Eternal Champions The Thin Strings of Fate

Eternal Champions The Thin Strings of Fate V1.1

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Shadow Yamato is a ninja assassin that has been given a second chance after death. The choices she makes in this adventure will either lead her back into the arms of death or the glorious embrace of infinitely divine power.

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Author
Unknown
Downloads
228
Views
2,478
First release
Last update
Rating
3.50 star(s) 4 ratings

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Eternal Champions beat em' up? Yes please! This is another idea I wanted to try myself but never got to. I even coded Shadow as an Easter egg character in earlier project. In short, I have a soft spot for the source material and was eager to try this game out.

Sadly, the results are a mixed bag. I can't deny the incredible amount of work and ambition the creator poured in. Just about every genre is covered here. There’s the tried-and-true pseudo 3D beat em’ up, 2D platforming, motorcycle racing, third person driving, and more. I'm just not able to overlook a lot of mechanical issues and questionable design choices.

First, the controls. I hope you can play piano, because the game requires metacarpal gymnastics for just about every basic action. There are way too many buttons compared to the number of moves you have access to, and they aren't even consistent with themselves. Load screens list the new control layouts for each section, but these do little to ameliorate the confusion. It also really hurts that Shadow is missing many of her trademark moves. Condensing the controls to a three-button scheme and following established patterns for each mode would vastly improve playability.

Once you figure out the controls, you’ll still have some frustrations. Collision accuracy is the biggest problem. I lost count of how many times Shadow’s attacks passed right through an enemy or vice versa, especially in 2D platforming mode. This problem is made worse by Shadow’s move set, as even basic attacks tend to slide her across the screen.

Visuals are also mixed. Some areas are gorgeous with tons of scrolling layers and well used assets. Others are a grainy, blocky mess that look like they were thrown together last second. Animations suffer the same issue. Shadow is fine for the most part, but the quality of her enemies is all over the place. There are also tons of cutscenes and original artwork that while fine by themselves, are all drawn with a highly minimalist style that clashes severely with the heavy dithered assets taken from Sega.

The last issue is story and lack of multiplayer. I understand it was a design choice, but even so this type of game really needs a co-op option. Just a bit of reworking of the HUD and alternate modes would make a second player viable. As for the story, I agree with another reviewer. It’s interesting, but not convincing. Why is Shadow going around killing other champions? Why did they turn? Some more exposition is needed here.

All in all, I feel bad giving an average score. The effort is incredible. I just think way too much time was spent reinventing the wheel instead of getting the fundamentals right.
The past can become the future... but does it?

This game doesn't convey that too well. While it's ambitious for sure, and has good production values overall, there's a lot of things that detract from the overall experience. While most of the enemies keep to a similar overall look, even being recolored to more closely match the sprites from Eternal Champions, others clash pretty badly, seeming too cartoony for the game's dark world. The game also fails to elucidate on the narrative ideas it presents to the player satisfyingly. For example, the first stage has Raven Gindar summoning an army from across time, yet we never see an enemy in those stages that doesn't fit with her overall aesthetic. Imagine if she summoned a much wilder variety of enemies instead. Also, why has she become an enemy to the Eternal Champion? This is never elucidated or explored. A few other Champions seem to have betrayed the player, but no reason is ever given, and Shadow feels no hesitation about slaying her comrades.

Further, there are multiple sections of gameplay, with differing controls for each stage type. This means that the "Vendetta" mechanic is underused, and the "Overkills" and "Sudden Deaths" are regulated to mere cutscenes. There don't seem to be too many special moves for the 2D areas, either. The game also has hub worlds, which are underused in the game, as you cannot revisit them. The problem with enemies not fitting goes double for the townsfolk, as very few fit the aesthetic of the game.

Overall, this is a disappointing transition into OpenBOR that had a lot of potential going on, but fudges around narratively.
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