Mach5Mike's A Series in Music: The Best of the Soul Series
This is a pretty long list, but please read it whenever you have the time. This list compiles all of my favorite songs form all eight entries of the Soul series in celebration of Soul Calibur V's release in the United States. There's videos included, so you can always watch those while you read if that helps.
NOTE: If the embeds do not work the first time, try refreshing the page. The page may also just take a while to load the video due to this blog's size.
Now that Soul Calibur V has officially been released (assuming you are reading this blog on January 31st, 2012 and if you live in the US), I wanted to celebrate just how far the series has come since 1996 in my own unique way. There are many reasons to love the Soul series: the diverse characters with equally diverse backgrounds and weapon styles, the original take on the 15th and 16th centuries, and of course, the awe-inspiring musical scores. With all of the amazing musical masterpieces in each game, it was a difficult task to narrow down which songs I loved the most. As for how many songs per game will be featured on this list, I decided upon eight as the maximum (with one exception, the opening and/or character select themes won’t count if they don’t allow room for any other songs that I wanted to include). Why eight songs? Well, with the inclusion of Soul Calibur V, there have been eight games in the series so far. (It’s also because I wanted to choose a number that wasn’t a multiple of five, since almost every list does that) Now, with all of the introductions and stipulations out of the way, “Welcome to the Stage of History!”
Soul Edge (aka Soul Blade)
The Edge of Soul
Out of all of the opening themes for the Soul series, this is definitely my favorite (it unfortunately is not my favorite song in the entire series, but more on that later). The energetic vibe that this song gives off makes me feel like I'm about to step into a brand new world and set off on a new adventure, and nothing will stop me. Fun Fact: did you know that one of the developers of Soul Calibur V actually wanted the game to be named Soul Edge II? If that did happen, I would have wanted to hear this song in the opening sequence!
This song and the one following it are tied for my favorite stage themes from this game. I enjoy this one for it’s jovial nature, and reminds me of how many of the character’s lives in the series were peaceful until they got involved with either of the two swords.
The stage that this song plays in is called Unknown Land. Whenever the word “unknown” is used, I also think of the word “adventure”. This song sounds like an invitation to many players entered the world of the Soul series for the first time (I wasn’t one of those people though, I got into the series during Soul Calibur II, and haven’t played the two preceding games yet).
The Gears of Madness
I personally do not like Voldo (save for that “certain” pose that can make anyone watching burst into tears of laughter), but I do approve of his stage theme. If we ever get a Soul Calibur VI, I wonder what kind of outlandish designs Namco would concoct for Voldo?
Light and Darkness
Compared to The Edge of Soul, this song takes a completely different direction and goes for the orchestrated approach. I like that approach, since it aided with the new direction the series was taking with deeper storylines and even more epic battles that would determine the fate of the entire world.
The Stage of History
I couldn’t think of any way to describe why I like this song, so I’ll just point out an observation that I made a while ago: ever notice how each character select song since Soul Calibur has the word “history” somewhere in the title? Guess Namco really loves that word, and the same can go for opening themes and the word “destiny”.
The New Legend
This song in my opinion symbolizes everything new in this game: a new sword to obtain, new characters seeking to fulfill their destinies, and new areas of the world to explore.
Sail Over The Storm
A very energetic and adventurous song, which is perfect for a character like Maxi. For those of you that have heard his theme song in Soul Calibur V, doesn’t the beginning sound like it was taken from the beginning of this song?
Wings of Faith
I know this song is supposed to be a theme for Sophitia, but I could also see it fitting for her son Patroklos. This song has a strong sense of justice to it, and anyone who has heard Patroklos speak knows that he’s all about justice, I mean, it’s even in some of the names of his moves (thank goodness Alpha Patroklos doesn’t use the word “justice” so much, I actually don’t think he says that word at all). I love justice as much as the next guy, but now that word sounds weird to me every time I say it.
In the Name of the Father
I don’t know if I would call this theme fitting for Nightmare, but I like where this theme plays. Ostreinsburg is the destination for many of the characters, since Soul Edge and Soul Calibur tend to be nearby. This song acts to symbolize just how far they’ve come, and that their journeys are coming to an end.
Going To Where The Wind Blows
I first heard this song as part of another song in Soul Calibur III, but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, once I found this song by itself, I immediately fell in love with it, though I can’t decide if which version I prefer: the original or the reprise. I still like both equally, so I embedded both versions.
