Back to the Stage of History

Man, Soul Caliber really brings me back almost 9 years ago to the Dreamcast release of 9/9/99.  The first exposure I had with Soul Caliber was setting up all the playable Dreamcast kiosks in Toys R Us.  2 were setup with our pre-release copy of Sonic Adventure, and I setup a third with Soul Caliber because everyone in the store wanted to play it.

I turned on the TV and the Dreamcast, the little orange dot danced around the screen and painted the curly Dreamcast logo, and the opening cinema began.  The camera flying across the dusty ground with weapons piercing the land.  It was the most graphically impressive things I'd ever seen.  At that point, Final Fantasy VIII's cinemas were the best thing I'd seen, but those were all pre-rendered.  Soul Caliber was ALL real time and was much faster and shinier than those FFVIII cutscenes.

I instantly liked Soul Caliber, but I didn't fall in love until March the next year when I actually bought a Dreamcast and had my own copy of Soul Caliber.  I was pretty good at it. ^_^  I was able to completely trampled my casual-gaming friends and hold my own against my hardcore-gaming friends.  It was a head-to-head competitive game that everyone played and everyone had in common.  When visiting someone or them visiting me, Soul Caliber would also find itself into the visit.  Even later on, once I started college, we always came back to Soul Caliber.  It was a staple in fighting game nights.

I did go back to check out Soul Edge, but it didn't have the magic of Soul Caliber.  Soul Caliber was fast and had tons of Single Player modes.

I was super excited when Namco announced Soul Caliber II, and EVEN more ecstatic when Link was announced as a playable character!  I would look at and Game Watch every single day hoping for new information and whenever something came up, I would summarize the info on the SPAMM forum.  What characters were announced, which characters were returning, which were new.

In March 2003, I bought the import copy of Soul Caliber II on Gamecube.  I played it a bit, but no one really seemed to care.  It didn't have the caliber of the previous version since it was spread across all 3 consoles, Gamecube, Playstation 2 and Xbox.  People bickered which version was the true version.  People banned the console-specific characters because they were over-powered.  The Soul Caliber community no longer had the unity that brought them together in the beginning.

Soul Caliber III was lost in the fold for me.  It was only on Playstation 2, but it didn't have the arcade release to fine-tune the console release.  It was the first Soul Caliber to be released on a console ahead of the arcade game, and that just felt completely wrong to me.  It felt like an untuned, unrefined Soul Caliber game..  Not really the next step in the Soul Caliber series.  I've only played it once to this day, but I was happy that I could still hold my own with Kilik. ^_^

This week, Soul Caliber IV comes to the next-gen Consoles with console-specific characters, once again.  I really didn't care about this at all, but after thinking back on my fond Soul Caliber memories.  I kinda want to get into it again.  Soul Caliber IV feels like a leap for the series into the HD era, so I kinda want to be a part of Soul Caliber again.

However, there's plenty of reasons that keep me from buying it.  First Off, which one do I buy?  I'd almost rather get the Playstation 3 game.  But, if any of my friends get it, they'll probably get the Xbox version and I wouldn't be able to play against them online.  Second Off, it's 60 friggen dollars.  Soul Caliber may have been my go to game in the past, but I doubt I'm going to play it more than 30 minutes without turning it off for something else.

The character creator sounds fun, but probably won't keep my interest.  I bought that Spore Creature Creator, but felt overwhelmed.  There was too much to do in there, and I couldn't get my creature to look like what I wanted.

Overall, Soul Caliber is my favorite fighting game of all time, but my history with it is in the past.  I dunno...  is anyone else going to buy Soul Caliber III on Playstation 3?

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