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Considered one of the all-time great fighting games on consoles and in arcades, Soulcalibur makes a surprisingly stellar translation to a touchscreen interface, with virtual buttons that deftly issue sweeping sword strikes and kicks, and a stick that lets you move your fighter ably around the stage.
Soulcalibur still leads the weapons-based fighting genre today (with this week's release of Soulcalibur V on consoles), and this late-90s flashback serves up all of the original fighters -- including the staff-slinging Kilik, as well as sword-wielding samurai, Mitsurugi. While the combat isn't quite as robust as in later entries, this is still a satisfying affair that works well on both iPhone and iPad. Plus, this decade-old classic looks better than ever thanks to the high-resolution bump, though the rough textures of a bygone era aren't entirely absent.
Soulcalibur remains a fast, fluid, and thoroughly exciting fighter after all this time, though this universal iOS port feels frustratingly incomplete. Omitting the beloved single-player mission mode is a drag, sure, but leaving out multiplayer – both local and online – is a truly baffling move for a competitive fighter. Additional modes are expected via updates, but at the full price of $15, or even the current launch price of $12, we shouldn't be left wanting such an essential feature.
The bottom line. Soulcalibur is a great fighter, but it's currently a questionable value – at least until multiplayer is added.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Stellar port of a true fighting game classic. Virtual buttons are responsive throughout. Universal app looks nice on all compatible iOS devices.
No multiplayer, whether local or online. Rewarding mission mode from original console release also absent. Very pricey for such a limited feature set.