No Remorse, No Pain
I was originally going to choose the slower guitar remix from Soul Calibur IV over the original, but I changed my mind. I prefer the more heroic tone that this song gives off, and because it plays during Siegfried and Nightmare’s endings, two of my favorite characters in the series.
Recollection : A Tribute to Those Who Shed Red
I’ve loved the credits themes from the Soul games ever since this game, because they always gave me that sense of accomplishment, the one thing that I love about credits themes. This song isn’t my favorite though, but I’ll take care of that later.
Soul Calibur II
Under The Star of Destiny
Soul Calibur II was the first game I played in the series, and after I watched the opening sequence, I was (and continue to be) hooked, with a large part of that thanks to this song.
Some may say that one of the greatest character select songs would have to be from Street Fighter II. I can agree with that, but I also believe that this song deserves to be with the best of the best.
Raise Thy Sword
I often play on the Ostreinsburg Chapel stage just so I can hear this song while I’m playing, since it’s a perfect theme song for my second main Nightmare as I instill fear into my opponents with my unstoppable attacks.
Guided By Wind
I came to love this song after multiple play sessions with my sister, who mains Talim and often chooses her stage. I wouldn’t mind playing her if she stopped using her Soul Calibur weapon that would give the player back health just by pressing buttons.
Destiny Awaits No One
If I don’t feel like playing on the Ostreinsburg stage, I will often switch to the Imperial Capitol Ayutthaya stage instead. While the scenery is stunning, the background music is just as beautiful.
Even though this song seems to fit Cassandra, I prefer to hear it whenever I play as Sophitia. I may not enjoy this song as much when compared to something like Wings of Faith, but that’s no disrespect to how empowering this song feels while playing.
When I first started playing Soul Calibur II, I was also new fighting games as a whole, and knew nothing about how to pull off moves effectively. I started Weapon Master just to try it out, and realized that the first level was a basic tutorial. As I got better, I pointed out how I love the training mode feel that came from this song. Now, enjoy playing on this stage whenever I am practicing a new character or combos with any of my mains (If this song becomes DLC for Soul Calibur V, I’ll buy it just for training sessions!).
If There Were Any Other Way
Hearing this song during destined battles made any match twice as awesome. Too bad there was no way of playing it during versus mode. Essentially, this song is a remix from the second half of Wings of Faith, with an awesome rock guitar added to increase the intensity of this song. If this song becomes DLC for Soul Calibur V, it will be one of the first songs I purchase!
I listen to this song the most when I’m viewing the weapon gallery. (why was this extra scrapped in the later games? I loved it. At least Battle Theater is back!) As I gazed at my growing collection of weapons, I like how this song gave me a sense of achievement as I gazed upon some of the weapons that took me hours to obtain.
The Legend of Zelda
What’s better than Link as a guest character for Soul Calibur II? Well, actually the answer to that is nothing, but what’s almost as good is this arrangement of the main theme from the Zelda series, probably the most recognizable theme in video game history next to the Super Mario Bros. theme. I was crazy excited when I got to take on Soul Edge as the Hylian Hero, and I geeked out when I fought his destined battle against Raphael, and then this song kicks in as the battle starts. If another Soul Calibur game is released on a Nintendo console, I would beg Namco to include Link as a guest character again and give us another awesome remix.
Soul Calibur III
Hour of Destiny
I did state that Edge of Soul was my favorite opening song, but my favorite opening sequence in the series is from Soul Calibur III. I believe this song narrates how many of the characters from all over the world have realized that the two swords are still out there somewhere, waiting for someone else to wield them.
This song sounds very similar to History Unfolds from Soul Calibur II, but adds a little more to the song towards the end. Out of all of the actual character select screens, I liked Soul Calibur III's the most; each mode had a different take on a sky background, which made just looking at some of the character's faces as wind strangely blew from somewhere that much more aestheticallly pleaseing
I haven’t played that much of Soul Calibur III, but out of my short playtime, I’ve heard this song the most, as I spent hours in the character creation mode. I felt as if this song inspired me to let my imagination run free, and create something amazing. I also found it kind of entertaining to zoom in on the character’s faces and rotate the camera just to watch their eyes follow the camera.
I can’t really explain why, but this song reminds me so much of Wings of Faith. I guess it’s like a spiritual successor type of song. Anyways, it’s a great song, especially with the calm parts in the beginning and middle, which make this song fitting for a character like Sophitia.
Time Marches On
While I can play against almost any character without having too much of a problem, Zasalamel in Soul Calibur III was the one exception. But that has nothing to do with why I love this song. The gradual build-up In this song gives it a more dramatic feel as the rounds progress, and then becomes epic as the match would come to a close.
