Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Review Crew
Eternal Champions: What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 22, 2014   |   Episode 98 (Show Archive)  


Eternal Champions (Sega Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Before striking gold in the arcades with Virtua Fighter, Sega developed a 2D fighting game inspired by the likes of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Eternal Champions was hyped up as the next big thing, but didn't capture the attention of gamers quite like the competition. Did critics enjoy this time traveling fighting game, or did Eternal Champions get knocked out in the first round? We dig through old issues of GamePro, Mean Machines Sega, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Video Games, Die Hard Game Fan, Official Sega Magazine and Game Informer for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Eternal Champions
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (January 1994)
5 out of 5

"The inevitable comparison between this fighting cart and MK or SFII will rage on for months, but if you crave furious fist-fighting , none-stop action and lush, lively graphics, then don't miss out on Eternal Champions. Buy yourself a six-button controller and get this cart, then sit back and kick some butt. The fight could go on ... eternally." -Scary Larry

97% out of 100%

"Here's Sega's answer to Streetfighter II, and what a tasty reply it is. Featuring brill graphics, stunning animation, oodles of different play modes and superb, highly challenging and addictive gameplay, this really is a classy beat 'em up. But fabulous though Eternal Champions is, there is a down side - its exorbitant price tag. I really think the 60 is far, far too much for any game, no matter what it is, how good it is or how big its memory is." -Jaz

95% out of 100%

"If someone told me that a beat 'em up had been created to compare with the mighty Street Fighter II, I'd have laughed in their faces. However, here it is. Eternal Champions is utterly superb - the characters are great and learning them all takes ages. The only thing that isn't so good is the music - the effects are great though. Overall, this is a superlative product - better than SFII in one-player mode and compares favourably with two players at the console." -Richard Leadbetter

GAME INFORMER (January 1994)
9.25 out of 10

"Eternal Champions has it all: Tournament, Training and Battle modes ... it's all here and it's all killer. The characters are big against cool backgrounds. My only complaint with the graphics is the lack of definition of the faces. The tunes are cool, but the megs should have been spent on the effects which need help. While it doesn't take out SF2 Turbo, it puts a strong hold on second place and is a must-have for fight fans." -Andy, The Game Hombre

8 out of 10

"Eternal Champions really got a lot of hype. Now that I've been able to play it, I find that it is a very deep and complex fighting game. I mean, the options are almost endless. While the graphics are characters don't have the 'sparkle' that SF2 and MK characters have, nevertheless, they add to the sense of mystery in the game. Good moves, great action and decent control add up to one of the better fighting games." -Ed Semrad

GAME INFORMER (January 1994)
8 out of 10

"I like that Eternal Champions has a very different appearance than SF2 or Mortal Kombat. The characters are "killer" in more ways than one. I enjoy them all but especially Larcen, whose trench coat is way-cool. Eternal Champions has enough different aspects to make it a great addition to your game library, yet I still recommend SF2 Turbo and Mortal Kombat." -Rick, The Video Ranger

DIE HARD GAME FAN (December 1993)
78% out of 100%

"I don't think Capcom will have to worry much about Sega's 'SF 2 killer' because EC isn't even in the same galaxy as Street Fighter. I have to admit that the animation on the characters is very nice but the graphics are real grainy and the music? Let's just say "silence is golden". Balance problems? You want balance problems? You get only one chance at the boss, yet can beat everybody else by taking off some energy and backing off or simply repeating moves." -K. Lee

DIE HARD GAME FAN (December 1993)
70% out of 100%

"Eternal Champions is sort of a let down. Forget all the hype because this fighter is just about average. What's impressive about this game is the size and animation of the characters, but that, unfortunately, is about it. The moves are boring and the use of the spirit meter detracts from the game instead of adding to it. What I'm wondering is where did the 24 meg go?" -The Enquirer

VIDEO GAMES (February 1994)
5 out of 10

"THEY THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING! It seems to me that Eternal Champions was callously designed by the sales and marketing department, with a solid creative team left out of the loop. This becomes very apparent when reading the character profiles -- everything seems too well thought out. If there's such a thing as a spirit to a video game, it's missing here. I'll be taking my battles elsewhere." -Chris Gore

5 out of 10

"I must admit, I was very disappointed with Eternal Champions. The graphics are not up to par, the sounds need work and the characters aren't exciting. Practically all of their moves are charge moves, which get old after a while. With all of the hype surrounding this game, I was expecting much, much more. More time was apparently spent on background animations, than on game play." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 72% - These scores are all over the place. Opinions ranged from the Official Sega Magazine calling Eternal Champions "better than Street Fighter II" to Video Games magazine suggesting that it was "callously designed by the sales department, with a solid creative team left out of the loop." Who knew Sega's 2D fighting game would be so polarizing?

For the most part, UK-based critics fell in love with Eternal Champions. Both Mean Machines Sega and the Official Sega Magazine gave the game close to perfect scores. Some American critics also enjoyed the game, such as GamePro ("Buy yourself a six-button controller and get this cart, then sit back and kick some butt") and Game Informer ("Eternal Champions has it all").

On the other hand, many critics felt Sega's fighter didn't stack up. None of the Die Hard Game Fan writers seemed especially impressed with Eternal Champions. "Forget all the hype because this fighter is just about average," concluded The Enquirer. And then there's Ed Semrad, who argued that the characters didn't "sparkle" like the fighters in Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Definitive proof that. Mortal Kombat is the Twlight of video games.

With scores ranging from 50% to 100%, it shouldn't surprise anybody that the average sits at 72%. There were definitely critics that loved Eternal Champions, but there were just as many recommending spending your money elsewhere.

ETERNAL CHAMPIONS vs. STREET FIGHTER II: With Sega making direct comparisons to Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, you can't blame critics for drawing a line between the fighters. But how did Eternal Champions compare? As we determined above, Sega's 2D fighter averaged a ho-hum 72%. That's down significantly from Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition's impressive 89% average. Eternal Champions didn't fare much better against the other super-bloody fighter, as Mortal Kombat averaged 87% on the Genesis.

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: After reading these reviews, you might think that Eternal Champions doomed to be a one-hit wonder. But you would be wrong, because Sega published a follow-up for their 16-bit CD add-on. Did critics like Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side more than the original Genesis version? Find out on Wednesday when Review Crew tackles the Eternal Champions sequel. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

Brand New Episodes Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!



Did Critics Like Duck Tales in 1989?

From Night Trap to Corpse Killer!



Missile Cards

The Crow's Eye

comments powered by Disqus