So to make sure that newcomers get all the basic information they need, I will copy/paste/modify the EFZ relevant parts of my pseudo EFZ/MB FAQ. I will edit this post as more relevant info is available.
VMan’s EFZ 101 (v 2.1)
First of all, don’t ask me for a copy of the game. I will report any requests of information of where to download the game to the moderators. The game is not free. Although it is made by fans, manufacturing and distribution costs still have to be covered. But in the end you get a cheap game that can be better than several commercial games. Go to section 3 to see how to get the game.
EFZ is made by Tasogare Frontier (Twilight Frontier). You can find the developer’s site at http://www.tasofro.net/
Eternal Fighter Zero is a doujin fighting game. Doujin can be interpreted as “self-published”, often taken as “amateur” or “fan-made”. In the case of EFZ, both terms can be applied. EFZ is an amateur game because Tasogare Frontier is not a stablished company, and it is a fan game since the characters are borrowed from other games.
The characters of EFZ are taken from the characters of four games: MOON, ONE, Kanon, and AIR (those who read Megatokyo might recognize some of these names). Although these games have been released by different companies (Tactics and Key/VisualArts), they are made by the same team of people. As you might guess, these are adult bishoujo games (the type of games that Otaku no Densetsu makes), but are famous for having great storylines to the point that non-adult versions still sold like pancakes. Another sign of the popularity of these games is that you can see their characters (especially Kanon and AIR) in a lot of other doujinshi games.
The people who did MOON, ONE, Kanon and AIR just released a new game: Clannad, so (at least I) can hope that there will be EFZ 4.x. Meanwhile, Tasogare Frontier is working with Team Shanghai Alice, another doujinshi team, with a new fighter using Shanghai Alice’s original shooting game characters: Touhou Suimusou. A demo of Touhou Suimusou was released on Comiket 66.
- THE GAME
There are three versions of Eternal Fighter Zero. The following is a brief summary of each version:
Eternal Fighter Zero Renewal (EFZ): Plain Vanilla EFZ. The reason why it is called Renewal is because it is a re-release of EFZ. This re-release was released together with Bad Moon Edition. This version only includes characters from ONE and Kanon. This is version 1.x. The latest patch is 1.20. The demo version of EFZ available at Tasogare Frontier’s page is based either on 1.13 or 1.20.
Eternal Fighter Zero Blue Sky Edition (BSE): first upgrade. Adds the AIR characters (Misuzu, Minagi and Kano) and balance tweaks. The engine feels different, but not that much. Think of this as the #R of EFZ. This is version 2.x. The latest patch is 2.13.
Eternal Fighter Zero Bad Moon Edition (BME): You can think of this like the #RR of EFZ. Adds four characters (Ikumi from MOON, Doppel Nanase from ONE, Mishio and Kaori from Kanon). This version also has bigger changes: the interface get a darker mood, there are additions to the engine such as air grabs, juggles are more limited, and more than one old character got redesigned or altered (especially Mai). This is version 3.x. Last patch (current) is 3.10
The changes between versions can be described as minor tweaks intended to balance the game, but they build up enough to make BME too different to vanilla EFZ. Therefore, if you get the demo, don’t get too used to it if you plan to get the full version.
Each version is an expansion packs that is installed over an existing Eternal Fighter Zero installation. Since EFZ has three versions, you need to get three different CDs (plus apply the latest patch) to play the latest version version of EFZ. You can find about where to get the CDs in section 3.
The EFZ engine evolved from being a Marvel like game into something more like Guilty Gear mixed with other fighting games. Engine elements include chains, air dash, double jump, a 3-level super bar, Recoil Guard (Just Defense with Parry properties), moves with autoguard or super armor, Instant Charge (Roman Cancel with a twist), Reinforce Moves (EX moves), air grab, grab chains, etc. The chain system is a Marvel/GG hybrid: chains follow the Marvel sequence of jab> strong > fierce > command/super, and jab chains into jab like in Guilty Gear. There are some exceptions as well.
The characters have a lot of variety. No character plays similar to anothers, and there is a character for all styles. Some rushdown, some zone, some rely on pokes, some are totally keepaway, some rely on grabs, some play just weird, and most characters can use more than one style. Despite variety, the game is very well balanced. There is no such thing as a broken character that I know of. The game is also-infinite proof despite having a flexible combo system. There are 100% combos, but you need very special requirents and BAS’s execution to pull them off.
- GETTING THE GAME
The only place in English that I know that has all versions of EFZ is Himeya (http://www.himeya.com). The problem is that they have high shipping and handling fees. On the positive side, Himeya is a good resource to see what doujinshi games are relatively easy to find.
The other place you can try (and I recommend) is Akibado (http://www.akibado.com). Their system is nice: you tell them what you want, they look the item for you, they give you an estimate, you send your payment via PayPal/CC/whatever, they order the item, they let you know when it arrives to their office, you pay shipping, and they ship to you. The only requirement is that you have to give them as much information as possible, such as ISBN numbers, photos, full name, or pictures. In the case of doujinshi games, Himeya is a good place to find pictures. You can also provide the developer’s site as reference.
You can think of Akibado of a proxy, and assuming that they can find what you ask them, you can order whatever you want from them. Akibado’s handling rate is a lot better than Himeya’s, since it is charged over your total purchase instead of every item. Therefore, if you order multiple items you pay less in extra fees.
Another alterntive is Japanese auctions (Yahoo Japan, Bidders, etc), as they often carry doujinshi games. To be able to bid on them, you need a service. The three I know of are Celga, Rinkya and Akibado. Again, I recommend Akibado since they have a better comission price.
In summary: if you want speed, go with Himeya. If you want a better deal or want to get other items, go with Akibado.
EFZ creators, you can get the demo and patches here
Team Shanghai Alice
Creators of the Tohou shooter series. Currently working with Tasofro in a new fighter
EFZ FAQ by Yunari
Movelists, basic combos, engine explanation
EFZ match tables, character discussion, and combo replays
Tales of Twilight Tactics vol. 2
An EFZ BME match video compilation released at Comiket 66. You can download a trailer in the download section (second to last link)
A BBS with EFZ combo and match video replays. First link is combos, second link is replays. Link thanks to bonta.
Warning: some sections of the following sites are not work safe.
Publishers of Kanon, AIR and Clannad
Publishers of MOON and ONE