Description official descriptions
Eternam is a combination of 3rd-person graphic adventure gameplay with 1st-person 3D travel sections, interspersed with plenty of cartoon animations.
You are Don Jonz, a marshal in the United Forces of Orion. After plenty of courageous deeds and macho heroics, he really needs a break. Luckily, there is something in the mail... it seems he has just won a free trip to the galaxy's best and most luxurious planet-sized fun park: Eternam!
After high-tailing it to his leisure-packed holiday destination and slipping into a strange 'barbarian' costume, Don Jonz is a little dismayed to find that this was all one big trap, set up by his arch-nemesis, the accursed Mikhal Nuke. He is now stuck on Eternam, with its life-size reconstructions of past eras and meticulously crafted bio-beings and who knows what is going to happen? Luckily, there is one person on his side: Tracy, one of Eternam's best computer technicians. In order to escape Mikhal Nuke's clutches, she had to transform herself into electronic impulses and hide inside the computer system, but at least she will be there for you in digital form.
There is a whole network of islands to traverse, each with its own reconstructed time zone and sense of hospitality. There is a lot of ground to cover before Don Jonz can get to Mikhal Nuke. If he survives, Don Jonz will need another holiday after this...
- エターナム - Japanese spelling
Credits (DOS version)
|European Cover Artwork|
Average score: 81% (based on 9 ratings)
Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 12 ratings with 1 reviews)
The background story is rather silly, but the final effect is good: a varied, crazy game with a lot of humor. The highly artificial, even cliche story is what paradoxically keeps the rest of the game cohesive: if you want to make sense of it, you have no choice but to accept its artificiality. Don Jonz moves between very different worlds, from a medieval land (with anachronisms such as electric sockets or vacuum cleaners) to a city of the future, but it all works well - I would even say it seems more credible than, for example, in "King's Quest 6". The latter is of course a fantastic game, but it also aims to be realistic in its portrayal of human emotions, of power and politics... and while it is an amazing game, great differences between several islands which are all parts of one kingdom have been criticized as not particularly credible. "Eternam", on the other hand, is so crazy that "everything is allowed". When Don Jonz teleports from the future city to ancient Egypt, it isn't perceived as weird anymore - it's just crazy and "crazy" is something you have time to get used to.
What is even better is that these worlds have beautiful graphics. Especially "inside" sceneries (inside a house, city, the castle, the pyramid etc.) with a typical 3rd-person perspective. They have lush colors, lots of details... generally they look like an adventure game should. Close-ups on interlocutors are much more cartoony, but still interesting and expressive. Outside maps are very different - it's a 1st-person, 3D perspective, with much bigger objects. These sceneries are often weird (huge roses or frogs next to the road), but not bad and they distinguish each island nicely.
Still, while the outside maps look quite good, they are very uncomfortable. Getting lost is easy, especially on the third and fifth island. Running around (by the way, it's easy to get off the road when you're moving quickly, fortunately all the terrain obstacles don't stop you, as if you were hovering a few feet over the ground...) is really irritating when you don't know where you should be going and in what order. These maps also include some dangers, mostly at night - you recognize it beforehand by the flashing "Alert" sign. The monsters are not very dangerous - you can shoot them, you can evade them and your health replenishes after some time, nevertheless it feels like they are added only to make the game more difficult and introduce action sequences.
The game works OK despite being made of almost diametrically different worlds, yet sometimes you can have the impression that the authors had too many ideas. Examples are people at the workstations (Mitch Gorbachekov, Soako and Ooh-la-la) - talking to them hardly gives any new ideas, or the screen where RPG-like figures start shooting Don. Such scenes don't seem to have any reason for being there.
However, the biggest problem is the interface. It's keyboard-only and I don't have anything against it, by itself it works well. Some sequences may be difficult (think of all these twisty staircases in Sierra games - from the AGI period, before any mouse control was introduced), but not very much, usually you get a bit of a safe margin in such places. Shortcuts are convenient too - you don't have to use the icons, you can just press a key - T for "take", U for "use" etc. However, looking at objects and talking are big disappointments. First, looking - in most adventure games played with the mouse there are many interesting comments about the surroundings. They may be poetic, they may be funny, they may provide important hints... No such thing in "Eternam". Don Jonz will automatically notice some things and can look at them again, but these are only items which can be picked up and some other objects. A surreal little room in the castle with a huge finger, 20th-century movie posters in the baron's mansion - you'll only get a comment that "there's nothing to see" if you'd like to examine them.
Talking - sometimes you start talking automatically by coming up to someone and sometimes you have to press "S" or the icon. However, the worst thing is that talking to a character again is not easy. Usually you have to leave and reenter the room - if you just press "S" again, it won't have any effect. Some characters won't talk to you again (the skeleton, the bear hunter), so you only get one conversation option. In some cases (the help desk ladies in future City) you have to keep leaving and reentering the room and going through the same option just to be able to ask more questions. Again - a keyboard-only interface is not bad by itself, but it would be hard to come up with a more inconvenient interface for talking. It's strange, especially since you need to talk quite much.
The Bottom Line
"Eternam" is a fairly interesting game with a feeling of variety. It interface and gameplay are unlike in most adventure games. The developers' ideas should be appreciated by themselves as something that works fine despite being made in a completely different way than in other games. However, the extreme inconvenience of solutions used for talking strongly limits the game's attractiveness.
DOS · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2015
A CD-ROM version was released later with full speech for all the (huge number of) characters. And Infogrames were thinking of the future even in 1992. A press-release for the original disk-based version of the game states:
...the world of ETERNAM...has been designed for the CD support (compact disc).
Eternam is a sort of technical semi-sequel to one of Infogrames' earlier titles, Drakkhen, improving greatly on that game. As well as the game engine similarities, there are also several references to Drakkhen in this game, even going as far as a full-on parody.
Eternam's game engine (minus the 3D sections) was later used in Infogrames' Shadow of the Comet.
- Two people from the team that created Eternam make appearances in the game. They are: Laurent Salmeron and Yael Barroz.
- There are quotes from famous Hollywood movies and tv shows scattered throughout the game manual. They are not related to anything that happens in the game, though.
Information also contributed by n-n
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Game added by xroox.
Game added April 25th, 2000. Last modified September 14th, 2023.