I love how this song starts off somewhat mellow, and gradually intensifies similar to how a flame grows in strength, to the point where it is powerful and unstoppable!
The Lost Cathedral stage has got to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing stages in the entire Soul series, and this epic musical score to accompany the dramatic battles that take place add to this stage’s wonders.
Tales of Souls
As I read most of the prologues for each character in this mode, the accompanying music helped me understand just how much each character has been through, but despite all that has happened, their journey for the two sword has remained incomplete, and many cannot stop until they finish this quest.
While Tales of Souls sounded somewhat somber, this song is more uplifting, and really brought out the more adventurous part of me.
I enjoyed this song the most when it is played during Siegfried’s ending, since it expresses the regret that he lives with each day as he seeks redemption, and as the song ends, it would appear that he finds his answer with the words, “It doesn’t matter, I will live on. To live, that is my redemption.”
Soul Calibur Legends
Defeat All In Front
Each game in the Soul series seemed to have at least one song that had an adventurous tone, and I think this is the example from Soul Calibur Legends.
While this song sounds amazing when I watch playthroughs of this game as the players would storm through castle sieges, I just wish this song could have been used in Soul Calibur III or IV somewhere so I could use it in versus battles because I like it so much.
While I haven’t played Tales of Symphonia, (There are a lot of good games I haven’t played yet, okay? I know I’m missing out!) I really enjoyed listening to this orchestrated revision. On my list of favorite guest character themes in the Soul series, this song won’t top “The Legend of Zelda”, but it does beat the Soul Calibur V rendition of “Venice Rooftop” (aka Ezio’s theme, sorry Assassin’s Creed fans)
Soul Calibur IV
It’s another character select theme, what else can I say about this song that I haven’t said about similar songs already? The only thing I can think of is that this song is the last to sound familiar to the character select themes of Soul Calibur II and III.
Only in the Soul series can you fight on a seesaw-like platform in the middle of a circus surrounded by fire everywhere in the background! This song captures the both essence of an epic battle and a dynamic circus, and flawlessly combines them together to create another amazing stage theme.
In my recent play sessions of SC IV, I’ve been learning how to use Hilde (and not be cheap), and I decided to practice her moves on her stage (Wolfkrone Monument). Since I was practicing for hours on end, the background music began to grow on me, and because of that, Wolfkrone Monument is now my stage of choice when playing online.
A slightly slower rendition of “Wings of Despair” from Soul Calibur III, and I love it way more than the original. It’s a much more dynamic version in my opinion, and fits the more “final decisive battle” tone that is prominent in Soul Calibur IV.
When Soul Calibur IV was first released and I was able to listen to the soundtrack, this was the first song that I enjoyed. Out of all of the stages in SC IV, I tend to play on the stage where this song plays (Tower of Remembrance: Ancient Gate), and also because causing ring outs in stages with lava in these games never gets old (wait, that sounded sadistic, oh well) :D
In the story mode, this theme plays when some of the more pivotal characters are facing their rivals, who are the only thing standing between them and the two swords. The pre-battle quotes for each character tend to be more emotional than their normal quotes, and this song seems to emphasize with those emotions. Or, in the words of the narrator, "Obsession, Determination, Hope. The firey emotions illuminate the two swords."
Searching For The Truth
While the story mode for each character in Soul Calibur IV seemed short in comparison to Tales of Souls, I still enjoyed it. I felt that this song would be more fitting for the characters who have had a more disastrous history in this series (more specifically, Siegfried and Sophitia). As I read the prologues for some of these characters, the music really helped me realize just how tragic some of these characters’ lives have been, but somehow find the strength to continue their quests for the two swords.
I have been playing Soul Calibur IV for about a month now (I got a PS3 for Christmas last year, give me a break), and I still haven’t completed the Tower of Lost Souls mode. Because of that, I don’t know how epic this song makes the final battle against Algol. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the awesomeness that comes from this song. With all of the orchestrations in the Soul series, including a guitar in at least one song makes for some nice diversity.
In terms of museum themes, this song is tied with “Healing Winds” as my favorite. This song made reading all of the character profiles and how each is connected to other characters or the two swords that much more enjoyable.
