Soul Blade

a game by Namco Ltd.
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Genre: Fighting Games
Rating: 8/10

Description

People say:

8.0

I'm a sucker for a good, clean fighting game. What I mean is that it's always fun to sit down and play a fighter that lends itself to two-player fighting. The graphics in Soul Blade are incredible. I'm not one to drool over awesome intros, but Soul Blade has one of the best intros in the history of video gaming. But let's get back into the game. What's nice is that once you play the One-player Mode you can move onto the two-player portion. Then there's the Story Mode where you can find new weapons and new techniques. The moves are simple, but cool-looking--I like that. Soul Blade is a really fun fighter, worth the price.

8.0

If Soul Blade would've been around when I made the Top 10 Cinema list (issue #88, Letters section), it would've won the number-one spot, hands down. The game itself is nothing to sneeze at either. You won't find anything to complain about when it comes to the animation and the polygons. You also won't have any complaints on the number of moves and combos available in the game. You might complain, however, that the game doesn't require much technique to play. It's a straightforward and shallow fighter that relies heavily on button-tapping combos (dial-a-combo). It's not a bad Tekken 2 successor, but it's not fantastic.

8.5

Namco certainly isn't hurting its track record with this game. Just like the PlayStation Tekken games, SB is every bit as good as the arcade fighter-and in some ways better. My favorite addition is the Story Mode, which lets you wander the land, battling all the fighters and collecting their weapons. The rendered intro cinema is easily the most spectacular piece of FMV ever seen in a game (although it does set you up for some disappointment when you see the endings, in which the fighters look the same as they do during the game). Is it better than Tekken 2? No. But keep in mind that I ain't too crazy about block-button fighters.

8.5

Namco seems to have written the book on arcade translations, especially since every one they've done (or the PlayStation has outperformed the arcade version! Just as Tekken and Tekken 2 are best at home, so is Soul Blade. The additional Story Mode is incredibly innovative, with setting tasks or goals to complete before you can advance, like knocking your opponent out of the ring. After which, getting the special weapons adds a dimension unheard of in the uprights. On a sour note, the button-tap technique is a lazy fighting engine that doesn't do the graphics justice. I think a new interface is needed for S-D fighters.

Other games by
Namco Ltd.

User Reviews

It's no secret that fighting games are one of the favorite types of games here at the EGM offices.

It's also common knowledge that one of the most popular fighting games around here is Namco's PlayStation hit, Tekken 2. Recently, we received a copy of Namco's newest 3-D fighting game for the PlayStation. Soul Blade. Everyone was wondering if it would be able to compare to Tekken 2.

After a few extensive game playing sessions with it, it looks as if Soul Blade has the potential to be a worthy successor to the Tekken series. In fact, there are some areas where it is even better than the mighty Tekken 2.

On a purely cosmetic level, the graphics are excellent. The characters are much more smoother and detailed looking than 3-D fighters of the past. Even with the incredible amount of detail (especially in the face), the characters animate smoothly.

Each of the 10 characters has a different weapon at his/her disposal, ranging from a typical sword to a spear to a pair of nunchakus. In addition to the typical health meter, you also have a separate energy meter for your weapon. When you block attacks with your weapon, its energy level gets lower and lower. When the meter drains completely, you lose it. Now you are much weaker than before and at quite a disadvantage.

In addition to the character graphics looking fantastic, the backgrounds themselves are also beautiful. They are completely 3-D and feature a surprising amount of finely detailed animation happening during the fight. Another nice little touch is the trails of light that your weapons leave after you pull off a powerful attack. This adds nothing to the gameplay, but it makes the proceedings much prettier.

A big plus for all fighting games is that they can have an extremely long life span. After all, you can play against a friend again and again, or you can attempt to master every character. In order to keep Soul Blade fresh for a long time, Namco has packed it with seven different modes.

There are the typical Arcade and Vs. Modes that every fighter features. There's a Team Battle Mode where you can create a team of up to five players to compete against another team. A Time Attack Mode tests how quickly you can waste your opponents, and the Survival Mode sees how long you can fight with one energy bar. There is even the popular Practice Mode to perfect your fighting style and special moves.

The most unique mode, however, is the Edge Master Mode. This is basically the equivalent of a Story Mode, where you choose a fighter to control, move around on a map and fight various opponents. What makes this different than the normal one-player game is the fact that you will earn a new weapon after beating an enemy. Plus, there are various types of matches. For instance, some opponents can only be defeated with throws or by throwing them out of the ring. Some even gain their health back as quickly as you can take it away!

With such incredible graphics and unique modes of play, it is little wonder that Soul Edge is quickly gaining such popularity here at the office. The more we play it. the more impressive little features we find. This just makes us want to keep coming back for more. As long as Namco continues to make such fun fighting games, we will be getting less and less actual work done.

