Episode 5: Eternal Champions

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Eternal Champions Notes

Introduction: Sega interActive

Sega Interactive, formerly Interactive Designs, was a game development studio founded by Rod and Nancy Nakamoto in California (US) in 1984.  Near the end of 1992, Sega of America acquired Interactive Designs after utilizing all of its resources for more than a year. Over the next 4 years, the studio grew to more than 65 employees and the newly named Sega Interactive produced 26 SKUs. Sega Interactive generated total revenues exceeding $250 million. They developed titles such as Eternal Champions, which sold more than 2 million units, Star Wars Arcade, Garfield: Caught in the Act, Lose Your Marbles (which was included in Microsoft’s Windows 98 package), David Robinson Basketball, Sonic Spinball and many others.  (segaretro.org)

Before acquired by Sega, for nearly a decade, Interactive Designs developed games for clients including Electronic Arts, Activision, Sierra On-Line, Data East, Cinemaware, Capcom, NEC, SEGA of America, Disney and many others. They developed titles such as RoboCop (Apple II), Commando (Apple II), Ikari Warriors (PC), Victory Road (PC), Cabal (PC), Super Hang-On (PC), Power Drift (PC), Seven Cities of Gold (PC – new version), Defender of the Crown (PC), TaleSpin (TurboGrafix).  (mobygames.com)

 

Sega interActive Softography (mobygames.com)

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side (1995)
Garfield: Caught in the Act (1995)
Star Wars Arcade (1994)
NBA Action Starring David Robinson (1994)
Disney’s Bonkers (1994)
Seven Cities of Gold: Commemorative Edition (1993)
Sonic the Hedgehog: Spinball (1993)
Eternal Champions (1993)
Tom Mason’s Dinosaurs for Hire (1993)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1993)
Disney’s TaleSpin (1992)
Disney’s Darkwing Duck (1992)
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! (1992)
Disney’s TaleSpin (1991)
Cabal (1988)
RoboCop    (1988)

Eternal Champions – 1993 Sega, Sega Genesis

Genre: Fighting

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega interActive

Ports: Wii: Japan Virtual Console, Steam

Story:  

Welcome to my chamber. I am the Eternal Champion, keeper of this vast fighting complex. It exists in a place and time corrupted by centuries of misuse and destruction.

My purpose in this grand scheme is to maintain the balance between good and evil, light and darkness, hope and despair.

Now this balance has been lost and the very fabric that holds the world together will be torn apart.

Your future, my present, has been destroyed by a cruel and unjust twist of fate.

Nine individuals from various periods in time were killed before their lives could affect this dark existence.

I have observed each of their short lives and have been powerless to stop the chaos.

I have spent the centuries harnessing my own power for this very moment. I am the pure and untouched

energy of all the great martial arts masters that have lived before me. Their skill, wisdom, knowledge, and inner-strength are at my command.

Even with the force of their collective powers, I can only reward one of the nine individuals with the gift of life. Any of them can have an equally profound effect on the future. For this reason, the contest must take place.At the end of this contest, only one will remain. The victor will be returned to life a few seconds before his death, allowing him to avoid the past with the knowledge to change the future.

Only one may live so that the balance may be achieved.

Let the contest begin…

(segaretro.org)

Production Credits

Source: In-game credits (segaretro.org)

 

  • Artists: David C. Russ, William Kier, Maureen Kringen, Art Wong, Kevin Lee, Rachel Wong Coleman, Steve Knotts, Larry Flores
  • Music Composers: DMP Entertainment, Joe Delia, John Hart, Jeff Marsh

 

Notable Releases in 1993 (wiki):

Arcade

Home

 

Characters (hardcoregaming101.net)

Shadow Yamoto

A female ninja who uses (surprisingly) Ninjitsu as her fighting style. Formerly a corporate assassin, she had a change of heart and was pushed off of a skyscraper by her employers for it. She uses many ninja weapons and techniques, including several projectiles like knives, shurikens, and smoke bombs. The closest thing to a main character in the series, she ended up getting a game of her own called X-Perts. It was terrible.

