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"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting..."
—Quote from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" used in the game's title sequence
"MAY THE RATS EAT YOUR EYES! I am now lost to your cause!! The Darkness comes! IT WILL DAMN US ALL!"
Maximillian Roivas


Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a title for the Nintendo Game Cube (yes, THAT Nintendo) released in 2002, developed by Silicon Knights (but published, and owned, by Nintendo themselves!). The game's genre is classified as psychological horror, and it's influenced by and gives many nods to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, and other similar authors, making it something akin to Resident Evil meets Call of Cthulhu.

The story focuses on Alexandra Roivas, a student at the University of Washington who is completing her graduate degree in abstract mathematics and number theory. An early morning call from a detective brings her rushing to her grandfather's Rhode Island mansion, to identify his body after his grisly and baffling murder. The detective is at a loss, as the house showed no signs of break in and the old man had no known enemies. Two weeks after the crime scene has been cleaned up and the investigation has hit multiple dead ends, Alex is still in the mansion, alone, having resolved herself to figuring out the mystery behind her grandfather's murder.

Her explorations lead her to a hidden book called the Tome of Eternal Darkness, which contains the stories of many people throughout history who were involved in both the unlocking and the fighting against several otherworldly gods. As Alex reads the Tome, she is imparted with the knowledge these long dead people have achieved, as well as arcane magic their own explorations have unleashed. The more she reads of these events, the looser her grip on both reality and sanity gets, but Alex is determined to be the last link in the story, stopping these evil forces once and for all.

Eternal Darkness is unique within the horror game genre, and brought several things to the table that no game had before. A versatile magic system allows the player to create new spells using runes (actually closer to sigils or glyphs, as the symbols in the game represent words while real runes are single letters) in a system much like grammatically creating new sentences. The game also included a sanity system; in addition to health and magic meters, a sanity meter would drop every time an undead creature saw you. You could regain sanity by decisively finishing the creatures off, though the recovered amount would always be less than that taken away in the initial shock. The lower the player's sanity dropped, the more random hallucinations a player would experience in game. These hallucinations ranged from hardware tricks such as the controller ceasing to work in a room full of enemies, the video signal cutting out, audio volume changing on its own, and fake memory card deletions, to more devious hallucinations such as body parts exploding during unsuccessful magic casting, screaming voices and bleeding walls, random paintings turning from idyllic scenes to hellish environments, statues and busts watching the player as they walk by them, books spontaneously flying from one bookshelf to another, footsteps that follow your character, and telephone calls and haunting visitations from dead family members.

As you can see, this isn't the type of game you want to play at midnight with the lights off in an empty house. Unless you're into that kind of thing.

The creators of the game have noted on multiple occasions that they'd like to make a sequel (or several), but there was no news on that front for some time now. In late October 2011, the studio layed off the majority of its staff, claimed to be part of an attempt at "refocusing and returning to its roots, working on one of its most requested titles for the next generation.".

Has a character page now. Help it along.

Tropes used in Eternal Darkness include:


