"Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold..."
The Soul series (unrelated to the"SoulsSeries") is a series of 3D weapon-based fighting games created by Namco's team Project Soul, arriving shortly after the success of its other 3D fighter, Tekken.In 16th century Eurasia, rumours persist of a legendary sword of heroes known only as "Soul Edge." Only a few know that Soul Edge is actually an evil Artifact of Doom with an insatiable thirst for human souls. Some warriors seek Soul Edge without knowing the truth, while others seek to destroy it or capture its power for themselves.To counter Soul Edge, an opposing sword of light was created: the spirit sword, Soul Calibur. When these two swords first clashed, Soul Edge was shattered into pieces while Soul Calibur fell dormant. Now the shards of Soul Edge are seeking to reunite, oozing corruptive power that bestows misfortune on all who encounter them. An epic final battle between the two opposing swords is now fast approaching, with the fate of the world at stake.The series began in the mid-90s with Soul Edge, one of the first games to feature three-dimensional combat where every character held a weapon. Control was mostly similar to Tekken and Virtua Fighter, where characters could move along the three-dimensional plane, and could be knocked out of the ring if they were careless. Characters could also deflect each other's weapon attacks, or break them and render them useless if hit enough times.Soul Edge, while mildly successful in arcades (and on the PlayStation as Soul Blade), was largely overshadowed by Soul Calibur, which revamped many of the original game's aspects, including the three-dimensional movement, character combos and timing, and completely removed the breakable weapon aspect. The Dreamcast port of the game rebalanced the gameplay and overhauled the graphics, becoming its system's Killer App in the process. It is often placed among game critics' "favorite games of all time."Soul Calibur has since spawned four sequels, which have been ported to a number of home systems. A spin-off Action Adventure title, Soulcalibur Legends, has been released for the Wii; IV has also been ported to the PSP as Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, which guest stars Kratos, the God of Warnote Despite Ares being a character in the series.The latest game in the series is Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, which was released on February 6, 2013, in Japan and April 22, 2014, in North America. Lost Swords is a single-player free-to-play title distributed through the PlayStation Network,based on Soulcalibur V, the goal of which is for the player to collect loot through battles. Players can imbue the weapons with elemental properties, such as fire and wind. Virtual item sales will also be offered.As of Soulcalibur III, the series title seems to be Soulcalibur in a reference to Excalibur. The series underwent change in direction after this point. Soulcalibur V was directed by Daishi Odashima, who said he wanted the game to be named Soul Edge 2, but was rejected. In December 2013, the series again changed project direction, and Project Soul is now under the leadership of Masaki Hoshino.
This series provides examples of:
Action Mom: The Alexandra sisters; Cassandra's main reason to fight was to spare her older sister Sophitia from doing so since she's a mom, but when her kids are affected, Sophitia comes back to fighting against Soul Edge anyway.
Taken to a more extreme and utterly cruel angle in IV when Sophitia's daughter Pyrrhaneeds Soul Edge's influence to live, forcing Sophitia to kill anyone trying to destroy it.
A.I. Breaker: Anti A.I. moves in the third game, and Astaroth's Discus Breaker (1AB in community notation) in Soulcalibur IV. Also, lying down facing the edge when fighting Algol on Floor 60. In V, the A.I. simply does not know how to block Viola's orb setups. See Artificial Stupidity.
Alien Geometries: V has a few infinitely large stages. You can see scenery in the distance, but you can never get any closer to it no matter how far you move.
This can be rather dizzying if you watch the middle ground, where the ground you fight on blends into the fixed background. Perspective does not work that way...
All There in the Manual: Japan released an artbook guide for V that explains what happened to many of the characters that did not make it into the game, and heavily expanded the background for those who did.
Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The arenas where you usually face off against some permutation of Soul Edge like Inferno or Night Terror tend to be eerie, distorted planes of existence, some of which are hauntingly beautiful in spite of this. One of the biggest exceptions to date was Tartaros from II, and even that was a Fire and Brimstone Hell.
Anachronism Stew: Supposedly, this game takes place during the mid-to-late Renaissance, but there are certain aspects of the series (mostly the costumes and some Steam Punk elements coming from Illuminati-esque underground cults) that never really conform to a single real-world era.
Siegfried tends to go into this when fighting non-possessed enemies, as they usually go after him for his past deeds as Nightmare. He accepts that they're angry at him, but he can't die until Soul Edge's done for. So he beats them down, and then apologizes.
Appropriated Title: The series was originally called Soul Edge but is now better known as Soulcalibur.
Armed Legs: The Grieve Edge moveset for custom characters in III.
Artificial Stupidity: Algol loves to use a certain combo that involves jumping over his opponent's head. He will use this even if his opponent is lying on the ground at the edge of the arena, flinging himself to his doom. Talim also did this a lot with her "Wind Flip" maneuver, particularly in III.
Soul Edge itself, way back in the original game. Its habit of spamming that charged-up bum rush attack makes it all too easy to simply sidestep or jump over it, sending the final boss clear out of the ring. It's actually the easiest way to beat what is otherwise a major SNK Boss.
Ass Kicks You: Cassandra's Critical Finish, where she literally knocks her foe over with her rear end, then proceeds to violently sit on her opponent's face, the second time using her shield. There is some lampshading when she calls out "You like this kinda stuff?" while she's doing it. Not to mention all the pink hearts. She also has an attack that involves flinging herself butt-first at the enemy (which is her longest-range attack).
Even more disturbingly, Voldo does this, although not as a Critical Finish.
Like her sister, Sophitia has two or three of them as well.
And Pyrrha continues the tradition.
Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Setsuka's alternate costume in SCIV, which has been dubbed her "Mary Poppins outfit" by fans, references her European origins but has far more in common with the fashions of the much more recent Edwardian (1900s) era, rather than late Elizabethan era in which SCIV is set.
Awesome, but Impractical: Unblockable attacks look very cool, wreathing your weapon(s) in flames for the duration of the attack and darkening everything on-screen aside from the fighters and the HUD, and usually do a good chunk of damage. However, that duration tends to be a few seconds before the attack is actually pulled off, allowing players who notice the attack to generally dodge it with ease. And then punish the attacker right after with an attack of their own. Some of these attacks (such as Ivy's heel drop) leave the attacker open during the prep stages, too, making it very impractical unless the opponent is on the ground. They're really more for threatening a guard-happy opponent, as every character has at least one, and most are easily cancelled. IV fixes this by giving the characters several different types of unblockable attacks: Some are incredibly weak but come out quickly, others are done after combos to confuse the opponent and others cancel into stances and other attacks.
Soul Edge in II and III often carries elements of this; while generally more powerful than any other weapon, most of its side effects are negative compared to the many more useful abilities offered by Soul Calibur or other weapons. This is notably absent in SCIV, except for certain forms which have the detrimental abilities Slow Feet and Evil Sword Berserk attached.
In IV, Algol's 214A+B and 4B+K are awesome when they work, but they never will in a serious match. Nightmare's A+B and his 236A+B are also really cool, but are terrible moves.
