Warriors of the Eternal Sun
Review by Disco1960
"They’re having a really bad day, and it’s not going to end anytime soon."
One day, as the human army was defending the castle against a goblin attack, a large and unpleasant-looking vortex appeared out of nowhere engulfed the castle and its people. When the humans wake up, they find themselves in a land of perpetual daylight, full of bloodthirsty monsters and the foul stench of evil. The good news is that the goblins are nowhere to be found. But the bad news is, whatever place the castle has been transported to appears to be located at the bottom of a valley surrounded by unscalable cliff walls on all sides, those monsters are starting to wear down the castle's defenses little by little, and the sun especially likes to stand still in the noon position, of all places. With no other alternative, the king sends four warriors that you'll be controlling out to explore the new world. The hope is that maybe you'll find something: preferably allies, a path out of the valley, or some way to bring the moon back.
And that's how Warriors to the Eternal Sun begins. As good a way as any, since it's cruel to just leave the castle hanging. To calculate how you adventures turn out, the game uses D&D rules (like AD&D rules, but easier) so you'd best be prepared for plenty of dice-rolling without the dice. You can choose any combination of Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Thief, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfing, but be sure to give each of them a pretty name! They have the option of girl portraits, too, so it's up to you to decide which of the two is more attractive. The quest of perfecting your character builds is a bit of a pleasure in itself; it's challenging, yet rewarding if you can get it done right.
You'll also have to be prepared to do a lot of walking when you finally get to the adventuring. A lot of walking, since your party doesn't know how to run. It's not really an issue at first, because initially, exploration is necessarily going to be limited to immediate area around the castle, because that's where all the weakest monsters hang out. After gaining some levels and branching out into more interesting areas is when the walking becomes a bit of a chore; it might take an hour to just walking to the swamp and back, and that's not including potential monster encounters. Still, there's an option to a caravan on an instant one-way trip to any cave in the valley you've been to, already makes things a little easier. And it would be a little strange to have the Fire Caves just across the castle gate, anyway.
The game's split into an outdoor mode and a dungeon mode. Combat in the outdoors is turn-based, and fairly easy to pick up. Monsters are frequently going to approach your party as you journey around the valley and beyond, and from there to you can choose to run away or pelt them with every weapon and spell you have. Dungeon combat works a little bit differently; the action takes place in real-time, which is kind of impressive, but the dungeons themselves look somewhat bland since all the dungeon scenes take place on a smaller portion of the screen. (I think they were attempting to recreate the genuine feel of pen and paper, which requires a certain degree of imagination.) But you'll want to return to the castle often, in order to advance the storyline and stock up on new weapons and spells. Obtaining a new item is always thrilling, since you'll definitely be wonder how much more the +3 Mace hurts, or what exactly the Fireball spell does.
Generally, the rule of thumb is that the farther the walking distance from the castle is, the stronger the monsters are going to be. They do stray from the formula a bit too frequently, which forces you to save more often than you'd otherwise care to. (Few things are more annoying than stumbling into a cave full of bears that maul your entire party in one hit.) It ceases to be a worry later on; at a certain point in the game you could easily defeat a dragon without breaking a sweat, and then all you're worried about is what to do with all the treasure.
To its credit, Warriors of the Eternal Sun is a tough little box of adventure wrapped in a Genesis cartridge, although the most battery backups have probably worn out by now. But if you're looking for a change of pace, Warriors of the Eternal Sun is a good bet; unlike all those other adventures, your job is to stop the day instead of save it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/04, Updated 05/01/05
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