is the second game in the Soul series
of fighting games
developed and produced by Namco
was ported and released for the Sega Dreamcast
with improved graphics and new features and became one of the best-selling Dreamcast titles overall. The Sega Dreamcast
port is often cited as the greatest fighting game of all time, and even one of the greatest games across all genres; it is ranked as the eighth-best game of all time by review aggregator site Game Rankings
Following the first game Soul Edge
(also a game created for the arcade originally, and subsequently the PlayStation
) in 1995
, the Soul
series received a major makeover and was retitled Soulcalibur
. Hence, Soulcalibur
can also refer to the series consisting of Soulcalibur
and its subsequent sequels (essentially the Soul
series minus Soul Edge
Soul Calibur is the name of the holy sword, created to battle the evil sword Soul Edge, around which the games' storylines revolve. According to a timeline released by Namco on their "Soul Archive" site, Soulcalibur takes place around 1587.
had a strong fanbase, but when Soulcalibur
was released in the arcades, it was not as popular as Namco would have liked or expected. Luckily for the series, Soulcalibur
was picked up for the Sega Dreamcast, and became a smash hit almost overnight. Soulcalibur
, the second game in the series, was set 3 years after the original and introduced a revolutionary feature, the Eight-Way Run. Previous 3D
fighters had only limited movement along the third axis
, with sidesteps and rolls providing useful but unsustained lateral movement. In Soulcalibur
, simply holding down a joystick
direction causes the character to run in that direction. This gives the player a sense of freedom and deepens the strategy of the game. Soulcalibur
also improved game play with "forgiving buffering." Buffering is executing the input for one move before your character has finished recovering from his previous move. It is important for executing quick strings of moves. Tekken
and Virtua Fighter
have relatively strict buffering requirements, meaning expert timing is required to pull off many combinations, while Soulcalibur
's relatively lenient buffering lets players focus more on the game and less on the controls.
The mystical sword of the legends, the "Soul Edge", ended in the hands of the dread pirate Cervantes of Spain. For the next 25 years he stayed dormant on the remnants of a Spanish port town, taking the souls of those who reached him during their search of the sword. His reign of terror was soon to start, but the joined efforts of a divine warrior (Sophitia
) and an underground ninja (Taki
) stopped him, breaking one of the twin Soul Edge blades in the process. As it was about to tear itself apart, a young knight (Siegfried
) approached the port town. The moment he took the hilt of the cursed blade, Soul Edge released a bright column of light into the sky. This was known as the "Evil Seed", bound to bring calamity and death across its path.
Three years after those events, Soul Edge uses Siegfried as its host, and now Siegfried is Nightmare, a knight wearing azure armor. Europe plunges into a vortex of slaughters as he and his followers claim souls to strengthen the blade in its weakened state. Unknown to them, a group of young warriors met on their journey to stop Soul Edge, and with them three sacred weapons join once again.
Characters who must be unlocked:
Characters who must be unlocked:
Soulcalibur was originally planned to be a dramatic overhaul, featuring only a few select characters to be carried over from its predecessor, Soul Edge. While the initial plan did not exactly follow through--as nine of the eleven characters from the original roster had carried over by the time the game was ported to the Sega Dreamcast--the game still did manage to nearly double the size of the roster from the previous title. Most of these characters were readily available from the second the player opens the package.
But although the game added ten new characters, several of them were simply updated versions of previously existing styles. Of the returning characters, Seung Mi Na's moveset was largely taken from Kilik, and Hwang's was largely based on Xianghua. Even Maxi was a greatly updated version of what Soul Edge's Li Long would have been if he had returned. And of three of the main antagonists, Nightmare's moveset was largely taken from Siegfried, Astaroth's from Rock; and Lizardman was based primarily on Soul Edge's featured heroine, Sophitia. In the Korean version of the game, Mitsurugi was replaced by a Caucasian swordsman named Arthur because the image of the samurai was not very popular with Koreans. Added to that is the fact that both Edge Master and Inferno switch their styles to match randomly-chosen existing characters' movelists with each individual round of fighting. In fact, Soulcalibur only added two truly original playing styles, shown in Ivy and Yoshimitsu; and even Yoshimitsu had some moves borrowed from established character Mitsurugi. Additionally, Taki has experienced a change of her own now that she wields dual tantōs instead of one. Consequently, Namco has been working hard since Soulcalibur to gradually separate the roster's styles until the series features completely original styles for each of its characters.