  • The Abridged Series: Has one on Gamefaqs, it's funny at moments.
  • Action Bomb: Blue zombies sing and explode if you don't remove their heads. One singing makes them all sing and explode and the more there are, the bigger each explosion will be.
  • Alternate History: Maybe. Though his death is a mystery even today, Charlemagne the Frank was assassinated (In France, in a cathedral that shouldn't exist for 400 years, rather than historical Germany) to further the Ancient's plans; his death corresponds to the time he died in the real world.
  • Anachronic Order: There is a bit of an order to the chapters: while they do tend to jump around a lot, all the chapters that take place in the same location happen in the correct chronological order. Justified when you consider that Mantorok can manipulate time. Every person got the book with the spells that they would need when they needed it in order to further his Gambit Roulette.
  • Anachronism Stew: Generally averted (see Shown Their Work), but the cathedral in Amiens wasn't built until the 1200s in real life, some four centuries after Anthony's chapter. On the other hand, Anthony only explored the "old tower" and the catacombs, nor was Oublie Cathedral mentioned by name, so it's possible that nothing else had been built in that time period.
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • And I Must Scream: Mantorok's binding to the temple qualifies, as does Anthony being trapped despairing in an empty chamber under an unrelenting zombifying curse is ended after a few centuries by Paul. There's also Roberto Bianchi, a Venetian architect who gets buried alive in what Pious refers to as "the Pillar of Flesh" (a monolith made of concrete and dead bodies) until his spirit is released over 500 years later; Ellia, a Cambodian slave girl cursed to guard Mantorok's heart for more than 800 years as a rotting corpse; and Karim, a Persian man cursed to spend a whopping 900 years guarding another of the ancient artifacts as a disembodied spirit. Also, the floor of the mysterious room where each character finds the Tome of Eternal Darkness (seen here). Just...just look at it!
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Happens every chapter.
  • Another Mans Terror: Given the survival rate of Tome readers, the player experiences a lot of this.
  • Anticlimax Boss: A morbidly hilarious inversion - one chapter begins with The Dragon summoning a giant guardian that looks like it'll be one hell of a boss fight. You open the door to its chamber with a message to the effect of "Shall you put an end to this heresy?" There's a huge build-up with The Dragon, with the characters declaring their intent to throw down-- then the guardian unceremoniously stomps you flat (or makes Your Head Asplode), and admonishes The Dragon not to cramp its style. That's right: your character is the anticlimax encounter. You get to fight him with a different character later along the timeline, however.
  • Apocalypse How: Dominance by any of the three Ancients will result in a Class 4; Mantorok's dominance would have an uncertain future.
    • Seems that Mantorok has always dominated.
  • Arc Number: The number 333 shows up in several places.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Ancients' essences.
  • Bag of Holding: The description for the Tome of Eternal Darkness states it has such properties and easily explains how the characters carry around all the crap they find. This doesn't explain how Edward can carry around a saber and 2 books the size of his head before he gets it (only Micheal Edwards finds anywhere near as much before the tome itself, and he finds it in a way he likely got the stuff to carry it as well).
  • Beat Them At Their Own Game
  • Bedlam House: The Jefferson & Coombs Sanitarium, where Max spends the remainder of his life.
  • Beneath the Earth: Ehn'gha.
  • BFG: One of the guns in Edward Roivas' gun case is an elephant gun. You can imagine what it was used for. It takes Edward a second or two to level it, but you can shoot before that; if you do, Edward gets knocked back on his ass and it takes a moment to get back on his feet. And sweet Christmas is it powerful. Two bullet-firing with a 7-point enchantment will kill a Guardian in one shot. Michael's OICW absolutely counts too.
  • BFS:
    • Karim's Ram Dao certainly fits into this category. Like the Elephant Gun described above, it is wickedly destructive. A 'head shot' will destroy a standard target's entire upper body, and properly enchanted, it will slay a Horror in a couple hits, again leaving just a pair of legs to fall comically to the ground.
    • The Two-Handed Sword used by Anthony, Paul and Peter can take down a Horror in a few swings, and it's insanely good compared to the weak melee weapons the former two get earlier (a scramasax and a mace, respectively).
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Oublié" is French for "Forgotten"
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Peter Jacob has a flash pan with a limited amount of powder which he can use to stun enemies (which is good, since you don't really start off with any particularly powerful weapons in that chapter).
  • Blipvert: Happens every time a character, from chapter 3 on, picks up the tome of Eternal Darkness.
  • Blow Gun: You can get one in the second chapter. It poisons enemies but does very little damage either way and has limited ammo. If you use it to Cherry Tapping some zombies to death in order to save a particular NPC, however, you can get your sword (which just broke) repaired and then upgrade it to Dual-Wielding with what would have otherwise been the replacement.
  • Body Horror: Bonethieves, inducing both nightmares and paranoia.
  • Book Ends: "To think that once I could not see beyond the veil of reality, to see those who dwell behind... I was once a fool".
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Eternal Mode, unlocked with Hundred-Percent Completion, gives you invincibility and infinite ammo. Since you've already beaten the game three times just to get it, there's really no use for it unless you care to play the game again for kicks.
  • Breakable Weapons: Happens often with minor items needed to solve puzzles, and only once with an actual weapon. The first magic spell you learn is one that fixes broken items, though. Items break at plot-specific points though, so there's no damage meter or anything for them.
  • 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.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: It takes several punches and several broken arms before any dents are noticed.
  • Buffy-Speak: The Bankorok (protect) rune is referred to as 'the squiggly circle thing.'
  • Buried Alive: The Pillar of Flesh in Persia and Roberto Bianchi's demise within. One of the hallucinations has the character sink into the ground.
  • Burn the Witch: How the Roivas family was largely treated after immigrating to America from the Mediterranean region.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • You'll be asked several times to make a choice, such as "Do you want to read this book?", "Should you turn this wheel?" or "Do you want to go through the door?". Every single one needs to be answered with a hearty "Yes" to continue with the story. It's here so that you have a chance to stop yourself from mindlessly rushing onwards with the plot before you're ready.
