Namastē aura ToriJ kē vīḍiyō gēma samīkṣā karanē kē li'ē āpakā svāgata hai. Okay, there is nothing I can do or say to do this introduction justice, so I'm just going to show the opening clip.
Hot damn, look at how young Siegfried looks. I think Soul Edge added a couple of years on him.
Soul Blade (Soul Edge in Japan) is a 3D fighting game by Team Soul, published by Namco, and the predecessor for the Soul Calibur franchise. My brother got this game back when his PlayStation was still new, and like most of the things he brought home I'd play it until the cows came home. In the game everyone and their mother is after a demon sword named 'Soul Edge' that corrupts pretty much everyone it comes into contact with. So who has it? A badass pirate by the name of Cervantes de Leon.
Like always we have a straightforward menu here. Not too many modes to complicate things, and just enough to keep you busy. We even have a little story mode you can see above option that we're get into later. There's also a practice mode for you to familiarize yourself with the controls, and that was something that became commonplace as of 3D fighters. Before you had to jump right in (or just do two player by yourself) and go from there.
There's nothing wrong with the picture, their avatars really are that blurry.
We have ten characters to choose from with each having their own alternate costume you can change to by holding down the X button. The PlayStation version also has five unlockable characters with the big bad himself, Soul Edge, being one of them. Each character also comes with their own weapon and fighting style. They also have two endings each in the arcade mode that is good and bad and are triggered in interactive cut-scenes where you need to press the right button at the right time or you're getting the bad ending. I nearly got Taki's bad ending because I almost didn't realize the game wanted me to do something when Soul Edge was about to stab her.
One of the most memorable endings for me is the bad ending of Hwang when he takes the Soul Edge for himself and becomes evil. He returns to his village and he has the red eyes and the creepy looking face and he just laughs as the screen goes black. I loved it. My brother wasn't too happy that was the ending he got, but I loved it. The defining moment of the game however probably came during Siegfried's bad ending when the sword takes him over and he becomes Nightmare. That was the first time we ever saw the character who would become a major antagonist for the Soul Calibur games.
Get off my raft!
Once we get to the actual gameplay it's like most fighters, but with a few differences. For starters there's a health meter for your character, and your weapon. If the weapon meter empties the weapon breaks. You can also knock your opponent out of the stage (which is called a ring) prompting an automatically victory. It can also lead to an automatic loss on your part so be careful around those corners.
I like how if you press one of the attack buttons while getting up you can do a rising attack on your opponent. Not so nice when you're on the receiving end, but it's better to give than receive. Despite being 3D there doesn't seem to be much of a way to move up and down the ring. You can move left and right, but up is jump, and down is duck. Some times you can roll a certain way but that's about it.
I'm going to throw my back out at this rate.
Cervantes de Leon is the final boss you face in the arcade and is naturally the hardest foe to fight even on easy. I was mowing through most of the fighters until I reached the pirate and suddenly I was getting my ass kicked, and as if that wasn't enough once I get to Soul Edge I was being thrown around all over the fucking ring until I remembered there was a jump button. So I start jumping and attack and suddenly I'm winning. I slapped my hand on my head and went “duh!”
Soul Edge (who some of you may only know as Inferno) was a great final boss with his look and how tough he was to beat. I don't know if he was inspired by Ghost Rider, but you can certainly see the similarities looking at the picture above. I always thought he was cool. When we unlocked him back in the day he's all I would ever use because of his look, and his style wasn't half bad either.
Larger than life.
Edge Master Mode is the closest thing to a RPG that this game has. You have the world map as seen above, a selection of weapons you can choose from with their own stats, and each fight has a specific objective you have to fulfill in order to proceed depending on the story. You may have to knock a guy out of the ring, or beat them within a small amount of time adding a whole new layer of difficulty that makes it exciting.
You guys really want me to read more, don't you?
The story is largely told through the use of storybooks. You can't proceed to the next fight until you read the book, or at the very least skim to see who you'll be facing. I wouldn't recommend you skim it either because the story in this mode is actually a lot more fleshed out, so once again a fighting game proves to me that it can have a story and any claims to the contrary is just ludicrous to me. Evil Zone proved it wrong, Mortal Kombat proved it wrong, and now Soul Blade has proved it wrong.
Soul Blade is a game that you can just pick up and play and have a lot of fun with it. The game sets itself apart from other fighters largely because of the interactive endings and Edge Master. I would recommend it if you're a fighting game fan, and I would certainly recommend it if you've played any of the other Soul Calibur games and enjoyed them. Check it out.
The legend will never die.