The Soul Calibur II Page.

Arcade Hardware: System 246

After the amazing enhanced version of Soul Calibur that Namco had for us on the Dreamcast, it seems a bonus to see the excellent looking version of the 2nd game, which looks much finer on the XBOX, than the suspiciously low resolution looking arcade original. None the less, it looked pretty mad on the big 1.27m screen at Galaxy World, despite being ultra blurry & pixelated on whatever sized monitor I played it on. (Is that jaggy PS2 based hardware to blame, or was it made by Namco? Either way…) Anyway, the new characters are cool, and I’ve taken well to the likes of Yun Sung and Raphael so far, and on the XBOX version I’ve also been trying out the exclusive Spawn. He’s pretty interesting - he swears a bit too. I dunno much about him, but according to the story he’s been sent back to the 16th century to bring back Soul Edge for his master, Malebolgia. Hope I spelt that right.
With the Controller S, it’s just like playing it with the Dreamcast pads that I’ve been used to. However the right side analogue d-pad gets in the way sometimes. The options let you modify the controls also, which is good, but the default settings were fine for me, because they’re exactly as I had them for the 1st game.
After you’ve seen the knarly intro, you can get right into the action with the arcade mode original, or head off to the various other modes of play to see what skills you can put to good use.
The big fat mode that you’ll most probably wanna be checking out, is the Weapon Master mode, which lets you play through various missions like was done in the 1st Soul Calibur, kind of like with a RPG style to it. Here you can gather up truckloads of weapons for each character — somewhere around 200 overall — unlock new costumes and also the likes of excellent art galleries, which is a cool bonus to have in the game. I liked the pics included in the 1st game, and I’m happy to see a come back of them in this version. I don’t know if I should award extra points for that, but let’s just say it is a nice little extra. Anyway, the Weapon Master mode takes you through the story line of the game, and gives you the low down on the evil Soul Edge & the polar opposite “good” spirit sword Soul Calibur. I won’t go into immense detail, because that will spoil the deal if you want to check it out yourself.
You may notice that Namco have left out the Conquest mode, as they felt that it wasn’t suited to console versions of the game. Damn you Namco! I wanted to see everything from the arcade version!
In case you’ve been smoking bongs for the last 10 years or you’ve been in prison, or are just plain new to anything related to games, then you’ll probably want to know that this is the 3rd game in the line up. The 1st was of course Soul Edge, the 2nd Soul Calibur, and now this one.
Now, let’s talk Seung Mina
there was doubtfulness some time ago to whether or not this hot, sexy Zambatou wielding chicky was going to make any appearance in Soul Calibur 2, but they have whacked her in, which is excellent, ’cos she’s my fave character from Soul Calibur 1, and not only ’cos I happen to be the best with her. She plays equally as well as before, and I reckon she looks yummier than ever. Seung Mina may only be a giant amount of textured polygons, and what not, but that doesn’t stop her from being mega yummy! (People are known to like paintings, and sculptures, and some are really bizarre too. You can take that both ways. ) If that attractive red outfit and her equally nice green deal don’t do it for you, then you must be sitting too far back from the screen!
Her 3rd costume is a long blue dress, which you can purchase, and is quite different to her standard 2, being much less revealing — well, while she’s not flipping herself round in various moves that is. ;-) I was hoping for something more along the lines of a swimming costume deal, but then it is supposed to be in the 16th century, and did they even exist then? Most probably not. This is therefore the costume of choice, when you feel like actually playing the game, instead of drooling. Ooh, and if anyone has any art work or wallpaper images of Seung Mina, let me know. Anyway, enough of writing this - I’m going to go & play with her again. Shweeeeeet! *drooooools*
Hmm, where was I? Oh, yes… After you’ve completed the final mission of the Weapon Master mode, you’ll get to see the credits to the game, and also unlock the Weapon Master mode intro for viewing in the Museum section. This also unlocks new missions all round, and the chance to complete the final mission again, which unlocks the ending to view again if ya do.
You’ll also be able to unlock the Battle Theatre, or whatever it’s called now, which lets you view the characters’ martial arts demonstrations. With the old characters, you’ll instantly recognize their moves from the 1st Soul Calibur, and it’s great to see how the new characters show off, especially the freaky antics of Necrid & Charade.
Other unlockable features include the No Recovery Survival mode, Arcade Ending in the Museum area & the top Extra Team Battle modes, which let you gang up and use what weapons appeal to you most for the characters that you’ve chosen.
In order to get your name or ya initials into the arcade rankings you’ll have to make sure that you can crack it off from the first fighter right through to beating Inferno without continuing at all. Pretty easy if you’re a pro, challenging if you’re a newie at it.

