"The stage of history is set once again"

Welcome back to the stage of history, were soul and sword will clash for the fate of destiny. After a long wait, one of video gaming finest makes a definite triumphant return. With this game being released on multiple systems I had to consider how the Gamecube version would stack up the X-Box and PS2 editions of Soul Calibur 2. Seeing as to how I had the chance to choose between either the PS2 or Gamecube version of this masterpiece. I went for the Gamecube copy and I quite honestly say that I’m not the least disappointed and very happy with my choice.

Graphics: 10 out of 10

I was quite amazed by graphics of this game. Character animation is smooth and very fluid not a single sign of slow down or herky-jerky movement. Character design is top notch, although some 2nd and 3rd costumes look like they could’ve used a little more effort. Excellent detail in each characters design from Mitsurgi’s beard stubble to the perky “bounce” in the female characters. Overall each character’s design is very unique to their respective personalities. The attention to the details of the arenas is beyond words, from the details of the windmill sails and grinding gears in the village of wind to the haunting look of the ruined Ostrheinburg Chapel. Overall I would say that the graphics of the Gamecube version of Soul Calibur 2 surpasses the arcade version itself.

Sound: 10 out of 10

This game can kick out some excellent sound effects, from the clashing of the characters’ weapons to the movement of the wind. Almost to the point were you would think that you were actually there in the arena clashing swords with your opponent. Unlike a good portion of fighting games out there that happen to remix and reuse their music for most of their arenas. The music in Soul Calibur 2 individually and accurately represents each arena that they play in. Bonus to those who happen to have their Gamcube hooked up to a home theater system. Were you could enjoy the full scope of Soul Calibur’s sound to the nth degree of excellence.

Gameplay: 8 out of 10

Replay: Like most fighting games there’s not a lot of replay value that can be squeezed into the genre, but Soul Calibur 2 is not like most fighting games. Soul Calibur 2 offers its’ weapon master mode. Here the player is offered a quest in which they can either buy or unlock hidden characters, weapons, costumes, and features. Weapon Master Mode offers various chapters each with there own missions. Each chapters missions in weapon master mode has there own stipulations in order to win the match. From defeating your opponent using only guard impacts to facing against 5 opponents with half a life bar. Unfortunately the primary reason most people will be playing weapon master mode is not for the sheer fun of it. It will either be out of sheer frustration of beating a mission or trying to raise the necessary funds to buy that very expensive weapon or costume. On top of weapon master mode Soul Calibur 2 also offers the extra features of a survival mode, the standard 2 player vs. mode, team battle, art gallery, and exhibition mode.

Control: One of the key concerns amongst most Gamecube owners of Soul Calibur 2 was the control setup of the game. Mostly being the position of the digital pad, although it does feel awkward it takes some time to get used to. Honestly I feel that using the control stick is better and offers better control than the digital pad itself. An option is included to customize and adjust the button layout to your liking. Overall the Gamecube’s control is pretty accurate and responsive. It takes time to get used to the overall set up and feel of the games controls but not to the point were it becomes a source of frustration.

Gameplay: Plot wise there isn’t much that Soul Calibur offers. It involves around the quest of each of the game’s characters to either obtain or destroy the Soul Edge. Then again that’s only if your into this for the single player action. Like all fighters the real fun is had when you gather your buds over and pummel each other senseless with a barrage of combos and special attacks that look like there taken straight out of a high action kung fu film. Unfortunately this works against the single player aspect of Soul Calibur 2. There’s only so much fun that can be had from playing the game in single player mode. If there’s no one around to play against, this game can get boring real fast.

Overall: 9 out of 10

Soul Calibur 2 is definitely one of the must have games for the Nintendo Gamecube. Offering a more than moderate amount of single player action with a heavy dose of extra features. Offering top-notch graphics and sound that surpass the arcade version of this game. Accurate and responsive controls make this game easy to pick up. The game offers over 15 characters so everyone can find someone that meets their butt whooping needs. Only drawbacks being the frustrating at times missions in weapon master mode and single player action that can get dull and boring real fast. Overall I would say that this game is worth buying.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/28/03

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