    • "Should [Character] claim the Tome of Eternal Darkness?" No. No, he really shouldn't, especially considering what happened to everyone else who did it. But since your other option is to wander around the mausoleum of creepy statues suspended in a void of blackness with a floor that has a habit of screaming, you might as well.
    • Also happens if you try to leave an area (e.g. Oublié Cathedral). You'll get a message telling you why your character can't or won't leave.
  • The Butler Did It: Inverted in Maximillian's story.
  • Camera Abuse: Sometimes, when someone has low sanity and is carrying a gun, he will randomly fire it. Once in a blue moon, he will turn to face you and then fire his gun, putting a "bullet-hole" in the "screen."
  • The Chosen One: Deconstructed. All of the characters, including Pious, have been feeding into Mantorok's plot this whole time, under the guise of saving the world - which they undeniably did - but their fate under Mantorok might not be terribly dissimilar. Even before the Hundred-Percent Completion ending comes into play, the only way Alex can conquer an Ancient is to summon the opposing Ancient into this world, which wants to dominate the planet just as much as Pious' lord.
    • Played generally straight with The enchanted Gladius, which only the Guardian of Light can wield. Although all of the Tome-bearing characters are chosen to defend humanity, Alex is the only one with an official heroic title.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Averted slightly in that you can specifically target the head or arms of all enemies, and only two of 26 enemy types generally bother regrowing lost limbs.
  • Collector of the Strange: The Roivases. A hidden chamber inside their mansion houses the Tome, as well as portraits and artifacts taken from each location significant to the Ancients and Pious.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath, and Mantorok, with some random enemies yellow (Word of God is that these yellow foes are aligned to a fifth Ancient). Their respective spells, glyphs, and minions are tinted appropriately.
  • Combined Energy Attack/Gondor Calls for Aid: It's kind of a combination of the two. In the final battle, the ghosts of everyone who died while possessing the Tome of Eternal Darkness appears. Each one gets to strike a blow against Pious' artifact.
  • Corrupt Church: Oublié Cathedral.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: A few deviations on what's expected from the genre but still fits in neatly.
  • Creepy Cathedral: Oublié Cathedral is this Up to Eleven, especially when it's being used as a field hospital for the wounded in the Battle of the Somme. The catacombs, however, are where the real nightmares are to be found.
  • Crutch Character: Rather, Crutch Item. The two (killable) characters who will not have access to a healing spell both have limited use healing items.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The battle between Paul and the Black Guardian and the ancient's battles, especially Chattur'gha vs Ulyaoth.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Pious sets off the entire chain of events when investigating some voices calling to him.
  • Dark World: The Trapper Dimension. Thankfully, it's really simple to escape, and even a boon to savvy players.
  • Dashed Plotline: The game consists of various people (recorded in the Tome of Eternal Darkness) who've fought against the Ancients at different points in history with...varying success.
  • Dead Man Writing: Edward.
  • Deflector Shields: The "Damage Field" spell; the enemies' usage of it usually blocks off some hallway and must be dispelled to proceed with a given chapter's plot.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In Edward Roivas' chapter, the portraits of the Roivas family and the dialogues of the servants change as Edward's sanity gets lower; however, at that point of the chapter, the only way to lower your sanity enough to see these effects is by summoning more enemies and then fighting them, which you probably didn't think to do until now.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Pretty good about it for most of the time, but there's one glaring example. At the beginning of the game, Edward introduces himself as a clinical psychologist. Later, he refers to his training in psychiatry. They are not the same. He could be a psychologist who also trained in psychiatry if you stretch.
    • Another is the naming of Pious. A Roman Centurion would not be named Pious Augustus. Augustus was a honorific exclusive to the Emperor used to signify assumption of all the imperial powers/titles. The Other Wiki has a page on it.
  • Divide and Conquer: The "Bind" spell.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Bonethieves are exceptionally good at this when they're just milling around. You have to wait for them to attempt a lunge before you can be guaranteed a hit.
  • Dual-Wielding and Guns Akimbo: Karim and Dr. Maximillian Roivas, respectively.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Though somewhat justified, as revealed to players of an Ulyaoth game.
  • Dutch Angle: The angle of the third-person camera became progressively more skewy as your sanity meter decreased.
  • Early Bird Boss: The first Horror fought by a kill-able PC is encountered before any of the spells that make Horrors easy to deal with (shield and dominant alignment/Mantorok enchant), and the character's only non-limited weapon (the limited throwing weapon isn't much better due to the small room it is fought in) has range that makes hitting its head tricky and stands a good chance of killing the player. Even later Horrors encountered before getting those spells in the same level are easier due to a much better weapon being acquired.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Three meters - Health, Sanity, and Magic; three corresponding Eldritch Abominations. Respectively; Body, Mind and Soul, which is the theme of each Abomination. Mantorok is the 'Nuke' option for this. The game keeps being fun however.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Enemy Mine: The Chosen and Mantorok work together in order to combat the other three Ancients.
    • The game may actually subvert this trope, because although Mantorok seems to be dark and evil, he's portrayed as the opposite in-game, most notably in murals at Angkor Thom. The natives viewed him as a gracious and good fertility god, and loved him. In addition, he, unlike the other Ancients, actually had a physical manifestation on this plane of existence for an unknown thousand of years, without ever harming the human race, which is better than what it's shown that the others would do by far.
  • Everything Fades
  • Evil Versus Evil: To defeat an ancient, you have to summon another ancient that has an advantage against it. Of course, summoning a great evil to destroy a great evil doesn't exactly solve the problem facing humanity. The secret ending reveals that the entire series of events has been manipulated by Mantorok as a ploy to have the ancient destroy each other, leaving him unopposed.
  • Evolving Attack: Once you pick up the Pargon ("Power") rune and 5/7 point Circles of Power, you can manually boost the oomph of any given magic spell by just loading it down with Pargons, at the obvious cost of it taking more MP and time to cast. Moreover, since the bad guys use the same magic system the heroes do, Pious starts throwing down 9-point spells that consist of three ordinary runes and six Pargons.
