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Soul Blade

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Title Screen

Soul Blade

Also known as: Soul Edge (JP)
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Platform: PlayStation
Released in JP: December 20, 1996
Released in US: January 1997
Released in EU: May 1997


CharacterIcon.png This game has unused playable characters.
CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


Soul Blade is a PlayStation port of Namco's weapon-based 3D fighting game originally known as Soul Edge. As with other Namco games from the same period (such as Tekken and Tekken 2), the arcade game ran on the PlayStation-based System 11 board, allowing for a pretty close console conversion while adding a plethora of new content (such as interactive real-time endings, exclusive costumes, three soundtrack choices and the Edge Master mode). The reason for the title change, at least for the American and European versions (it was still called Soul Edge in Japan), was due to notorious trademark troll Tim Langdell, who attempted to claim exclusive ownership of the word "Edge". If you ever wondered why the sequels to Soul Edge went with a completely different title, you got good old Tim to blame for that.

Hmmm...
To do:
Rip the game's music and see if the unused tracks appear on-disc, or if they're exclusively textual references.

Provisionary Name

Opening SOUL.BNS in a hex editor reveals a reference to "Legend of Evil Sword", immensely strange seeing as the title seems to have been translated very literally from Japanese, but isn't even the game's Japanese title (Soul Edge, the name of the "evil sword" that the cast is searching for).

The title may have been a placeholder during the game's development prior to its arcade release, and fittingly appears at the very top of the assorted code when viewed in a hex editor, suggesting that it is a very early leftover.

Developer Credit

Also present in SOUL.BNS is a brief credit to the subsidiary branch of Namco which presumably developed the game:

S O U L B L A D E
for Playstation
Copyright 1996 Namco LTD. 
all rights reserved.
Developed by namco VS R&D dept.

Here is how the text looks like in the Japanese version:

Legend of Evil Sword
____________________
  S O U L  E D G E  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   for PlayStation

Copyright 1996 namco LTD.
  all rights reserved.

Developed by namco VS R&D dept.

Internal Track Listing

Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.

SOUL.SYS contains a very comprehensive and convenient track list, which details not merely the name of each track and its intended purpose, but also indicates unused tracks! Three entries in particular are labelled as unused on this list:

At The End of One's Journey (UNUSED)
The Gift of Victory (UNUSED)
A Close Game Lost (UNUSED)

These tracks can be heard in the Options mode, through the BGM settings. They're available on every soundtrack (the game lets you listen to the Original and Arranged versions of tracks, as well as the Khan Super Session soundtrack), and don't have different versions.

Unused Audio

A small selection of unused audio clips can be found on the disc, pertaining to individual character endings in Arcade mode.

Rock

Four voice files for Bangoo are present on the disc, despite being intended for an entirely unused scenario! They appear to have been planned for an early incarnation of Rock's bad ending, where Rock decides to tell Bangoo personally that he is going on a journey to search for his lost parents. Strangely, no corresponding clips for Rock are present on the disc, and it is unknown how exactly Rock would have replied to Bangoo's questions (if he chose to reply at all).

The scenario appears to have been changed (and these voice clips removed) to more clearly indicate a "bad" ending and invoke guilt for Rock abandoning Bangoo, as in the game itself Rock's bad ending shows his adopted son stranded on an island crying out for Rock, a consequence of the latter's selfish quest for self-fulfillment.

Sophitia

A voice file intended for Sophitia's ending. Her dialogue sounds stilted and rather awkwardly strung together, almost as if they were separate recordings that were forcefully merged into a single file, although it's difficult to tell whether that is due to the poor voice-acting quality or the composition of the file. It was likely removed due to redundancy.

"Unused" Characters

As a consequence of how the character model data is all stored together, a number of characters who normally only appear in ending cinematics can actually be accessed as playable characters with the help of cheat codes. However, none of them display normally in-battle, using a seemingly random assortment of character pieces, as none of them were ever intended to be playable and the few anomalies within this list were likely used during testing. Most of these characters don't have voices.

The names used are what the characters in question are referred to as in the code:

Internal Name Character Notes
BANGU Bangoo Rock's adopted child, who appears in his endings. Uses Seung Mina's moveset and nametag. Crashes the game in the PAL version, for unknown reasons.
BOTSU LILONG Unknown (a variant of Li-Long) The only entry in this list which crashes the game, and therefore can't be loaded. "Botsu" roughly translates to "unused", so it is likely an unused outfit for Li-Long which was intended for his ending, but clearly wasn't used.
DIVER Diver (appears in Soul Edge's ending) Uses Sophitia's moveset and Soul Edge's nametag.
MONKASEI Han Myong's student (appears in Hwang's endings) "Monkasei" literally translates to "pupil" or "disciple". Uses Hwang's moveset and Seung Mina's nametag.
CHIE Chie, Li-Long's lover, who physically appears in his bad ending, pregnant with their child. Uses Seung Mina's moveset and nametag.
HAGE-SEIG Siegfried (in an alternate costume exclusive in his ending) The outfit is Siegfried's normal "red armor" costume with the helmet removed, so as to display his face in his endings. Uses Siegfried's moveset, but erroneously not his nametag, which is instead that of Seung Mina. If one is to beat the game with Siegfried in the silver armor variant, the helmet will be removed as well, but there is no character for this outfit. Hage literally translates to "bald" or "disrobe"/"stripped", both of which could refer to the lack of helmet.
TEPPOU-HEI The soldier brandishing the rifle known as "Tanegashima" in Mitsurugi's ending. "Teppou-Hei" translates to "gunman" or "soldier brandishing a gun". Uses Mitsurugi's moveset with Seung Mina's nametag. Amusingly, his rifle is actually stuck to his hands, leading to severe clipping issues with both his rifle and Mitsurugi's sword.
NUGI TAKI Taki, in an alternate costume exclusive to her ending. "Nugi" is an unusual term which vaguely translates to "casual wear". Uses Taki's normal moveset and, aside from the outfit and her nametag being strangely aligned to the right, is otherwise normal.
BELTI Vercci (Voldo's master, who appears as a ghost in the latter's ending) "Belti" is simply a poorly-romanised interpretation of Vercci's name (ベルチー, Beruchii). Uses Cervantes' moveset with Sophitia's nametag.
MABOCHIE Chie's ghost, which appears in Li-Long's good ending encouraging him to take Soul Edge and come home. "Mabo" is derived from the Japanese character for "ghost"/"phantasm" (幻, Maboroshi). Uses Seung Mina's moveset and nametag, just like regular Chie.
STANDARD A clone of Mitsurugi Unusual in that his entry appears after all of the normally playable characters, whereas all of the other entries appear before them in the coding. Uses Mitsurugi's appearance (sans ponytail), moveset, and nametag...but can only wield Murasame, has incredibly low health, and features very slow and deliberative attacks compared to every other member of the cast, as if he is using a weighted weapon. The name "standard" as well as his isolated entry relative to the rest of the cast implies he may have been used as a placeholder or test character.

Regional Differences

  • The title of the game was changed from Soul Edge to Soul Blade outside Japan due to the aforementioned trademark dispute over the use of the word "Edge".
  • In the Japanese and American versions, Li Long uses nunchaku. The European version changed his weapon to a three-sectioned staff, due to the BBFC guidelines which were in place at the time banning the depiction of certain weapons such as nunchaku.
  • The intro was also edited for the American/European versions to remove some nudity from it.
  • Several lines of dialogue were also re-recorded into English for the American version. This mainly affects Siegfried and Cervantes.
(Source: FlyingOmelette)