For years we have been bombarded with Street fighter, King of Fighters, and Mortal Kombat since the release of Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side for the Sega CD. Before Eternal Champions hit the Sega Genesis, everyone thought Mortal Kombat held the record for most violent game. Well I am here to tell you that those people did not play Eternal Champions.
This game had it all! EC had 25 characters, which dwarfed any other fighting game at the time. Sure a handful were semi-clones (think Super Smash Bros Melee with Mario/Dr. Mario or Roy/Marth), but many still had unique finishing moves and special moves at least in appearance.
The best part about this game of course included my favorite sci-fi theme: Time Travel! How could you get a cooler story?! All of the fighters were pulled from time JUST before their demise. The Eternal Champion (the primary Antagonist on the Genesis who was then replaced by HIS master on Sega CD, the Dark Champion) pulls these fighters from time, and they have to fight to the death. The winner is then returned to his/her timeline and given a chance to avoid their death and live again, while the losers, are sent back to their original time period and die as they were supposedly meant to die. This to me is an amazing story line and is one of the very reasons I love the concept of time travel.
The characters in Eternal Champions was Deadliest Warrior before the TV show even existed in someone's brain. This game had all kinds of fighters such as a caveman, pirate, cowboy, gangster, vampire, Warlock, circus performer, cyborg, Atlantis dwelling green guy, and you can even unlock hidden characters like a chicken, a politician, a vietnam soldier, and a monkey!
So as I said before, this game was violent as hell. Each character had their own finishing move called a "Vendetta." These moves are basically fatalities only some were just plain brutal. Remember that censored point blank headshot by the Joker in MK vs DC universe and it's not much more violent MK 2011 version? Well try being a Cowboy with a shotgun and firing one shot into a head to plow it up, and then firing the 2nd shot and blowing off more of the gunk that was once your head. And this was a game made in 1995! The tamer Sega Genesis version was still violent, but the Sega CD game was much worse (and more awesome).
Adding to Vendettas we also get the Overkills from the Sega Genesis game, but added on top of that were Sudden Deaths AND Cinekills. Overkills and Sudden deaths are basically the same. Finish the final round with your opponent landing in a certain spot when he/she took their final hit, or hit them for the final hit in the right spot and they would do a "pit stage" type finishing move. The only difference is Sudden Death's can only be done in the 3rd round, where Overkills could be done in the 2nd or 3rd round. Cinekills were an added bonus! TO get a Cinekill you basically had to dominate your opponent with a nice string of combos, knock them to 20% health or lower, and made them dizzy. if you did this your opponent would be sent to the Dark Champion himself and he would personally kill them. I've only done 2 of them myself back in the day with my two best characters, Midknight and Larcen, and they were an amazing site to behold, especially before the days of internet and social networking. This was back in the day when if Gamepro magazine didn't tell you how to do it, you either had to figure it out yourself or you just never knew about it until years and years later.
With that said, Where's my Friggin Sequel? Technically the series only has 1 entry, with Challenge from the Dark Side being a "Complete Edition" of sorts. There have been numerous rumors over the years or its impending journey into the world of Sequality, but nothing has been done. Sega... have you ever thought that maybe your company fails because all you do is make Sonic the Hedgehog games and hope that somehow people go "Oh yea I forgot I love Sonic! Let's buy them all." The only people who are buying Sonic games are those who always loved him. I love Sonic Generations and all, but they had to go back to being old school to even warrant my attention.
Larcen had a spinoff title for the Game Gear called Chicago Syndicate and Shadow was in X-perts. Both took place in their own time periods before the Eternal champions tournament.
If Eternal Champions 2 ever became a thing, it would sell like crazy! The game could be as violent as the ESRB would allow, which is potentially even worse than Mortal Kombat. Everyone loves stage fatalities, especially in this series when you would forget they even existed only to be surprised by the outcome of a match where you botched, or forgot how to do, a Vendetta. I played the crap out of EC and EC: CftDS and would do so with a sequel in a 2.5D side scrolling fighting style with updated graphics, levels, vendettas, overkills/sudden deaths and maybe even make new Cinekills. That's all I have to say about this very underrated and amazingly fun fighting game series.
Fun side note: Bone Thugs ~N~ Harmony's song "Eternal" used a sample from this games. Some guy on youtube mixed the song's lyrics into the Eternal Champions actual song. But if you hear each separately they def used the sample. It's awesome both as a gamer and a BTNH fan. NSFW:
Apparently BTNH sampled EC's bad ending music too for Crosssroads... Yea BTNH is definitely cooler now in my eyes. Probably should've cited Sega in their albums but whatever.
Here are the Cinekills:
If you want to see the Overkills/Sudden Deaths, here they are:
Also Vendettas (Dawson's bad ass shotgun Vendetta is at 2:30):