Namco's early mastery of the Playstation provided us with some titles of real quality. Almost single headedly, they managed to show what could actually be done with Sony’s grey box of tricks and gave us a real insight the then 'next generation'. The release of 1996’s Soul Edge cemented their reputation as one of the machine’s most talented development studios, and as pioneers in glorious, over the top intro sequences.
Launched at the height of the new FMV/CG animation rush, Soul Edge boasted what was easily the greatest intro of any game during the 90's (possibly ever in fact). Indeed, the opening homily of “transcending history and the world” (which I’m sure is voiced by Resident Evil’s ‘Barry Burton’) is enough to send shivers down the spine, and it provides a moment of serenity before all hell breaks loose and we are treated to numerous displays of outrageous swordsmanship and carnage.
Although the CG models may now be starting to show their age, the overall feel of the intro has stood up well to the test of time, and it still remains an audio ‘tour de force’ with it’s sweeping strings the perfect accompaniment to the stomping drums and typically over the top guitars.
It is worth noting that this is the intro for the original Japanese release and is therefore uncensored. For some reason, we poor saps in the west were deemed too impressionable to watch Li Long clean house with a set of nun-chucks and too excitable to watch Sophitia bathe in a lake…without her swimming costume!
Soul Edge itself will be given a more in depth look further down the line, but for now, enjoy this fantastic piece of CG artistry, and epic tale of ‘Soul and Swords’.