In the age of Pokemon’s success everyone was looking for their slice of the pie. While Hudson Soft and Atlas were busy publishing Robopon to try and take down Game Freak’s behemoth other companies were trying to catch the trend curve and see where they might fit in. Sun Corporation quietly sat back and when they finally saw their opening they published their attempt to seize the moment with Eternal Eyes.
The game follows the life of Luke, a descendant of the Cucurotheatro who possessed crimson eyes. The Cucurotheatro were known as magical puppet masters, also possessing the ability to detect jewels which could turn blank magical puppets into creatures used to aid them in battle. These magical puppets were used long ago in The War of the Goddess to seal away the Goddess of Destruction and free humanity from her evil clutches. After the war, the Cucurotheatro seemingly disappeared from existence without explanation. Now that some are seeking to free the Goddess of Destruction it is up to Luke to learn the abilities of his ancestors and help retain the peace and freedom of the world.
Eternal Eyes is a turn-based, tactical RPG much like Final Fantasy Tactics, but with the main mechanic of the game being very Pokemonish to see if they could capitalize on two already successful franchises at once. The ultimate goal being to create a party of magical puppets, aka Mappemon, (*sigh* yes, seriously..) and defeat those who wish to free the evil Goddess of Destruction. Throughout many different battles and dungeons you’ll collect blank puppets and jewels, which can be combined together to create different types of puppet monsters. These monsters can also be evolved and learn new spells with the jewels collected.
While the Pokemon aspect feels weak to me, it’s painfully obvious Sun Corporation went heavy into the tactical side for this one. In fact, I think if they had focused more on the tactical, turn based RPG elements and removed the puppet aspect entirely this game would probably be more highly regarded. I’m not sure I could see Eternal Eyes ever being able to match that of FF Tactics, but even as it stands Eternal Eyes is a fully playable game, and it’s not that bad, so it might have come close.
The story is a bit cheesy, but I guess it fits the needs of the game and sets up a bit of backstory, although I’m not the kind of person who plays a game strictly because of its story. The graphics are where I feel this game did something right. What drew me into this game was the fact that the graphics reminded me of some of the MMORPGs I played on PC at the time. Replaying Eternal Eyes now, the graphics are still pretty good for a PS1 game. The game play isn’t overly exciting but it does feel rewarding to beat monsters as well as collect and create your own puppets. Again, if Sun Corporation had made this game maybe even just 99.9% tactical RPG I feel this game would have been more highly regarded, but the puppet aspect just makes this game feel like a Pokemon clone that never quite hit the mark.