In V, Aeon's Critical Edge consists of knocking the opponent down with a Screw Attack, sprouting wings, flying up in the air, and breathing fire over the downed opponent. However, it's one of the least damaging Critical Edges, the fire breath attack can randomly miss due to a bug (which sometimes results in Aeon ringing himself out), and is punishable on hit by certain characters.
The Critical Finishes from IV can only be pulled off in very specific situations: you break your opponent's armor, force them into Soul Crush, then hit all four face buttons while they're reeling back. They're harder to pull off than it would seem, not least because the Soul Crush is hard to predict, and hitting the opponent even once before pressing the four face buttons will end your chance to perform it.
Balance Between Good and Evil: Ideally the conflict between Soul Edge and Soul Calibur is supposed to manifest itself like this but in reality Soul Calibur doesn't quite "get it" and thinks the only way to solve the problem of there being too much evil in the world is to freeze it and halt all of existence, making it closer to Blue and Orange Morality.
Blocking Stops All Damage: Averted in Soulcalibur IV, which raises just as much Fridge Logic as the regular version does when Yoda and Darth Vader take damage from somebody punching them in the lightsaber.
Body Horror: Soul Edge can twist the human body quite grotesquely, best seen in the number it did to Siegfried's right arm. The same corruption later happens to poor Pyrrha.
Bonus Mode Of Hell: Edge Master Mode, Mission Mode, Weapon Master Mode, Chronicles of the Sword, Tower of Lost Souls, and Legendary Souls, in chronological order.
Bottomless Pits: Some arenas have cliffs, chasms, or are being hoisted into the air by an Egyptian construction crane. These are some of the most common forms of "Ring Out."
Bowdlerise: In countries (specifically, Korea) that discouraged references to samurai due to their histories with WWII-era Japan as well as various invasions from the 1590s, Mitsurugi was replaced twice: first with Hwang in the Korean arcade version of Soul Edge, and then in SC with an English-born, Japan-raised "samurai" named Arthur, who sported an Eyepatch of Power and wielded a katana. The former became a main by the 2nd arcade revision, the later became an unlockable bonus character in III as well as making cameos in the introduction for Weapon Master in II and The Gauntlet in Broken Destiny.
Interestingly enough, the backstories of the Korean characters involve those very same 16th-century conflicts, so you'd think the Korean audience would cherish being able to beat up a hardened samurai warrior with their national heroes.
Also, the PAL release of Soul Blade changes the weapons of Li Long from Nunchaku into Three-Sectional Staffs because of the legal status of the former in the U.K. and other countries.
In the story mode of III, this becomes the excuse for having a character use Soul Edge or Soul Calibur. Abyss will toss his scythe at you, requiring a quicktime event to block it. If the character is scripted to end up fighting with one of the Soul weapons, the strike will break the weapon the character is holding no matter what, and then one of the Soul weapons will be launched at the character, which they pick up to finish the fight.
Canon Immigrant: Sort of... A character named Yoshimitsu appears in all five Calibur games; he's similar to the Yoshimitsu from Tekken, but may not be the same person.
According to his story, "Yoshimitsu" is actually the name of the sword he wields, as well as a title given to the strongest Ninja in his clan (the Yoshimitsu in Soulcalibur is the founder and the Yoshimitsu of Tekken is the current leader); the personality and fighting style are adopted to give the impression that he is immortal (Legacy Immortality, as popularized by The Phantom). However, Yoshimitsu is the same guy in the first four Soulcalibur games, as his story makes constant references to his development in past games; he is replaced by a new swordsman (who refers to himself as "Yoshimitsu the Second") in the events leading up to V. The Tekken games all feature a single Yoshimitsu as well.
The Tekken 3 booklet's bio of Yoshimitsu says something like "He may have existed since the 18th Century." If this is true (it's mentioned nowhere in the NTSC-U English manual), it's only an addition of the English translator, as no such mention appears in any of the Japanese profiles.
Staying within the confines of the series itself, we have Hwang and Arthur. In both cases, the characters were conceived as alternates to Mitsurugi for the Korean market (who have a high distaste for samurai due to their bad history), Hwang for Soul Edge and Arthur for Soulcalibur. Later on, a second revision for Soul Edge was released and Hwang was canonized as a real character for all regions and given his own story. Likewise, in III, Arthur was given some back story and added as a bonus character. Arthur has little relevance to anything in the narrative but Hwang has been a prominent player through the first two titles.
Canon Welding: Possibly implied with Tekken at the end of Zasalamel's story in IV, which depicts him still alive in modern New York.
Captain Obvious: Since the announcer in IV didn't have different quotes depending on who won, he could become this pretty often.
Announcer: "Victory belongs to the last one standing!"
Especially in Broken Destiny when you end up fighting Dampierre.
Announcer: "Only those who survive can fulfill their destinies." Well, duh...
Celibate Hero: Ivy. No,seriously. She knows that she has "cursed blood", thanks to Soul Edge (her blood type is even listed as "Soul Edge"), so she has taken a vow to never have children, lest they too be cursed.
Also Kilik. By IV, he returns Xianghua's love, but says it can never be because he plans to throw away his life to become a hermit/the eternal guardian of both swords, and wants Xianghua to continue and live a full life rather than do the same just for him. She eventually moves on and has a daughter of her own named Leixia. Although, sometime after IVKilik and Xianghua spent a night together, from which Xianghua eventually conceived Xiba.
Character Development: Siegfried turns from a deluded young man, into the Big Bad, and finally into The Atoner and the arguable protagonist/hero of the games. Similarly, Ivy has moved from evil to good. Most of the characters undergo some level of character development between games.
Maccoi, in the same game, really would like to feel you up (and it's implied he does each time you lose), but still gives you hints and tips when fighting him, out of a sense of duty. And molestation.
Clock Punk: Clockwork cogs are theme in many arenas (more prominently in Zasalamel's stage in III, which is inside a clock tower). Yoshimitsu has a clockwork cybernetic arm (with wooden parts!), while Ashlotte in IV is a clockwork robot.
Clothing Damage: IV has this in spades, for all characters with the exceptions of the bonus characters and the Star Wars exclusives. Kratos in Broken Destiny is also an exception. V retains the feature, though it only can occur once (as opposed to the High, Medium, and Low areas of equipment in IV) and only if the finishing blow of a round is a sufficiently strong attack.
IV allows players to assign skills to custom created characters. Among them are Will Power and Hysterical Strength. Both are passive abilities that activate when the player's health dips below a certain point. Will Power requires the player to be in critical status (low health) and causes the character to glow red when active. It sharply increases the user's stats for the remainder of the round. Hysterical Strength only requires that the player's health drop below half and only offers a boost in attack power, noted by a greenish yellow glow when active.
In V, if a player is one round away from losing a match, they receive one free meter stock.
Comic Book Time: Although a conflict of this nature would take copious amounts of time, not a single character has celebrated a birthday since II. In fact, II, III, and IV all take place within the same year.
Averted in the first three games, which took place in real time, as the passage of years between the plots (3 and 4) coincided with the games' initial releases (1995-1998-2002).
