RetroSpective: Warriors of the Eternal Sun

RetroSpective: Warriors of the Eternal Sun

Postby Musashi1596 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:10 pm

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Proper RPGs could be pretty scarce in the 16-bit days of the Mega Drive. No doubt lured in by the cool box art, Warriors of the Eternal Sun was probably the first RPG I got into, and also my first introduction to Dungeons and Dragons. The story was surprisingly well done for a game of the time, as you might expect from a D&D title. Duke Hector Barrik is besieged by goblins and preparing to make his last stand, but before the goblins can attack, a portal opens and whisks the castle away.

You find yourself in a valley with impossibly high cliffs, with a sweltering sun that never sets. Barrik tasks your party to find some allies in this strange new world, and that is precisely what you set out to do. Exploring the diverse world you find yourself in can be quite compelling, as you gradually uncover why exactly you are here, and indeed, what lies in wait for you.

The game world is full of secrets and hidden areas, some of which I was still finding many years after first completing the game. Even in the castle you start in, there is much to explore. The tech limitations of the game mean that you are often limited to textual descriptions of the finer details, unfortunately, but they do their job well. The feeling that there’s always something you managed to miss is compelling; I swear I must have explored every single surface in the game by now. It still holds a sort of mystique for me, especially as it was never an especially popular title and was thus never discussed much. I still have vague memories of travelling too far east of the castle after just starting the game, and getting curb-stomped by a dragon which I have never been able to find since.

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You see the game from two perspectives. When exploring the wilderness you get a lovely isometric view, and when you enter a dungeon it switches to first person dungeon crawling, subsequently fuelling my obsession with both types of game. It manages to pull off first person brilliantly despite such a simplified control scheme; one button uses your primary weapon, one uses your secondary, and one changes the selected character. However, there is a bit too much space given to the text box, so your view is a little small. Your party is your usual D&D fare of warriors and elves and such, and even has some limited customisation options. Refreshingly, you are not going to hit max level in a conventional playthrough; I only saw the most powerful of spells after I really worked for them.

If you’re an RPG fan, I really can’t recommend this enough. I really invested in this game when I was younger; I still have hand-drawn maps of all of the major dungeons and extensive notes on secret areas and the like. It’s a wonderful story to uncover, as you see the effect the world is having on the castle and its inhabitants, and to this day is a personal favourite. Also worth noting that it has some truly excellent music (at least in the PAL version), composed with the aid of Frank Klepacki of Command and Conquer fame. Grab it on an emulator and give it a shot.

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Musashi1596
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