The Otaku website has had the Soul Calibur 2 soundtrack available for quite some time now, and if ya like the music in the game (- especially that mad “ending” music -) then this is worth looking at! The deal comes on 2 CDs which are in the back of a 48 page hard cover book, filled with high quality pictures from the game. There’s character info, info on the stages, the story and the names of all the tracks on the CDs. Most of it’s in Japanese, which isn’t going to be a problem if you know how to read it. If you don’t know though, you can still admire the artwork anyway. One thing that is useful is that character heights and weights are in metric, unlike that old imperial malarkey that’s in the game and makes no sense whatsoever. There’s 35 tracks all up — 23 on the first CD, and 12 on the 2nd. All in all it’s a very good buy if you’re really into the game and the excellent music.

Taki vs Raphael
Nightmare vs Sophitia
Mitsurugi & Talim
Seung Mina — Yum.
Seung Mina closer up.

Graphics: There’s been a bit of discussion about how much better this actually is than the original conversion of Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, and many people are making comparisons to the likes of Virtua Fighter 4 and Dead Or Alive 3 as well. Anyway, I’m reviewing the thing, so I’m saying that it looks pretty yummy. The textures are great, the effects are nice & spiffy, the character detail is cool, and it’s all nicely anti-aliased also. I particularly like the way it fades from one scene to the next, and the transition effects between rounds also. The intro video is pretty cool also, and is of excellent quality. Make sure you have your XBOX set for the 60Hz mode so it doesn’t jerk. 94%
As smooth as games should be. There appeared to be a minor frame rate drop in some of the replays with lots of effects on the screen, but only very slightly, and you may not even pick it up. All in all, I’m not complaining at all. 95%
Typical Soul Calibur music, with beefy sound effects and a nice range of character speech and sounds also. The usual “ching ching ching” deal and this time there’s an option for English or Japanese speech. The music’s pretty memorable, so much so that I’ve got the sound track. 96%
Easy to get into, whether you’re on Easy or Normal difficulty settings, plus there’s a host of hard modes included for tough players that need a challenge. If you could finish the arcade version with one credit without breaking a sweat, then these ’ard modes are for you. 98%
The Weapon Master mode, Extra versions of just about every other mode, plus playing with ya mates will make this last for a long time. 96%
Okay, I’ve said it before that I’m not a big fan of Namco, especially of Tekken, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t do something that’s actually totally awesome, and this is just that. A very fine fighting game that everybody should have, especially for fans of the original. Apparently this sold 1 600 000 copies in it’s first day of release (don’t quote me on that), so you’re bound to find some mates to play it against! Plus, if you haven’t made up your mind on whether to buy it or not, get yourself back to the arcades and play it some more, if you haven’t done so already. This deserves to be squished in with Dead Or Alive 3 & Marvel vs Capcom 2 on your XBOX rack. Check it out! 97%

John’s Tips:

When viewing the stage information in the character profile area, press the L Shift button to clear the text off the screen so you can view the stage better.
During replays, press guard to go into slow-mo.
In case you were unaware, and unlike the 1st game, you must complete the Arcade mode without continuing to enter your initials.

Play Soul Calibur 2 at Galaxy World & PlayTime in George Street, Sydney. (Which no longer exist!)