Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Eternal Champions

Go To


In the wake of the success of fighting games such as Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury, and Mortal Kombat, Sega released Eternal Champions, a 2D Fighting Game, for the Sega Genesis late during the system's life cycle.

Nine different people in time periods ranging from the time of cavemen to the far future suffer unjust deaths; these deaths each cause disorder in the balance of the universe. The Eternal Champion, a supernatural entity that oversees this balance, uses his power to temporarily remove all nine from the timeline. The Champion knows any one of the nine can restore balance through the ripple effects of what their full lives will accomplish — which works out well, since The Champion only has the power to revive one of them. The Champion decides to give the warriors a sporting chance to win their life back: he pits them against each other in a martial arts tournament where the winner will be returned to the timeline, moments prior to their death, with the knowledge of their fate and the power to prevent it. The other eight warriors will also return to their suffer their original fates.


Sega eventually released a sequel — Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side — for the Sega CD. Dark Side doubled the first game's playable roster and explained their presence by introducing the Dark Champion: he hid those fighters from the Eternal Champion in an attempt to keep the tournament going on a neverending Stable Time Loop and prevent the restoration of balance in the universe. Challenge from the Dark Side plays better than its predecessor thanks to more responsive controls and a (slightly) easier difficulty curve — and it also features gorier stage kills in addition to special CGI "Cinekills".

Sega had a third and final game — Eternal Champions: The Final Chapter — in pre-production for the Sega Saturn after Challenge from the Dark Side became...well, as much of a hit on the Sega CD as anything really could. Final Chapter would have featured a faction-oriented storyline, with characters supporting either the Eternal Champion or the Dark Champion in an effort to allow good or evil to balance the universe in its favor. Character levels were intended to represent the character's time periods, and victory would lock the opposing faction out of influencing a specific time period forever. Sega cancelled the game, however, when the company feared it would draw too much attention away from Virtua Fighter.


Eternal Champions and its sequel contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew:
    • A lot of fighters use styles of martial arts that weren't invented until well after their time, or which they could not have been exposed to. Ramses knowing kung fu is a decent example, but Trident's the big winner; he uses Capoiera, which was created at least seventeen hundred years after his death. The game itself handwaves this by saying that The Eternal Champion trained several of the fighters himself before the tournament (or something to that effect).
    • In Challenge from the Dark Side, Jetta's stage, the Blue Dragon Circus, features a Sudden Death where a clown car is launched from a cannon and squashes the loser into a bloody pulp. The stage is set in 1899 China. The clown car routine didn't come about until the 1950s in the USA.
    • Slash's stage features dinosaurs in the Great Rift Valley, circa 50,000 BC.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • The Eternal Champion uses dragon, tiger, hawk, and shark styles, and temporarily gains the limbs of those creatures when he uses their attacks.
    • Challenge from the Dark Side gave the Champion four more forms (among them unicorn and elephant); despite the fact that each form had its own life bar, it was still an easier fight than the original.
  • Atlantis: Trident and many other merfolk live here. Had he not been killed during a bout against the Roman empire, his people would not have been banished to the sea.
  • Badass Longcoat: MidKnight, Dawson, and Larcen all sport the look, although MidKnight's is heavily tattered. Being a Head Swap of Larcen, the Senator does too, though his badass credentials are...questionable.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Every female EXCEPT for Shadow.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: In all but at least Raven and Xavier's endings, the character you played as will be saved while all the others are returned to their deaths. Even though this fact was made clear to the contestants and player beforehand, it's made all the more bitter when the game plays the death cinematics for every other non-hidden playable character one after another once you've seen the blurb detailing how your character improved the world. Of course, the gamebooks imply that all the champions ultimately returned to their proper times, so at least one continuity made it slightly sunnier.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Challenge from the Dark Side ramps up the carnage exponentially over the Genesis original. There's not as high a volume of red stuff flying around as there is in the classic Mortal Kombat, but the violence is significantly nastier by way of being less stylized and far more anatomically correct. When a character explodes here, for example, you don't get twelve femurs and three ribcages; you get shredded flesh, shattered bones, and piles of bloody viscera.
