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Eternal Champions CD: What Did Critics Say Back in 1995?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 24, 2014   |   Episode 99 (Show Archive)  


Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Darkside (Sega CD)
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!

Critics were decidedly mixed when it came to Eternal Champions on Genesis. While some loved Sega's fighting game, many were disappointed. The Sega CD sequel fixed many of the problems, while also adding loads of content, new music and buckets of blood. Did these changes lead to critics finally falling in love with this series? We dig through old issues of Game Players, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Mean Machines Sega, GamePro and Next Generation 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: Challenge from the Darkside
[ Company: Sega | Console: Sega CD ]

GAME PLAYERS (February 1995)
95% out of 100%

"Sega's follow up to its top of the line fighting game is an absolute scream! Its designers have finally figured out what a CD is for -- storage! Not only does the game include all the original characters, it gives them new moves, then adds four new characters, then sticks in nine hidden characters, all of whom can be player controlled. They've made a great game better, then put in enough violence to make people notice. Incredible game!" -Jeff Lundrigan

87% out of 100%

"Despite the strenuous effort of Sega, this still fails to have the panache of Streetfighter or MK2. Mortal Kombat 2 especially moved the genre on in a way that makes Eternal Champions look dated. But the game plays quite well, if a little sluggishly, and there's tons of features crammed in. It's probably the best Mega-CD game of the year to date." -Gus

4 out of 5

"It's about time somebody figured out what CD-ROM was good for: not video, not sound, but storage! Eternal Champions for Genesis is a cut-above-average fighting title, hampered mostly by an over-reliance on 'charge' moves, which slows the pace. But the CD version improves the fighting system and picks up the pace, then pulls out all the stops and throws in every kind of extra. Very cool."

7.5 out of 10

"Eternal Champions CD is simply a hodgepodge of fatalities strewn across a poor fighting game. The graphics aren't all that good, especially with the color limitations of the CD. The audio certainly doesn't fit at all. The control feels way too loose, just like the cart game. Sega has concentrated on gory and flashy kills rather than a solid game. Even though this is one of the few Sega CD games around, I would pass this game up. It's not put together well." -Ed Semrad

GAMEPRO (August 1995)
3.5 out of 5

"This challenge for the Eternal Champions indeed comes from the Dark Side with ghoulishcinemas to show your demise. Otherwise, it's pretty standard one-on-one fighting. With all that's packed into EC, players will probably be hunting a long time to find everything. Yet instead of taking us to the next level, EC has merely taken us to a different part of the same one." -Major Mike

5 out of 10

"This game has a ton of options that really do add its appeal. However, the game play is sluggish and falls short for a good fighting game. Also, the graphics really lack in color giving the whole game a dreary appearance. The "fatalities" are gory but almost laughable. They are overdone and not strong enough to carry this game. There may be only a few CD games out but this one is not my recommendation. The look and feel is nothing to be desired." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 72% - Just like the original on the Sega Genesis, Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side was a deeply polarizing game. A few magazines loved it Game Players noted that Sega "made a great game better, then put in enough violence to make people notice." Mean Machines Sega also enjoyed the game, saying that it's "probably the best Mega-CD game of the year to date." Then again, this was February of 1995, so maybe that doesn't mean much.

On the other hand, many magazines were disappointed by Challenge from the Dark Side. "The look and feel is nothing to be desired, concluded the fighting game-loving Sushi-X. EGM's Ed Semrad echoed a lot of Sushi's complaints, adding that "the graphics aren't all that good, especially with the color limitations of the CD." Even GamePro's Major Mike sounds like he's ready to bail on the game at any second.

There is one thing the critics got right, and that's the commentary about CD-ROM technology. Both Next Generation and Game Players highlighted that CDs should be used to hold more information, not fancy full-motion video and music. Even with these compliments, this Sega CD follow-up only managed to average 72%, exactly the same score as the Sega Genesis original.

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: Celebrate the 100th Review Crew with a very special episode looking at the best and worst games, answering reader questions and ranking every game in order from best reviewed to worst. It took us this long to get to episode 100, so the least you can do is tune in this Friday for a unique new episode of Review Crew. 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!

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