Eternal Darkness Wiki
"This... Can't... Be... HAPPENING!" - Various Characters
"This... Isn't... Really... HAPPENING!" - Various Characters
"What's... Going... ON HERE!" - Various Characters

Eternal Darkness - All Sanity Effects

Sanity Effects are a gameplay aspect of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. They are first seen when playing as Ellia, because Pious Augustus does not lose sanity in his chapter.

How it works[]

As the player character is seen by monsters, their Sanity Meter depletes. Sanity Effects usually trigger when entering a room, and can sometimes be triggered by interacting with the environment (most commonly by picking up items). The lower the Meter when entering a room, the more likely a Sanity Effect will occur and the more severe it will be. Some are merely cosmetic, though most will seemingly hinder or outright harm the player. When a seemingly-harmful Sanity Effect ends, the screen flashes a bright white, after which everything returns to normal as the player is teleported to wherever they were when the sanity effect began (almost always meaning whichever door the player walked through last) and exclaims something along the lines of: "This can't be happening!", "This isn't really happening!", "What's going on here!" or mostly scream. If the Sanity Meter is empty, health depletes instead, although this has no bearing on Sanity Effects.

Usually, if a Sanity Effect is present, then you will not be able to escape its effects and resume regular gameplay until it plays out.

Most effects occur randomly, although some are scripted to appear only in certain levels or at certain points (See "Other Examples" for these.)


The effects come in several varieties, sometimes affecting the screen, character, or environment.

Character Examples[]

  • When entering a room, the character may turn into a Zombie, and "die" a moment later or after going through some doors.
  • Attempting to cast Recover may cause the character's torso to explode, resulting in a (fake) death of the character.
  • When entering a room, the character's limbs may explode in a systematic order, going for the head, the arms and then the torso, resulting in a (fake) death of the character.
  • When entering a room, the character may shrink or grow while moving. This is most commonly seen in the strange curved corridors of the Forbidden City.
  • When entering a room and holding a gun, the character can shoot at nothing at random times or turn around and shoot at the camera leaving a fake bullet hole in the screen. (Similar to the Prologue of the James Bond movies, and in Resident Evil 2.)
  • When attempting to reload a gun, it may go off in the character's stomach, resulting in a (fake) death of the character. This is most prominent in Max's chapter, for he is the only one without a bigger gun than his flintlock pistols. Revolvers in other chapters have been known to cause this phenomenon to occur as well.
  • When entering a room, the character's head falls off (but can be picked up), and levitates on screen reciting "HAMLET".

Screen Examples[]

Changes are made to the camera angle. This change increases in severity the lower the Sanity Meter gets.

  • The screen goes black, as if the TV went off.
  • Bugs may appear to be crawling on the TV screen.
  • The game will lower the gameplay volume while displaying a green volume bar and while your character is moving, similar to real on-screen TV settings.
  • The screen goes black and changes to "VIDEO" mode, and you will hear your character getting eaten until they "die". (Even without a "Break Free" control stick, the unseen Zombie can still be pushed away)
  • A fake screen message will appear congratulating the player for finishing the demo of the game. Then, a false sneak-preview of a sequel to the game, called "Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Redemption" (the original planned sequel to "Sanity's Requiem") will appear.
    • Coincidentally, a spiritual sequel to the Eternal Darkness intellectual property would be announced, yet never produced due to failing to acquire funding 12 years later; "Shadow of the Eternals".
  • Upon saving your game, a message will say, "Are you sure you want to delete all of your Saved Games?" Regardless of your choice, the saved files will be "deleted".
  • A "Blue Screen of Death" system error will appear.
  • The game will pretend to reset and you will see the image when you usually start up or reset the game on your console, quoting the game's intro sequence Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" in Edward Roivas' voice.
  • When the controller is left idle long enough, a still "screensaver" shot of Pious will appear on the screen until a button is pressed.
  • When you open your inventory screen, your entire inventory spaces appears empty.
  • When entering a room, the game will suppress all inputs and give it a fake "controller disconnected" error message while many zombies attack the player.
  • The camera begins leaning at a Dutch angle as the Sanity Meter lowers. Occasionally while leaning heavily the camera will jitter, as if attempting to right itself.

