Soul Calibur gave me a lot of pleasure, as I'd had the chance to play Soul Blade on the Playstation, and I wanted a fighting game that had a little more meat to it than Dead or Alive 2. DoA2 is a good game, believe you me, but there were limited amounts of moves for each character, or it felt like it, and I could only fall out of my chair drunk so many times while playing that game before I got tired of it. It's kung fu theatre would be brought back some other day, in rental form.

Anyway, I guess it's been over a year (at the time of this write up) since this game originally came out, and it's still a good game. The control is fairly solid, there are 19 characters to take hold of (9 of them have to be unlocked), and they're all very good looking, for being 3D and all.

My favorite time honored technique, however, and this stands from my Soul Blade days, is to pick Cervantes, the pirate wielding two swords, the rightful master of the Soul Edge. Grrrr.... The point isn't how powerful the character is (although I do think Cervantes is a very good character, compared to some of the others), the point is to yell his name in a loud Spanish accent whenever you do anything. I mean, I'd start just jamming on the button going "Sairvahntays!!!" as loud as I could, not even paying attention to what was going on, and winning! If you're paying attention, and not button jamming, this technique works even better! Try it sometime!

Of particularly wacky (or not wacky at all) note:

There's a character in this game named Yoshimitsu. He... looks like the Yoshimitsu from Tekken, only more bony and less metallic. He's got moves that are similar, and the game was made by Namco, the same company that brought us Tekken. I only wish that they could've put Paul Phoenix in as a secret character instead, sigh. No, wait, that would've been silly.

"Welcome back to the stage of history!"

Soul Calibur is without question the best 3D fighting game ever created. It is the sequel to Soul Edge (Soul Blade in the West), but is light years ahead of its predecessor. It came from humble beginnings - Namco's original Soul Calibur coin-op was rushed and failed to gain even a fraction of the popularity of their Tekken series. However when it came to the conversion of the game to Sega's Dreamcast console in 1999, they added a huge amount of content and polished the graphics to an insane degree. The addition of a story mode and various other single player exercises allowed players to learn how the game mechanics worked.

Unlike any other arcade-originated 3D fighter, Soul Calibur allows and actively demands movement in more than one plane. You are able to sidestep and sprint around the arena instead of being tethered to an invisible line. Oh, and on top of that the collision detection is sensible (although the physics aren't always completely realistic), and moves can be chained together reasonably fluidly. And button mashing simply is not an option, as the game requires a degree of timing, in the same vein as Last Blade.

There are a wide range of characters (although some are Mortal Kombat-style filler, but nowhere near as lame as the old Sub Zero/Scorpion/Shadow/etc, etc... palette swapping nonsense) and each has a unique style based around a close combat weapon or weapons. There are characters to match every style, and enough of them to ensure that there is always something new to master. Some of the coolest characters are Mitsurugi, Kilik, Maxi, Siegfried, Ivy, Sophitia and Nightmare.

Although the game is now over two years old, and even though I never liked any other Namco fighting game (Tekken 3 never really grabbed me, being too obviously a hodge-podge of different ideas and in my opinion hopelessly limited), I love Soul Calibur. A number of my friends and I still play it at least once a week. If you have even a passing interest in fighting games, or competitive games of any kind, you owe it to yourself to buy a Dreamcast and a copy of this.

"The legend will never die!"

(Some info from Edge #104)

Transcending time and space, an eternal tale of souls and swords

Considered by some as a Hero’s Sword or even the Sword of Immortality by others, rumors of the legendary sword Soul Edge spread throughout the world under its many guises.

Whatever its name, Soul Edge was, without a doubt, a sword of great evil.

The owner of the cursed sword was the dreaded pirate Cervantes, whose reign of terror ended after his defeat at the hands of Sophitia, the sacred warrior, and Taki, the demon huntress.

However, Siegfried, who was searching for a sword of vengeance, stumbled upon Soul Edge which was now without a host and on the verge of tearing itself apart because of its uncontrollable evil energy. When he grasped the sword, the nightmare began once again…

The Evil Seed, radiating from Soul Edge, appeared as a column of white light that shot up into the sky and scattered seeds of misfortune across the world.

Several years after that incident, rumors of an azure knight spread across Europe. In his grotesquely misshapen hand was a giant one-eyed sword. This mysterious knight decimated villages and cities as he made his way towards the Black Forest. A fearsome figure to behold, the knight was said to even surpass Cervantes in his evil…

Soul Calibur is the greatest 3D fighting game made ever, for any system. It is challenging, mysterious, and strangely compelling. The characters are not just your typical Mortal Kombat filler, they all have personality; there is a story behind each one of them. All of them are fighting for a reason. The graphics are quite possibly the best out of any game on Dreamcast. The backgrounds are detailed, and actually tie into the story. The action is so smooth it feels like you are watching them fight in your room. Hair bounces, robes flow, you can even see the characters’ teeth when they smile. The lighting and shadows are impeccable.

Soul Calibur does not feel like a fighting game. Sure, Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct are classics, but they can’t touch the depth of Soul Calibur. The mission mode provides for hours of game play. It isn’t your stereotypical arcade fighter where you defeat an enemy and just move on to the next.

It is impossible to do this game justice by writing about it. I have known people who have bought Dreamcast after playing Soul Calibur for the sole purpose of playing this one game. Now is the time to get it, with the prices on Dreamcast lower than ever.

