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Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside

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Released: 1992

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Sega CD/Mega CD

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega Interactive Developer Division

Submitted by: Mark Bartholomew

When the original Eternal Champions hit Sega's Megadrive back in the early 90's, many were riding high on the wave of anticipation that the game would be Street Fighter 2's successor, and even though the game itself wasn't as polished as Capcom's classic brawler, it still garnered a place in many a gamer's heart as a solid and fun beat 'em up.

Sega's original plan was to release a trilogy of games culminating in a 3rd (but ultimately never released) Saturn title, but history's archives only ever reveal the 2nd installment on the Mega CD.

As before in the first 'Champions, the game pits a menagerie of warriors, each snatched from different periods in time against each other, with the sole winner being granted an audience with the Eternal Champion and the chance to reclaim their life.
With Sega attempting to prove that their beat 'em up still had guts and glory, they went all out on presentation, new characters and interactive backgrounds……although mainly with the emphasise on "guts".

The game received an 18 rating upon its release due to the ludicrous amount of blood, gore, dismemberment and carnage on offer. Superbly detailed fatalities were the order of the day here, with there being at least 2 stage fatalities per level, one "Vendetta" per character and best of all, for the truly skilled players, FMV rendered death scenes (known as cinekills) involving the unlucky loser receiving punishment from the Eternal Champion himself.

Sadly, despite all the gore and solid fighting action on offer, the game suffered from cheap CPU characters (somehow still able to pull off special moves minus their full chi meter?!) and a very difficult last boss. Losing to the Champion also meant the end of the game. Frustrating indeed, when you lose out by a tiny sliver of health….

Still, what with games these days being 5 hour glossy graphic fests, I highly recommend you dig out a copy of this challenging brawler and take a blood splattered trip down memory lane. Mortal Kombat ain't got anything on this!!