Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
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The sequel to Soul Edge, a popular, weapons-based 3D fighter, Soul Calibur is a deeper game that lets players alter the speed, power and positioning of their attacks in mid-move. In addition, players can now knock blocking fighters off balance, a new eight-way run system is in place, and the weapon breaking maneuver that annoyed fans of Soul Edge has been eliminated. The graphics, which move at 60 frames-per-second, have better background detail, enhanced lighting effects and smoother animation. A wonderfully orchestrated musical score features pulse-pounding themes for all the characters and stages. Several fighters from the original game make a return appearance, including Taki and Sophitia, but a number of new characters have stepped up to the plate. The most interesting of these is a medieval, nunchuka-wielding Elvis clone named Maxi. The control is a simple four-button layout, with keys for blocking, horizontal and vertical slashing, and kicking. Moves can be strung together to create fantastic combos, and crippling throws and grapples. Input is as crisp as ever, and dishing out the hurt is surprisingly easy — a bit too simple, really. Still, Soul Calibur is one of the best fighting games ever and will please fans of the Tekken and Virtua Fighter series. An even better version of the game was released for the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast. ~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide