Nightmare Soulcalibur

Nightmare as he appears in Soulcalibur II

Nightmare was the alter-ego of Siegfried Schtauffen, a character in the Soul series of fighting games. His first appearance was in one of the possible endings for the Siegfried character in the game Soul Edge. In the sequel Soulcalibur, he was given a name and featured as a central character. Ever since then, Nightmare has been the main antagonist and owner of the Soul Edge, and thus the objective of most other characters in the story. Appearing in every game of the series, Nightmare has served as a recurring antagonist, and as Siegfried a recurring protagonist.

Nightmare has been present in all the sequels to Soulcalibur, visually different for each game. He later becomes an entity separated from Siegfried in Soulcalibur III, using an altered fighting style.

In video games Edit

Introduced in Soul Edge as Siegfried, he pursued the weapon "Soul Edge" to slay his father's killer, in denial about the fact he himself had killed him by accident during a skirmish. Finding the sword on the body of a defeated Cervantes de Leon, the sword's spirit Inferno used the corpse to protect itself, but was defeated. Afterwards the blade forged a deal with Siegfried: if he would harvest human souls for it, it would resurrect his father. Though Siegfried used it to defeat the evil warlord Barbaros during the events of Soulcalibur Legends, by Soulcalibur the sword dominated him, transforming him into Nightmare.

Allying himself with Astaroth, Ivy, and Lizardman in the city of Ostrheinsburg, Nightmare attempted to completely restore Soul Edge. However, his allies were attacked and either defeated or abandoned him, and he himself was beaten by Xianghua who wielded Soul Edge's antithesis "Soul Calibur". As a result, Soul Edge's control was broken, and realizing now it was he who killed his father and the sins he had committed for the sword, Siegfried hid himself and Soul Edge, fearing retribution from those he had wronged.

By Soulcalibur II, Soul Edge used shards of itself left in Siegfried's body to dominate him completely and use his body to once more cause destruction. Raphael Sorel, a french former-nobleman pursuing the blade for his own scheme, challenged Nightmare and was completely defeated, but managed to pierce Soul Edge's eye with his rapier in one final attack. The sword now in agony lost control over Siegfried, and alongside other warriors Nightmare was pulled into Inferno's dimension, Chaos. Assisting in Inferno's defeat, Nightmare recovered Soul Calibur from its body and impaled Soul Edge's eye upon returning. Both swords sealed, Siegfried abandoned his old armor and left with them.

In Soulcalibur III, "Nightmare" was revived in essence by Zasalamel. Created as an avatar for a disembodied Inferno using the original armor as a shell, it pursued and eventually recovered its true body, Soul Edge. Meanwhile Zasalamel manipulated Siegfried, leading him to animated armor, and wielding Soul Calibur, it clashed against Soul Edge. At the moment the swords struck a burst of energy was released; Siegfried was mortally wounded, while Soul Edge and its body were pulled into a warped dimension, eventually returning to Ostrheinsburg. Soul Calibur then revived Siegfried, while Inferno restored Soul Edge fully and strengthened its hold over the animated armor, and both renewed their battle against each other in Soulcalibur IV.

Even though the Fire warrior Nightmare originally debuted on "Soulcalibur", there was a prototype of his character in the predecessor, "Soul Edge". In the home version, an extra character named "Siegfried!" was added as an unlockable character. "Siegfried!" was an alternate version of normal Siegfried taken from his no-input ending, where he was consumed by Soul Edge. This early version was much different from the former Nightmare, having crimson-red armor and a more flesh-like design, almost as if he were part of Soul Edge itself. He has no story nor ending, and only used Siegfried's Soul Edge without effects.

In Soulcalibur Legends, which takes place between Soul Edge and Soulcalibur, Nightmare is presented as a boss fight. When Siegfried attempts to reject Soul Edge's power, Inferno emerges and takes on Nightmare's shape to stop him. After the credits, there is a short sequence showing the true Nightmare (or at least his foot) and Soul Edge Male.

Promotion and receptionEdit

In 2000, Epoch C-Works released a series of action figures based upon the original Soulcalibur, amongst them Xianghua. The semi-posable figure was packaged with equipable weapons from the title.[1] In August 2003, Todd McFarlane Productions released a Nightmare sculpture amongst a set of five based on characters from Soulcalibur II. The immobile figure was modeled after his primary outfit and stood six inches tall with a base.[2]

Nightmare has received praise both as an aspect of Siegfried and as a series villain, and has been described as "one of the most memorable fighting-game villains in history."[3] The New York Times noted his size and appearance alongside Astaroth's as standouts in the series, adding "they offer characters made for the sort of player who would have preferred Sonny Liston to Muhammad Ali, or Shaquille O'Neal to Michael Jordan."[4] Others have been critical of the character's strength, such as JIVE Magazine which described him as one of several "total crutches for mediocre players" in Soulcalibur II.[5]

In a 2002 poll by Namco prior to the release of Soulcalibur II regarding their favorite character, Siegfried placed ninth with 2.5% of the tally, tied with Mitsurugi.[6] He placed first in's "Top 11 SoulCalibur Fighters" article, with the writers statement "Was there ever really any question? Not for us..." and praise for his strength and role as a "badass, playable villain."[7] IGN listed him as a character they wished to see in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a playable guest villain, though noted he was also "too extreme" for the series.[8] In a later article on the Soul series itself, they noted "a Soul game simply feels incomplete without an appearance by the warring personalities of Siegfried and Nightmare", and praised the contrast between Siegfried's angelic figure and Nightmare's demonic form.[9]

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