"Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is a premier fighting game for the Sega CD. Unfortunately, the Sega CD wasn't very successful as a system, and Eternal Champions didn't get the attention it deserved. And man, did this game ever deserve some attention. For the time and the technology, this game had everything a fighting game should have: tons of action, great storylines, and an immense amount of blood and gore. It's just a great game! "
Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is a premier fighting game for the Sega CD. Unfortunately, the Sega CD wasn't very successful as a system, and Eternal Champions didn't get the attention it deserved. And man, did this game ever deserve some attention. For the time and the technology, this game had everything a fighting game should have: tons of action, great storylines, and an immense amount of blood and gore. It's just a great game!
The graphics of Eternal Champions are just plain awesome. The cartoonish 2-D graphics are easily on par with the Street Fighter console games of the time. There are tons of vivid colors everywhere. The lush, jungle green tropics and the red glare of the flames make this game look very good. The backgrounds also look gorgeous. From the hidden city of Atlantis to the golden Egyptian temples to the mean streets of Chicago, they all look great. There are also tons of small animations moving throughout each stage, such as cheering crowds and flying dinosaurs. Eternal Champions has all the goods when it comes to graphics, but I'm not done yet!
The technology of the Sega CD allowed developers to put in some short CG movies into the game. The opening CG movie is by far the best. It has to be at least ten minutes long, but many people could've mistaken it for the trailer for a hit summer movie. It tells about an epic battle of good versus evil with, GASP!, the fate of the world on the line. But….hey, why am I talking about this? This has nothing to do with the graphics. Oh yeah, the CG movies. Well, I remember when I first saw them, it was simply astonishing. In today's world, the movies look okay, but they're very choppy. But don't blame that on the game. Blame it on the Sega CD.
(Drool.) Man, does this soundtrack ROCK! With about 18 different tracks, this has some music for everyone. There is some hard heavy metal, and there's also a lot of dance/hip-hop music to bang your head to. And if you can't get to a Sega CD, but still want to listen to the heart-pumping tunes, you could just pop the disc into your walkman and listen to the jams on the go. This soundtrack cannot be praised enough. Everyone should get this game just to listen to the music. It's that good. But the music isn't the only the portion of the sound. The sound effects are just as great.
"Wimp!" "Weasel!" "Simpleton!" "Loser!" These are just a few of the taunts you'll hear while in a match. You could also hear thuds, smacks, and pows as the brutal fighting takes place. All of the sound effects are of great quality. The music is the best ever for a fighting game. Eternal Champions just reeks of audio supremacy.
Any person who has read some of my other reviews might know that my Gameplay sections aren't that good. I don't think this will be an exception, but I'll give it a full 75%.
Anyway, there are the standard modes that are in almost all fighting games. There is the Story mode, in which you fight about ten character in a row, followed with a fight against the boss(es). Then there is the Versus mode, in which one or two people go head-to-head in single matches. But what makes this game stand out in terms of gameplay is the Tournament mode. In this mode, they're about twenty or thirty different game types for one or multiple players. These game types include Round Robin, Sell-Your-Soul, Russian Roulette, and Possession. Trying out all of these games is very fun, and playing with some buddies is a blast. Is there anything bad with this game?
Well, here's the game's first (and maybe only) flaw. This game has a very high level of difficulty. All beginners will lose their first ten matches…GUARANTEED! You have to be very good with that Genesis controller to be successful in this game. But you know, I don't like to end on a bad note, so I'll go over the best part of the gameplay next.
If you think Mortal Kombat was gory, you obviously have not played Eternal Champions. With over thirty different ways to finish off your opponent, this game was on the cutting edge of gory. Believe me, this game really earned its "Mature" rating. Each character has their own personalized way of slaughtering their opponent, and those are celled "Vendettas." Then there are also "Sudden Deaths" and "Overkills," which utilize the stages' own hazards to murder the victim. And finally, there are the vicious "Cinekills," which are the most gruesome fatalities, and the hardest to perform. Some examples of these numerous fatalities are being feasted on by lions and sharks, getting thrown into blazing infernos and industrial-size fans, and being obliterated by lasers, clubs, and man-killing robots. And you thought just getting your head cut off was gruesome.
The controls are as good as is possible with the lousy Genesis controller. But this game absolutely, positively, must be played with a six-button controller. Playing with a three-button controller is like playing Quake or Unreal Tournament on the PC with a joystick. Okay, maybe not that bad, but you'll be at a serious disadvantage with that three-button controller. You'll have to always press the Start button just to toggle between punches and kicks. Not only does this make impossible to perform some of the more advanced moves and combos, but also some of the glorious fatalities will be inaccessible.
With a six-button controller, you have the potential to unleash endless rampage and chaos. The X, Y, and Z buttons are all used for punching, while the A, B, and C buttons are all used for kicking. But making your own combination of punches and kicks is what gives the users of six-button controllers a big advantage. And you'll want all the help you can get in this game.
Replay value? This game has tons of replay value! Can't you tell? Trying out each and every one of the Tournament modes can take up a lot of your time, and it's not a bad way to spend it. There's also unlocking the eleven hidden characters, and that can take a very long time. (But I'm sure you can find the codes somewhere on the Internet if you want them.) Then there's completing the Story mode with each character just to find out what happens to them after they win the tournament. And finally, there's just playing the game for the fun of it. I mean, come on. Who doesn't find engaging in grueling battles and ending them by being munched on by a dinosaur fun? Not me.
Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is the ultimate innovator of bloody and gory fighting games. But without all of the killing and vicious violence, this is still a very excellent game. With around twenty different game modes, very intriguing story lines, beautiful graphics, and the best sound track I have ever heard for a video game, this game is the god of all fighting games. Now if it only hadn't been released on the Sega CD…
Community review by cdbavg400 (November 15, 2004)
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