  • MANUFACTURER - Namco
  • THEME - Fighting
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
reggie posted a review

Overview

From the makers of the awesome Tekken series comes Soul Blade. If you think Tekken and Tekken 2 are cool, imagine outfitting the fighters with weapons and even better graphics, and what you will get is quite possibly the best fighting game of all time.

Soul Blade boasts 10 characters with a ton of special combo attacks. Each of the characters are after one goal: obtain the legendary Soul Edge. This is a sword that is rumored to be the most powerful weapon in existence. In the past, anyone who tries to gain possession of the sword has not come back to tell about it. Still, the 10 fighters will stop at nothing short of being the owner of this magical weapon. But be warned, the Soul Edge is powerful but possibly cursed.

Gameplay

Let's start this review at the beginning. The first thing you will see when you pop in your Soul Blade disk is the intro. Normally, I skip over the intros because they are usually pretty standard stuff. This is not the case with Soul Blade. The intro is absolutely incredible. It is almost worth the price of admission alone. The graphics are probably the best I have seen on the Playstation and it is obvious that an enormous amount of time went into the creation of the cinemas.

Let's face it. An intro is nice, but it really has nothing to do with how the game plays. So after watching the beautiful intro, does the game stack up or fall on its sword? The answer is yes, the game stacks up. To start with, this is not just a Tekken ripoff. The only thing that this game has in common with Tekken is the fact that it is a fighting game. That is where all similarities stop. Soul Blade uses a weapon-to-weapon combat system that is best compared to the original Battle Arena Toshinden.

The battles all take place in different arenas. The arenas range from a floating raft to a deep grass field. Each arena has a boundary, and if one fighter is knocked out, the battle is automatically awarded to the fighter remaining in the ring. In the raft arena, you will actually knock the other fighters into the water and they are sucked under. The arenas will vary depending on the game mode selected and normally cycle randomly.

The thing that makes Soul Blade so cool is the different game modes. The problem with fighting games in the past has traditionally been the fact that they are limited. You either fight the computer or fight your buddy, and that is all the game has to offer. In Soul Blade, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, the game has the traditional Arcade Mode, which is either one player against the computer or a one-on-one battle against two players. The game ends when you are defeated by the computer. Next, you can play the Vs. Battle Mode. This is a two-player competition that allows you to set handicaps for stronger players. The third mode available is the team battle mode. This is one of the best modes. You will select the number of characters you will use (between 1 and 5) and select the characters (the same character can't be used twice). You will battle either the computer or a human opponent. When your character is defeated, you go on to your second character selected. When your character wins, you move on to the next fight, but your health level is only slightly replenished. This means that if you barely win the battle, it is likely you will not survive the next. This is a great feature because you are not only fighting to survive the current round, but your defense has to be sharp so you can survive the rounds following. The fourth mode available is the Survival Mode. This is a competition to see how many opponents you can defeat before losing all your health. The kicker is this is the same as the team battle mode. When you defeat an opponent, your health is only minimally recovered, so defense is important. The fifth mode is the Time Attack Mode. This is a competition against the clock. The object is to finish all the stages and complete the game against the clock. The last mode is the Edge Master Mode. This is the coolest mode in the game. In this mode, you advance along the storyline of the game, and as you defeat opponents, you acquire the ability to use their weapons. The farther you go into the game, the more difficult it becomes to defeat the opponents.

The in game fighting in Soul Blade is where the game really shines. There is little lag time between button selections and the execution of the desired move. The characters move very fluidly and quite fast. A big complaint I have about other fighting games is that they feel like they are moving in slow motion. Soul Blade is one of the best fighting games when it comes to real-time movements.

The assortment of characters available is fairly decent. There is a good assortment of weapons available through the different characters. You can fight with dual swords, long blade swords, nunchucks, three-bladed hand knives, short sword and shield, huge sword, giant axe and, if you're lucky, the Soul Edge sword. All of these weapons have their advantages, and the best advice I can give is to try each character and see which one works best for you. I found myself thinking I found the one for me and then trying a different character which I started liking more than the one before. Oh well, I guess that just means that most of the characters are good.

Graphics

Like I mentioned above, the graphics in the intro are outstanding. This is definitely worth watching more than once. It is one of those intros you will play for your friends that are not fortunate enough to own a Playstation just so they can see how cool the Playstation is. The graphics in the game itself are very sharp and the fighting backgrounds are very detailed. You will find yourself becoming fully immersed in the whole atmosphere of the game which is a sign of a well done game.

Bottom Line

Soul Blade may very well be the best fighting game on the market today. I really enjoyed the numerous game mode options. It keeps Soul Blade from being another boring beat-up the opponent and that is all type game. You will find that there is hours and hours of fun to be had in each mode which makes for a quality title. This is a game that every fighter fan should own. If you are not a fan of fighting games, rent it anyway just to watch the intro.

reggie posted a review

Overview

From the makers of the awesome Tekken series comes Soul Blade. If you think Tekken and Tekken 2 are cool, imagine outfitting the fighters with weapons and even better graphics, and what you will get is quite possibly the best fighting game of all time.

