The lack of a 2-player mode in Soul Fighter didn't annoy me as much as it did Dale. I was actually looking forward to playing an old-school, side-scrolling fighting game since there hasn't really been a good one since Super Double Dragon on the SNES. What I saw instead when I played Soul Fighter was plenty of wasted potential. There are some noticeable positives like detailed graphics, smooth animation, and responsive controls and some of the combo and weapon attacks can even be described as interesting. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is simply marred by horribly poor execution in almost every other facet.

The camera angles are always revolving in an undesired direction and everything appears cramped to the point where enemy presence is constantly obscured. Movie cut-scenes in between stages are deplorable. Not only are the graphics downgraded from the in-game ones (as Dale mentioned), but there is something seriously wrong about having the other two characters appear in those cut-scenes just to disappear when back in the game! Lets not even get into how the scenes make little sense and do little to further the scant semblance of a plot. Additionally, the stages are laid out in the most uneven of fashions. One stage may have a player needing to kill over twenty monsters while the next stage will only require players defeat seven. Not only is the gameplay non-progressive, its also overly repetitive. And this only gets worse as later stages feel rushed and populated with enemies that are nearly identical to the ones from early stages (but with slightly different appearances).

Also worth discussing is the perhaps dishonest marketing strategy of having the title curiously similar to the infinitely superior Soul Calibur. I only hope that no one mistakes the two because the two are universes apart. When all is said and done, Soul Fighter surprisingly isn't the worst game on the market and is mildly playable. But its just wrought with such poor execution and so many bad design decisions that, with so many better games out there, no one should have to tolerate it. Rating: 4 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui

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