nintendo-manufactured platform is focused on trying to redefine the definition of the survival horror genre.

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