Growing up, whenever my parents laid eyes upon a game that looked like it would even be remotely of interest to me, they hoarded it in their bedroom to keep for me as a future Christmas present. It was not easy to train them this way, as my mother always persisted that I give up the gaming obsession and focus on more important things. Pshh. All jokes aside, my parents were a great help in discovering some of the more interesting parts of my PlayStation history. For my birthday one year, they surprised me with Eternal Eyes, a strat-RPG released from Sunsoft.
Teenager Luke is always out running around with his sister Elena and their mutual group of friends, Nicol and Mouse. On one particular outing to a cave supposedly filled with treasure, the kids discover some strange dolls and a mysterious jewel. These odd little dolls and the jewel lead Luke and his companions to discover that he and his sister are actually part of an ancient race known as Eternal Eyes. Eternal Eyes can control these tiny dolls, known as Mappets, and bend them to their will. Mappets are much like Pokémon, coming in all sorts of different varieties, commanding different elements as well. Luke and Elena discover that their parents have left them a message from beyond the grave–someone is at work reviving the goddess of destruction. Who better than a group of children and their puppets to put a stop to the Goddess’s plans?
Eternal Eyes plays just like every strategy RPG before it, taking cues from Final Fantasy Tactics and monster collecting games to put a new spin on the genre. Creating Mappets is actually a rather fun process, and I enjoyed making my own monsters to deploy on the battlefield. The anime art style lent a whimsical feel to the game overall, and despite their choppy movement at times, character sprites were rich and detailed. It’s very easy to lump this game in with all of the rest of the myriad of Strat-RPGs being released around that time, but what made this one stand out to me was the fact that despite the epic story going on around the characters, it kept a very childlike and innocent tone that you don’t see too much in newer titles of the same genre. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and it was just a great way to get some gaming in, seeing as a little playtime got you a long way.
Hearkening back to the heyday of classic RPGs, Eternal Eyes is a lighthearted gem that you can usually find in bargain bins or on sale at shops that sell PlayStation titles still. If you want a little humor in your retro RPG, it’s a great buy. It brings back so many memories for me. I do have to wonder, though, if Disgaea would be my children’s (not having any) Eternal Eyes? Quite the interesting thing to ponder.