One of my biggest peeves with games coverage is the tendency to throw previous generations under the bus. It happens all of the time, journalists flippantly referencing a game that was considered fantastic in its day suddenly being no worth anyone’s time. I think part of it is due to this need we all have to feel like the medium of gaming is constantly evolving; that the bar is constantly being raised. As you’d expect, you see this most often with the relics of the 8 and 16 bit era. As an adult, it is my obligation to tell you that Eternal Champions is a bad video game and that I was silly to have ever liked it.
Well… yes, I am a silly chap and Eternal Champions doesn’t really hold up, but it occupies such a special place in my heart that I didn’t really need it to. I suppose this makes me a victim of my dreaded nemesis Nostalgia, though even now, fumbling through the game long after I’d forgotten how to cheese the AI, I still think there’s something there. The character designs are pretty creativ- okay, I couldn’t actually finish typing that, but for a 90s fighting game, they’re better than most. Cavemen were (and still are) an untapped market and there weren’t any other games that allowed them to fight 30s detectives and erszaz-Psylockes.
In 93, that’s kinda all you needed to stand out, given that everyone else was trying to get that sweet digitized fighter money. Fair shakes to Eternal Champions for trying to meld the best parts of both Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, with the gameplay of the former and the cool finishers of the latter. I mean, it fails, but it tries, dammit. That’s more than could be said for Tattoo Assassins and Fighter’s History and any of the other also-rans of the time period. Eternal Champions is remembered a bit fondly, I’d like to think, and not just because the sequel involved you killing your opponent with full motion video.
Though it’s not in that same lofty tier as those that inspired it, as a Sega fan, I look at Eternal Champions the same way Nintendo fans used to look at Killer Instinct; as a flawed amalgamation of ideas that I felt some sort of loyalty to. Just like with KI, all it would really take is a re-imagining from someone with the reverence for the original games and the know-how to make them work in a modern context. I think it’s time someone stepped up and did exactly that.
No, not me. Someone that’s actually good at that stuff. I’ll just stand over here and demand someone do it until it happens. That’s how this works, right?