According to a timeline released by Namco in its Soul
Archive site, Soul Edge's events take place in 1584. Soul Edge's story tells the tale of
warriors searching for the ultimate sword, "Soul Edge". It has been
given many names throughout the story, such as "The Sword of
Salvation", "The Sword of Heroes", and "The Ultimate
Sword" among others. Many strong warriors searched for years, but very few
actually found it. The sword, now in the form of a twin pair of long swords,
appeared mysteriously in an auction. They were taken by the dreaded Captain
Cervantes. Nothing was known of his fate thereafter...
Now, nine warriors from around the world search
for the sword for different reasons. Some for power, others for revenge; some
believing it's a benevolent sword, searching for its support; while others
knowing of its evil nature, seeking its destruction. Nothing is known for
certain about the sword, except for one thing: it brings misfortune to those
Sorry MK fans... no blood.
Only cool looking sparks!
Edge was the first 3D weapon based fighting game of its kind, and originally released in arcades in April 1996.
The Playstation-exclusive home version, Soul Blade, followed in January
1997, turning heads with its crisp graphics, smooth gameplay, and impressive
home port presented an epic new opening cinematic (still awesome to this day),
improved visuals from the arcade version, and a fun and innovative Weapon
Master story mode, where players collect a variety of weapons per
character, each weapon featuring its own unique abilities. Weapon Master mode
was one of the most innovative and interesting "extra" modes to ever
appear in a fighting game, to date.
Sophitia is a hottie...
and has some naughty naughty moves.
The gameplay of Soul Edge / Soul Blade offers
a variety of unique aspects. It's one of the first fighting games to offer a
solid sidestep game. Characters can sidestep incoming vertical attacks by
double-tapping down or up to move into the foreground or background,
respectively. In addition to the standard Health Gauge, each fighter also has a
Weapon Gauge. Each time an incoming attack is blocked, the Weapon Gauge
will deplete. If the bar becomes fully depleted, the character will lose their
weapon and be forced to complete the match unarmed. Even though this is an
interesting and innovative idea (previously used in Samurai Shodown 2), unfortunately, the movesets for unarmed
characters are very minimal, and practically the same across the board.
On the bright side, weapon disarms don't happen very often, so they aren't a big
part of the gameplay.
Like in Virtua Fighter, a round can be won by a knockout or a Ring Out. The
rings of Soul Blade are generally squares, but their are a variety of ring sizes
which changes up the strategy depending on the stage. Some players hated the very idea
outs, though other players that used ring-out strategies to their advantage,
grew to love them.
Finally, each character also has one or two Critical Edge attacks at their
disposal (similar to a super move), which consist of a series of attacks and
usually ends in a strong high attack.
Soul Edge/Blade featured
some brutal looking throw moves.
Though definitely solid and unique for the time,
Soul Blade's gameplay seemed slightly "slower" when when
compared to other fighters. The frame rate being 30
frames per second also made the game feel a bit sluggish, but the unique pace of
the game might've appealed to some players.
Presentation-wise, Soul Edge was a very
memorable game for the time. The quality soundtrack and memorable sound effects helped create the historic mood for the game. No doubt, Soul Blade on the PS1 was an
amazing package and was one of the best
and most well-rounded console games available at the time (if not the best). The thing that really made this
title stand out were the diverse characters... each representing their own
unique brand of weapon fighting. The characters of Soul Edge/Blade were also quite fun to use
and most were very original designs at the time. The diversity of their fighting styles
and appearances made for an interesting match up every fight.
Soul Edge / Soul Blade was the beginning of
what was soon to be become a star fighting game franchise that raised the bar
for 3D fighters. The original was a bold and original take on the fighting game
recipe, and perhaps even a little ahead of its time. A few years later, Soul
Calibur took the series to a whole new level.
I put hours upon hours into Soul Blade... its still
fun to go back and play it for nostalgia, with honorable
mention going to that amazing, extra long introduction. (That intro song still
rocks!!!) It's (still) one of the few fighting game intros that earns a "10
out of 10" in my book. Namco should seriously consider remixing that that
original track and bringing it back in a future Soul
Calibur installment. Still waiting for them to do that...