  • Finishing Move: Performing this on an enemy revitalizes your Sanity meter - probably because such a decisive way of enforcing your will upon the world is therapeutic for the mind, not to mention the satisfaction of ridding the world of a horror-that-should-not-be. It's advisable to use a finishing move on nearly every enemy, unless you enjoy hallucinating as you walk around from loss of Sanity. Of course, you can't inflict a finishing move on all your enemies.
  • Flashback Cut: Anybody who claims the Tome of Eternal Darkness spontaneously experiences quick moments in the histories of previous and future owners.
  • Flash Forward: Due to the game's Anachronic Order, the aforementioned Flashback Cut is sometimes about a character from the chronological future. May lead to moments of Fridge Logic. For example, Michael Edwards' chapter comes just after Edward Roivas', the last page of which representing his murder 48 years later. Michael sees this, then meets Roivas shortly before his death, and he won't warn him.
  • Flip Personality: One of the gods has two personalities that act like this.
  • Foreshadowing: Max has a sanity effect where he's stuck in an enclosed space: an asylum room. Guess where he ends up later.
  • Functional Magic
  • Gambit Roulette: Spanning millennia and three different timestreams. You need to see the best ending to learn this.
  • Game Level
  • Get Back Here Boss: It takes a while of chasing the thing around before you actually get to fight the vampire in Edward's chapter.
  • Giant Mook: Horrors, which are pretty damn... horrific.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: Inverted in that looking at monsters has no ill effects, it's when they discover you that it goes to crap, your sanity can be drained if you never even look at one. Also, Maximilian's sanity was already suspect before he discovered plotting bone thieves.
  • Good Morning, Crono: Although Alex starts the game fighting an infinite number of zombies in a nightmare before she actually gets around to waking up.
  • Gross Up Close-Up: The infamous bathtub scene. Also several of the corpses of NPCs, particularly when Bonethieves are involved.
  • Guest Star Party Member: With 11 guest stars. Since this isn't an RPG, there's no party involved, but the game hits most portions of the trope regardless.
  • Guide Dang It: The Lost Forever items, especially the Mantorok rune, which is incredibly easy to miss.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted, once you start controlling characters who exist in an era where gunpowder weapons are used, anyway. Not only that, but playable characters from eras where guns are used tend to be the ones who survive their chapter. World War One era Peter Jacob survived to a ripe old age. Edward Roivas, though eventually killed by a Guardian many years after his venture, did survive his initial encounters and lived on to be the go-to guy if you had one of the MacGuffins. Dr. Lindsey from the Eighties survived, Michael Edwards of the Gulf War successfully delivered the MacGuffin to Edward and is still alive at the end of his chapter (though his eventual fate is left ambiguous), and of course, Alex Roivas survives in all the endings of the game.
    • Maximillian's guns are pretty worthless, though, given that they have to be reloaded after every shot. Having two flintlock pistols at once seems like a good idea until you discover how helpless you are while reloading. Better to stick with the saber.
      • His guns may be worthless, but he did survive his chapter...to an extent...
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The fifth, yellow Ancient, responsible for the damage floors in Ehn'gha and the Forbidden City, as well as the magic affecting Anthony's curse. Denis Dyack later confirmed his existence.
  • Healing Potion:
    • Peter can find Magickal Elixirs which restore his Mana Meter.
    • Karim and Ellia have items which cast healing spells when used.
    • Edward has his flask of liquid courage, which restores his sanity.
    • Paul has a limited-use meditation rod that can be used to completely restore his sanity.
  • Hearing Voices
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The giant stakes with which Pious skewered Mantorok were fueled by magic of Mantorok's own alignment.
    • The Black Guardian. Nigh Invulnerable. Nothing usually even phases it, only bothers. It also recharges periodically. The solution? When it's recharging, add to the energy the element it is weak to.
    • The Enchanted Gladius. Implied to be the same weapon which Pious used in the first chapter, and you use it to send him to Hell.
  • Hollywood Torches: Six characters get access to a torch as a weapon. They come lit, never run out of fuel, and (except in Lindsey's case), they're usually redundant in terms of lighting the general area. Incredibly useful for igniting Xel'lotath's and Mantorok's zombies, though.
  • Hub Level: The Roivas mansion in Alex's time. It's more like a regular level in some chapters, particularly Maximilian's.
  • Idle Animation: One of gaming's most versatile examples. The different characters all idle in different ways, and the idle method changes depending on what weapon they're currently equipped with, if any. Even if characters share a weapon (Alex and Pious both wield a Gladius, for instance), they'll toy with them in separate ways.
  • Infinity+1 Element: Mantorok's spells.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Enchanted Gladius, which can be thrown.
    • Infinity-1 Sword: The double edged sword, if obtained by Anthony, is usable by 2 other characters who have a very painful time without it (Peter Jacob notably has no other melee weapon able to finish off something, though given his repertoire of magickal spells and his large mana pool, to say nothing of his BFG and large supply of ammo, he might not need one).
  • Instant Runes
  • Interface Screw: Ten of the 37 potential hallucinations caused by a low Sanity meter mess directly with the player (instead of their player character), ranging from a subtle bug crawling around on the game screen to a sudden Game Over message promising a sequel.
  • Item Crafting: With magic instead of items.
  • Item Get: Taken Up to Eleven, as each location has its own fanfare music.
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before
  • Jack of All Stats: Alex, Anthony, and Edwin Lindsey, although each is above average in one of their stats.
    • Alex has a fairly large magick meter and her MP regenerates twice as fast as all other characters.
    • Anthony has an Extra Life if his health is totally depleted.
    • Lindsey has the largest sanity meter in the game.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Mantorok and Xel'lotath zombies. Also the oil fires in Michael's chapter, which he attempts to snuff out using "80% nitroglycerin-grade dynamite."
    • Note that blowing up an oil well fire is the proper way to extinguish it.
  • Killed Off for Real: Every character that isn't from the 20th century, plus Edward Roivas. Though this doesn't stop them from helping out on occasion.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A magick attack scroll, hanging on a wall:

 "Peter has acquired the "Magickal Attack" Spell Scroll! Why would it be here, of all places? Here, in this corridor?"

  • Landmark of Lore: Angkor Thom in Cambodia, as well as the five monolithic stones inscribed with Ancient runes that transport Chosen to the Forbidden City.
  • Large Ham: William Hootkins' performance as Maximilian Roivas is a joy to listen to. Pious Augustus is also impressively bombastic.

 Pious: "I am the scourge of God, appointed to chastise you, since no one knows the remedy for your iniquity except me. You are wicked, but I am more wicked than you. So be SILENT!"

  • Late to the Party
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted. Don't spend enough time bracing yourself and the Elephant Gun will knock Edward flat on his ass.
  • Life Meter
  • Lock and Key Puzzle
  • Losing Your Head: One of the sanity effects is your character's head spontaneously falling off. Can lead to an Alas, Poor Yorick if the player picks up the head: it starts reciting Hamlet.
  • Lost Forever: Three items that never appear again if you miss them in the chapter they're each found in. Getting all three is required to receive the Infinity+1 Sword, which is also hidden and Lost Forever if you miss it. The Mantorok alignment rune (the "Nuke" option in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors triangle) is also hidden in one chapter around the middle of the game, and inaccessible if you miss it. Finally, Anthony and Paul's Two-Edged Sword and Edward's Elephant Gun are Lost Forever if you neglect to save NPCs who provide access to them.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: 'Kneel before my master <<INSERT NAME HERE>>!' Doesn't happen much, though; most cutscenes featuring the specific Ancient being opposed have three versions, one for each Ancient, with entirely different dialogue. Avoiding this trope also extends beyond dialogue: events, enemy placement, and nature of some of the puzzles in the game change greatly depending on the Ancient.
  • Magick: Because just spelling it as "magic" is apparently too lighthearted for a game with Eldritch Abominations.
  • Mana Meter
  • Masquerade
  • Meaningful Echo: "To think, that once I could not see beyond the veil of our reality, to see those who dwell behind."
  • Meaningful Name: See Sdrawkcab Name below about "Roivas." "Ellia" means "chosen one," and Paul, Peter, and Michael are all biblical names. "Karim" means "generous" or "noble." "Edwin" means "rich/blessed friend," and Roberto/Robert means "bright fame," which he was looking for abroad until getting captured (and ultimately achieved in the worst possible way). "Pious" means "doing one's duty with enthusiastic devotion" (again, in the worst possible way), though as a name, it's spelled "Pius." Alexandra is the feminine form of "Alexander," which means "defender of mankind," and for all of Pious's Evil Gloating about how long he's lived, Alexander the Great lived three hundred years before he was born. "Maximillian" derives from the Latin word "maximus," which means "the greatest," and Edward means "rich/blessed guardian." "Anthony" is the English form of the Latin name "Antonius," which was the nomen of the clan or gens Antonia. The first of the Antonii to gain fame was Titus Antonius Merenda, who, in 450 B.C., was one of ten men who helped to complete the Law of the Twelve Tables, which formed the basis of Roman law, and thus the foundation for much of the common law of Western Europe as well. In a less-obscure reference, Mark Antony was the Arch Enemy of the first Roman emperor, best known as... Gaius Augustus.
  • Mind Screw
  • Mook Bouncer: Trappers, but they're blind and can usually be crept around.
  • Mook Maker: Inverted, as the player character gains the ability to create mooks by the halfway point just like the bosses. Mooks the player creates will still have to be killed after control over them is released though.
  • Multiple Endings: One standard ending with three distinct variations and one secret ending that you have to defeat the game 3 times (defeating all three Ancients) to see.
  • The Multiverse: After you beat the game 3 times, earning the secret ending, you find out each time you beat the game, it was with an incarnation of Alex Roivas from different universes. Essentially defeating Mantorok's enemies across multiple realities.
  • Mundane Utility: Enchanted weapons glow, making the torch redundant except for killing the 2 types of zombies weak to fire. This doesn't stop Alexandra from needing to reset the circuit breaker to look around a dark room though.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Trope Namer.
  • Mysterious Backer: Mantarok. Sure it's the only one of the ancients who isn't planning to enter the world and run amok, is activally opposing the others and even spent some time serving as a small village's personal fertility god. On the other hand, it's hardly in a position to oppose humanity and after masterminding the destruction of the other three ancients, who knows what it's planning...
  • New Game+: Required to get the best ending, but severely limited; all it does is record the fact that you beat the game in one of three alignments before letting you restart with a second or third. Proper New Game+, including permanent invincibility, only comes with Hundred-Percent Completion.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The entire game revolves around invoking this trope.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Inverted. Pious and his minions refer to humans as "flesh and bone", thereby objectifying them as resources to be used.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Wandering around the Roivas mansion as Alex between chapters is quite creepy, even though (outside of one instance) nothing tries to attack her until close to the end of the game. The fact that she finds weapons right from the beginning, as well as finding better weapons several times, and that Maximilian's chapter takes place in the same house leads the player to expect to be attacked at every turn.