Especially silly in the story mode of III, which has the characters travelling back and forth several times between Europe, Asia and northern Africa, which in their age should have taken many years.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The A.I. of III blatantly reads your controller inputs, leading to things like a nigh-100% success rate in parrying basic throws (where there should be a 50% chance of failure), the ability to guard impact any attack, and never reacting incorrectly to any mix-up or cancelled attack. This makes anti-AI attacks a necessity to use.
There is one challenge in II where, in order to get to one of the special areas, you have to break your opponent's guard within a certain amount of time. Taki re-guards too fast after breaking her guard.
Back with a vengeance in V (at least in Legendary Souls mode and the harder opponents in Quick Battle). In addition to reading inputs, being immune to mix-ups, and abusing its own lack of needing input by executing complex moves faster than a human could ever do it, this A.I. will also flawlessly space your characters (staying close to long range characters and keeping away from short range ones) and perfectly confound all attempts at horizontal containment.
Confusion Fu: Voldo, Yoshimitsu, and Dampierre. Xianghua and her daughter's movesets also rely on feints to a much lesser extent.
Voldo gets a particularly honourable mention since, thanks to his incredible speed and moving like as though his skeleton is made out of slinkies, even his own player will need practice to figure out what exactly he is doing.
The rock-paper-scissors-style game mechanics (guards and sidestepping can only null certain types of attacks each) encourage mix-up tactics in general.
Contortionist: II has purchasable "demonstrations" for the fighters, with Yun-seong and Voldo's coming off more like circus contortion routines more than martial arts training. Well, Voldo comes off like that even when he does fight, but still.
Counter Attack: Several characters have these. Some attacks just have frames at the beginning that cause a Guard Impact, which would make the rest of the attack sort of like a Counter Attack, but there are moves that genuinely won't do anything unless the opponent lands an attack at the proper frame of the animation. All attacks do more damage if they hit during the start-up or cool-down frames of an opponent's attack.
Covers Always Lie: Usually in game covers, ads, and merchandise, Ivy is usually shown lined up with the other villainous characters, because of her rather interesting appearance. Even though at one point she committed murders in the sword's name, she's been trying to destroy it for most of the series.
Soul Edge's cover shows Mitsurugi duel-wielding katanas. He has never done this in any game in the series.
Technically, he does it once, for non-gameplay reasons. In his ending in III, if he meets up with Taki then he will have taken Soul Edge away from the last fight, and it will manifest into his in-game weapon while he still has the sword that he used since the beginning of the Tales of Souls story mode.
Creator Cameo: Katsuhiro Harada can be fought in the Quick Battle mode of V. He wears a turban and a sleeved version of Heihachi's black dogi, and fights with the Soul of Devil Jin (i.e. Mishima-style karate + Frickin' Laser Beams). Appropriately enough, he appears under the name "Harada_TEKKEN" (which is the Twitter username he uses for Tekken-related tweets).
IV includes Star Wars characters Darth Vader and Yoda, as well as the Apprentice from The Force Unleashed. note Yoda was initially exclusive to the Xbox360 version, while Darth Vader was originally exclusive to the PS3 version; both eventually became available as DLC for the other version. Starkiller has always been available in both versions.
V actually includes a character who makes sense within the context of the series' story and time period: Ezio Auditore, from the Assassin's Creed games. Well, story maybe, but time period, most certainly not; V takes place over a century after Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, wherein Ezio is in about his 30s; ergo, he should already be dead by the time the game's story rolled by. And, even considering Assassin's Creed III had been released before V, having Connor as a Guest Fighter wouldn't normally have made sense, as he would only be born about 50 years later (same century, different timeframe).
The backstory explains that Shawn Hastings deducted a jump in Ezio's timeline thrusting him about 100 years into the future and then back again after he found a artifact. So the same could happen to Connor, Altaïr or Edward if the Animus malfunctioned again.
Also, Heihachi's appearance in II is explained by him having found a shard of Soul Edge in a dig site which thrust him back in time — he'd only return after beating Inferno.
Crystal Prison: Soul Calibur likes to pull this as of IV whenever it trumps Soul Edge in certain character endings. (And it has no qualms about doing it to fighters who oppose Soul Edge either, who, in effect, helped it reach that point. One example, in Ivy's ending to IV, it does this to Nightmare, but also tries to inflict the same fate on Ivy; she's willing to accept it as punishment for what's she's done, but is saved when her own sword destroys itself to save her, convincing her she still has purpose.
Cute Clumsy Girl: Talim becomes this when you use her running "kick" attack, which is more of a "trip and fall" attack. One of Xianghua's attacks when she is on the ground has her throw a tantrum. Dampierre is prone to falling in some of his attacks (when intended), and blocking will often get him to fall over in pain. In fact, in The Gauntlet, he's constantly accidentally activating his daggers into his own flesh. In Broken Destiny, the first assassin sent to try and kill you is so clumsy that your character allows themselves to get hit, out of pity for her.
Ivy is practically a completely different character in every game. This is especially noticeable in the transition from IV to V, where she goes from having four stances to zero.
Darker and Edgier: IV has many formerly-good characters — not to mention the pure Soul Calibur — take a swing into the dark side. These include Sophitia (forced to protect Soul Edge, with deadly force if necessary, to save her daughter's life), Maxi (driven to wield Soul Edge to destroy Astaroth by Tira), Taki (her ending has her murder Siegfried to prevent his attempt to create a utopia going horribly wrong), and Siegfried himself (his own storyline presents him as becoming increasingly suicidal, and his ending implies that Soul Calibur may have frozen the entire human population in crystal stasis, not to mention killing him).
V deals with the massacre and persecution of those who are and are accused of being "Malfested."
Difficult but Awesome: Guard Impacts. The requirement (pushing forward and guard right as an opponent's attack is about to hit, plus knowing what height to use) plus the consequence (there is no "fallback" if you miss, you will take damage) are demanding but execute one and your opponent's only response will be to do one of their own, bound by the same condition.
Several characters fall into this as well; Ivy and Setsuka are both extremely difficult to learn but utterly devastating when mastered. The Grieve Edge style from III could be considered this, too, as it was heavily reliant on expert timing for attacks and Guard Impacts but was extremely powerful when executed with proper precision, in addition to looking really awesome.
Just Guard in V.
Difficulty Spike: The third Chronicle in Tales of the Sword mode; once you get a to a certain point, the A.I/ goes from just gradually increasing to difficulty to flat out jumping to an insane level, and it's like that for the rest of the mode.
Ditto Fighter: Edge Master, Charade's II incarnation, and Olcadan. Inferno also acts this way in his appearances, save for his very first one (where he was just a pumped up Cervantes named SoulEdge). In II, he switches styles in the middle of the fight and has a super move regardless of style.
In V, Edge Master returns as a mimic character, along with Kilik and newcomer Elysium. The difference between the three is that Edge Master can mimic all characters (except for Ezio, Algol and the Devil Jin style) while Kilik and Elysium can only mimic male and female characters respectively. Additionally, Kilik gains back his Kali-Yuga and some of his old moves with his rod if copying Xiba. Elysium, if using Pyrrha Omega's style, alters it to more closely resemble Sophitia's in past games. She's also the only one of the three to possess her own Critical Edge (usable regardless of who she's currently mimicking).
