With Capcom’s re-release of their classic horror game, “Resident Evil,” many felt that Nintendo finally could be justified as a system for mature gamers. But as most gamers found out early on, the ghoulishly enhanced “Resident Evil” was a stale, been there, done that gaming experience. Fear not GameCube owners (or for that matter, fear on), as Nintendo’s first attempt at survival-horror, “Eternal Darkness,” will drive you up the wall.

“Darkness” is a unique story that takes place over many centuries. The game begins with a college student named Alexandra learning that her grandfather in Rhode Island has been mysteriously killed. As the last heir of her family, Alexandra rushes to his estate to discover an empty mansion full of mystery. Fortunately, comparisons to “Resident Evil” come to a dead stop from here on. As Alexandra, gamers must uncover clues in the mansion to find chapter pages to a mysterious book called “The Tome of Eternal Darkness.” When one finds a chapter, narration introduces gamers to a new level, each set in a unique location such as Cambodia, Rome and um, Rhode Island.

In each chapter, gamers will take control of a unique character in the game. Each with their own link to “The Tome of Eternal Darkness,” every character has unique abilities and shortcomings. While each character has different attributes (fast or slow, fighter or magician), they are easy to use as a result of the brilliant gameplay. Unlike “Evil,” gamers will not have to make two taps forward to get two steps back. Instead, “Darkness” inherits control from Nintendo’s G-rated games, such as “Super Mario 64,” which means excellent free-roaming control.

“Darkness” also features a lock-on combat system that takes from the Nintendo 64 adaptations of “The Legend of Zelda.” Unique to “Eternal Darkness,” however, is that the targeting system allows gamers to hit different parts of their foes. Using a combination of the analog stick, A button and right trigger button, gamers can point and amputate the body part of their choice.

Finally, both the visual and sound effects of “Eternal Darkness” take the title from a good adventure game to a full-fledged Nintendo masterpiece. With near perfect graphics and Dolby Pro Logic II sound, gamers will be proud to show off their GameCube to Xbox and PS2 owners. While these effects look good at first, “Darkness” shines brightest when your character’s insanity meter increases. Walls bleed, screams come from nowhere and suddenly you might think your GameCube isn’t working. But actually, for the first time, your GameCube is working really good … so good it’s scary.

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