Trident

An Atlantean gladiator and some kind of fish man who uses Capoeira. How the ancient Atlanteans learned Capoeira, which originated in Brazil, I don’t know. Trident ended up getting killed in a rigged fight with a Roman gladiator, which led to his society being trapped undersea forever. Trident, so named for the hook he has for one of his hands, is one of the cheapest characters in the game with the sheer amount of moves he has that stuns opponents.

Jetta Max

A circus performer who uses a mix of Savate and Pencak Silat. She had her circus act staged to attempt to bring peace to China, sabotaged by rebels, which ended up killing her from the fall. As one of the game’s faster characters, she can roll into a ball, Blanka-style, as well as make herself vibrate, which somehow causes her to move even faster.

Xavier Pendragon

An alchemist who uses Hapkido Cane Fighting. He was burned at the stake due to the fact that his powers, based on science, were actually dark magic. To be fair, they had a point, since this guy can shoot a magic dragon out of his staff which can bite people, along with turning them to gold, and, in one of the weirdest moves in fighting game history, swap characters with his opponent.

Midknight

A vampire who uses Jeet Kune Do. Formerly a scientist commissioned to create a biochemical weapon to end the Vietnam War, he ended up falling into a vat of his own formula after having a change of heart. The mixture somehow turned him into a vampire, with hypnotism powers and all. Then he ended up getting staked by a government agent 133 years later.

R.A.X. Coswell

A cyborg Muay Thai kickboxer. Ended up killed by a virus implanted by his manager, who bet on another fighter. He plans to return kickboxing to its human roots if he wins the tournament. Aside from his kickboxing moves, he can use his cybernetic enhancements to fly across the screen and shoot lasers from his eyes. Why he wants an end to that, I don’t know.

Jonathan Blade

A bounty hunter who uses Kempo. He was sent by the government to capture a rogue scientist, who carried a virus that would kill 99% of the world’s population. Before he could negotiate a peaceful solution with the scientist, the government killed him, causing the vial to shatter across the ground… So, you think that the guy who would save the entire world from dying would get priority over everybody else, but apparently not.

Larcen Tyler

A cat burglar working for the mob, who uses Mantis Style Kung Fu. He was sent to deliver a package to the chief of police, however, it turned out the package had a bomb inside it, and Larcen ended up blowing himself up as well. He comes with a set of tools he uses in combat, like a grappling hook and a pair of spiked knuckles, that let him crawl across the ceiling. He also got his own game for the Game Gear called Chicago Syndicate. It too was terrible. Honestly, he is probably the best character in the game, since he’s basically a mutant blender mix of a 1920s gangster, Vega, and Batman.

Slash

A caveman who uses… well, it’s not technically a fighting style, but the game calls it Pain. He uses a big club, which he can use to bat away projectiles along with smacking opponents around. He was stoned to death by other cavemen because they didn’t like his ideas. To be honest, compared to the vampire, Slash is just boring. Also, if he’s carrying a blunt object, why is he called Slash?

Eternal Champion

The mystical being that brought everybody together; can resurrect the dead, but for some reason, only once. Looks like Dr. Manhattan stole Geese Howard’s clothes.

 

Controls

The game can be played with a three button Gamepad but a six button gamepad is recommended.

Kicks

 

  • Snap (Weak Kick)
  • Thrust (Medium Kick)
  • Wheel (Strong Kick)

 

Punches

 

  • Straight (Weak Punch)
  • Lunge (Medium Punch)
  • Swing (Strong Punch)

 

Other controls

 

  • Pause game
  • Jump
  • Crouch
  • Move forward or backward depending upon the direction the characters are facing
  • Move forward or backward depending upon the direction the characters are facing
  • or in the opposite direction of the one the character is currently facing while opponent is attacking to do a Block

 

Taunt

Each Character has a taunt. Taunts decrease some of the user’s Inner Strength to decrease the opponent’s Inner Strength by an even larger amount. Activated with +

 

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side – 1995 Sega, Sega CD

Genre: Fighting

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega interActive

Ports: Wii: N/A

Story:  

Like the first game, Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side follows the story of the Eternal Champion, who felt the balance of the universe and time had been disturbed by the deaths of key individuals who had been destined to change the world for the greater good. To restore the balance, he held a great contest in which the winner would be granted the gift of new life, allowing them to fulfill their rightful destiny.