  • Burn the Witch!: Xavier Pendragon was to be condemned as a warlock for his discovery of a new type of energy, which many in his era mistook for magic. If he wins the tournament, he would still be burned at the stake, but he would have the foresight to ask for his device to be burned with him. The result is an explosion that sends him and his owl familiar into a time-warp while producing enough special effects to convince the crowd that they've destroyed the very last warlock, which ends the witch hunts.
    • In Challenge, Xavier's Palette Swap Thanatos was also burned in 1692 Salem; if he survives, he becomes the new Kronos.
  • Canon Foreigner: The comic adaptation has The Overlord (only mentioned by name) and Nakano. Meanwhile, the gamebooks have tons of them. Among those worthy of mention are The Overlord (whose role is much more involved, as opposed to the comics), the six Lords of Death, and the Tenth Champion.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Part of how Challenge goes Darker and Edgier.
  • Charged Attack: Every character uses charge motions for their moves, unless, of course, you buy a Sega Activator.
  • Circus Brat: Jetta Maxx
  • Clarke's Third Law: Xavier Pendragon's abilities are described in the manual as being based in science, yet perceived as magical.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: When controlled by the computer or Player Two, the characters are all coloured differently from Player One versions.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: In Sonic the Comic. It was one of the most popular non-Sonic Sega strips, producing several storylines and even a summer special. It included a Stable Time Loop plot: the Champions try to prevent the discovery of bio-key technology in the past, but it's one of their pursuers dropping a bio-keyed gun that leads to it being reverse-engineered in the first place.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the original Genesis game, it doesn't need any inner strength to use its special attacks.
  • Content Warnings: Challenge from the Dark Side received the ESRB's "M" rating (as well it should have). It also received a special Sega-specific classification known as "Deep Water", which was supposed to denote games with undeniably adult content. Only two other games — X-Perts and Duke Nukem 3D — ever used it.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Blade.
    • Parodied with Hooter, who dons a pair of novelty sunglasses whenever he wins a match.
  • Dance Battler: Trident uses Capoeira as part of his fighting style.
  • Darker and Edgier: Challenge from the Dark Side features far more gore than any other game at the time (and more than in a lot of modern games, as well). The story also more or less strips any hope from the proceedings, turning the whole thing into an endless Stable Time Loop and rewriting some of the endings (most notably Trident's) to make them more morally ambiguous.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: R.A.X., Slash, Midnight, Raven, Trident, and Jetta all wear no shoes.
  • Elemental Powers: The Dark Champion utilizes "natural disasters" as part of his fighting style (tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.)
  • Eye Scream: Watch closely when a victim is knocked into the fire in Xavier's level, their eyeballs explode before they're totally consumed by the flames.
  • Finishing Move: And how! The first game featured stage fatalities triggered by landing the killing blow at a specific part of the stage. Challenge from the Dark Side retains these and makes them gorier — then adds a second finisher to each stage and traditional fatalities for each character. Topping things off are the Cinekills: if you beat your opponent to a bloody enough pulp, you'll be treated to a CGI death scene where the Dark Champion kills the poor soul in a blatantly ironic fashion.
  • Fish People: Trident.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Ramses' ending.
  • Friendly Enemy: The fighters generally don't take the tournament personally, even though it's a life-or-death matter for all of them. Particularly apparent in Slash's ending, since it states that Xavier and the the other fighters taught him quite a bit of the science of their time.
  • The Gambler: Dawson McShane.
  • Gangland Drive-By: The overkill for Larcen's stage.
  • Golden Ending: Xavier and/or Raven's in Challenge.
  • Good vs. Good: The original game. Challenge from the Dark Side adds in a force of evil, however.
  • Gorn: While the first game doesn't really count, Challenge from the Dark Side takes this trope and sprints with it. It's actually quite disturbing at times.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Slash's ending.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: R.A.X.
