Review by BrakZero

Reviewed: 08/13/01 | Updated: 08/13/01

An easy and fun weapons based fighter.

Soul Calibur, in my opinion, is one of the greatest and most fun arcade fighters currently available for play at an arcade. It’s the sequel to Soul Blade, a fighter based on weaponry, which I have personally not played and do not plan to play it anytime soon. In any case, Namco continued with the weapon system in Soul Calibur, and although it seems too easy, it turned out to be a very nicely done game, featuring some familiar faces from Soul Blade and even Tekken.

Gameplay
The one element of Soul Calibur that made it somewhat unique among other fighters is the battle system based on weapons. Each character has his or her own weapons, which could be anything, such as a sword, rod, or dagger. Unlike the few fighting games that feature this, such as Mortal Kombat 4, the characters in Soul Calibur cannot and will not ever let go of their weapons, no matter how much they are beaten down by their opponent. These weapons can obviously be used to your advantage, as they usually do much more damage than a simple maneuver such as a kick. There are also several ways of using it to attack your enemy, which all depends on the character you chose and his/her weapon. For instance, you can slash your enemy from side-to-side for good damage, or you can do a jump slash if you see a nice big opening for one. Or if you are putting a slight strategy twist, you can use a poking maneuver with your weapon to knock your opponent off from the battle platform.

Why would you want to knock your opponent from the battle platform? Easy... an instant win. All the battle arenas featured in the game are always floating, or surrounded by water or some kind of other dangerous area. If you manage to attack your opponent in a way to send them flying back a bit, they could fall off, and doing so will give you an instant win for that round.

Character Selection
There are a lot of characters to choose from in Soul Calibur, and many of them could look familiar to you. I haven’t played Soul Blade, but I’ve been told that a few of the characters from that game also appear in Soul Calibur, such as Siegfried. (The coolest character!) And being made by Namco, you can also spot a familiar Tekken character: Yoshimitsu. Actually, I am not sure that this is Tekken’s Yoshimitsu, as he looks very different from the Tekken game, but he has the same kind of laser katana, and his fighting style is extremely similar. Anyway, there is a wide selection of characters, and it’s not overdone like it was in a few games of the genre. You shouldn’t be disappointed with your character selection; at least one should fit your style, as there are many different styles of hair, clothing, and weapons to choose from.

Graphics
The graphics are extremely nice. The characters looked slightly blocky when looked at from a certain angle, but are very well designed nevertheless. The have a very nice amount of detail all over them, and you can pay especially close to the great designs of each character’s weapon. Also, some characters feature fantastic animation as part of them, such as the character Inferno, whose body is composed of burning flames. The backgrounds were realistic and often colorful, and set a pretty good environment for the fight. All the animation was fine, as nothing was choppy and everything moved quite fluently.

Audio
I normally can’t hear music when I play arcade games, but I was able to hear the BGMs played during the gameplay. Each of them were nicely composed and fit the environment extremely nicely, which set the mood for a fighter nicely and making the game simply more exciting. The sound was great as well, although I’m sure it doesn’t sound much different than any other arcade fighter you’ve ever played, since you only hear the typical arcade sounds such as constant war-cries from the battling characters and their short gasps of air when struck by an opponent. Not to mention that announcer that yells the names of the competing characters. Overall, the audio was surprising well done and should not disappoint.

Control
Everything looks fine in this area. The controls are responsive and therefore don’t end up costing you an entire match. You use a typical joystick, with four buttons for weapon use, kicking, etc. and it’s not too complicated with only four buttons on hand.

Difficulty
This is something that disappointed me greatly. I found this game to be extremely easy, and you can’t change any difficulty settings since this isn’t a console game. To be honest, I was ripping up my competition the very first time I put my quarter in and played, and it didn’t change one bit anytime after. At first I thought it was because I was using the awesome Siegfried, but then I used several of the other featured characters and found that it was just as easy. I beat the entire game... which is arcade mode (obviously)... on my very first time, and I almost never beat a fighter in the arcades even after I become familiar with it and become experienced. If you want some challenge, play a friend.

Final Word
If you’re a fan of arcade fighters and have access to Soul Calibur at your arcade, then I would definitely recommend that you use some of your spare change on this game. It’s an extremely fun weapon based fighter, which should keep you busy for quite some time. (Especially with that low difficulty level) I sure am glad that I spent at least one quarter on it, and you will be too.


Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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