Divergent Character Evolution: Hwang & Mitsurugi had the same moves in Soul Blade until Hwang developed his acrobatic, one-handed style in the sequel.
Drop the Hammer: Some of Astaroth's weapons, as well as Rock's maces, include hammer-like weapons.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor Sophitia. While most of the old cast that don't appear were merely Put on a Bus, Sophitia herself was stated to be killed off casually by a Malfested in the past, thus it's not just on Patroklos' mind that she's dead.
According to the artbook however, she actually gave her life so that Pyrrha could live without Soul Edge. This may have also happened to Cassandra, who disappeared into Astral Chaos after being knocked unconscious by her sister.
Dual Wielding: Cervantes, Kratos, Lloyd Irving, and Shura all dual-wield swords, as well as Talim, who dual wields Tonfas. Taki and Natsu dual-wield daggers for certain attacks, and Algol's hands transform into Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, as well as double bubble cannons. Maxi can dual-wield nunchaku as an extra kata in Soulcalibur.
Aeon Calcos (Lizardman), as of V, duel-wields axes.
Dummied Out: Daishi Odashima, the game's director, reported that SCV's Story Mode was supposed to be 4 times bigger than that of the released product, and each character would've had their own chronicle instead of just focusing on Patroklos and Pyrrha; time constraints and lack of staff made the plan go down under. They even had fully voiced lines ready for the extensive Story Mode that, in the end, weren't used.
Early-Bird Cameo: The Apprentice/Starkiller/Galen Marek from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, in IV. Amy makes a short cameo in the second game's intro (of course, she's part of Raphael's backstory, and he was introduced here).
A move called the Critical Finish showed up in IV, but seems to be unrelated. The Critical Edge itself returns in V.
In Name Only. The Critical Edge in V is a conventional super move, governed by a gauge, instead of a long string of attacks.
The Critical Edges in Soulcalibur V are actually quite similar in principle to the ones in Soul Edge/Blade. The original Critical Edges were essentially Tekken-style 10-hit combos, but rather than using a long complex 10-part input string, they consisted of two half-combos with an a single input for each half. Pressing all three attack buttons initiates the first half of the combo, and a second (character-specific) input finishes the combo if pressed during the final hit of the first half (shown here with inputs). In V, only Algol's Critical Edge still functions in this manner; the rest of the cast use a single universal command.
Additionally, both versions of the Critical Edge consume meter when performed. The key difference is that in V, the meter starts at zero and has to built up during the fight, as is common for super-combos. In Edge/Blade, the meter starts full, as it doubles as the weapon's defense/HP gauge, and is reduced by blocking attacks or performing Critical Edge; if depleted, the weapon will break and the character must finish the round unarmed.
In a sense, the Brave Edges (enhanced versions of particular moves comparable to the EX Moves in Darkstalkers, Street Fighter, and the like) could be seen as faint spiritual successors to the first game's Critical Edges.
Similar to above, characters have a Weapon Gauge of sorts in V as well, which is similar to the Stun gauge in Street Fighter and other series. Repeatedly guarding attacks will eventually cause their guard stance to shattered, leaving them completely defenseless for a brief moment. The Weapon Gauge resets immediately afterward.
Easter Egg: V's Quick Battle mode gives players the chance to fight Katsuhiro Harada, the producer of Tekken. Harada uses a Create-A-Soul exclusive Devil Jin fighting style. Defeating him allows the use of the Devil Jin style for created characters.
It's also possible to to assemble KOS-MOS in III's Character Creation.
V has DLC items that reference other Namco games, including accessories of Pac-Man and Klonoa, costumes from Tekken, and even the Terror Mask.
Eldritch Location: Astral Chaos, the dimension that Soul Edge retreats into whenever it gets too damaged.
Its predecessors Valencia Port - Chaos (Edge/Blade), Chaos (Calibur), Tartaros (SCII), and Chaos - Spiritual Realm (SCIII) are no slouches in this department, although the latter two Chaos stages are implied to be alternate planes of existence within Soul Edge where one does battle with Inferno as well as an extension of/one in the same with Astral Chaos. Similar to Valencia Port - Chaos, Astral Chaos later bleeds into the real world when Pyrrha Omega uses Soul Edge to tear open a rift in the sky above Denevér Castle, turning the stage into Denevér Castle: Eye of Chaos.
Ostrheinsburg Castle and the surrounding area is implied to have become this in IV after Nightmare decides to use it as his base of operations and transforms the city into what is known as Dark Capital Ostrheinsburg using Soul Edge's power.
The Lost Cathedral in III is a more benign version, crossing over with Lost World: it's a breathtakingly beautiful palace of pristine water drawing from all forms of European architecture which can only be reached by "those with a strong will and a willingness to bet their own lives." Algol's Tower of Remembrance in IV (particularly its "Degration" version) and Tower of Glory in V could also qualify, with the latter explicitly residing in Astral Chaos.
Empathic Weapon: Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Ivy's Valentine Whip Sword is also alive, which is why it can do all those improbable things in battle. Yoshimitsu's katana is shown to have a a level of sentience as well, especially in his II ending.
Evil Only Has to Win Once: So far, Soul Edge has been shattered or destroyed at least three times (Soul Edge, Soulcalibur, Soulcalibur II), twice by Soul Calibur. What happens each time? The sword just breaks into pieces (each one every bit as evil as the whole sword) and eventually reforms itself, stronger than before. Now, what happens in every ending where the Soul Edge wins instead? The world gets hosed, that's what. Even worse, in IV, we learn that Soul Calibur is actually just as evil, but with a penchant for order rather than chaos.
Evil Weapon: Soul Edge. Soul Calibur during the period where it was corrupted by Soul Edge's evil; it's normally a holy sword meant to oppose Soul Edge. IV reveals that Soul Calibur can actually be considered just as evil, when it reaches its full power and sentience. Unlike Edge, which revels in chaos, destruction, death, and torment, Calibur wants peace, harmony, and safety — by freezing the entire world so that no one can move.
Expy: In V, many characters deemed too old or are dead are replaced with characters who have the same fighting style. Examples include Natsu for Taki and Pyrrha for Sophitia.
Fanservice: Most female characters' breasts were enlarged for IV, for no apparent reason other than probably this trope.
It's been there since the beginning. In Soul Edge, Sophitia appears naked in the opening (censored overseas, of course) and Taki has Jiggle Physics. On the original PlayStation. Which is hilarious. Not to mention the Clothing Damage aspect added into later games and the ability for players to create intentional Mr. and Ms. Fanservice characters via the "Create a Soul" system.
Algol's costume in V. Seems like he and Gill shop at the same outlet.
Finishing Move: The Critical Finish in IV. Don't expect to pull this one off all the time; it's mostly there to keep people from spamming guard the whole match. The fanciness is lost on Yoda though, who is too short for most of the animations, and thus Critical Finishes on him are simply the character performing an unblockable attack on him.
Glass Cannon: Possible in IV with custom characters. Several characters have weapons with extremely high damage but low health.
Grail in the Garbage: Charade's backstory in states he bought shards of the Soul Edge from a random merchant.