Environment Examples[]

  • When entering a room, the environment may be upside down.
  • Blood will drip from the walls and/or ceiling. Hitting the walls may cause them to bleed more.
  • When entering a room, the character will sink into the ground completely as if it was quicksand.
  • Statues and busts may turn to look at the character.
  • In the Roivas Mansion, the picture of mountains will alter to a more hellish look.
    • Additionally, in Paul Luther's and Peter Jacob's chapters, one painting and poster (in respective chapters) will change appearances.
  • Sometimes when a player enters a room, they will find that all the doors leading out will be locked, but will be unlocked shortly after (providing they weren't locked before).
  • Sometimes when entering a room, an effect will occur where there is an abundance of ammunition lying around. It can be picked up, but will disappear once the effect is over.
    • Interestingly, Blowgun darts can be found in Ellia's chapter. However, none can be found normally. This can easily give away the Effect.

Other Examples[]

  • During Max's chapter (Roivas Mansion, Chapter 5), after climbing down the ladder in the basement you may reach the asylum with a solitary barred door. Attempting to open it causes Max to realize he is trapped inside (foreshadowing). The effect does not occur with a full Sanity Meter.
  • In the room with strange purple flooring (Ehn'gha, Chapter 12), failing to tiptoe across causes the unnamed worm beast to attack. The screen will take up a sepia tone, and you will not be able to escape from the room until your Sanity Meter is full. Casting Recover Xel'lotath will restart the room and place the player back on the runic floor, though curiously drinking Liquid Courage will not and will allow the player to leave.
  • Once reaching the second floor of the Roivas Mansion (as Alex), you examine the bathtub and find her dead self in a tub of blood, and hear a blood-curdling scream (possible from Alex reacting, or only in her mind). Triggering this event does not alter your Sanity Meter, but it acts as a Sanity Effect regardless. This effect occurs regardless of the level of the Sanity Meter.
  • As Alex reads the Tome of Eternal Darkness (as the player proceeds through other character's Chapters), you may see exchanges between Alex and the ghost of Edward Roivas. Although the times they occur vary somewhat, they always play in order and are situated as plot devices. These events do not pertain to or alter your Sanity Meter, but they act as Sanity Effects regardless. They end with the character of that Chapter treating the conversations as hallucinations, the same as typical Sanity Effects.
  • In the Roivas Mansion (as Alex), you may find a hanging man behind the dining room's piano, Once you examine him, he will open his eyes, and a voice whispers ominously from his unmoving lips: "The darkness is coming."
  • At one point, as Alex proceeds through the main hall of the Roivas Mansion, she hears the phone on the far left of the room start to ring. When she picks up the phone, she hears Edward Roivas speak: "Remember me, Alex?" which is similar to how he sounded in her dream/nightmare at the beginning of the game.
    • Like Edward's appearings, this can happen even with a full Sanity Meter.
  • Various area-specific noises and voices will sound. For example: the temple in Angkor Thom features sounds like winding, echoing chains and fiendish chanting.
    • In the Roivas Mansion & the Forbidden City, women's voices are heard, screaming and crying, knocking on doors, and occasionally laughing maniacally.
  • When entering a room; occasionally, some enemies will appear to be tiny.
  • Upon entering an area you will be surrounded by enemies which disappear after one hit or breaking free.
  • Teleporting back to the room you just left after getting halfway down the hallway.
  • When entering a room you will walk away from the door or walk by a door and you will hear door banging sounds nearby.
  • When you walk by an area, you will hear heavy footstep noises or water waves crashing, knife shaving sounds, low-pitch voices, and a loud gunshot or zombie giggling sounds.
    • In Max's chapter, flag waving sounds can be heard.
  • In the Roivas Mansion (As Alex), books will fly across the library.
  • In Peter Jacob's Chapter, talking to the nurses reveals that they have sharp teeth.
  • When entering a room with many zombies, you will get a (fake) death just by getting seen.
  • When entering a room, Gigantic Zombies can sometimes appear as they tower over the player.
  • When entering a room, the sound of a Horror can be heard, first the footsteps and then a growl.
  • In Peter Jacob's chapter, when you try to open a door to leave the room where you first start, after you obtain the Tome of Eternal Darkness, you'll end in the same room but with Paul Luther's display with the benches and in a sepia tone like in Max's chapter when you obtain the 3rd main rune. Peter even turns his head to the dead priest, brother Andrew. This goes for a while until you return to normal.
    • A corresponding effect in Paul Luther's chapter shows the cathedral with the WWI army hospital from Peter's time.
      • Another corresponding effect in the Roivas Mansion (As Alex) shows the mansion with the stained glass on the door of the Second Floor and the stained glass down the hallway from her grandfather Edward's time.
  • The gameplay's sound will mute.
  • You may hear your character mumble to themselves or scream.


In Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, during the boss fight with Psycho Mantis, the latter will occasionally tilt the room they are in with his psychic abilities, a reference to one of the Sanity Effects in Eternal Darkness. Both games were made by Silicon Knights.