Review by Pokemaniac Will
"All the fun of the arcade version, without the quarters"
Since last September, Soul Calibur II was one of my favorite Arcade games. I spent a lot of money over there. But alas, the time for the Arcade version is over, and now the GameCube version is out and no further quarters are needed, just a good 50 bucks or so...and believe me, it's worth it. This is one great game.
The graphics are amazing. The animations are smooth and the characters can move easily without a hitch. From Yoshimitsu using his spinning sitting move, to Mitsurugi's stab thrust, every animation is excellent. There are excellent effects added to moves, such as when a very strong move is coming, a character's weapon will glow purple and yellow. Their mouths look like they're speaking English, even though it's a dub. The characters look just like real people, and the clothes are so nicely done. The stages also look excellent in design, though they can get a bit repetitive, but that still doesn't take anything away from the beautiful graphics. The GameCube makes this game look great. And there's also quite a bit of fanservice to boot, but you probably won't need to be staring at that with the gameplay.
The gameplay of this should be the way all fighting games work. Each character has specific attacks and movements and have a different way of working. Someone might like the slow-yet-powerful moves of Cervantes, while another would prefer attacking swiftly with Talim. Either way, no character will truly overpower the rest, something that doesn't hold true for most fighting games (though many consider Nightmare to have an advantage over other characters with his long reach). There are many different combos and moves to explore, and a single factor such as a turn of the joystick may bring out a completely different move.
For the actual playing, each mode is great. Training is good to hone your skills, and worth using money for. The Arcade is a classic two-round battle marathon, where you fight six battles, and one destined battle, which will always be the same for each character. After your destined battle you fight the final boss. Defeat him for an ending. Survival is a good way to test your skills. There are no continues, only one round. You fight as many opponents as you can in a row, five on one stage before a switch. There is even a new Weapon's Master mode with large amounts of different stages and things to do, as well as trying different new weapons for each character. Stages don't play too huge a factor, but they can. There is also a Team Battle added, where, like in fighting games such as King of Fighters and Capcom Vs SNK, you can choose teams of three and battle, one character coming in after another was defeated. Many modes and great fighting to go along with all of them. Overall, amazing gameplay.
Another great triumph. The music for each stage well-accompanies the stage. Even though it's not all that loud, it's plenty loud enough for the mood of the fights. Many tunes are quite enjoyable, as well. The sounds of the characters are just great. Their voices accompany them well, for the most part. But Astaroth's growling voice and Talim's kind one are the kind of voices you'd expect for the characters. You can really hear the blows landing on characters. They really scream out in pain, and even speak in correct situations. A good example is when Mitsurugi would land a strong move that would knock an opponent down for a while, at which time he would boast ''See that?''. Bones crack, bodies slam, characters scream, and it's amazing. Even though some voices, especially Sophitia's can be somewhat annoying at times.
Of course, there's extras for the GameCube version. There are new characters, Seung Mina and Sophitia added. You can also gain access to Berserker, Assassin and Lizard Man in Vs. Mode only. None of these characters are available in the Arcade and make a great addition to the Console version. There's also the entire Weapons Master mode, with new weapons and missions. New costumes are also added for many characters, and profiles for them as well. What am I forgetting? Oh yes, LINK! Yep, Link is in this game, the Legend of Zelda guy. While Nintendo probably DOES make a bigger deal than needed, Link is a great addition to the game and fun to play as. A great character that improves the game, and appealing to a Nintendo/Zelda fan as well.
What can I say? It's an amazing game. This has kept me coming back to the arcade many days, rain or snow, and with a console release it's hard to stop playing. It's a great find. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys fighting games, or anyone who just wants to have a good time. Trust me, chances are, you're gonna love it.
Score: 9.8 (Rounds to 10)
To rent or to buy...that is the question
This is definitely the game you'd buy. Renting would not do enough justification, as there is far too much for you to do that'd be done in a single, or even several rentals. You may want to rent it first and see what you can do there, but you will most likely want to buy it. Even better than in the arcade, and without the quarters necessary.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/31/03
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