When the original Soul Edge (arcade)/Soul Blade (PSOne) game hit it was so unique and different over the competition. Here was this 3D one on one fighting game with phenomenal graphics and characters fighting with weapons. The announcer was equipped with more than a couple of words in his vocabulary also. Now, take all of that and multiply it by 10 and you have an idea of how cool Soul Calibur on the Sega Dreamcast is (or you can grab the Xbox Live version for newer consoles).
Soul Calibur was best known for the strategy involved in the battles. No longer were you limited to barely moving around in the level like early 3D fighting games did. Now, you could roll into or away from the camera to avoid a devestating attack, you could hit your opponent in different directions and even attack similarly.
The development team behind Soul Calibur had plenty of opportunity to work with the Tekken team (sadly Tekken never hit the Sega Dreamcast for some reason). This inter co-operability allowed Soul Calibur to pull some technical details from the more venerably fighting game and include it in this new, short lived, series.
One plus that the home port of Soul Calibur had over the arcade version was the levels themselves. In the arcade game, the background buildings and objects were mainly flat pictures. Namco went all out on the home port and recreated those backgrounds in full polygon glory on the Sega Dreamcast. Also, the Dreamcast port bested the arcade game by adding Cervantes de Leon to the cast of characters while adding new play modes and various tweaks to the gameplay.
Each match ends with a short narrative of the events. Nothing precise though, more of a simple broad statement on the preceding match (you won’t be hearing play by play commentary). This still added some fun to the proceedings because it really sucks hearing your character’s failure made verbally.
Soul Calibur has been ported to Xbox Live, iOS and Android over the recent years. The Xbox Live version has the intro removed and all content, including characters, available from the start but no online play. The graphics on the Xbox Live version are upgraded to “HD” also and was based on the European version of Soul Calibur (correcting changes made to the Sega Dreamcast version). The iOS and Android versions run natively on their respective platforms.