Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side - Sega Mega CD - 1995
You know there is an alternate universe in where Eternal Champions is Sega’s flagship one on one fighting game and Virtua Fighter no longer exists. Hey I am not hating on Virtua Fighter, but that game is a huge reason why the awesome Eternal Champions series never made it past two titles. Well that and Sega’s stupid business decisions.
Eternal Champions started life on the Sega Mega Drive. And it was Sega’s way of trying to get in on the one on one fighting craze that was sweeping the gaming world at the time. On the Sega Mega Drive Eternal Champions was a very ambitious game that really did push the console to the limits. Many people see it as a half assed Street Fighter clone, but this is so unfair because in its own right it was a great game. A great game that was made even better when this sequel was released on the Mega CD in 1995.
Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side is a beat em up similar to Street Fighter II. You have at your disposal a huge (for the time) roster of characters. The Mega Drive game had only 9 characters and this one more than doubled it.
One of the things that really got me into this series was the diversity of the characters. You see the idea is that people have been chosen from all different periods of history to take part in a fighting tournament to see who will get a new life. Ok there is more to the actual story than that, but you really have to play the game to get into it. You have a caveman and a character from 2345 and people from everywhere in between. They are very well designed an animated.
The game play is like that of Street Fighter where you have six different attacks. Each character also has a range of special moves. There are numerous finishing moves similar to Mortal Kombat’s fatalities as well. One thing though that is different from Street Fighter is that you have a special meter. Each time you use a special move the meter will deplete. So this forces you to think about what you do. So you could not just stand on the far side of the screen and fire off loads of projectiles. Many people said this was one of the games downfalls, but I disagree.
There was going to be a third game in this franchise released for the Sega Saturn, but Sega decided to can the game because it would be better to just focus on one fighting franchise. Another very strange no actually another stupid decision from Sega during this era. I would have loved to have seen what this series could have become on the Sega Saturn.
Eternal Champions is a great game and the Mega Drive version is easier to track down and truth be told that is great, but if you have a Mega CD then I cannot recommend this game highly enough. You know I actually think this is my favourite game for the Mega CD.