    • When your sanity is low, sometimes you might try to open a door only to hear the "locked" sound with no message saying that the door is locked; usually, this happens when a Sanity effect is about to occur, but sometimes you just have to wait a few seconds and then try again to open the door. In other words, there is a Sanity effect where all the doors to the room are locked, but nothing else happens, not even the flash of light or the cry of "This isn't really happening!"
    • Lampshaded by Maximilian Roivas in his diary: "I have learned to fear nothing, although it is nothing that I most fear."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Alex, at the end of the Ulyaoth path; after summoning Xel'lotath, she feels that a hole has opened in her mind, and she has a sense of her "strong ally", but doesn't know who it is.
  • Notice This: A combination of the characters focusing their attention on collectible objects, and the objects in question faintly glowing.
  • Oh Crap: Peter has a shot of this kind when he realizes that the Black Guardian is shrinking his barriers during their fight.
    • Edwin Lindsey gets one too, when he shoots Paul Augustine in the chest and doesn't even slow him down.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Heard among the background music for the Forbidden City, and also used in the holy-choir variety whenever an object is collected in Oublié Cathedral.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted with most characters, who must hand-feed their rounds into their firearms' chambers, and then played completely straight with Lindsey and Michael's modern, magazine-fed firearms, when the player opts to manually reload.
  • One Steve Limit: Paul Augustine and Paul Luther. Also Edward Roivas and Michael Edwards, and, if you squint, Edwin Lindsey.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts of the Chosen seem to have the ability to maintain hold of physical objects, even when hidden within physical objects themselves.
  • Palette Swap: Averted. Although each ancient's version of an enemy is Color Coded for Your Convenience, they all have different physical appearances.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze-Frame: The Chapter Complete segments.
  • Personal Space Invader: Bonethieves.
  • Playing the Player: Several of the sanity effects do this.
  • Poor Predictable Rock: 90% of enemies you fight are aligned with one particular Eldritch Abomination of three, so once you gain access to magic spells of the alignment that beats it in Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, instant buttkicking commences.
  • Powers That Be
  • Power Trio: The unholy trinity of Chattur'gah, Xel'lotath, and Ulyaoth are mortal enemies, but are still very closely associated.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Chattur'gha, Xel'lotath and Ehn'gha.
  • Quad Damage
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Justified: The Big Bad is maintaining 2 of the 3 locations that keep getting revisited over ~1000 years maintained (one of the chapters even involves a character being forced to work on said maintenance) while the other has a separate justification. Plus Amiens Cathedral still stands in the real world (The fact that Anthony's chapter (814 AD) takes place in it way before it being built in ~1220 is another story...)
  • Rainbow Speak: Done in the game's text when talking about key words in general, or items of interest relating to Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath, or Mantorok.
  • Rare Guns: Elephant Gun and OICW, anyone?
  • Reckless Gun Usage: During Maximillian's chapter, after he picks up two flintlock pistols, an insanity effect involves dropping one of them while reloading, killing him.
    • If Dr. Edwin Lindsey's sanity is low, there's a chance he'll target his own foot when you aim.
    • If Peter Jacob or Alex Roivas' sanity is low, there's a chance that they might aim their gun at the Fourth Wall and put a bullet hole in it.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted. Revolvers suck in this game. You're better off with almost anything else, unless you want to get in a finishing blow.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Not in short supply. Sometimes averted/subverted as people like Ellia and Karim manage to make a difference even after they're technically dead, but in cases like Anthony's or Paul's, it's played pretty damn straight.
  • Safecracking
  • Sanity Meter: Trope Namer, and Trope Codifier for video game uses of it. Nintendo even filed a patent for its implementation. In game it acts as shield for your health, once it's gone enemies start damaging just by looking your way, literal death glares?
  • Sanity Slippage: Pretty much the entire point of the game, and a significant portion of the gameplay as well due to the Sanity Meter above.
  • Say My Name: "Charlemaaaagne..."
    • Also, any time you cast a spell, the name of the runes are chanted, including the name of the Ancient. The Forbidden City and Black Guardian have a habit of beckoning to Chosen, as well.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The Roivas family.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Mantorok, after Pious binds him.
    • Ambiguously Sealed Evil in a Can. Aside from getting revenge on the other Ancients, not much light is shed on his motives, especially in regards to humanity.
  • Secondary Fire: Mike's OICW doubles as a grenade launcher. It can also be set to fire single shot, burst, or full auto. Many other guns have alternate fires as well, usually limited to single/double-barrel, however.
  • Sequel Hook: The game has some, including a fake one triggered by having low Sanity.
  • Set Piece Puzzle
