Perfect mechanics, beautiful graphics, clunky story.
Soul Calibur is easily the most balanced fighting game series, and it was in many ways at its peak with the original Dreamcast version. This is a game that nearly any gamer can pick up and play, while enjoying themselves and being competitive even against a much more experienced player.
The graphics were stunning at the time of the game's release and still are beautiful. The effects are all very well done in the game and the characters are varied and well-detailed. The multiple costumes are all interesting and creative, even if the tendency is to clothe many of the female characters in an unusual manner.
Soul Calibur contains a rather odd story mode, which is essentially an overblown epic story which serves only to link together various individual fighting encounters. The fights themselves are very interesting and frequently contain some scenario such as one-hit kills or survival mode to keep the variety going, yet the story is largely peripheral and I found myself frequently skipping over the painfully long text passages.
Also, the story carries over into the unintentionally comical one-liners the characters tend to utter before and after the fight. Sometimes the fighters will call each other out, but at other times they will shout something related to their backstory, which is sometimes comical, especially Rock, who will sometimes shout "Bangoo, this one's for you!" I found these moments funny, but that was not the designer's intention.
The Bottom Line
This is the finest fighting game ever made, and is well worth playing or finding a copy. This game alone makes the purchase of a Dreamcast worthwhile.