  • Hulk Speak: Slash (in the comic adaptation).
  • It's a Wonderful Failure:
    • Fail to beat the Eternal Champion in the original game and you're returned to the moment of your death, but not before being treated to a depressing monologue from the Eternal himself over how disappointed he is in you and how the future is in doubt because of your failure.
    • Fail to beat the Eternal Champion and the Dark Champion in the sequel, and you're treated to a cinematic of your character's death (unless you're playing a hidden character, in which case you'll just get returned to the title screen).
  • In Spite of a Nail: In Challenge from the Dark Side, the characters' success often changes the future drastically, yet everyone else still meets their fate in the ending montage. For example, Trident still dies in a battle for the future of Atlantis, even when Slash's ending would ensure that Atlantis and Rome would never have arisen as separate nations.
    • Ramses III’s backstory states that his death would have resulted in Egypt being taken over by outside invaders, who would transform Egypt into an oppressive global superpower. Ramses’ survival averts this... only for Egypt to be conquered later on by Alexander the Great and the Romans, who would have been repelled by the regime of the previous invaders.
  • Interspecies Romance: Raven and the Eternal Champion are heavily implied to be a couple in Thanatos's ending.
  • Joke Character: The animal characters from Challenge from the Dark Side, and arguably The Senator. Although Hooter has some plot relevance, as he becomes Xavier's familiar if you beat the game with the former or the latter.
  • Karma Houdini: If The Senator wins, he is never imprisoned for any of his crimes due to turning state's evidence against his enemies; after doing so, he makes millions with tell-all books and speaking deals.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Xavier qualifies if you replace "Kung Fu" with "Hapkido Cane Fighting".
  • Large Ham: He never speaks, but the Dark Champion is clearly enjoying himself in the Cinekills. Even the ones where he doesn't laugh.
  • The Mafia: Larcen was a high-ranking member of Chicago's mob scene.
  • Marathon Level: The battle against the Eternal Champion requires you to defeat him five times to complete a round. Every time he goes down, he revives by channeling another form and continuing the fight. And then you need to win two rounds! This also applies to the Dark Eternal Champion in Challenge from the Dark Side.
  • Motor Mouth: Xavier in the gamebooks (and the comics as well to an extent).
    "They all wish you luck in their different ways. Xavier launches into a long speech and has to be shut up."
  • Mighty Glacier: Blade.
  • Ninja: Shadow.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game differs significantly from most Fighting Games in its unusual tournament setup. Losses result in not only having to repeat the fight you lost, but the previous fight as well (unless you managed to kill your opponent). Every fighter is quite difficult, and the Eternal Champion himself is extremely difficult. Each time you defeat one of his forms, he renews his health bar, while you get only a fraction of yours back — and if you lose to him, it's Game Over on the spot. It's very challenging to finish the game, even if you've mastered a character.
  • Ominous Owl: Lampshaded in Hooter's backstory when one of the religious zealots realized that the owl had been present at every witch burning. It didn't end well for Hooter.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: MidKnight, who refuses to kill anyone despite his bloodlust. Subverted if you beat the game with him, as his ending sees him drain the blood of the vampire hunter who would have had killed him.
  • Palette Swap: Thanatos and The Senator are head-swaps of Xavier and Larcen, respectively.
  • Pirate Girl: Sophia "Riptide" de Medici.
  • Prehistoria: Slash.
  • Randomized Title Screen: Upon loading up the game, a random combatant is shown attacking and destroying the SEGA logo.
  • Replay Mode: The game has an option to replay the previous round either in full, in slow-motion, or just play the highlights of the battle.
  • Reverse Polarity: Raven Gindar, a voodoo priestess who was killed by a Black Magic-using voodoo priest who turned her own White Magic healing spell against her. Interestingly, her Finishing Move does exactly this to the opposing player.
