My first Dreamcast review! Do I ever love this system! So many great hidden gems! I got my first dreamcast while in high school. I traded my old bass guitar for a giant collection of Dreamcast and Genesis systems and games. One of the first games that I tried was Soul Calibur. It quickly became one of my favourite fighting games of all times. My buddy Ben and I would play this game for literally hundreds of rounds in a row. Good times!
The story of this game is complex and I don’t fully comprehend it, but apparently there is an evil sword called Soul Edge. The sword has a will of its own and uses people who touch it as their host. Siegfried – one of the playable characters – eventually touches the sword, which causes him to become possessed by the sword and turns him into Nightmare. The main goal of the story is the obtain the Soul Edge and either destroy it or obtain it for its power.
As a fighting game, the cast of playable characters is incredibly important. Luckily, there is a large cast of likeable characters! Each character is designed supremely well and really has their own personality. The art showcased throughout the game really help to make them feel like fully fleshed out characters. While many of them are available right away, some need to be unlocked, which I actually really liked as it got me to try all the characters in arcade mode, discovering that there were characters that I really liked playing as that I would not have tried otherwise.
This game is a 3D weapon-based fighting game. While most 3D fighting games I have found clunky, this game does it right! Each character has a weapon ranging from swords, knives, axes, whip swords! There are vertical and horizontal buttons for attacking, plus a kick button, and a throw button. Pushing the direction stick in any direction plus one of these buttons, or multiple buttons causes the character to do some pretty amazing attacks. Its quite easy to just pound on the controller to pull off some impressive visual attacks, but if time is spent learning the moves, it is very rewarding and fun to play.
The main mode is arcade mode where you take your character through a series of battles ending with obtaining the Soul Edge. At the end of each run, the player is treated to a wonderful series of anime-themed drawings outlining their ending. These endings ooze quality. Apart from the main mode and multiplayer, there is a unique mission mode where you choose a fighter are challenged by a large number of modified fights where you can for instance be fighting in a windy area, or are poisoned, or can only use certain attacks. Each one is unique and really spices up the fights!
The really cool thing about the mission mode is that you are rewarded with points that you an use to unlock tons of art! I remember back in high school I played the mode for hours to finally unlock all the art. There character portraits and tons of anime-inspired drawings. I remember wishing there was an anime based on these characters because I liked them so much!
In terms of graphics, this game is a true beauty to this day and one of the best looking dreamcast games ever made. The special effects of each weapon look awesome, as do the 3D environments and characters themselves. The music is on another level as well. I remember turning the game on and putting it in museum mode (where you look at all the unlocked art) and just listening to the music in the menu. It was that good! The character voices and sound effects are also extremely appropriate and really add to the fighting mood of the game.
Overall, this is one of my favourite fighting games of all time. The only one that really gives it a run for its money is the sequel on Gamecube (where you can be LINK!). This game is fun, easy to pick up but hard to master, looks great and sounds even better! Highly recommended for anyone who owns a Dreamcast. I give this game a 9/10.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10