- Soulcalibur has the basic modes of play presented in most fighting games: "Arcade Mode" (fighting through 8 rounds, the 7th being a pre-defined battle for each character), "VS Mode", "Time Attack", "Team Battle", "Survival" and "Training Mode".
- "Missions Mode" is a mode where the player moves through the various levels in the game, fighting and fulfilling tasks to earn points. The mode has four variations of each of its many missions, each harder than the previous one.
- Points earned in Missions Mode allows the purchase of outfits, specials and various artworks from the game: CG portrait, sketches, character art and fanart are among the wide variety of artwork presented to unlock. Another added feature (unique of the franchise) are the " Exhibition Videos" or "katas". These videos portray the various characters performing a kata with their weapon of choice.
- Unlike Soul Edge, Soulcalibur II, and Soulcalibur III, Soulcalibur lacks the Extra Weapons feature. Each character has his main (default) weapon in both 1P and 2P form, along with the version of the weapon used by Edge Master.
- Out of the 19 characters available, 5 of them were granted a 3rd costume, available to unlock in the Missions Mode: Maxi, Siegfried, Sophitia, Voldo and Xianghua. Moreover, each character counted with a "transparent" version of their costume (Arcade only) or a "liquid metal" version of it (Dreamcast port only). There is also the possibility to use an "Unknown Soul" (blackened character) version as well.
was released in Japan for the Dreamcast in August 5
; and in North America as a launch title
, in September 9
The Dreamcast version of Soulcalibur is often cited as an example of a home conversion of a game being vastly superior to the original. Among the differences were the improved graphics (the DC version often being cited as the prettiest game of all time upon its release), tweaked gameplay, new game modes, new costumes, and the inclusion of an extra character Cervantes de Leon.
The Dreamcast version features new modes such as the Team Battle, Survival and the Training Mode. In Missions Mode the player completes various missions to attain points, which can be used to buy various art and costumes. Another feature added is the artwork section, containing both official artwork, fanart and High-res pictures. Also unlockable are a "liquid metal" version of the characters' costume and a "Battle Theater" mode, plus a way to modify the opening introduction theme by changing the characters appearing in it, and an "Exhibition Mode" in where you can see the characters performing their 'katas' alone (obviously done with motion capture, which makes for an eye-pleasing movement). In Mission Mode you can also add characters to the "Exhibition Mode", such as Taki and Seung Mina.
The North American Dreamcast Version of the game removes one of Voldo's suggestive codpieces featuring a bull. However, the codpiece is present in the European and Japanese versions, as well as the North American Xbox 360 version.
Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE Arcade)
On April 16, 2008, Namco Bandai announced a port of Soulcalibur would be released for the Xbox 360. The game was available for download on Xbox Live Arcade on July 2, 2008 . While the game would include HD updated graphics and various LIVE leaderboards, online play was confirmed by Namco to be absent which makes it an exception amongst most games ported to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Other features from the Dreamcast version (Museum, etc., with the exception of Mission Battle) are also in the game. All content is unlocked by the start of the game.
The Dreamcast port became wildly successful, with over 1 million copies sold in 1999 alone. The game is often considered to be one of the greatest games of all time, receiving perfect 10 scores from GameSpot
a Platinum Award from Electronic Gaming Monthly
and also a perfect 40/40 (second of only eight games) by Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu
and 10.0 from IGN
won the 1999 E3 Game Critics Awards
for Best Fighting Game.
was listed as the 43rd greatest game of all time on IGN
's 2005 top 100 list and voted the sixth greatest game in the 2006 readers' picks version. Game Informer listed it as the top game on the magazine's top 10 Dreamcast games list.. It is also currently listed as one of the ten best-reviewed games of all time on the video-game-dedicated review aggregating site, GameRankings