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Eternal War is a first-person shooter much in the style of Doom. The game is divided into maps filled with monsters the player must kill with one of an arsenal of weapons and spells. This arsenal is filled out as the player progresses through the game to keep up with the increasing number and difficulty of the enemies. Each map also has a locked door, the player must find a key that is usually hidden somewhere the player is likely to pass by going forward through the map but will notice easily while backtracking. The exception to this is the level I could not get past, after the locked door there was a doorway with a stone wall blocking it and in 3 hours of searching and replaying the level I could not find a way to move that wall. But personal failure aside, this is the game if you sit down to play after it has started. If you start a new game, you get the back story, and you have to figure out if what you were playing was something different from a Doom knock-off. The back story consists of four slides of lime-green text with dark, amorphous images in the background. A young man named John is deeply depressed and contemplating suicide: “I’m sitting on my bed, holding a knife to my throat. A war rages within my mind, to simply make one strong thrust and end my pain forever, or hold onto what remaining shards of reality I still grasp and try to regain my life.” John briefly wonders to himself how a God that loves him could allow him to suffer so greatly, and just as he decides to end it, the prose changes to dialogue and a character named Mike calls John’s name. Mike (possibly intended as the archangel Michael) tells John that God does not want him to kill himself, and that if John will accept it, he can help. John answers, “Why not? Go ahead” and Mike enters John’s mind, seeing the “tall dark strongholds” that he has to take down. Mike says a prayer, reminds the player what is at stake if he fails, and heads in. From that point on there does not seem to be any reference to suicide or salvation, just demons to kill. Apparently, the player can “pray” at any time during the game to regain health. I didn’t realize this was an option until I was already stuck, but it would have saved me a lot of time. The player also receives spells called “Smite” and “Trinity Beam” but there isn’t much else to indicate a Christian element to the game. Christian game reviews, however, label it as an excellent, Christian, game: “Even though Eternal War: Shadows of Light involves shooting and fighting demons, it is ranked exceptional for a Christian game at Shepherd's Staff. "Why?" you ask. Because you are shooting demons and other evil creatures in someone's mind. The weapons are mostly spiritually oriented. Plus the entire goal is to free John from his captures. It is also one of the most professionally made Christian game in the marketplace! If you don't buy into the idea of fighting a demon-possessed mind or you are absolutely against "shooters," then you would rank Eternal War lower” (http://christianratings.com/exceptional.htm#RatingEternalWar). This review takes for granted the Christian nature of the game and only acknowledges the violence as a possible impediment to its quality as a Christian game. I am sure the narrative is resumed upon completion of gameplay, John must decide not to commit suicide (there’s going to be a sequel). So the end sequence may contain more Christian imagery or instruction, but the beginning mentions God and prayer without any reference to any specific tradition. A review on christiananswers.net may shed some light on how a game may be called a Christian game beyond receiving that designation from its maker. One of the categories the games on christiananswers.net are measured against is “Christian Rating.” Eternal War received a 5 out of 5, explained as “nothing offensive” (http://www.christiananswers.net/spotlight/games/2004/eternalwar.html).

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