To commemorate the invention of the eight-way run, I’m going to have Paul do something special to this review. Paul, I’d like you to have the text of my review spiral out from the center in eight different directions, starting with the first and last sentences, and working your way into the middle. It shouldn’t be too terribly difficult. Keep in mind, the review from here on out will be written as though it were in a spiraling circle, and will definitely not make any sense otherwise. Moving on.
[No. — ed.]
I know it’s essentially irrelevant to mention what I’m about to mention in the context of a GameCola review, but I figure it’s good info to know. This is, after all, the future. And in the future, sometimes people want to know things about the past. Soul Calibur is still on par with, if not better than, whatever fighting game you want to think up from this day and age in the future. Sure, the voices/music sound pretty crappy, since it’s Dreamcast and all, but the gameplay is just as solid as anything else out there. Even moreso, with the magic eight-way run.
To explain, eight-way run basically means you can run around in circles around your opponent. I mean, you can’t actually do that, because you will get stabbed or thrown or something before you make it all the way around, but the feature is there. This is as opposed to previous games, where you may have been able to dodge to the right or left of incoming attacks, but you weren’t able to continuously walk/run in any direction except forward and backwards. Basically, Soul Calibur is as liberating as the Emancipation Proclamation.
Another handy feature is the more lenient combo system, where you can actually start inputting button combos while tied up in other moves. This makes the whole thing seem a lot smoother, and you can actually enjoy playing the game (because a lot of times if you keep pressing different things you might accidentally do a fancy move) instead of getting super frustrated trying to figure out how to do a more complicated move than a simple kick. I’ve played fighting games in which I can barely beat the tutorial because I can’t figure out how to do some super move they insist I do. You can say I just suck and it’s not the game’s fault, but I have to argue that any game that has a torturously annoying tutorial I can barely figure out is not a game I can justify trying to master. I’ll just go play a fun fighter like Soul Calibur.
I mentioned earlier that Soul Calibur sounds not very good (I believe I used the word “crappy.”) This is more or less the opposite of the visuals in this game. It is one of the best looking fighting games I’ve seen, and it is only blown away by fancy things on HD displays. I can still pick it up and play it (in fact, I just did a minute ago) without thinking to myself, as I often do when playing old games, “Holy shit, this looks terrible.” Of course, I do think “Holy shit, this sounds terrible.” Oh well, can’t win em all! And it’s still average in sound in comparison to other DC titles I’ve heard, so it’s all good!
This next bit is going to be sort of groundbreaking, so grab onto something sturdy. I don’t generally play fighting games just because I enjoy cheesing AI to death. I enjoy playing with other people. That being said, Soul Calibur has an extremely addicting single-player mission mode. You start out with basic tutorial stages (that I can beat with ease! Except for those times I died! Wooo hooo!) and then you purchase art (don’t groan yet) that unlocks new missions. (See! The art is worth something! It isn’t just art for art’s sake that doesn’t actually inspire you to get it if you aren’t a completionist!)
There are also new outfits and other goodies to be unlocked via purchasing art, so you get to kill multiple birds with one transaction. You get more money from doing missions (which, btw, are just various fights with different conditions, like kill these dudes with invisible weapons or kill these dudes really fast or whatever) which you then use to get more art and then more missions, etc etc. Like all of the other Soul Calibur games (and Soul Blade, too, for that matter) you can’t choose the difficulty of the mission mode. This provides something of an extra challenge, while also ensuring that you don’t have to play every stage on “AI will never not block your hits” mode. Some stages, yeah, but not ALL of them! That’s something!
OK folks, I think I’ve droned on enough. Bottom line is this: Soul Calibur is an incredibly fun and addictive fighter, even for people who generally don’t like fighting games, and it is still extremely good even when compared to the newest fighters out there. If you happen to have access to a Dreamcast and aren’t too busy playing Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire?, definitely don’t hesitate to check this game out.