This week there were no recent games that were coming out that I felt needed to be covered. So I went back into the vault and found a game that is very close to me, and helped me get through my teenage years. Soulcalibur II was one of those games that I played weekly in a friend’s basement before our big Halo matches, before Xbox Live came out. We would have to carry our huge tube TVs down into his basement along with our systems, controllers, snacks, and sodas. We usually started at around 9 or 10, but sometimes people would be late. So instead of twittling our thumbs we would play fighting games. We used to play Dead or Alive, then Soulcalibur II was released in Japan. Another friend imported it on the Gamecube so we could play it earlier. I was really good as Hayabusa in Dead or Alive, I was complete crap with everyone in Soulcalibur…
I remember the first fight I had, I didn’t even get a hit off before I was beaten. Every weekend I would try to come later and later so I didn’t have to see myself lose again. Then it finally released in the states here and we switched from the Gamecube to the Xbox, which had Spawn in it. Being one of my favorite comic characters I decided to choose him, man was it fun!! Spawn is probably the cheapest character in the game, but it gave me back my confidence to play. I started to play at home as a bunch of characters, but finally found the one that just clicked, Nightmare..
Fast forward a couple weeks and there were some nights were I could take out all 8 of the characters on the other team and not even give up the controller, this was a normal occurrence with everyone there but I was never able to. Some nights we wouldn’t get to Halo until around 11 or midnight, it was all thanks to this game. The music in it is just about as exceptional as the game was. The composer, Junichi Nakatsuru, has been on the series since the first and is still on today. Wikipedia also lists these other composers as contributers:
- Yoshihito Yano (Katamari Series)
- Asuka Sakai (Ridge Racer Series)
- Rio Hamamoto (Ace Combat, Katamari, Tekken, Super Smash Bros. 3DS)
- Ryuichi Takada (Ace Combat, Taiko: Drum Master)
- Junichi Takagi (Bomberman, Ace Combat, Toki To Towa)
Every single on of these composers has had an amazing career and you should definitely check some of their work out. The main thing that I like about Junichi and specifically the soundtrack for Soulcalibur is that he kept it to be orchestral music and not computer generated. He stated that to get the feeling across you would need live music and not sampling on a machine, although he does realize there is a need for computers. He stated in an interview that audio is a key element in making scenes more evocative and expressive, thereby empathizing with the players in various situations, and in Soulcalibur he nailed it!
So since this article is a bit late for your Monday commute, tomorrow when you’re reading the latest about what the hell is going on in our world, maybe take some time to listen to this amazing score.
Through the years all of these composers have made a great contribution to the series they are attached to. Soulcalibur is one of those games that I haven’t played in a while, but can recall almost all the great things when I hear those songs.