By Sim Cheng Kai
|Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny
|» Price: $79.90
» Genre: 3-D fighting
» Platform: PSP
» Rating: 7/10
HE RIPPED off Medusa's head. He turned Hydra into Kraken sashimi. He even gouged out the eyes of the Colossus of Rhodes - one of the tallest bronze statues in the ancient world, brought to life by Greek god Zeus.
Yes, Kratos, star of Greek fantasy action series God Of War, has slain many gigantic beasts. The bigger they were, the harder they fell.
None of those epic battles, though, could have prepared him for his latest challenge: 27 weapon-fighters who, unlike the overgrown Greek monstrosities, can actually dodge and counter Kratos' moves, giving the phrase "pick on someone your own size" a whole new context.
Soulcalibur (SC) is the weapons-based 3-D fighting game known as much as for its refined fighting system as its otherworldly guest stars - last year's SC 4 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 featured Yoda and Darth Vader.
Broken Destiny (BD) is the technological marvel that somehow manages to cram most of SC4's content into the PlayStation Portable's small screen. The impressive visuals and smooth combat action survive the transition pretty much unscathed. This is one of the best-looking PSP games yet.
Lost in transition, however, are the Star Wars characters, the online play feature and most of the engaging single-player content like Story Mode.
The Star Wars characters are replaced by Kratos and newcomer Dampierre. The latter's fighting style resembles Drunken Fist but with concealed blades up his sleeves.
Content-wise, Gauntlet mode is a five-hour long tutorial that imparts everything you need to know about self-defence in BD by making you block the same six or seven types of attacks over and over. It is educational but a bore to go through.
It also does not help that the other single-player modes - Quick Battle and Trials - are basically a choice between fighting one opponent at a time and a series of increasingly-difficult opponents.
The only silver lining is the create-a-character mode, brought over from SC4, which lets you mix and match costume items to parody pop-culture icons, or spawn your own original characters. The added function here is the ability to let your creations pose for their pre-fight portraits.
That last-year's cutting-edge fighting game has moved from the small screen (TV) to an even smaller screen (PSP) with its gorgeous graphics mostly intact is amazing.
BD is truly a showcase piece for the PSP, although it lacks the playability of, say, Tekken Dark Resurrection.
Sim Cheng Kai's favourite 3-D fighting games include Virtua Fighter 5 and Dead Or Alive 4
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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