  • Shape Shifter: Pious; Mantorok is thought to be one of these by Lindsey.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: With very few exceptions, every individual chapter is one of these, though subverted when considered the entire game, since the majority of the chapters accomplish something that eventually helps to defeat the Ancient.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted, but not by much. As far as projectile weapons go they're 3rd in the game in power, behind Edward's Elephant Gun and Mike's OICW. That being said, they're still damn good weapons.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Among the books in the Roivas mansion's library are the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. At the end of his chapter, Max is put in the Jefferson Coombs Sanitarium, a shoutout to Lovecraft actor Jeffrey Combs. Also, the detective in the beginning is named Inspector Legrasse, a reference to one of the protagonists in Call of Cthulhu.
    • Michael must construct a Staff of Ra and use it to reflect light through a center gemstone to aim a laser-like beam of light onto a scale model of a city. Just like Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    • What does Maximilian Roivas say when you select the Chattur'gha Horror out of his autopsy notes? "Oh, the Horror. THE HORROR!"
    • The fact the Fifth Ancient(yellow) remains nameless is itself a shout out to The King in Yellow, Hastur.
    • Edwin Lindsey's Chapter is clearly modeled after Indiana Jones: It's set in an ancient temple full of pressure place triggered death traps, Edwin himself dresses similar to Indiana Jones and is an Archeologist. Heck even Paul Augeustine looks like Arnold Ernst Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark and you have to pull of the weight replacement bit from the opener of that movie, using a metal bracelet to weight down a spot that you take a silver bracelet from (except in Linsey's case it actually works)
  • Shown Their Work: Silicon Knights spent a ridiculous amount of time to make the game fit in with real-life history as closely as possible; all weapons are era-appropriate and most chapters coincide with major historical events.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: With Magick. Averted in that you can discover useful combat spells far earlier than the game gives you the scrolls for them, by experimenting with rune combinations.
  • Spinventory: Mostly just used to examine items closer in an aesthetic sense.
  • Sprint Meter: Hidden from the eyes of the player, but it's there. Characters will start to stagger and gasp for breath eventually and they must walk or stop and catch their breath before they can resume. It varies from character to character. Micheal Edwards, a firefighter, can run for long distances without needing a break while Maximillian Roivas, an overweight physician, can only jog for a short period before he starts breathing heavily.
  • Squishy Wizard: Paul Luther, a Franciscan monk gone to Oublié Cathedral to see the Hand of Jude (actually the artifact of one of the Ancients). He has some of the lowest HP in the game and isn't particularly athletic but can hold his own in combat. Peter Jacob is in better shape than Paul, but his health isn't much better, his covering WWI has left his brain a bit broken, and if he finds the Two-Edged Sword, he has the same problem Anthony had with it that Paul didn't - it's heavy and difficult for a scrawny guy to wield. He has among the very best capacity for magic of the Twelve though, necessary for a Wizard Duel at his chapter's end. He even finds a unique item for the fight that instantly replenishes his entire mana meter. Edward Roivas has the smallest possible health bar, but he's got large sanity and magick meters in exchange -- magick which can be put to use enchanting his Elephant Gun.
    • A villainous example is Ulyaoth, who is literally squishy; he looks like a jellyfish.
  • Staggered Zoom: A sanity effect.
  • Standard Status Effects
  • Start of Darkness: The very first guest character is also The Dragon.
  • Status Buff: Four of twelve spells are buffs. Well, technically five if you Mantorok a Reveal Invisible spell.
  • Stop Helping Me!: 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.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: "Should Paul claim the Tome of Eternal Darkness?" Paul is a Franciscan monk? No, he really shouldn't claim an evil book of sorcery bound in human skin and found in an extradimensional mausoleum where the floor is made of the screaming souls of the damned.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: This trope constitutes much of the gameplay in the final level. Naturally this leaves one of the Eldritch Abominations wandering around unopposed, so the ghost of Alex's grandfather has to subsequently bind the Bigger Fish. Then in the Real Ending we learn that essentially all three fish have swallowed themselves, because Mantorok has been invoking this trope over a span of thousands of years, simultaneously, in three different timelines.
  • Sundial Waypoint: Twice, the first as mentioned in Shout-Out, the second in Alex's endgame chapter.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Just before Peter's duel with the black guardian, you encounter a door and receive a message telling you that absolute evil lurks on the other side of this door, gnawing away at your very soul. It then goes on to ask you, very innocently, if you would like to save your progress.
  • Taken for Granite: Each Chosen who dies fighting the Ancients is immortalized in the Tome's hallway as a stone statue; Pious' statue is also present and notably broken. In fact, he broke it himself.
  • Temple of Doom: The Cambodian shrine that binds the Corpse God. Complete with trap-filled corridors!
  • Through the Eyes of Madness
  • Time Abyss: The four Ancients are millenia old at the least. Pious lives to 2026 years old before his death at the player's hands near the game's end.
  • Timed Mission: With an inevitable Always Close afterward.
  • Title Drop: Several times, and not just when referring to the Tome.