Grapple Move: Grab moves can be canceled by doing your own grab move so that it connects with the opponent's. Later entries even allow you to counter an opponent's grab so you grab them instead. Both require A LOT of Dexterity.
Note that the Alexandra sisters have a tendency to attack using their groins.
Pyrrha continues the tradition, while Patroklos takes Sophitia's groin knee attack up to eleven.
Ivy as well. She has a stomping move. If performed on a downed opponent she rubs the tip of her foot on them. This counts if her foot lands on their groin, which is almost guaranteed to happen if they're lying face up. This is quite similar to a move of Nina's in Tekken.
KOS-MOS appears in a roundabout fashion in III. She appears as a special set of items for Character Creation that creates a character with her appearance when put together.
In a similar vein to KOS-MOS is Devil Jin in V; his fighting style is available in the gamenote while unlockable, can be obtained fairly early (upon reaching Player Level 5, which frankly is an easier feat than beating Harada_TEKKEN), and Jin's outfit is available via DLC in the first Tekken-themed pack.
Product Placement: Adding the Apprentice from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, a game that was going to come out a month after IV, was totally this.
Also, a bunch of anime/manga designers were hired to create an original character — and by "original character" we mean "they look different." Each of their individual fighting styles are copied from another character. They don't even have their own voice sets (using the ones from Create-a-Character mode instead), although several of their lines are unique to those characters.
Guns Are Useless: The only firearm in the game (Cervantes' "pistol sword"); while the strongest attack that uses it deals decent damage (between a 4th and 3rd of health), it is very telegraphed, and can be dodged by simply moving to the side once. Back in II, the only attack that involved it was a weak, easy to miss, anti-air attack grab (which is as useless as it sounds). (Of course, the game does take place in the 16th Century; firearms were rather primitive back then.)
Ezio's hidden pistol in V is even more useless than Cervantes's pistol sword. While unblockable, it takes a whole second to fire (although he can cancel it if needed).
Hit-and-Run Tactics: Conceivably possible with Spawn's signature fire/acid ball move. Any competent human or AI will be able to sidestep the fireballs, but against the easy and the inexperienced, you may be able to wipe the enemy health gauge clean before the enemy can so much as close for combat. Same goes for Link in the same game (except in the GameCube version only). Can also be attempted with Ivy's whip and Kilik's staff to a lesser extent.
Hoist Hero Over Head: One of Darth Vader's grappling moves in IV. Two of Hilde's throws also do this.
Large Ham: Nightmare's taunts before a battle and after winning a match. His lines could be very scary, if he didn't sound like he was trying so hard. "Have a taste of my darkness!" Also TheNarrator at times.
Leotard of Power: Ivy, particularly in II. Cassandra in IV has a coat on over one of these.
Lighter and Softer/Denser and Wackier: Broken Destiny's Gauntlet Mode contains massive amounts of Lampshade Hanging (ranging from one of the wild creatures asking why their wolf protector is suddenly walking around on two legs, to the characters constantly asking each other, and themselves, why they keep giving hints to the player when they fail a mission), a few personality changes, starting with Cassandra being a Genki Girl, no one getting killed, aside from the wolf you eat in the beginning, Nightmare becoming a good guy, anime-style illustrations (including a Yukkuri shiteitte ne! cameo), with all the standard visual gags.
Light Is Not Good: The titular blade, Soul Calibur. It was shown in IV that it wants to freeze the world in crystal, thus creating a World of Silence. Soul Calibur's justification is that if nobody can move, there won't be any more war. Granted, it's still insane.
Reinforced in Vwhen its spirit presents itself as Sophitia to manipulate Patroklos into killing Soul Edge's wielder, his sister Pyrrha.
Lightning Bruiser: Siegfried and Nightmare hit hard and fast naturally. Ashlotte, Astaroth, and other slow-but-strong characters can be modified into this through the Step Speed Up and Run Speed Up abilities. Hilde's movement is among the fastest in the game, and she also has the two most powerful attacks (her 30 second charge attacks), both of which are near one hit K.O.s.
Darth Vader in IV, which is rather true to his portrayal in the Star Wars universe.
Limit Break: The Critical Edge attacks in V, complete with their super meter.
Magic Realism: All games in the series are set in the real world, and there are plenty of historical references to real life events and people of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Story Mode (in III and V) features a world-map of Eurasia that the fighters traverse. This, however, is all juxtaposed with the use of "magic" powers (especially in the Critical Edge super moves where energy emissions are fired off), as well as fantasy creatures such as golems (Astaroth) and animated skeletons (Revenant). It all works rather well, though, and it doesn't cross the line too much into Dungeons & Dragonsterritory.
Mana Meter: V has one (with multiple stocks at that), and it's used to power the Brave Edge and Critical Edge moves.
Manipulative Bastard: Zasalamel in III manipulates Nightmare, Siegfried, Ivy, and a bunch of Mooks as part of his plan to raise both swords' powers back to full. Also, in each character's own story mode, there's one path in which he baits said character into his clock tower, tests him/her in battle, and then either directs him/her to Nightmare (so he gets a chance to feed the sword with a strong soul) or curse him so he'd not become a nuisance later.
Also Tira in IV, as she convinces many of the characters to seek out Soul Edge to meet their goals, most notably manipulating Sophitia into working for the side of Nightmare by saying that her daughter was at risk if Soul Edge was destroyed.
Dampierre in Broken Destiny. To get two men into his service, one of which attempted to shoot him earlier, he reveals his hideout to the police, and later saves them when they are cornered. This act, plus a claim of greatness and his impressive counterfeit collection, are enough to turn them into his lackeys.
Iska in Legends fits this trope perfectly as he makes the character do the whole story then attempts to kill them.
Master Of All: Edge Master, a proclaimed master of the art of fighting, who has supposedly mastered every fighting style known to man to the point that he can teach others and utilize them himself if need be. It's also noted that he has clashed with the Warrior King Algol and perhaps was the one person who fought Olcadan to a draw. Especially enforced in Soulcalibur V, where he is the only character able to mimic every style, while fellow mimicsKilik and Elysium can only copy male and female fighting styles respectively.
Mighty Whitey: Subverted with Setsuka; she's a woman of European heritage, who was orphaned and ended up being raised in Japan. Because of her appearance, however, she was shunned and distrusted by the majority of the native people around her.
Played a little straighter with Rock, an English boy lost in a shipwreck who grew up in America, who became a fearsome giant. Still mistrusted and feared though, because, y'know, GIANT.
Despite this Rock isn't even all that big, standing at only 175cm and weighing 85kg. Cervantes in SCV is both taller and heavier.
Arthur as well: an orphan who ended up in the care of a Japanese merchant and was raised in Japan. He was despised by his peers, which made him the preferred target for projectiles in the battlefield.
Morph Weapon: Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Normally, they take the shape of a really big sword and a jian, respectively, but they can morph to fit just about any weapon shape. In II, three characters (Xianghua, Nightmare, and Talim) could use Soul Calibur, and every character had a Soul Edge version of their weapon (Nightmare had three: Soul Edge, Soul Edge [Growth], and Soul Edge [Complete]). By III, Siegfried has Soul Calibur, and it too becomes a BFS.