In this second chapter, it is revealed that the Eternal Champion has an evil counterpart: the Dark Champion. The Dark Champion appears and declares that he also will enter the contest, and that he has hidden four more warriors, preventing the contest from truly being fulfilled. The contestants must not only achieve the aims of the Eternal Champion but also face the Dark Champion, if they want their lives back.  (wiki)

Production Credits

Source: In-game credits (mobygames.com)

Lead Programmer John Kuwaye
Programmers Hideki A. Ikeda, Ala D. Diaz, Frank E. Lucero, Steven Lashower
Engine Programmers Christopher Warner, Michael Terlecki, Kevin Burley
Lead Artist David C. Russ
Animator David C. Russ
Artists William Kier, Steve Knotts, Art Wong, Kevin Lee, Kich Thien Ma
3D Artists Herman Cheng, Stephen McClure , D. A. Ruffolo
Designer Michael Latham
Executive Producer Michael Latham
Producer John C. Brandstetter
Assistant Producer Erik Wahlberg
Technical Director Michael Terlecki
Technical Support Hooell Monleon, James T. Tomasko
Music Director Tristan des Prés
Music Composition Tristan des Prés

 

Cinepak Sound Effects Tristan des Prés, Jeffrey Glenn Tveraas
Guitars Jeff Snider
Drums & Percussion Calvin Lakin
Game Sound Effects Tristan des Prés, David Delia, James Dobson, Jeffrey Glenn Tveraas
Audio Programming James Dobson
Voice Actors DMP Studios, Jeffrey Glenn Tveraas, David Delia, Carolyn des Pres, James Dobson
Cinematic Sequences by Kronos
Cinematography Albert Co
Senior Animator Francis Co
2nd Unit Animator Andy Koo
Backgrounds Stanley Lui, Larry Paolicelli, Ernie Kinard

 

Notable Releases in 1995:

 

New Characters  (segaretro.org)

The Dark Eternal Champion was born after the Eternal. As a result, he had an advantage. While he was aware of the Eternal’s existence, the Eternal was not aware of his. He used this knowledge to speed through time ahead of the Eternal and hide four champions from the Eternal and hide them away. Without these, the contest would just repeat itself over and over.

 

  • Ramses III A pharaoh from 151 B.C.. He has a fear of water. His murderer pushed him off of a cliff into the Nile river and he drowns to death.
  • Riptide A famous female pirate from 1566 A.D. She steals treasure from a greedy pirate and is killed for it. However, what makes this a problem is that the pirate goes to where her family lives and kills and robs them out of revenge. Certain art works were stolen that would have otherwise changed the world. However, their disappearance resulted in the knowledge not being attainable or known.
  • Raven Gindar A Voodoo priestess from 1802 A.D.. She had power over time and aging but was blind to her own dark fate when the spell was reversed on her by an evil witch doctor. The result of the spell rejuvenated his severely decrepit and wrinkled body and killed Raven in the process.
  • Dawson McShane A cowboy from 1849 A.D. Old West. A lone wolf with a taste for gold and an eye for justice. He is hanged by the town’s local group of outlaws after capturing one to take to court. Dawson originally was planned for the first Eternal Champions game but was scrapped due to ROM limits.
  • Eternal Champion 2 is not a new more powerful version of the Eternal. Eternal Champion 2 is the Eternal with new animal abilities that were created to use against the Dark Eternal Champion. These new forms are the Millipede, Unicorn, Elephant, and the Electric Eel.
  • The Dark Eternal Champion is the exact opposite of what the Eternal stands for. He is determined to make sure evil is never destroyed. He uses his opponent’s fears against them and kills them with the said fears. When in a fight, he can call upon the destructive forces of nature such as Meteor Showers, Tsunamis, Hurricanes, and Tornados. He actually has two versions like the Eternal but only one of these forms is unlockable for play in duel mode due to his second version having devastatingly powerful and game breaking attacks.

