Well, I was not entirely ready for this. The Cat Lady, released last year by Screen 7 and created almost entirely by Remigiusz Michalski, was absolutely no where on my radar until I recently saw a preview of it in action. I suppose this isn't overly surprising. Michalski's and his studio, Harvester Games, have only developed two titles. The first, released in 2009, is called Downfall and is apparently both highly acclaimed and fairly successful. The second is this game, The Cat Lady. Both are created in Adventure Game Studio and are horror adventures, further limiting the client base (unless you have the media strength of The Walking Dead).
Yet, this ended up being one of the most interesting and complete titles I've played in ages. And somehow, that's even more satisfying when it's a complete surprise. It feels like this game has been stirring and simmering over the course of many years, and that probably isn't very far from the truth. This is an unbelievably mature experience, most likely the most mature game I've ever played. Many of the themes are very dark and complex and real, and this is one of the few instances I can imagine where an age/user discretion is actually warranted. And that can also be a bit of a warning for the rest of this article.
After playing Penumbra: Overture, everyone knew a sequel was on its way. The ending leaves scores of questions unanswered and perfectly prepares a follow-up. In 2008, Frictional Games released Penumbra: Black Plague, and in many ways, Black Plague does make the original feel like a mere overture. Frictional well heeded feedback following Overture's release and significantly tuned up their product in regards to pacing, controls, physics, and character interaction. All while continuing the fantastically creepy atmosphere and adding significant new elements to the story.
Eternal Darkness was released on the GameCube in 2002 and was actually the system's first M-rated game and I believe the first M-rated title published by Nintendo. I'm actually not very good with horror games (or anything horror in general) so it's a surprise to me that I'm even reviewing this game, but it's Halloween this week, so you are all in for a timely treat. I think I own two scary games, and Eternal Darkness is one of them (the other is Resident Evil REmake, also on the GameCube, and you will never see a review on here of that game, it's just too dang scary!).
Anyways, onto the actual game! Eternal Darkness features a unique sanity system unlike anything ever seen before. So addition to your health and magic meters, you have a sanity meter that measures just how stable you are. You lose sanity when you get hurt, or when you see something particularly freaky (which happens a lot). Losing sanity is nothing to laugh at either, because when it gets low, even more crazy stuff happens! I won't detail these "sanity effects" right now because some of them are pretty cool, but let's see what Eternal Darkness throws at us in our first hour together.