The Valiant Order
The main reason on why I love this song is because of the ending that this song plays. Out of all of the endings that Siegfried was featured in, he either died or lost a fight, which made me somewhat somber as a Siegfried fan. Unfortunately, thanks to Hilde’s ending, I no longer feel that way. I love how the song starts out as if Siegfried was going to get killed once again, but then ends with feelings of redemption and forgiveness (it’s nice that the two became friends and allies after Soul Calibur IV).
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Afterglow ~ A Silent Prayer
While the most of the new songs in Broken Destiny are rearrangements from Soul Calibur IV, I liked a few of them just a bit more than the originals. I somehow never got around to listening to the original version of this song (Immaculate Pledge), but thanks to this rendition, I quickly corrected that mistake.
Destiny Will Tell
While the original version of this song was epic, I personally preferred this slower, yet dramatic rendition just a bit more. This song seems to symbolize everything about Broken Destiny: while the decisive battle may have concluded, there are still warriors out there fighting to become legends.
The way I hear this song, it sounds more like a reorchestration of Ephemeral Dream, if not the exact same song with just a few more instruments added. If that’s the case, then those additional instruments made this song much more enjoyable than the original or the remix from Soul Calibur IV!
With all of the rehashed stages from Soul Calibur IV, I greatly appreciated a new stage, with awesome background music to accompany the nice Italian scenery. I don’t think there has ever been an Italian-like stage in the series up to this point, and hearing songs that use different styles of music in each game is just plain amazing.
Who's Stepped on Her Tail
With all of the serious and epic songs throughout the Soul series, this light-hearted and comical tune made all of the numerous humor scenes in The Gauntlet that much funnier (especially any scenes that involved either Nightmare or Dampierre).
Soul Calibur V
Well, this was a surprise. A few YouTube users uploaded some of the themes for Soul Calibur V, and out of the ones that I found (includes short previews), here are my current favorites:
The Frontier of History
While this character select song may not sound anything like Soul Calibur IV’s, it’s nice to hear something new, and thankfully, this is a good kind of new.
Till Fate Writes My Epitaph
While Siegfried may not play as pivotal of a role in this game than he used to, his theme song reminds you of how awesome he still is even if he doesn’t wield Soul Calibur any more.
Sword of Resolution
A heroic theme fitting for the new main character Patroklos. I also like how Alpha Patroklos’ theme is a more valiant (for lack of a better term) version of his original theme, and you feel as if he has finally discovered who he truly is instead of who he thought he should be.
Without The Blessing of Fate
According to Ivy’s profile in Soul Calibur V, she’s out to destroy the place known as Astral Chaos, where Soul Edge took refuge for the past 17 years. This theme seems to symbolize her determination, and her refusal to let anything stop her from what she deems to be justice.
So, if you've been keeping track of all of the songs I've listed, you may (or may not) have noticed that one particular song is missing. I may not have been able to list any of these songs in order of preference, save for my absolute number one favorite song, Path of Destiny.
I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it, which was after finishing Weapon Master mode in Soul Calibur II, and have enjoyed listening to it in every game ever since. If my favorite credits theme wasn’t from Mario Kart 64, this would have been number one. I decided to include all three versions of the song because I enjoyed how each version added more to the previous version. From what I’ve seen in early gameplay videos of Soul Calibur V, it appears that this song did not make it into the latest installment, though it is worth noting that this song has made the most appearances out of any other song in the series (SC II, III, IV, and Broken Destiny), which is a testament to this song’s popularity. However, the song that replaces it is almost as amazing, it even brought manly tears to my eyes with the ending scene it accompanies (I’ll post the credits part, not the ending, we don’t want spoilers now, right?):
Well, if you did read everything in this extremely long list, then first off, thank you very much (especially if you were able to bear each time I used words like “awesome”, “amazing”, and some other third word). I personally enjoy writing longer blogs instead of splitting them up. I plan on making "A Series in Music" a blog series of mine, and would like to know if you would rather have future lists split up, or in one piece such as this one; please leave a comment below, any additional compliments and criticisms are also welcome. For any Soul series fans reading this, hopefully this blog has helped keep your hype for Soul Calibur V as strong as ever, and I hope you are enjoying the game if you have picked it up already. If any g1s have a PS3 and plan on buying this game (which you should if you haven’t already), add me as a friend so we can play sometime (my PSN ID is Mach5Mike), and I will see you all online eventually (I have no idea when I will be able to buy the game, so I will still be playing Soul Calibur IV online) as I take on the Internet with my mediocre Siegfried and Hilde (I may also use Patroklos and/or Pyhrra if I can learn to use them efficiently). Well, that’s about it for now. Later, and remember, "The Legend Will Never Die".