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Digital Chumps Review: Soul Calibur IV

Steven McGehee writes:

''SCIV impressed me from the very start. The opening cutscene, just like in the previous three of the series, showed off a variety of the characters in the game, including of course Yoda as an exclusive to this 360 version (Darth Vader is confirmed to be available via DLC at some point). Heck, even the game's menu is slick. When you first start, you will see that you have 20k gold, which you can use immediately towards unlocking playable characters (these are 4k each), or artwork (around 1k per image). Yoda, by the way, is ready to rumble right from the get-go, no purchase necessary. That said, I dove right into the Arcade mode with Maxi, one of my favorites, after looking over the Single Player choices, which include: Story Mode, Tower of Lost Souls, Training, and Museum.

The Arcade mode is almost exactly what you would expect if you've played the other games in the series. You will face eight fighters, most of these are random but in SCIV's case, the final three fights seem to be hard set, at least in the three times I have played through Arcade mode (with different characters). These final boss fights include Siegfried, The Apprentice, and the new final boss Algol. Siegfried is a character from the original Soulcalibur, and actually quite a pushover, but The Apprentice is really cool. The Apprentice is actually short for "Darth Vader's Apprentice," according to the back of the box, and he is a featured character in Lucasarts' upcoming Force Unleashed game. While looking like a fairly generic Jedi who wields a red lightsaber, he can kick a lot of ass. "Duel of the Fates," made famous from the Obi Wan vs Darth Maul fight in Episode I, plays with a space station background as you tango with this very fast, very "blocks-everything," and very punishing character; he can be frustrating, especially when you cruise through the first six battles every time, but he's a blast to fight because he's a real challenge. He's also unlockable if you defeat him with either Yoda or Vader, but I have yet to do this. Algol, on the other hand, is a fairly typical lumbering character, kind of like Astaroth, but with some slow projectiles, and overall a bit quicker. Upon completion of the Arcade mode, you will earn 10k in Gold, but no endings.''

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