Review by Psycho Penguin

Reviewed: 10/17/00 | Updated: 07/16/01

Yes, it's my favorite 3D fighting game ever!

Soul Blade may well be best known for being the prequel to Soul Calibur. And this is unfortunate, because Soul Blade is a fantastic 3D weapon based fighter. And not only that, but in my opinion this game is better than the sequel, because the sequel has some serious gameplay problems which Soul Blade does not. I only found a few flaws worth mentioning in Soul Blade, and more in Soul Calibur.

Soul Blade may well have been one of the first fighting games to hit the Playstation, but it is also one of the best as well. It is my favorite 3D fighting game of all time, as well. I also enjoyed this game a heck of a lot more, than its supposedly better sequel, Soul Calibur. Maybe I am just a stickler for the classics, but that is the way I feel about the whole situation.

Enough about the comparisons. This game is one of my all time favorites, and has been ever since my friend first let me borrow it back when I did not have much Playstation games. I liked it enough to buy it off of him, and I have played the heck out of it ever since I got it. It is definitely a superb game, with lots of great elements to it.

One of the things you may notice in a lot of the newer fighting games out there is the fact that there is not one central storyline, rather every character has their own storyline which ties in with each other in the end. Soul Blade, I think, was one of the first games to do this. Each character has their own storyline, from Siegfried's search for the legendary sword to Cervante's master plan of taking over the world.

All of the storylines with the characters are very well written and very well done, although you can only find out the full storylines of the characters by going into the story mode, and going through it with each character. You really find out a lot about each character, and each storyline is so complex and well written, it is almost like a role playing game. Namco really did a great job with the individual storylines in this game.

You know, for a late 1996/ early 1997 game, the graphics are quite good. They're not up to the level of a Tekken 3 or Soul Calibur, but the graphics are pretty good. The backgrounds are great, although sometimes they appear too plain. And the charcater designs are great, ranging from a bearded pirate with tons of swords (Cervantes) to a big guy with a hammer (Rock).

The backgrounds in the game are simply awesome, and some of the best backgrounds I have ever seen in a fighting game. I am usually not a huge fan of the 3D backgrounds of fighting games, because a majority of them have flaws to them. Now, that is not bias, it's just my own personal opinion. However, I really liked the backgrounds in this game, as they were well detailed and very well varied. They definitely fit the feeling of each character perfectly, especially the field in Rock's stage (hehe).

The character designs are top notch, as well. I really liked the variety of character designs in the game, and also liked how each character had a few designs to them. Confused? Well, let me give an example. Siegfried has two looks. One of those looks is the look of a knight, complete with armor and mask, while his other look is that of his normal everyday human self. It is this attention to detail that makes the character designs in the game so darn good.

Overall, the graphics in this game are definitely great, as Namco did everything in their power to make sure the game looked as good as it possibly could before releasing it. For a first generation PSX game, it can still be compared to the games of today favorably, and that is definitely a good thing for Namco.

Namco delivers with the best fighting game soundtrack ever!! Every song in this game is amazing, and one sticks out in my mind in particular, although I cant recall its name right now. I also liked the final stage theme, Cervantes theme, I have it downloaded on my computer and am listening to it as I type this. It is really a great theme, as are all of the other themes in the game.

The music in this game is truly awesome, and I will buy a Soul Blade soundtrack if I ever get a chance to. I really liked the music in this game, and I also liked how before each stage Namco gave the name of the song that will play in the stage. That was definitely a great idea on Namco's part. Hell, how many times have I said that now? Namco did a lot of things right with this game.

The sound effects are great, as well, and the sound of swords clashing is very nicely done. There is no annoying announcer to listen to, and I definitely am a fan of this, because in a lot of fighting games nowadays there are annoying announcers who really take away from the overall feeling of the game. So, I am glad that there are no annoying sound effects or announcers in this game. There is no annoying voice acting, either.

Overall, the music and sound effects in the game are awesome. I really liked the variety of music themes in the game, as this is one of my favorite soundtracks to ever appear in a fighting game. The music is truly awesome. The sound effects are good, as well, and I liked how there was no annoying voice acting or announcing present. That was definitely a good thing, considering I was worrying about it at first.

