It's October the 17th, 2044. Officer graduate Shuhei Aizawa is heading to the spaceport for his recent transfer to the space station Aries where he will spend the next couple of years on secondment, but he has another reason for requesting transfer there: the chance to be reunited with his childhood friend Nao and his brother Ryota. Before they can begin chatting about old times, however, the emergency alarms sound and reports start coming in that terrorists have boarded the station and are trying to take it over.
As each section shuts down and the civilians are evacuated, a ragtag group of stragglers are holed up in the residential module, the "Sheraten". Realizing that they are the only thing standing in the way of the terrorists' complete takeover, Shuhei rallies the stragglers to beat them at their own game.
The story is told in four acts. For the first two, Shuhei is the leader and protagonist but halfway through the game, the point of view switches to his brother Ryota. He is thrust into the spotlight and forced to make the hard and sober decisions that had come so easily to Shuhei in the interest of helping everyone still trapped on the Aries escape. Meanwhile, all is not well on the rest of the space station as the terrorists find themselves beset by an altogether more dangerous foe.
The game's final act is told from the point of view of Nanami, the girl who is mysteriously found locked in the storage room by Ryota. It recaps the climactic battle to escape the Aries and just why it went so well for our heroes in the first place. It manages to tie up most of the hanging plot threads quite nicely and serves as the game's True Ending.
Eschewing fancy gameplay mechanics and instead focusing on solid art and storytelling, Soul Link is a no-frills Visual Novel to the core. The game was followed by an anime in 2006 and has been translated into English by MangaGamer.
This game contains examples of:
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Shuhei has been transforming into a Scylla the whole time.
- Another Side, Another Story
- Art Major Biology
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Shuhei is a genius, the only cadet to skip two years of officer training, and more than proves his tactical skills against Jararacas.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: At the end of Aki's route it turns out that she and Kazuhiko really did care about each other the whole time, under that vicious sibling rivalry.
- Badass Normal: Shuuhei is this. Karen hardly gets a scratch on him, and he's also able to resist Cellaria's control.
- Big Brother Mentor: Shuhei to Ryota.
- Crash-Into Hello: Sayaka does this to Ryota while trying to catch her flight in episode 1.
- The Chains of Commanding: A major theme in Ryota's story arc.
- The Dragon: Initially, he's presented as the leader but Gale really plays the unwitting Dragon to Cellaria.
- Enemy Mine: The cadets and terrorists end up having to work together once they realize there's a bigger threat to both groups.
- Gangsta Style: Yu, who really should know better.
- Good People Have Good Sex: The various couples who make love always do so tenderly and enjoyably. Meanwhile, Cellaria, a sadist and rapist, is also a mess of sexual frustration and has more and more trouble enjoying it as the story goes on.
- Gratuitous English: >It prays the different future is opened...
- Half-Human Hybrid: Nanami.
- Healing Factor: Actually a major part of the plot.
- He Didn't Make It: When Karen asks about Gale after Aya is rescued, Aya just has a really sad look on her face.
- HeelFace Turn: Gale and Karen both do this after Cellaria takes over the zombies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gale does one of these to let Aya escape. Morimoto does so on Sayaka's route.
- Last Stand: Gale does one of these when he realizes he won't be able to escape with Aya.
- More Dakka: At least in the anime, where there is Karen.
- Hope Spot: Cellaria's favorite method for tormenting captives.
- Phlebotinum Breakdown: What happens when Cellaria absorbs Nanami's hand, thus introducing foreign elements that caused her to break down.
- Private Military Contractors: Jararacas. Yu is secretly a mercenary that was sent by one of the PMC's cells to observe the cell currently taking over the Aries.
- Recycled In Space: Soul Link is Ever17 IN A SPACE STATION!
- Redemption Equals Death: Gale, and he doesn't go down pleasantly either.
- Slipknot Ponytail: Except instead of in the heat of battle, it gets undone in the heat of passion.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Aya seems to be suffering from this.
- Taking You with Me: After being mortally wounded, Gale sets off a bomb to ensure Aya can escape unharmed.
- Third-Person Person: Nanami, at first.
- Time to Step Up, Commander: The other major theme in Ryota's story arc.
- Tsundere: Yu
- Updated Re-release: In the form of Soul Link ULTIMATE, with a release date of June 25th of 2010. It includes routes for Aya Sugimoto (Sayaka's friend) and Karen (that anime-original character), plus a whole new set of CGs.
- Unwinnable: All it takes is one small choice early on in Shuhei's story arc to get a Bad End just when you think you've won.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Nao
- The Virus: Scylla cells.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the end Sayaka was never able to save her friend Aya. Did she survive or did she just burn up in the atmosphere along with the space station? You only get an answer in Sayaka's ending to Act 2.
- The anime makes it pretty clear that Aya survives and is rescued.
- You Are in Command Now: Ryota is voted in this position in episode 7 while Shuuhei is on his away mission.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Practically, the majority of the girls has this.