Mortality Ensues: In his input ending of III, Zasalamel succeeds in becoming mortal and spends the rest of his life as a scholar, chronicling everything he experienced.
Order Versus Chaos: If Soul Calibur's own ambition to freeze the world in crystal is its actual motivation, then the battle between Soul Calibur and Soul Edge is more this than good vs. evil. Both will do bad things to the world, it all comes down to how they bring it about (Edge wants violence and terror, Calibur wants order and serenity through nothingness).
Panty Shot: EVERY female character who isn't wearing pants, shorts, or full armor. One of Cassandra's outfits in IV is even lacking a lower half entirely to begin with.
Patriotic Fervor: Figures into the backstory for all of the Korean characters in the Soul series. Hwang is a soldier in the Imperial Navy seeking Soul Edge in order to stop Japan's invasion of his country. Seong Mi-na is trying to prove that females can be as capable soldiers as male recruits, and Yun-seong's out to prove his worth to Hwang and his country. In later games, they realize that the sword is evil and instead fight to destroy it, with the side goal of proving the nation's strength.
Yun-seong, in his III pre-boss fight (the one where you fight someone who has to do with the character's backstory), has him walking into the room, taking one look at Mitsurugi, whom he has never seen before, and yelling something along the lines of "Enemy of my homeland, prepare to die!"
Ivy also exhibits this, but visually. In her IV costume, her shoulder pauldron and the various metal clasps on her costume incorporate the Tudor Rose of England motif, which is a traditional symbol of her native England and also probably serves as a medieval example of Wearing a Flag on Your Head.
Hilde: "My people give me strength! For our homeland!"
Pirate: Cervantes. Maxi may not look the part, but he's a pirate from Ryukyu.
Prayer Pose: Often invoked by Sophitia in her victory poses, particularly in Soulcalibur IV, including one where she kneels and clasps her hands together, bowing her head, as she implores the gods for their divine protection.
Press X to Not Die: Tales of Souls in SCIII features several QTEs during a few of the more important storyline battles. Failing to input the right command usually results in the character getting tanked by a sneak attack at the expense of health and, in one case, affects the outcome of a battle between two other NPCs during endgame. Likewise, each character's ending in ToS abides by the same principle, although the consequences there range anywhere from comedic to fatal.
Special mention goes to Seong-Mina's ending in III where you must match severalQT Es in succession.
Pretty in Mink: A few outfits with fur trim. Amy's outfit in IV has a fur neckline.
Publisher-Chosen Title: Supposedly what transpired after producer Daishi Odashima tried to name SoulCalibur V "Soul Edge II."
Rainbow Pimp Gear: To get the best possible statistics in IV's CAS mode, your fighter will be horribly mismatched. Just go with it.
To be fair, you can still color-change most of the clothing, so you can make it less horrible.
Recovery Attack: Generally averted, but played straight with Heihachi's guest appearance, since he comes from a series that does have recovery attacks.
Recruited From The Gutter: In the back story for Soul Calibur 2, Raphael is on the run from the king's men when he comes upon a village ravaged by plague. A young girl (Amy) hides him in a nearby building and when asked by the king's men, she sends them in a different direction. Since Amy's parents died from the plague, Raphael adopts her as a daughter.
Recurring Riff: "Path of Destiny", titled "Recollection" in its first appearance, is the ending theme to every Calibur game prior to V.
Ring Out: The other major fighting series to employ the trope (Virtua Fighter being the predominant entity). Unlike VF, there is Edge Gravity in this series so it's not as easy to throw yourself out of the ring (though it is possible through a number of ways).
Road Cone: Every character's ending inevitably ends with them doing something with Soul Edge and/or Soul Calibur. Soulcalibur takes elements from a handful of the endings of Soul Edge: Sophitia gets her ending where she breaks one of Cervantes's Soul Edge swords, but becomes injured in the process, leaving Taki to come in and finish Cervantes off, at which point Sigfried shows up and gets his ending where he becomes Nightmare. II takes mainly from Xianghua, with elements from Kilik (he fights Nightmare and his mirror breaks) and Nightmare (Siegfried recovers his senses after facing his dad in a dream). III takes the basic setup from Nightmare's ending (Siegfried recovers his mind, but seals Soul Edge with Soul Calibur instead of throwing it down a dark pit), as well as a bit of Raphael's ending (he pierced Soul Edge's eye).
Running Gag: Never ask an Alexander how much they weigh.
Samurai: Mitsurugi. Arthur is an interesting case: being an England-born orphan, he was raised and trained to serve as a samurai by his Japanese master (who previously bought him).
Ship Sinking: When Leixia's profile was released, many a Kilik/Xianghua fan panicked that Project Soul was doing this, due to the news that Xianghua had married a general of the Ming Empire and had two children with him. Possibly averted by later information which implied that she was forced into the marriage and that she still loved Kilik; later, it was truthfully averted with the Japanese official artbook, which revealed Xiba as being their son, so by proxy Kilik and Xianghua had upgraded their relationship, even for a brief moment.
Shockwave Stomp: Night Terror when he stabs the ground. A few other characters have ground stabbing moves that make one, and Xianghua has an actual stomp.
Shoo the Dog: Kilik tries several times to keep Xianghua from following him, because he doesn't plan for his quest to end well. This is also the case for Hwang in Soul Edge and the first Calibur, who keeps sending Seong Mi-na home when she follows him out.
In V, the story where the new male protagonist has the new female protagonist until her betrayal. It looks familiar in the Scenario Campaign for Tekken 6.
Yoshimitsu's Iron Fist Possession move has him do a randomnote less random in recent titles since it's partly based on the timer move from a character in Tekken like Paul's incomplete somersault kick, Jin's Power Stance and a Kazuya Lightning/Lightning Screw uppercut. Also counts as a Bilingual Bonus since Tekken is Japanese for Iron Fist. Also Tekken Possession
Skill Gate Character: For the most part, averted; a number of the easy-to-learn characters like Talim, Kilik, and Mitsurugi are so deadly because they're even worse to fight against when mastered. Those that don't consider Necrid completely broken argue he falls more into this category, since the majority of people play him for his stupidly cheap spam attacks without regard for how poorly this fares against players that know what they're doing.
SNK Boss: Night Terror, Algol, and the Apprentice in Arcade Mode.
The title of the series since Soulcalibur has been subject to this a few times, evidenced even by this very wiki and this very page. At first, it appeared to be two words like the titular sword (i.e. Soul Calibur), up until Soulcalibur III, where it became one word (which in turn retroactively affected the titles of the previous games). The official website supports this spelling, although you'll still see Soul Calibur being thrown around, as well as SoulCalibur due to the title font for every game other than III and Legends. All of this, of course, excludes those who spell the name of the game as "Soul Caliber."
Siegfried in III and IV. While he was arguably the main character in the very first game, he comes back with a vengeance in the third game, becoming the wielder of Soul Calibur itself and the one who has to destroy Soul Edge.
Even more so is Patrokos in V, where the entirety of the game's story mode is centered around him. At least previous games had story modes for other characters.