  • Science Hero: Xavier, particularly in the original, is the best example, but many characters (e.g. Trident, Midknight and Slash) also qualify. Slash is a particularly interesting example, since he not only is a Science Hero in his own right, but he also brings back knowledge from the future characters to his own time. This allows him to invent fire, agriculture, and even kung fu (amongst other things) and advance humanity's progress by several millennia.
  • Screw Destiny: The ultimate goal of each of the fighters.
  • Secret Character: Challenge from the Dark Side has nine of them.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Raven's ending in Challenge from the Dark Side has her not only avoiding her death, but also teaming up with the Eternal Champion to find a way to break the time loop.
    • It's also implied that Xavier, Thanatos, and Hooter would have teamed up with the Eternal Champion and Raven, via their endings — Thanatos by becoming the new Kronos, Xavier and Hooter by becoming a time-traveling duo.
    • There is also a direct sequel hook, earned by completing the game on the hardest difficulty. Additionally, on that difficulty, you actually get to play -as- the Eternal Champion for the final boss fight, regardless of who you had selected..
    • Shadow's ending in CD has her recruited by a team called the X-Perts. That one did get made.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The goal of every single character in the game, as well as the Eternal Champion, even if he DOES demand a brutal fight to see if they deserve it.
  • Ship Tease: The comic adaptation has R.A.X. and Shadow, with the former having a crush on the latter (who is secretly flattered by the attention). Meanwhile, the gamebooks have Larcen and Jetta, who "admire each other quite often".
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Yappy's victory animations bears a striking resemblance to the dance of a certain Beagle.
    • One of Slash's victory animations in the first game almost perfectly mimics Rancid's victory animation from Time Killers. Whether this was intentional or not has yet to be confirmed.
    • Larcen's theme includes the famous Dragnet jingle.
  • Shown Their Work: Despite a few inconsistencies — like an Atlantean knowing Capoeira — it's not often you see videogames actually explaining the background of martial arts. Not even Street Fighter does that.
  • Smoke Out: Shadow can do this (and Teleport Spam with it).
  • Spin-Off: Shadow and Larcen both had spin-off games that assume one of them won the tournament. Shadow's game (X-Perts, for the Genesis) was poorly received; Larcen's (Chicago Syndicate, for the Game Gear) was treated kindly by the critics but went largely unnoticed since it came out on the Game Gear.
  • Strawman Political: The Senator is the corrupt politician's corrupt politician, neck deep in any and every scandal. He's also a strawman of anti-gaming politicians such as Joe Lieberman.
  • Stripperiffic: Shadow's original outfit, which has her in a busty corset, open jacket, nylons and tall black boots. The sequel and X-Perts both give her a more modest (but still sexy) green qipao with black vinyl gloves and boots.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: You have to squint to see it, but Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side.
  • Surprise Creepy: The "overkill" on Xavier's level. Surprise! Your character flies into the fire and is instantly burned down to the bones.
    • Arguably every Overkill, Sudden Death, and Vendetta move in the sequel. The game could have easily gotten away with a T-rating at worst had the finishing moves been removed.
  • Take That!:
  • There Can Only Be One
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Literally, considering that's how the most frequent finishers are called. And they can get pretty damn over-the-top, too. An especially striking example is the trapdoor Overkill in Midknight's Challenge from the Dark Side stage, where the loser falls through three sets of blades which progressively make mincemeat of them until they are reduced to a skull, which breaks to pieces when it finally hits the ground.
    James Rolfe: (regarding the aforementioned Overkill) The Pit from Mortal Kombat is pussy shit now. That's a fucking pit!
  • They Call Him "Sword": Trident, named for his trident that replaces his arm.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Larcen Tyler to a tee. This is also MidKnight's principle, which gets him killed by a vampire hunter. He abandons it upon his return to life.
  • Trash Talk: Insulting your opponent lowers their Chi meter, which affects how often they can use their special attacks. Using it against the CPU is a waste of your time.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Harshly averted for Midknight. His body is wasting away because only fresh human blood can nourish him, and he refuses to kill people just to keep himself alive.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: