Retro Review: Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside

21 April 2008 | retro gaming,retro review | Tags: ,

“Nine of the greatest fighters throughout history have met untimely and unjust deaths. They now compete against each other for a chance to face the “Eternal Champion” and reclaim their souls. The victor will return to Earth with the chance to avenge his or her own death and restore balance to the universe.”

That quote pretty much sums up the story for the original and the sequel to Sega’s internally developed Fighting Game. Eternal Champions was created to capitalize on the success of Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, Mortal Kombat and all the other fighting games in the early 90s. Despite this, the first Eternal Champions did a good job taking the mythology and tone of Mortal Kombat and mixing it with pixel drawn characters a la Street Fighter. The first game was decent, but the sequel was a winner.

The first Eternal Champions offered easy to execute special moves, but these moves were restricted by a special move meter. The gameplay was also slow and there were limited characters to choose from. The sequel introduced combos, a less stringent special meter, a ton of new characters (resulting in 25 total), better sound, 3 types of finishing moves, secret characters, Easter eggs, and more. It’s a shame the Sega CD was a dud and that this game came late in its life cycle. It was a gem that deserved to be played.

Back then: 90%

To this day, Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is still an under appreciated title that many people did not play. While the mediocre original garnered some attention with a Wii Console release, Challenge from the Dark Side is definitely too violent to make it onto the Wii. That’s a shame since the sequel is superior. Eternal Champions 2 is still fun today. The game is a little slow for fighting game standards, but the art style, gameplay, animation and special attacks are pretty unique to the slew of other fighters of the generation. Even to this day, Eternal Champions CD stands up as a good fighter worthy of playing. I can only hope that it gets a more widespread release so that more people can experience this Mortal Kombat themed game with Street Fighter-esque controls.

Verdict: 85%

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