That... is some piss-poor game box art for the CD game, right there. Like "Mega Man 1" bad.ETERNAL CHAMPIONS:Eternal Champions
is a now-pretty-obscure Fighting Game that debuted in 1993 for the Sega Genesis console. It was actually a Sega of America deal, making it not only one of very few American-made Fighting Games, but the only title developed exclusively for a home console instead of coming out in the arcades first. Since Fighting Games, as I've gone into before, was HUGE in the early 1990s, it was a match made in heaven, and they scooped loads and loads of stuff from Mortal Kombat
, then pushed it FURTHER, creating a game that was quite well-liked.
The core plotline of EC
is actually REALLY, REALLY brilliant- in a genre where the plot is generally "There's a tournament and these guys are fighting in it for stuff, and sometimes one wants money to start a restaurant", this DEFINITELY stands out. Basically, a whole ton of people throughout time, originally destined for greatness, have suffered unjust deaths, and they have been gathered together by The Eternal Champion, a cosmic balance-checker. They will fight in a tournament, with the victor being allowed to return to life- coming back at the moment of their demise, righting the wrong, and going on to improve the world with their new lease on life. Since EVERY CHARACTER now has this amazing motivation, and some actually interesting stories going in, it really makes the game shine.
The game is a Street Fighter
-like "Six-Button" configuration of increasing levels of attacks- light, medium and hard, using Punches and Kicks, naturally. The Special Moves are done in the Mortal Kombat
style of pushing buttons, not using sweeping motions. Similar to Art of Fighting
, characters have a "Special Attack Meter" that drains the more they use Special Moves (a Taunt move by the enemy can reduce his opponent's meter as well), meaning that you get punished for spamming. This was designed for balance, but allowed the characters with the most dynamic "regular" attacks to dominate, or people to just turtle up and build their Special Meters. Also, the computer didn't have to use a Special Meter.
The game ripped off MK
's Fatalities, but also used Stage-Specific finishers called Overkills. And man... if you think MK
is disturbing, you ain't seen NOTHING. That's all over-the-top explosions and slicing stuff up- Eternal Champions
featured disturbingly-realistic death scenes that saw people being cut to ribbons, people dissolving in boiling pots only to reveal a shuddering and fleshy skeleton, people being shot and bleeding out, and more. This stuff was like freaking Faces of Death
Seriously, I'm not kidding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQlXJl_zf3Q
(the full set of Stage Fatalities. Check the shots of the shuddering skeletons coming out of melting pools of stuff!)
The A.I. was NOTORIOUS in this game- characters routinely had picture-perfect application of moves, could spam out attacks, and were basically 100% perfect blockers who would simply turtle up and then hit you the EXACT moment the game realized your guard would be down. This game was FREAKING TOUGH, to a level that even fans of difficult fighters felt it was too rough on people. It has the sad side effect of making YouTube Playthroughs of the game REALLY FREAKING BORING to watch, as it's just got five-minute matches of someone pounding away at a blocking opponent. It was also one of the very few games designed for the infamous Sega Activator, a piece of crap gaming appliance that had you punching & kicking in a big circle to activate the moves on-screen. It was probably about twenty years ahead of its time, and that tends to make the results pretty ugly.
The game was actually quite popular, enough to get two spin-offs (Shadow Syndicate
, a Game Gear game featuring Larcen Tyler in 1920s Chicago, and a Genesis game - X-Perts
- featuring Shadow... both were utterly, utterly horrible side-scrollers beyond all reproach) and a sequel- Eternal Champions: Challenge From the Dark Side
for the Sega-CD. The sequel is considered MUCH better, creating some cool new characters, many MORE horrible fatalities (including Cine-Kills, which have the opponent killed by The Dark Champion- the new boss- in some horrifying way via Full Motion Video, then the big deal in gaming), and generally improving the A.I. A sequel for the Sega Saturn was planned, but nixed by Sega of Japan of all people, who were concerned about too many fighters taking away focus from their Virtua Fighter
game on the system.The Roster:
Shadow- Main Character of sorts, an assassin.
R.A.X.- Killer cyborg professional fighter.
Jetta- a Russian circus acrobat.
Trident- Atlantean Gladiator.
Midknight- Vampire with a soul.
Larcen Tyler- Chicago hitman from the '20s.
Johnathan Blade- Future cop.
Xavier Pendragon- Salem "witch" (actually a scientist) wrongly burned at the stake.
The Eternal Champion- Cosmic agent of balance, who will fight the winner of the Tournament for their second chance.Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side brought:
Riptide- Lady pirate.
Ramses III- Slain Pharaoh.
Dawson- Scottish Wild West Cowboy.
The Senator- A piss-take of Joseph Lieberman, the senator who focused on destroying violent video games. His fighting style is "Dishonesty".
Raven- Voodoo Priestess.
Chin Wo- Acupuncturist warrior.
Thanatos- The Greek God of Death, who has lost his power.
Blast- Vietnam vet.
The Animals- Joke characters who are actually fighting animals- Hooter (owl), Yappy (dog), Crispy (chicken), Zuni (monkey) and Slither (snake).
The Dark Champion- An evil counterpart to The Eternal Champion.
The roster is actually quite varied and cool, though iffy Genesis graphics meant that most of them were a bit "pixelated" (think late '90s internet porn but worse), and their designs weren't really all that dynamic. Few were outright villainous, as everyone here has the chance to improve the world somehow by coming back to life. They also have the most ludicrous fighting styles imaginable, with real-world martial arts being given to people thousands of miles, and even MILLENIA, away from the creation of said fighting styles (they had capoeria in 110 BC? In ATLANTIS?). There's nineteen characters in total, plus five Joke Character Animals (who I will naturally also be statting, because Crispy the Martial Artist Chicken is awesome).The Moves:
The "Special Attack Meter" is kind of hard to figure out in M&M terms, so I would just assume you punish some players for over-doing the Special Moves, and if they do more than 3-4 of them close together, the next time they try it, it won't work. It will regenerate naturally over time (particularly during Defensive Actions). The moves are DECIDEDLY unique for a Fighting Game, though- there's your average Blasts & Multiattack close shots, but there's a ton of Stun effects, powers that Nullify Projectiles, speed up the clock, slow down other fighters, and someone can even go INSUBSTANTIAL for a period of time! This makes Eternal Champions MUCH more fun to build than World Heroes, Mortal Kombatants or even World Warriors. Some of them require entirely new ways of thinking about certain powers! The Power Levels should average around PL 8- most characters seem more or less on the same level. This means that most Eternal Champions are about on the level of a forgettable Mortal Kombatant, any World Hero, or one of the Lee Brothers from Double Dragon
Similar to Mortal Kombat
, there are "Fatalities" called "Overkills", as well as other Fatalities based off of the different Stages- you can knock people into Lion Cages, have them shot in a Drive-By, or throw them into a cannibal's cooking pot. It's actually a bit easier to fix this into M&M terms, since pen & paper RPGs allow you to use the area of battle in a way that most Fighting Games can't approximate- why NOT just throw your opponent into a Neon Sign in a real fight?