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The bad news: I used what one of my testers called a “bum rush” strategy - running at an opponent and using a special attack to take him down, then using the same attack again and again as he tried to stand up - to easily conquer most single-player levels of the game. It worked surprisingly well.

Pixel-popping scale: 9 out of 10. Gorgeous 3-D animated modeling designs and breathtaking cut scenes will cause a crowd to gather around the television as the game is played. Some of my favorite characters include Siegfried Schtauffen in the John Borman/King Arthur-style armor, the skimpily clad Isabella Valentine and lively lizardman Aeon Calcos.

What’s it worth: Without the “Star Wars” celebrities in the game, Soulcalibur IV is an amazing experience. Add the legends from a galaxy far, far away, and it’s a geekified extravaganza for fans and gamers. Let’s hope Namco Bandai delivers on rumors and offers downloads of Yoda for PS3 and Darth for the Xbox 360.

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