There is a cornucopia of special modes to give Soul Calibur good, lasting value. The modes are:

  • Arcade Mode: Exactly like the arcade version of the game, arcade mode lets you play against CPU opponents. In order to win, you simply defeat all of the enemies they through at you. The final boss is always the mighty Inferno. Keep track of whom you have won with in arcade mode, because every time you beat it with a different character, you unlock a new one.
  • Vs Battle Mode: This is exactly like arcade mode, except you play against another person.
  • Team Battle Mode: Team Battle mode enables you to choose from one to eight characters to play as a team. In this mode you can fight the CPU or another player. The player who wins the most number of matches wins the game.
  • Time Attack Mode: Time Attack mode is a one-person game where you must play against the computer to finish the game as quickly as possible (this is set up exactly like arcade mode). The best times are kept in results in the high scores.
  • Survival Mode: In Survival mode you must defeat as many computer opponents as possible with a single life bar (Don’t worry, you recover some life in between each fight). The most frustrating thing about Survival is the lack of a pause option. When you are on your ninetieth opponent with a full bladder, you will be begging for the damn button to work (I have gotten away with sprinting to the bathroom after I make sure I have a full health bar and letting the opponent beat the crap out of me until I got back).
  • Mission Battle Mode: This is the essence of the game. You work through a map, playing certain missions and earning points along the way. Most missions involve you fighting numerous opponents with some sort of handicap. With points you can go to the art gallery. The gallery contains many unique and beautiful pieces of Soul Calibur artwork for you to enjoy. When you purchase certain art (almost always the more expensive ones) you may unlock a plethora of hidden features including new levels, weapons, modes, and costumes.
  • Museum Mode: Museum mode is a virtual museum of Soul Calibur art, sound, information, and more. New features can be added to this mode by unlocking more art.
  • Practice Mode: To practice your moves and combos, go here. The move list that is found in the start menu is very helpful for learning the game.
  • Options Mode: Just your basic video game options.

Basic Characters:

Ivy:
Name: Isabella Valentine
Weapon: Snake Sword
Weapon Name: Ivy Blade
Style: Unrelated Link
Age: 28
Birth Date: December 10
Family: Adoptive parents dead through sickness. Birth Parents unknown.
Birthplace: London, England
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 128 pounds
Blood Type: A

Astaroth
Name: Astaroth
Weapon: Giant Ax
Weapon Name: Kulutues
Style: Gyulkus
Age: 3
Birth Date: September 3
Family: None. There are many similar creatures like him.
Birthplace: Unknown
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 209 pounds
Blood Type: None

Mitsurugi
Name: Heishiro Mitsurugi
Weapon: Katana
Weapon Name: Shishi-Oh
Style: Tenpu-Kosai-Ryu Kai
Age: 25
Birth Date: June 8
Family: Parents and siblings all taken by sickness.
Birthplace: Bizen, Japan
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 143 pounds
Blood Type: AB

Taki
Name: Taki
Weapon: Ninja Sword
Weapon Name: Rekki-Maru and Mekki-Maru
Style: Musoh-Battoh-Ryu
Age: 25
Birth Date: Unknown
Family: Immediate family all felled by sickness. Master Toki.
Birthplace: Ohmi, Japan
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 117 pounds
Blood Type: A

Sophitia
Name: Sophitia Alexandra
Weapon: Short Sword and small shield
Weapon Name: Omega Sword and Elk Shield
Style: Saint Athenian
Age: 21
Birth Date: March 12
Family: Father – Achelous, Mother – Nike, Younger Sister – Cassandra, Younger Brother - Lucius
Height: 5’6”
Weight: Unknown
Blood Type: B

Voldo
Name: Voldo
Weapon: Katar x 2
Weapon Name: Shame and Blame
Style: Self-taught
Age: 46
Birth Date: August 25
Family: Parents and four siblings, all killed through warfare.
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Height: 6’
Weight: 185 pounds
Blood Type: A

Maxi
Name: Maxi
Weapon: Nunchaku
Weapon Name: Fatibal
Style: Shissen Karihadi
Age: 24
Birth Date: May 1
Family: Both parents deceased. Sworn brother. Kyam and shipmates.
Birthplace: Ryukyu Kingdom
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 126 pounds
Blood Type: O

Nightmare
Name: Nightmare
Weapon: Soul Edge
Weapon Name: Soul Edge
Style: Memories of Soul Edge
Age: Unknown
Birth Date: Unknown
Family: Unknown
Birthplace: Unknown
Height: 5’6”
Weight: 209 pounds
Blood Type: Unknown

Kilik
Name: Kilik
Weapon: Rod
Weapon Name: Kali-Yuga (rod), Dvapara-Yuga (mirror)
Style: Secret Art of the Ling Sheng Su Style Rod
Age: 19
Birth Date: February 9
Family: Unknown
Birthplace: Unknown
Height: 5’6”
Weight: 139 pounds
Blood Type: A

Xianghua
Name: Xianghua
Weapon: Chinese Sword
Weapon Name: Krita-Yuga
Style: Sword arts passed on from her mother
Age: 16
Birth Date: April 2
Family: Father is deceased, according to her mother. Mother passed away 5 years ago.
Birthplace: Ming Empire
Height: 5’
Weight: 101 pounds
Blood Type: B

For every character you beat the game with, you unlock a new one. The hidden characters are:

Hwang Sung Kyung
Yoshimitsu
Lizardman
Siegfried Schtauffen
Rock
Seung Mina
Cervantes
Edge Master
Inferno

Controls:
X Button: Horizontal Attack
Y Button: Vertical Attack
B Button: Kick Attack
A Button: Guard
R and L Buttons: Soul Charge (makes the following move un-counterable)

The Legend will never die

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