Written on: 11/01/2006 by TOMLEECEE (121 reviews written)
Graphics and motion capture are pretty decent
No save system
Forgettable sound effects
The worst 'intro sequence' known to man
Confusing on-screen 'compass' system
It's a side-scrolling beat 'em up that is ONE PLAYER ONLY!!!
Boring, boring, boring. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzz...
There are certain aspects of games that are under appreciated. Sure, everyone raves about graphics, soundtracks featuring the current flavour of the month gangsta' rapper and other such frivolities, but it's the unsung heroes of our games that we take for granted. A rubbish menu system for example can all but destroy your enjoyment of a game - look at TDK's World Racing on the Xbox; a game that employs a menu system so baffling it's really only a fluke if you actually get into a race. Yes, good menu systems are overlooked.
Another unsung hero is a game's save system. Some are great and really inventive ways of saving your progress - Resident Evil's typewriters for example. Others are slightly annoying and far too sparse to be of any real value (Turok 2), and other games, such as Soul Fighter don't have ANY AT ALL!
Now, back in the day when we all used to huddle around the Mega Drive taking turns on Sonic the Hedgehog, it didn't matter when you got all the way to Starlight Zone and then got killed (and your only reward was a one-way ticket back to the lush vistas of Green Hill Zone), because games were simpler back then. You got killed so you started again. Your problem - deal with it.
Now though, games are a much more complex animal, and trying to approach them in the same manner is just wrong. Or just plain laziness on the developer's part. But that's the situation with Soul Fighter. And that's just one of the problems with this scrolling beat 'em up.
Other problems include poor level design and playable characters that have been done to death (and a million times, better): A wizard, a barbarian and a typical Xena style woman. All have different fighting styles, but its just so boring and slow you won't actually care. You just run in slow motion through swamps and medieval villages kicking lizard men's backsides and picking up gold, until eventually you come across a 'boss.' Defeat him, and it's on to the next level of identical action but with some slightly different enemies. The game is so drawn out though; and this is where the lack of a save system becomes a death knell. You'll get past the first boss and then realise you could be doing something more interesting, like putting up a shelf, and turn it off - but not before realising you couldn't save your progress. At this point it'll become apparent that you'll never actually play the thing again.
To be fair it looks OK, and there are some nice motion captured roundhouse kicks in there, but there is more bad than good in Soul Fighter to warrant a purchase. This genre used to be bursting with quality - Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Final Fight etc, but nowadays scrolling beat 'em ups are a bit thin on the ground (only Spike Out on the Xbox springs to mind), and judging by Soul Fighter, a bit thin on quality too.
NB: Forgot to mention two other things - firstly, the intro is the most pathetic thing I think I have ever seen in ANY game (trust me); secondly Soul Fighter is a single player game - that's right... A ONE PLAYER BEAT 'EM UP!!! Baffling.
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