Soul Blade

Based off Namco’s Tekken franchise and released as Soul Edge everywhere else on the planet, this is a 3D Street Fighter II like versus fighter that adds weaponry in to the fighting mix.

It’s pretty much the same as any other similar beat’em up but in this series each character has a weapon to fight with. A Sword, A Staff, An Axe, etc. Beyond that the gameplay is much as you’d expect from these types of games that haven’t changed all the way back to Way Of The Exploding Fist on the 8bit micros.

That said both the weapons and three dimensions do add to the combat experience. There’s a satisfying clink at a good defensive parry and quickly mashing the down key twice allows you to nimbly sidestep your opponent making use of the extra dimension.

These types of games really come in to their own when you have human opponents to stand up against. That said Namco have done a really good job of offering up some compelling single player options. You have your story, or Edge Master, mode. A Survival mode playing single death matches against AI opponents. And the Arcade mode that offers up the original in arcade experience of best of 3 timed matches going up in difficulty until you meat the big boss.

Graphically the game has aged pretty poorly. It is a step up from the likes or Tekken 2 and Virtua Fighter, but the PlayStation 1’s low polygon count only goes so far and these type of games do tend to come off worse for wear over time. Still, it is just as enjoyable to play today as it was back in the late 90’s. I do remember spending many hours on this game with my brother back in the day.

3/5