Eternal Legend feels older than 1991 when it was published. Looking at the ways that it feels anachronistic might be interesting.
The other elements of the game is pretty basic. The battle system is a basic Dragon Quest like system. The music isn’t astonishing. Towns look a lot like a basic NES RPG, if you ignore the sprite complexity. For example, note the subtle details of how the logs make up the house on the lower right, or the stone on the roof.
First of all, the game starts you with a basic fetch quest. You need to find the sunglasses, and the spectacles of a mayor (or a former mayor?) of the starting town. This feels like a kind of badly done quest. To find the glasses, you need to go to the south coast. You walk over a specific square and your hero finds the glasses. However, the first pair is hidden farther south than the second pair, so you have to double back over the ground when you’re on the second glasses hunt. There’s no obvious hint where the glasses are, and the game has the “corner slide” style of handing uneven coastlines (the character slides along an angle if you walk into one.) This means you can slide past the edge of the coast instead of dipping into the edge. Once you know about where to go, it’s not impossible to find the glasses, but it isn’t a fun quest.
The interface of the game is a little clunky. The dialogue is printed in a full screen window and while this does allow longer lines, the dialogue mostly looks like it could fit in smaller windows and allow the town to be seen as you talk. Buying and selling is similarly awkward, since there’s no obvious sign that you own something. When you go to the first shop, you are equipped with all the first level equipment. You have 20 G, and you could buy two 20 G items, and one 8 G item. All of these are a waste of time, since you already own them.
The weird thing about the game is that once you get into the first major area to explore (that cave shown above,) the enemies suddenly get more colors, and the graphical design looks more exciting. All in all, the game feels like it’s a bit rough on the edges, and that there’s probably areas in the game that are comparatively good, and parts of the game that feel very dull. I suspect if you pushed past the early areas in the game, there could be interesting later areas. (For example, there seems to be a “real world” map thing going on, since a later continent looks like South America.) Still, it feels strangely early for the era of the game.