The Starscream: Astaroth, in IV, as detailed in his Story Mode profile. This started as far back as the first Calibur game, where he joined Nightmare to help him restore the sword just so he could claim it in perfect shape for his true master.
Story Breadcrumbs: Single-player modes do spill some of the story, but it's hard to separate the canon from the "we needed a few more scenarios for Character A, so we put him in Character B's role" scenarios, and almost every character's ending contradicts the bulk of the cast's. Practically all of the story information comes from story, weapon, and stage profiles and the official site, and those still require some context work to piece together.
Stripperiffic: Women wear everything from skirts that flip up at the slightest provocation, to battle thongs, to ornate dental floss, with heels being standard. Men tend to go shirtless but are otherwise adequately dressed.
Sword of Damocles: The CriticalFinishes in Soul Calibur IV are these, due to requiring your opponent to have an empty Soul Gauge, which can only happen if your opponent abuses blocking. Thus, the Critical Finishes stop guard spam merely by existing, even without being used.
Take That: Dampierre's reactions to Sophitia's married status in The Gauntlet mode of Broken Destiny could be seen as this to those who refuse to accept that she has a husband.
Time Skip: A major feature of V's story, which is 17 years forward of the events of the last canon installment.
Title Scream: A random character or the announcer will do this.
Writing Around Trademarks: The reason Soul Edge was renamed Soul Blade — and the reason the series eventually became Soulcalibur — was Tim Langdell's questionable (and now invalidated) trademark on the word "Edge" in relation to video games. After the trademark was invalidated, V's director wanted to rename the game to Soul Edge 2; Namco executives wouldn't let him.
Together in Death: Kilik is determined to destroy Soul Edge even if it costs him his life. Xianghua makes it clear that if he succeeds, he won't be alone.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Taki becomes a bitch between III and IV. Her treatment of Ivy and Siegfried, who have both become The Atoner by this point, is particularly grating.
Though worth noting, Taki has no reason to know that they become atoners. Ivy and Taki especially have a history of not getting along very well.
Inverted with Patroklos, who starts a Jerkass and later takes a more heroic route.
This happened earlier with Siegfried, who also started out as a self-serving jerk unable to take responsibility for his own actions. Like Pat, he slowly matures into a force for good, although his character progression involves him tangling with a loss of lucidity to truly horrific extents and taking several more games before his transformation into a man looking for penance finally culminates.
Tragic Irony: Siegfried frees himself from the control of Soul Edge, cleansing himself of his sins. Then he takes Soul Calibur, believing it to be a holy weapon of pure good to counter Soul Edge's evil. Unbeknownst to him, Soul Calibur is a Knight Templar that intends not only to freeze him and Nightmare into crystal, but the rest of the world as well, and Siegfried's adamant claim "never again will I bend to anyone's will" has been subverted without him realizing it.
Trapped In Villainy: During the events of Soulcalibur IV, Sophitia Alexandra is threatened with the death of her daughter Pyrrha if anything happens to Soul Edge, and ends up fighting anyone who would destroy it.
Underwear of Power: Though none of the main characters use this (even Ivy just wears a very, very skimpy leotard), this can be done in character creation, and is a must in IV, where clothing damage often reverts characters to their underwear anyway.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Gauntlet, Broken Destiny's campaign mode, is pretty much a memory/timing puzzle, except with fighting. It's strangely addicting.
Unreliable Narrator: When confronting Tira in V's Story Mode as Patroklos, the narrator refers to her as "your mother's murderer" seemingly confirming that Tira killed Sophitia. This was later disproven in the official sourcebook.
The implication is that the narrator was voicing Patroklos' interpretation of the event, similar to how Jin believes Jun to be dead despite Word of God saying only that she's "missing"/"in hiding."
Unusual Ears: IV bonus characters Kamikirimusi and Scheherazade.
Updated Re-release: Soulcalibur II is getting this treatment in the form of Soulcalibur II HD Online for the PS3 and 360.
Video Game Perversity Potential: A given due to the extensive character creation tools, but Soul Calibur V has it best thanks to "specialized equipment" which can be placed anywhere on the character's body. It is not surprising that one of the first things people tried to do with it was giving their characters penises.
Walking the Earth: Every characters travels all over Europe and Asia in search of the Soul Edge for their personal reasons.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Raphael's life was saved by a little girl named Amy. After they appear to get vampiric symptoms, he attempts to change the world by spreading it since it doesn't accept them, as opposed to attempting to cure themselves.
Zasalamel can be seen as this in IV, since in order to attain his goal of "leading humanity into a bright future", he's more than willing to torture, murder, or destroy the life of anyone, either for obstructing him or because it helps move his plan along.
Soul Calibur itself is a holy weapon created by Algol to keep the evil Soul Edge sword in check. However, the sentience granted to Soul Calibur has allowed it to come to the conclusion that the world is full of chaos and violence and the only way to save humanity from itself is to crystallize the world and all its inhabitants.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: The whole reason why Zasalamel brings the two swords together — he's tired of living forever. Reversed in IV, when Zasalamel decides he does want to live forever after seeing humanity's future, which apparently is so awesome that he also performs a Heel-Face Turn. He's still a Jerkass, however. There's a odd kind of Moral Dissonance to his speeches on human potential versus his sociopathic comments before fights. He also has a tendency to make people fight those who were important to them before they died, like Siegfried's father Frederick, Kilik's adoptive sister Xianglian, and Algol's son, THEN fight completely-dead versions of them.
Multi-Melee Master: Edgemaster, Olcadan (both are proficient with any weapon), Inferno (who can manifest the forms of any other weapon), Charade, Ezio, Elysium (who can use any style used by female fighters) and, as of V, Kilik (who uses male characters' styles).
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Story Mode for V focuses, for the first time, on the actions and destinies of only a few characters. As a result, many characters never have their reasons for being in the game stated and some, like Zasalamel, Talim, and Cassandra (who's the aunt of both the main characters no less), have disappeared entirely without explanation.
What Could Have Been: V, whilst praised for its great gameplay and visuals, was met with criticism (justifiably so) for the fact that the story mode only concentrated on and showcased the fate of a handful of characters. Even Arcade Mode has no endings for any of the characters, leaving a good deal of storyline elements hanging. Annoyingly, when this was brought up in an interview with game director Daishi, he stated that "Our first plan on the storyboard was that we had every character's story, and actually we do have it in the studio, but time-wise, man power-wise we weren't able to do it and only one fourth of what we planned to do is in the game"...
World of Buxom: Thanks to the incremental Fanservice Packs the girls have been receiving since II. (You'll notice that everyone was more modest in cup size back in Soul Edge and Soulcalibur, although the non-canon Legends nullifies that where Taki, Sophitia, and Ivy are concerned.) When Project Soul's director Daishi Odashima released an official height and breast size chart on his Twitter account prior to V, seven of the eleven playable females in IV were at least D cups (though they appear to have recanted where Hilde is concerned); the only ones who didn't qualify were Seong Mi-na (slightly smaller than Tira), Xianghua (who makes up for her more petite bust with junk in the trunk), Talim (who's 15), and Amy (who is even younger than Talim and likely prepubescent). Part of this falls under Depending on the Artist, as Takuji Kawano (the lead character illustrator from II to the current day) tends to draw the women larger, regardless of how chesty they really are (such as Tira and Viola). Like the clothing choices themselves, the new additions in V backtrack on this; of the five girls joining vets Ivy, Tira, and Hilde, only Pyrrha and Elysium are noticeably endowed.
