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Soul Calibur

video game review video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Soul Calibur Publisher: Namco
Category: Action, Fighting
Platform: Dreamcast
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: September 1999

Overall Rating: 4 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
4 Stars out of 4

Soul Calibur is clearly the fighting game of the year. Graphics, control, and character animation are outstanding. Some of the backgrounds are so beautiful that the fighting feels exotic. The controls are so smooth and quick to respond that you'll feel as if no other fighting game has been like this. Pause the game at any time to access the endless list of special moves. No more looking down from the game to peruse the instruction booklet! With Arcade, Versus, Team Battle, Survival, Time Attack, and Mission Battle modes, this game will keep you busy for quite a while.

We first beat the game with Kilik. As a result, a new character called Hwang became available. Then we beat the game with him to introduce Yoshimitsu as a new player. The next hidden character we found was Lizardman. If you beat the game with all characters in all modes, who knows what will happen? The only bad thing about Soul Calibur is the lack of movie endings. All endings are composed of (still) illustrations and text. If we wanted these kinds of endings, we'd play Street Fighter, but for a Dreamcast game, the lack of any satisfying CG endings is a real pooper.

The control scheme is as follows. The A button invokes a defensive guard stance. The B button (right button) is a kick attack, while X and Y are for horizontal and vertical attacks, respectively. Pro players will find themselves dealing with an art gallery, museum mode, eight-way run, throw moves, throw escapes, stagger recovery, mid-air control, mid-air juggle combos, guard impact, counter guards, quick rolls, unblockable moves, soul charges, and a host of other techniques.

Ten characters are initially available, four of which are female. The options menu controls the difficulty level, number of rounds, round time, life bar size, and more. You can set the game to let you pick another fighter after you lose a fight. Namco even included an option to display the command lists in terms of the standard Dreamcast controller or the more popular arcade stick controller. This controller should be available in stores for the Dreamcast while supplies last.

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