 

Secret Characters

In addition to the ones above, there are other characters that are unlocked by special means. (or through in game cheats if the player wants to be lazy.) Three of the characters are not listed because they are already listed above. However, the ones above are as played by the computer. They are the Eternal 1, Eternal 2, and Dark Eternal Champion. They can only be played as in duel mode however. Many of the secret characters are animals. As a result, they are unaffected by Overkills, Sudden Deaths, and Vendettas. The Eternals are all also invulnerable to the finishing moves as well. However, the animal characters and Eternals may trigger Overkills, Sudden Deaths, and Cinekills on human opponents. (though secret characters all lack Cinekills)

 

  • Crispy A chicken who died in 1967 A.D.. He vowed he would never become part of the dinner table without a fight. He practiced Egg Fu, an ancient barnyard martial art. He was killed while attempting to rescue some other Chickens from becoming someone else’s dinner. Clearly this character is a joke but his size and attacking style make him somewhat more formidable than some of the other animal characters. He shares the same stage with both playable versions of the Eternal, the Dark Champion, and Blast.
  • Slither A pet snake of the owner of a bar from the Old West of 1820 A.D called the Snake Bite.. He picked up his brawling martial art, brawling from seeing bar fights. he was the Bar owner’s favorite pet and was raised from a baby and treated like a son by the bar owner. Once Slither got bigger, he helped maintain order in the bar and could take on a whole barroom if necessary. He is killed while trying to stop an outlaw with a gun from robbing the register late at night. The last image he remembers was the bar owner taking a shot from the criminal between the eyes before dying. His stage is the same one as Dawson’s.
  • Thanatos Originally the Greek God of Death, he dwelt with his brother, Hypnos (Sleep) in the Underworld. He operated at his post until 1692 A.D., when during a routine pick up of a soul he was confronted by a force that was neither good, nor evil. This force seemed to exist in an indescribable middle that gave it powers that Thanatos was no match for. This force turned him into a mortal named Vespian, a mortal that was thought to be a warlock and was hence killed during the witch hunts of Salem. The force then took his post as god of death and has been performing the role ever since. This force changes the rules of death and taking lives that aren’t meant to be taken. He uses edited and recolored versions of Xavier’s sprites as well as his stage too.
  • Hooter This owl is the familiar of Thanatos’ human form, Vespian. When Vespian was killed, Hooter spent all of his time observing the witch burnings, hoping he would gain revenge on the closed minded people that continued to this cruel act. One of the fanatics noticed that Hooter was always around when the witch burnings were occurring. This fanatic captured Hooter after a witch burning and threw him into the still burning fires of the warlock they had just killed. Like Thanatos, Hooter shares his stage with Xavier.
  • Zuni A circus performer monkey from 1902 A.D. at the Blue Dragon Circus. One day, Zuni noticed a gas lamp had tipped over and started a fire near the edge of the circus tent. Zuni tried to cross over to his trainer but was unable to make it because while trying to make it past the flames, he was accidentally stepped on by a circus elephant. The crowd was horrified by this turn of events so much that they did not see the fire that broke out of control, burning down the tent and killing everyone. He shares the same stage as Jetta.
  • Chin Wo An acupuncturist from China in the year 1815 A.D. who practiced Monkey Kung Fu. Chin Wo was one of the best fighters in China but spent most of his time healing. One day the cousin of the ruling class challenged Chin Wo to a fight. Chin refused knowing that if he won the fight it would surely mean his death. Being a pround man, Chin wouldn’t lose either. This left him with only one choice which was not to fight. The cousin made life very hard for Chin but he wouldn’t budge on his decision. Finally the cousin killed an innocent street beggar and framed Chin for it. The cousin promised to drop the charges if Chin fought him. Seeing death in either situation, Chin chose to take the charges for the murder rather than give the cousin what he desired. He was beheaded in a public execution as a result. Chin Wo was planned for the first Eternal Champions game but was scrapped due to ROM limits.
  • Yappy A Shi Tzu dog that once lived a life of luxury in the year of 1995 A.D.. He was owned by a rich woman who lived in a penthouse in New York City. When she passed away, she willed that her fortune be used to keep Yappy living in the same style that he was used to. An evil relative instead threw yappy out onto the street and took the money for herself. It was street life that gave Yappy his hard edge. He was killed while attempting to get revenge on the evil relative by chewing on her car’s break line. Unfortunately, Yappy was crushed when the car slipped out of gear and rolled over him. Even though he is from New York City, Yappy strangely shares the same stage with Senator.
  • Senator A politician from Washington D.C. in the year 1995 A.D. that practiced that martial art of dishonesty. The Senator made a living by voting the ways of special interest groups and creating issues to make himself popular. He was surprised when he wasn’t supported by his party for reelection. He once voted for a human rights issue and his party was angry that humanity was considered above their personal profits. When he lost in a land slide election after losing millions of his own money, he died of a massive heart attack. His character’s sprites are actually edited Larcen Tyler sprites. Despite this, he is his own character with some unique attacks and animations. His character seems to be making fun of the politicians involved in the video game trials for some of the violent games of the 90’s since many politicians are often considered as corrupt as some video games.
  • Thomas ‘Blast’ Chavez Was a Green Beret soldier from 1955 A.D.. Blast was one of the first special forces agents to perform gun and weapon running to Vietnam. During this time, the U.S. was only supporting the French effort. Blast was a chopper pilot, tasked with the duty of making clandestine drops of weapons over enemy lines. Blast made many of these runs with a man named Redux. During his final run before being scheduled for service in the United States, he ran into trouble. His final drop went fine and he was about to take off when Redux surprised him. Redux was a double agent for Vietnam. Redux pulled the pin off of a grenade and ran off the helicopter that was about to lift-off. Because Blast was strapped in for take-off he was unable to remove his harness in time and was blown up in the resulting explosion. Blast was planned for the first Eternal Champions game but was scrapped due to ROM limits.