  Chandra: "Without your sacrifice, the world will fall into eternal darkness!"

  • Tome of Eldritch Lore
  • Took a Level In Badass: All of the characters once they find good weaponry and the Tome of Eternal Darkness.
  • Translation Convention: Pious and Anthony's chapters start with characters communicating in Latin, which then seamlessly transitions to English mid-dialogue. Curiously the only chapters to do so, despite several being set in Persia and Angkor Thom.
  • Turn of the Millennium: Alex's chapter (and by proxy, The Present Day for the game in general), although the specific date isn't given.
  • Undead Child:An interpretation of the really small zombies
  • Universal Ammunition: Averted. You have or find ammo for individual weapons. If you run out of ammo for your main weapon, you have to switch to your backup.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Circles of Power, always found in Oublié Cathedral.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: With all the various sanity effects that really ARE in the game, TONS of these came out for other kinds of sanity effects that certainly sounded believable.
  • Use Item
  • Useless Useful Spell: You can use the 'Restore' and 'Self' runes in combination with one of the three Elder God runes to restore your health, sanity, or mana - but if you cast the mana variation, your mana will drain and then refill itself by the exact amount used to cast the spell. It's funny when you have more than one Elder God rune, but when you only have Cha'turrga, less so.
  • Victory Is Boring: Eternal Mode. Yeah, it's awesome that you get infinite health and infinite ammo and Bonethieves can inhabit your body with no ill effects, but... The Sanity Meter is infinite, too, making it impossible to go nuts, which is half the fun of the game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Rats scurry around in some areas. If you have a firearm, you can shoot them with no ill effect. Kill a human, though, and you suffer a huge drop in sanity.
  • Voice of the Legion: The green black guardian
  • Walking Wasteland: The Ancients' essences, particularly Mantorok's, are mentioned in the text as corroding the very air around them, needing a cloth to be handled. Also, Ehn'gha seems to have some sort of sphere of influence on the Roivas mansion, as the house staff frequently comments that the building never gets clean no matter how hard their attempts to work.
  • What Could Have Been: The templar knight who Pious uses as the foundation for the Pillar of Flesh? He was planned to be a Tome bearer, hence his ability to see the liche's true form. The person that gave Ellia Mantorok's heart was also planned to be playable. Also, Michael was originally conceived as a soldier in the Gulf War before being made into a firefighter; the dead soldier found early on is holding all of the weaponry he was supposed to start with in the first place. Oh, and the whole "it was originally an N64 game" thing, too.
  • When the Planets Align: Right there in the cover art. You're also given short FMVs between chapters of the planets' progress in making this happen.
  • A Winner Is You: Subverted. At the end of a chapter, the game will abruptly throw a static "To Be Continued" image at you and demand that you buy the nonexistent sequel if you want any sort of proper conclusion. Lucky for you, it's just a hallucination, a Shout-Out to the infamously abrupt ending of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
  • A Wizard Did It: The perfect ending establishes that Mantorok is messing around with time, this may explain how Amiens Cathedral is around in 814 despite being built in the 1200s.
    • We don't know that Oublie Cathedral was around in 814; Anthony only explored the "old tower" and the catacombs beneath it, so it's possible that the door that Anthony comes in through (which leads to the main sanctuary of Oublie Cathedral in Paul's and Peter's time) may have led outside in Anthony's time.
  • With This Herring: Averted for the most part; few of the characters are warriors or are expecting to be attacked, and the ones that do are armed. Some of them heavily.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Pious Augustus is fond of it.
  • You ALL Share My Story: "This is not my story... Or even the story of the Roivas family. It is the story of humanity."
  • Your Cheating Heart: Chandra is punished dearly for not waiting patiently for Karim to return (from a quest she sent him on!). However, compared to what might have happened to her or Karim if either of them had touched that artifact, and considering that Chandra's ghost just barely stopped Karim from touching it, it's not that bad.
  • Your Head Asplode: Poor Paul Luther thought he was gonna get a nice big boss fight with Xel'lotath's Black Guardian... Nope, just a head popping. Also happens occasionally if you try to cast a spell with low Sanity, though it isn't permanent.

This isn't... really... happening!

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