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Soul Fighter

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Released: 1999

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Mindscape

Developer: Toka

Submitted by: James Holian

As a fan of the fantasy genre of video games, I was really looking forward to this title. I had also heard that it was similar to Golden Axe, which was another plus. Within 10 minutes of playing this game I came to realise this was untrue.

The game suffers at every level: graphics, sound, and playability. I would say the graphics fall somewhere between the level of Nintendo 64 and the Dreamcast, which while decent are surely not what they should be on the latter. The sound is minimal; I think I remember a few sword clinks and some grunts. What is even worse than the game graphics are the ridiculous cut-scenes which, graphically, look like they belong on a Playstation. But all this aside, even if I was satisfied with the graphics and sound, the gameplay is the one thing I would not be able to overlook.

Gameplay is not much more than pushing a couple of buttons repeatedly, and so you run around, punch/kick, punch/kick, punch/kick, etc. Once in a while you get to pick up an axe or sword, and then as if by magic you use it a couple of times and it disappears. Also, often you will find yourself backtracking through areas you have already cleared just to find some stupid key/object (this happened to me more than a couple of times). And as is to be expected with this sort of game, here come the same few enemies, over and over and over again.

There's a lot to like about Soul Fighter, depending on a person's tolerance for the above listed problems. In spite of the flaws, it is possible for a hard-working , patient player to progress through the levels and get an eyeful of some great environments and very interesting creatures. On the way there, some of the battles will even turn out to be pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, most of them (and therefore most of the game) won't, and chances are you'll be reaching for one of your more entertaining Dreamcast titles not long after a few rounds of this one.