Bonus Boss: Weapon Master has a bonus chapter gained by fighting enough battles to reach the rank of Edgemaster, with four very difficult opponents to fight. Chronicles of the Sword has the main universe characters appear at a rate of 1-3 a chapter, and do not require the player to fight them to finish the level.
Defeat Means Friendship: How you get your old friends back from Soul Edge-induced mind control post-time skip in Chronicles of the Sword.
Also, there are two sets of two possible party members, the one who you beat first joins you. The other waits for New Game+.
Dual Boss: Lanbardy and Hobb at the end of the Underground Juno.
Fake Balance: Different unit types in Chronicles are supposed to have difference balance, such as being better for out of combat battle or being slow but destructive, however A.I. Breaker combined with the odd mechanics of the RTS means that choosing thief means you get speed and the ability to take down bases faster, while all battles are fought by the player.
In the final Chronicle, where there are no bases/revival points, making all your units Infantry and fighting on the map is often better than manual mode.
Gaiden Game: Neither Weapon Master or Chronicles of the Sword take place in the same world (seeing as how the Soul series takes place on an alternate Earth), but share a few similarities (the presence of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, for example).
Genre Shift: The Chronicles of the Sword sub-game in III mashed strategy and fighting together.
That is, unless you're strong enough to crush multiple enemies outright. There is perhaps one Chronicle in which strategy is needed: a rescue mission. It's often impossible to do anything else in some levels, as the enemies favor rushing you (while it is their best option, as this forces you to face everyone at once and you can't recover between them, it tends to make the rest of the map fairly boring).
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: In Chronicles of the Sword, on the second-to-last level, the stronghold right next to your main stronghold is guarded by a level 99 Boss in Mook Clothing named Ende. He is never referenced prior to this, is the first enemy to have a purple health meter (the highest CotS goes), and has exactly one line of dialog when you bring his stronghold down, apparently referencing the fact that he is just a mercenary. He also has a unique weapon for the Katana discipline of Character Customization, the Kokuenra. Beating him allows you to use it as well... Too bad his stronghold has the habit of slowing your falls, allowing him to juggle you mercilessly with his sword.
Instant-Win Condition: Averted in Chronicles of the Sword, a ring-out will only take a large chunk of a combatant's HP.
Played straight on one occasion. There is one stronghold in the game where falling to the floor means instant death. And your opponent is a Level 60 character. Thank your lucky stars that he isn't immune to the stage's effect, unlike other occasions in the game.
Lethal Joke Character: The Dancer class in Chronicles of the Sword fights with a pair of tambourines as its first weapon. Did we mention the most basic attack from these tambourines utterly breaks the A.I.? Or that their fast attack rate is paired with a weapon that regenerates health with every swing? Swordmaster using tambourines is better because of much higher stats, but impossible to unlikely to use for a first playthough.
Louis Cypher: Wonder what Demuth Beel Zebus Halteese could mean...
Merope Monastery's bonus mission in Weapon Master is dependent entirely on if the AI moves the right way, as you have ~15 seconds to defeat each of the 6 foes, only truly possible with a ring out while over 3/4 of the stage is wall.
In Chapter 8 of Chronicles of the Sword, you have to rescue at least 3 of 5 allied units on the field from the enemies. Outside of a New Game+ (where you can get through fortresses much quicker with your higher strength units), the A.I. decides if you can rescue the three named ones that will join you as well as your ability to rescue the two generic ones for bonus points, as if they attack any unit with more than one of theirs, they are going to die.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Her name, backstory, and dying words all but outright say that Mooncalf is Luna's mother.
Manipulative Bastard: Chester has three out of the four kingdoms under his strings around the end of the first half, part of his Evil Plan to become king himself.
New Game+: Chronicles of the Sword; either this or a fresh game is required to get all of the create a character parts (as at least one part will be unlocked by picking one Optional Party Member over the other).
Obviously Evil: Many, many characters in the main series apply, but Emperor Strife in Chronicles of the Sword is a conventional example. The nature of CotS leads most Genre Savvy players to suspect that you'd end up fighting him right from the start, if the brutal orders he issues you and that 90% of your allied units end up rebelling against him didn't seed that already. Oh, and the small fact that his name is, y'know, EMPEROR STRIFE.
One-Man Army: Chronicles of the Sword. It's even lampshaded, with generic soldiers thinking your character is a War God(dess).
Perverse Puppet: One appears in Weapon Master that can only be defeated via ring out.
Pirate: Alfred, king of pirates in Weapon Master, as well as his crew.
Player Mooks: An option for Chronicles of the Sword over preset characters. They are stupidly broken due to the ability to put them into a strong class and use any "reliable" weapon of your choice, plus you don't lose them during the Time Skip.
Rival Turned Evil: Quite a few in Weapon Master. Justified; they were seeking Soul Edge, a sword that has a tendency to turn people evil.
Scenery Gorn: The Castle of the Dead, as well as anywhere Veral has been once he acquires Soul Edge.
Scenery Porn: Chronicles of the Sword's levels are rather well detailed.
Sidequest: A few optional chapters in Weapon Master.
The Greatest Story Never Told: The end of Weapon Master tells you that whatever your choice was when confronted with Soul Edge, it was never put into history. Indeed, the Big Bad of Weapon Master is said to have only been a footnote in the Soul Edge's long and colored history, and you're completely forgotten.
Theme Naming: All the areas in Weapon Master (and a lot of the main story's characters/places/etc) are named after stars: Aldebaran, Mizar, Castor, Pollux, Regulus, Antares...
Training Boss: The first level of Weapon Master. The first two chapters of Chronicles of The Sword.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Luna's first appearance in in Chronicles of the Sword (Chapter 3). Before this chapter, the A.I. is passive and fairly weak. Now they will rush you on multiple fronts with overleveled troops and there is a "main universe" character on the field for the first time (they are level 60 when you are 5 at best, learn to avoid them).
Beating them all makes you feel badass. But, if you have enough skill, then you can overcome the level gap and defeat all of them, even without the use of A.I. breakers, because despite being competent, they don't use any of the A.I. special tactics too much, meaning that they are as defeatable as an average human player.
Not to mention that "main universe" characters can be exploited, if you know what you're doing. Note that losing still gives you experience... just have one guy protecting your base (particularly one you're good with), send the rest to fight the level 60. Sure, you'll likely lose easily, but you'll see them gain levels EXTREMELY fast. Not to mention beating said character gives the biggest level-up chain ever for that point. This can quickly become a Game Breaker.
War God: One chapter of Chronicles of the Sword has your character note they overheard someone call them this once.
Weapons Kitchen Sink: Chronicles of the Sword has katana wielders fighting side by side with people who wield claymores, Chinese swords, rapiers, and nunchucks.