Versus Fighting by Master Sega
by Tibe (2013)
If the Genesis marked the era of 16-bit consoles, this is probably not due to its VS fighting games! Oh yes, there was indeed the ports of Street Fighter II, respectively in 'Champion Edition' and 'Super' versions, and more or less successful adaptations of the Neo Geo hits such as Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury. Nothing very original would you say? Nay! It would be quickly forgetting about one of the most daring attempts of the firm in a genre in which it was never too successful... Eternal Champions! Directed by an american team, the software tries to impose itself on the market, like Midway did with Mortal Kombat. Inspired by the latter for the gore and unhealthy side, by the X-Men comics for the design and by Street Fighter II for the game mechanics, let's see if this Sega title from Sega makes it to rivalize with the best fighting games ... or is about to sink forever into the oblivion of versus fighting!
The intro music and pitch of Eternal Champions are cool and put you in the mood: nine brave warriors from different eras had to accomplish a great destiny... but they died accidentally, leaving the evil take over. To restore the balance between good and evil, the Eternal Champion (a warrior spirit able of take human form) will choose between our heroes and only one will be brought back to life just before his death... Of course, you'll have to fight to be selected. You guessed it, the roster consists of nine characters plus the final boss, not selectable. These are not without reminding warriors already seen in other fighting games, or just heroes from Comics: Shadow looks uncannily like beautiful X-Men's Tornado, RAX is a pure and simple copy of Kano from Mortal Kombat, Jonathan Blade is a pumped version of Blade - simply! - aka Wesley Snipes ... There is Slash which is none other than the "Blanka" of the game, Xavier the mage, Jetta the amazon, an used Dick Tracy and of course the classic vampire guy. A very bizzare roster let's admit it... and about charisma of these characters, huh, not too much please!
On paper, the gameplay sounds pretty good: each character has three punch attacks and three kick attacks, throws, combos, special moves, and even fatalities related to the stage in which it's located: by finishing the opponent in the right way at the right place of the stage, the opponent might suffer a horrible death (stake, eaten alive, shredded, etc.). Eternal Champions sounds good, isn't it? Well, sit back, we're going to talk. First, on the six basic moves associated with the six buttons, a majority of these quickly shows ineffective. Indeed, the speed/range/power ratio is allowed randomly and for most of the characters, player might quickly use only two or three buttons. The combos have been designed for the 'casual gamers': this is a semi-automatic system that is used,summarizing in tapping the same button once combination initiated. Special moves? Guile fans will be served: all of the characters specials are performed with back charge, forehead or down charge, up... and combinations of two or three buttons. How technical! In the end, only the 'fatality' give the game an interest and enhance a little the fun factor, that was not the best.
I would prefer not to heap scorn on the ambulance, already in bad shape, but I now have to talk a little about the realization of the game. The graphics are not really 'ugly', but they often lack colors, inspiration, and probably a designer worthy of the name. Some backgrounds take their game, but this is still very poor. The characters are also pretty fucked up, going from passable (Shadow, Xavier) to totally grotesque (Blade, Slash). The animation is not the worst point of the app, with a nice game speed and a decomposition of move more than decent. The sound effects and musical themes are like the game, half pumped back, half botched. Eternal Champions gets away with a rate slightly above average, with a semblance of fun and a realization almost mediocre.
|We've already seen much better on the Genesis. Some stages are good, other one completely fucked up; most of the characters are a little 'special'...|
|It's clearly what the game has best. It's fast, decently animated and packs full of details everywhere.|
|Basics at will, musics are quickly forgotten. A major part of the sound effects are stolen from Stree Fighter II and some new ones, pretty bad, are added.|
|A nine-character roster, an impressive range of options and gaming modes, and above all versus games pretty fun with the 'fatalities': the replay value is one strong point in the game.|
|Totally botched: six buttons used but a majority of unefficient attacks, a dynamic but highly inaccurate action, a strongly unbalanced roster: not so good, Master Sega!|
|On VS fighting games, Master Sega is far from rivaling with Capcom and SNK: Eternal Champions, despite a few good ideas, is the demonstration of a farcical amateurism!|
SAME ON THE NEO?