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Soul Calibur II Review - Gamecube

95%
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This is a tale of souls and swords, transcending the world and all its history, told for all eternity...

It's been four long years since the release of Soul Calibur on Dreamcast, but the soul still burns! Sorry, I had to throw that line in there... The Soul series itself has been around since Soul Edge hit the arcades in 1995, but it's wasn't until Soul Calibur was released that people started to take notice of Namco's other fighting game, as Tekken had always been their top seller. Soul Calibur, with it's fighters from varied backgrounds, unusual choice of music and a well implemented 3D environment made fighting game fans really take notice, and thus Soul Calibur 2 became one of the most anticipated games of 2003.


Gameplay

As you would expect from a fighting game, Soul Calibur features all the usual game modes; Arcade, Vs Battle, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Vs Team Battle and Practice. Once you have completed the arcade mode a few times, you will also have all of those modes available in the 'extra' category, which allows you to select an alternate weapon for your character, providing you have unlocked or purchased any in the Weapons Master mode. You have 15 characters to choose from when you first start the game, and then there are another 5 that can be unlocked. As this is the Gamecube version, the special guest character is Link from the Zelda games, who fits in nicely with the rest of the line-up. Also featured is a new character created by Todd McFarlane, Necrid, who appears in all three versions of the game. Each character also has 11 unlockable weapons and 1 unlockable costume, providing plenty of excuses to keep playing.

Most fighting games are fun until you have unlocked everything, and then tend to get a little dull unless you have a second person to fight against. Luckily for Soul Calibur, there are so many things to unlock that you'll be busy for months, and most of them don't involve finishing arcade mode over and over again. This is where the Weapons Master mode comes in.

Weapons Master is the quest mode of the game, where you travel from location to location on a map, reading little snippets of story and fighting battles based on the storyline. Most of the battles will have some kind of condition to them, such as you starting with low health, the ring being trapped or wind pushing you constantly towards the edge. Others will require you to do certain things, such as defeat your opponent with a ring out or to damage them with only guard impacts. This not only gives you something other than arcade to do, but also teaches you new moves as you go, making you a much more formidable fighter. There are also shops located in each chapter on the map, and that is where you can ... (continued next page)