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Title Soul Calibur
System Sega Dreamcast
Players 1-2
Catalog # T-1401M
Price 5800¥
Street Date Available NOW
Other Info US Dreamcast version available on 9/9/99

by James Alsup III

By now, most interested players have read all the hype surrounding this game. Everyone says that this is a system seller for the DreamCast. It is the best fighting game ever. For anyone sick of all the gushing over this game, too bad, because here comes more gushing.

One word sums up this game. Wow.

From the opening animation, which is rendered in real time on the DreamCast, to the numerous play options, to the game itself, Soul Calibur is hands down the best game of 1999. There are many modes to this game. Obviously, there is an arcade mode and Vs. mode. Then, there is time attack, where players try to beat the game as fast as they can, team battle, practice, museum, and mission mode. Museum and mission mode are closely linked. Mission mode is similar to the Edge Maser mode in Soul Blade for the Playstation in which players go through various missions to get points. After scoring points, they can go into the museum and buy pieces of artwork. It sounds cheesy, but purchasing art unlocks extra outfits and stages. There is even a stage where it is possible to watch the fighters go through their katas.

Astounding. There is tremendous detail in the graphics that the game even shows muscles rippling or the veins in Rock's arms as he fights. Ivy gives a little fan service (thankfully, though, it is not as much as in Dead or Alive). I could go on and on with each character, but I will not. However, I will say that Voldo can give me nightmares.

For all the advances in graphics, it is natural to expect the sound would be top notch, too. Oh sure, the lips move when the characters talk, but the clashing of weapons sounds the same, be it katana on katana or huge battle axe on nunchaku. Blah. Looks like Namco had to leave something to improve upon for the next game.

The game begins with ten selectable fighters, all with their own distinct fighting styles. After finishing the game with different characters, new characters become available. It is breathtaking to watch the fighters in action. Words cannot do it justice. The characters move and react just as real life fighters would.

As in other fighting games, moves are chained together to do maximum damage. In Soul Calibur, the progression of moves makes sense. For example, when using Max, it is necessary to bring his nunchakus up to speed before executing his eight hit rapid fire attack. It is the little things like this that make this game so lovely.

Since each fight is realistic, there are no cheesy moves (like M. Bison's slide kick in Street Fighter II). Players must earn every victory. Soul Calibur is easy enough for a beginner, but it also has enough depth for repeat value months later.

When playing the game, be sure to unlock the Opening Direction editor, which allows players to customize the opening to include any of the characters they like. I had a little fun and put Mitsurugi in the spot marked "Girl in the Wind," which is occupied by Sophitia in the original opening. It is funny watching one of the gruffest characters in the game brush his hair back softly, then stare longingly at something so close, yet so far away.

When I review a game, I like to have completed it. As of press time, I've put in almost 96 hours of playing time, and I still have not unlocked everything.

There is not much more to say about this game except: "Go out and buy it!"

@a! Rating
out of 4.

This game gets 6 Cores




Soul Calibur

Namco, Ltd.



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