Soul Blade boasts 10 characters with a ton of special combo attacks. Each of the characters are after one goal: obtain the legendary Soul Edge. This is a sword that is rumored to be the most powerful weapon in existence. In the past, anyone who tries to gain possession of the sword has not come back to tell about it. Still, the 10 fighters will stop at nothing short of being the owner of this magical weapon. But be warned, the Soul Edge is powerful but possibly cursed.

Gameplay

Let's start this review at the beginning. The first thing you will see when you pop in your Soul Blade disk is the intro. Normally, I skip over the intros because they are usually pretty standard stuff. This is not the case with Soul Blade. The intro is absolutely incredible. It is almost worth the price of admission alone. The graphics are probably the best I have seen on the Playstation and it is obvious that an enormous amount of time went into the creation of the cinemas.

Let's face it. An intro is nice, but it really has nothing to do with how the game plays. So after watching the beautiful intro, does the game stack up or fall on its sword? The answer is yes, the game stacks up. To start with, this is not just a Tekken ripoff. The only thing that this game has in common with Tekken is the fact that it is a fighting game. That is where all similarities stop. Soul Blade uses a weapon-to-weapon combat system that is best compared to the original Battle Arena Toshinden.

The battles all take place in different arenas. The arenas range from a floating raft to a deep grass field. Each arena has a boundary, and if one fighter is knocked out, the battle is automatically awarded to the fighter remaining in the ring. In the raft arena, you will actually knock the other fighters into the water and they are sucked under. The arenas will vary depending on the game mode selected and normally cycle randomly.

The thing that makes Soul Blade so cool is the different game modes. The problem with fighting games in the past has traditionally been the fact that they are limited. You either fight the computer or fight your buddy, and that is all the game has to offer. In Soul Blade, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, the game has the traditional Arcade Mode, which is either one player against the computer or a one-on-one battle against two players. The game ends when you are defeated by the computer. Next, you can play the Vs. Battle Mode. This is a two-player competition that allows you to set handicaps for stronger players. The third mode available is the team battle mode. This is one of the best modes. You will select the number of characters you will use (between 1 and 5) and select the characters (the same character can't be used twice). You will battle either the computer or a human opponent. When your character is defeated, you go on to your second character selected. When your character wins, you move on to the next fight, but your health level is only slightly replenished. This means that if you barely win the battle, it is likely you will not survive the next. This is a great feature because you are not only fighting to survive the current round, but your defense has to be sharp so you can survive the rounds following. The fourth mode available is the Survival Mode. This is a competition to see how many opponents you can defeat before losing all your health. The kicker is this is the same as the team battle mode. When you defeat an opponent, your health is only minimally recovered, so defense is important. The fifth mode is the Time Attack Mode. This is a competition against the clock. The object is to finish all the stages and complete the game against the clock. The last mode is the Edge Master Mode. This is the coolest mode in the game. In this mode, you advance along the storyline of the game, and as you defeat opponents, you acquire the ability to use their weapons. The farther you go into the game, the more difficult it becomes to defeat the opponents.

The in game fighting in Soul Blade is where the game really shines. There is little lag time between button selections and the execution of the desired move. The characters move very fluidly and quite fast. A big complaint I have about other fighting games is that they feel like they are moving in slow motion. Soul Blade is one of the best fighting games when it comes to real-time movements.

The assortment of characters available is fairly decent. There is a good assortment of weapons available through the different characters. You can fight with dual swords, long blade swords, nunchucks, three-bladed hand knives, short sword and shield, huge sword, giant axe and, if you're lucky, the Soul Edge sword. All of these weapons have their advantages, and the best advice I can give is to try each character and see which one works best for you. I found myself thinking I found the one for me and then trying a different character which I started liking more than the one before. Oh well, I guess that just means that most of the characters are good.

Graphics

Like I mentioned above, the graphics in the intro are outstanding. This is definitely worth watching more than once. It is one of those intros you will play for your friends that are not fortunate enough to own a Playstation just so they can see how cool the Playstation is. The graphics in the game itself are very sharp and the fighting backgrounds are very detailed. You will find yourself becoming fully immersed in the whole atmosphere of the game which is a sign of a well done game.

Bottom Line

Soul Blade may very well be the best fighting game on the market today. I really enjoyed the numerous game mode options. It keeps Soul Blade from being another boring beat-up the opponent and that is all type game. You will find that there is hours and hours of fun to be had in each mode which makes for a quality title. This is a game that every fighter fan should own. If you are not a fan of fighting games, rent it anyway just to watch the intro.

reggie posted a review
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