 

Finishing Moves

 

  • Overkill: The Overkills featured in the original Eternal Champions title are present in Challenge From the Dark Side. Some have been made gorier and others have been removed for more violent and visually impressive ones. Stage fatality. Activated when opponent lands on a specific spot in the stage with no health left.
  • Sudden Death: A Sudden Death is a new fatality introduced in Challenge From the Dark Side. Sudden Deaths function similarly to Overkills. However, Sudden Deaths may be activated if the character lands on the activation spot with 33% health or less, not just if the player loses their health.
  • Vendetta: Introduced in Challenge From the Dark Side, each human character has a personal finishing move which is activated with a button combination that varies from character to character. They can only be activated when a specific condition is met. To use a vendetta, the player must stun the opponent with 33% health or less, get in close (not too close though), and enter the combination for the player’s character’s Vendetta. Then the music stops and the character kills the other one. While this sounds like it may contradict the personalities of characters such as Larcen, it actually makes more sense if one reads the manual. In the manual, it says that the Dark Eternal Champion has the power to influence the Champions to kill each other. Each time this happens, the Dark Eternal Champion gets stronger and the Eternal Champion gets weaker.
  • Cinekill: Cinekills are by far the most difficult of finishing moves to activate. introduced in Challenge From the Dark Side, these finishers are only activated when the player lowers the opponent’s health the 33% or less, performs a power combo to get Infinite Inner Strength, and stuns the opponent with the other conditions met. If successful, The user’s character will be teleported away, then a portal will open up and the Dark Champion will manifest himself, point to the opponent exclaiming “TO YOUR DEATH” and teleport away along with the opponent. Then an FMV sequence starts up where the Dark Champion kills the character with their worst fear inside his Cimmerian Complex.

 

Trivia

    • Eternal Champions: Challenge From the Dark Side is the only official Sega Mega-CD game to use 256 colors.
    • A popular myth is derived from the above. It states that the game used clever programming tricks to pull it off. However, this is merely a misconception of the Sega CD’s capabilities.

 

  • There is a debate about weather the above is true or not. When asked, the series’ Executive Producer and Designer, Michael Latham said both sides of the debate were correct.

 

Spin-offs

There are two video games which are spin-offs of the main Eternal Champions series, and are considered as being part of alternate universes to the main story of the core games, starring several popular Eternal Champions characters. The first game is Chicago Syndicate, an action game released for the Sega Game Gear portable platform in 1995. The plot is based in an alternate reality where Larcen Tyler did not die in 1920 as stated in Eternal Champions, and now seeks revenge on the Chicago Mafia. The second game, X-Perts, is a side-scrolling beat’em up released in 1996 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Like Chicago Syndicate, its plot is based in an alternate reality, this time one where Shadow Yamoto did not die in 1993 and instead formed a vigilante group. (wiki)

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