Control in the game is top notch, as it is fairly easy to pull off a lot of the moves in this game. As some of you may know, I have never really been awesome at pulling off combos and big moves in fighting games, so I have always preferred games where it is easy to pull off big moves. And Soul Blade is that kind of game, as I was pulling off basic moves in seconds, and that led into doing the big moves, like javelin throws and double sword attacks into 360 spins. The game really did feature solid control.

The gameplay is just like Soul Calibur in that its a weapon based fighter. You first choose from a selection of 10(?) fighters. My personal favorite is Siegfried, although Rock and Taki are cool as well. There are a few things to worry about while you're fighting. One, there are ring outs, so you dont want to tread near the edge. Two, there is now a weapon meter, and each time you block, it decreases by a bit. If you block too much, there goes your weapon!!

I really liked the basic gameplay of the game, as it is truly awesome. Tekken 3 got kind of boring for me after a while, because there was not that much fun after a while. But Soul Blade has remained fun for me, because of all the added elements to the basic fighting system. The simple fact that you can lose your weapon will lead to rather quickly pased battles, because you will not want to block as much. If you block too much, your weapon is shattered. So there goes some people's plans of blocking until the other player gets bored, then going in for a huge attack, rendering the fight meaningless.

The story mode in the game is really cool, and something I wish Tekken 3 had. Each character has a different stroyline, and as you move on you get new weapons. However, sometimes you are faced with a challenge, ranging from using throws to kill your opponent, to only having a little bit of your life meter left. It really is fantastic. I really liked the story mode of the game, because it is so much fun to go through. I liked getting new weapons for each of my characters and gaining experience points, and I have always liked it when fighting games bring role playing game elements into the fray. Soul Blade does a great job of that, so I am really pleased as how it turned out.

Overall, the gameplay and control in Soul Blade are fantastic. I was really pleased with the control in the game, as I found it rather easy to control my characters and pull off moves, which I cannot always claim in fighting games. So, I can claim it in this game, which means the game has good control, especially for a fighting game. The fighting engine in this game is fantastic, and all of the added extras to the game, like a story mode, just adds to the overall fun of the game. I really am a fan of this game, and it will always remain one of my all time favorite video games, as well as my favorite 3D fighting game.

The story mode will keep you busy for a while. I kept on playing until I got everybody everything!! The story mode is definitely the most addicting part of the entire game, but there is also other addicting parts to the game. Hell, I consider the whole game to be somewhat addicting. Yes, I consider this game to have some of the best replay value ever featured in a fighting game, and you can take that to the bank!

The regular fighting game is kind of easy, but the story mode makes up for it. It's dang hard to beat someone with only a little bit of life meter to start! The story mode is kind of challenging, hell it is very challenging, but I was a little disappointed by the challenge level of the game. It is certainly a challenging game, but I felt as if Namco could have beefed up the challenge of the actual game just a bit. Regardless, it is still a good challenge.

This is a great game that unfortunately is overshadowed by its ''better'' sequel. Soul Calibur comparisons aside, this is truly an all time video game classic, in my opinion. I really loved almost every aspect of this game, and I will always consider this to be one of my all time favorite video games. It is currently my favorite 3D fighting game, and 4th favorite fighting game of all time. And it would definitely show up on my Top 25 favorite video games list.

Good Points
-The game engine itself is innovative and very very fun.
-The story mode in the game is awesome and very addictive.
-Lots of added extras just adds to the already awesome fun factor.
-The music soundtrack in the game is just incredible.
-The storylines for each character are awesome.
-The graphics in the game are simply amazing considering the age of the title.

Not So Good Points
-I am thinking.
-I am still thinking.
-Still thinking...
-Aha! Found one! The challenge is not as good as it could have been!
*I feel extremely proud that I found a fault*

I Run Down The Ratings... Da Ladies Man Style!
Storyline - 9.8/10
Graphics - 9.7/10
Music - 10/10 PERFECTION!
Sound Effects - 9.8/10
Control - 9.8/10
Gameplay - 10/10 PERFECTION!
Replay Value - Way Above Average
Challenge - Disappointingly Below Average
Worth a Purchase? - Oh Hell Yeah it is!
Overall - 9.8/10
The Last Line: This is truly an all time great. Make sure to get it today!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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