PSX Mania – 034 – Soul Blade (1996)

Completion time: 1:28:50

Soul Blade is a game that I rented multiple times from Blockbuster back in the days. Its Edge Master Mode was so much fun, and I remember spending a ton of time trying to clear it with every character. Much like the majority of games that I have played previously, playing them again for PSX Mania was like a blind playthrough. I had forgotten so much of this in general, it was as if I was playing it for the first time. Maybe that’s part of what made me fall in love with Soul Blade this playthrough – that and just how shockingly well this game has aged.

We played through Arcade Mode, as well as one playthrough on Edge Master Mode. Right from the intro CG, Soul Edge still felt like a big deal. The quality of the opening in both visual detail and the song, still hold up perfectly these days.. The actual game its self? Just as well. The visual quality isn’t as impactful as Tekken 3 maybe, but there are no frame dips, and it feels like it’s a consistent 30fps throughout, with a modest amount of detail. The soundtrack was epic, and not one track sounded anything less

Controlling each fighter was both very familiar, and yet foreign. The ability to walk downward on the 3D plane was nice, something the original Tekken lacked. Button combinations felt like they actually did something when I attempted different ways of stringing attacks and directional presses in conjunction with an attack. Some things came back to me towards the end of my playthrough, but the entire time, I felt as if things I tried to do attack wise, were working in some fashion.

Arcade Mode was the typical playthrough. While that was enjoyable, the star was, and has always been, Edge Master Mode. Select a fighter, then go through a series of 8+ “quests” (basically fights, but there’s a story woven into this all), have certain conditions that need to be met to win (or handicaps to deal with). Along the way, most of the fights you win will yield a new weapon to wield. The quality ranges between having a balanced weapon, to a super power yet health draining weapon, to a super quick but a bit weaker weapon, and everything in-between. The weapons really do contribute to a strong diversity of gameplay for each character; playing Siegfried, he has a slow, powerful attack, but I was able to get a sword that significantly sped up his offense, with a very small bump in overall damage. Each character has their own story, path, fights and weapons to work with.

Soul Blade ranks just above Darkstalkers, but below Street Fighter Alpha 3, as my favorite fighting game thus far. The gameplay holds up so damn well all these years later, and honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that aged poorly. It was a must have, high quality fighting game back in 1996, and in 20201, it should be a game that you add to your collection, if you haven’t already bought it.

Rating: 10

Twitch VOD: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1001431969

YouTube video:

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