Soul Edge (1996)
Console of origin
Siegfried Schtauffen (ジークフリート・シュタウフェン, Jīkufurīto Shutaufen) is the main protagonist character in most Soul series's games and the most central character of the series until Soulcalibur V. Along with Mitsurugi, he is one of a few characters that has been included in every game in the series since Soul Edge, appearing in Soulcalibur and Soulcalibur II as the story's main villain, as well as appearing in Soulcalibur III and Soulcalibur IV as the main hero. In Soulcalibur II, he is an unlockable costume for his temporary alter-ego, Nightmare. The non-canon spin-off title Soulcalibur Legends was released in 2007 with Siegfried being the central character, and he has returned in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. Siegfried's latest appearance is in Soulcalibur V and he also will be playable in the PS3 exclusive Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, as He Who Fights the Past.
In Soul Blade, he was referred to as Innocent Darkside.
What lies in his soul is Redemption.
In his debut, Siegfried appeared as a young man with short blond hair and blue eyes, covered in simple knight armor. Following his redemption, Soulcalibur and beyond, he retains the armor but his hair has grown longer, past shoulder length. During Soulcalibur he gains a long scar dashing over his right eye, which he likely gained fighting against Inferno in the original Soul Edge. Soulcalibur III, he returns with armor bearing the motif of a phoenix as well as feathers on his pauldrons. As of Soulcalibur IV, his armor remains the same, but a second layer of crystalline armor covers with a rather intricate design and wields Soul Calibur instead of Requiem. He also gains a long blue scarf as well, completing the 'knight in shining armor' visage. His weapon in Soul Edge was originally Faust, a simple zweihander with a basic design, but swapped it for Requiem, a large blade with a flat end and a black lining in the center. He continues to use this sword from Soulcalibur all the way to Soulcalibur III and resumes its use in Soulcalibur V. In Soulcalibur V, Siegfried's appearance begins to take on the traits of his father, and has grown a stubble. His hair is swept up with a couple bangs hanging down and his scar still remains.
During the late sixteenth century, the oppressed peasants of Germany were revolting against the Holy Roman Empire. With its forces weakened by the Italian Wars, the German peasants finally had a fighting chance. One of the champions of the people, a brave knight named Frederick, met and fell in love with a woman named Margaret while on campaign; and they spent the night together. When Frederick returned after nine months of battle, he rejoined Margaret, having given birth to a son, whom he named Siegfried, after the famous hero. Over the course of the next ten to fifteen years, Frederick spent a lot of his time teaching his son swordsmanship.
Embarking on a foreign crusade, Frederick promised Margaret that he would return; unfortunately, without his father's guidance, Siegfried began to socialize with an edgy clan of teenagers, and he soon became the leader of their band of thieves known as "Schwarzwind," meaning "black wind." In a misguided act of national pride, the band devised a plan to attack the knights who ran away from the crusades, as they were bound to carry valuable possessions, and were too cowardly to deserve respect in any case. That night, the "Schwarzwind" ambushed a group of war-weary soldiers, too tired to retaliate. Siegfried even managed to kill the commander himself; but as he held the commander's severed head in triumph, the moonlight shone on its face, and Siegfried screamed as he realized he held the head of his own father. In mere seconds, Siegfried's mind had broken upon which point he ran straight into the forest, becoming more and more insane as he ruminated over his previous acts, until he came to a point at which he psychologically convinced himself that his father's murderer was actually someone other than himself. Hearing rumors of the invincible Soul Edge, Siegfried came to believe his father's killer could only be killed with said weapon.
He traveled first to Ostrheinsburg Castle, the refuge of the noble Sir Stefan, who he believed to be the possessor of the Soul Edge; and he joined in its forces as a Landsknecht, rising in its ranks with the hopes of acquiring Stefan's self-proclaimed legendary blade. During a siege on the castle, Siegfried saw an opportunity to take Sir Stefan's prized possession, the sword Grimblade, and killed him, running off with it into the Black Woods nearby the castle; but the sword held no power. Frustrated, he continued to search for weeks for the Soul Edge, growing increasingly more insane for its power as time passed. He finally managed to come across the legendary weapon Soul Edge, lying beside the defeated corpse of the dead pirate, Cervantes de Leon. But as he reached for it, the corpse lit up in a hellish blaze of fire and attacked him. Siegfried raised his zweihänder and defeated the fiery Inferno, breaking his sword in the process, earning the right to wield the Soul Edge for himself.
At the precise moment that Siegfried obtained the cursed blade, the Evil Seed emanated from him in a beam of light that rained across the entire world, leading only to death and destruction. At that moment Siegfried heard the voice of the wicked sword, who arranged a deal with him: Siegfried would help the blade to restore itself by gathering souls, and Soul Edge would resurrect his father Frederick. Siegfried accepted and carried the blade into many slaughters, until he finally succumbed to the sword's restored powers, transforming him into the Azure Knight, Nightmare.
Siegfried is saved from the Evil Seed by a group sent by the Masked Emperor to investigate it. Once brought to him, the Emperor requested that he resurrect Soul Edge to defeat the Ottoman Sultan Barbaros, who wielded Soul Calibur. He was reluctant, and after six months was brought before the Emperor again and again his request was made. The Emperor reminded Siegfried of his father - who lived in the Empire's service and died protecting it - and he finally accepted the request, starting a journey alongside Iska Farkas, a court jester, and Ivy.
During two months, Siegfried travels around the world, gathering Soul Edge's shards and receiving help from Sophitia, Astaroth Alpha, Mitsurugi, Taki and Lloyd Irving, eventually forming a bond with them, despite the fact that they all wish to either take Soul Edge away from him or destroy it.
Along the way, Siegfried manages to fight off several key creatures, the Guardians of the Soul Edge shards, like Fafnir (a dragon) and restores Soul Edge's power. Using Soul Edge, Siegfried defeats Barbaros and his army of Evils. The Masked Emperor gets Soul Calibur and reveals that she planned to defend her people by annihilating all possible enemies using the combined powers of Soul Calibur and Soul Edge. However, the Emperor is unsuccessful in seizing Soul Edge from Siegfried, and an event seemingly similar to the Evil Seed takes place during their battle. The other members of Siegfried's group are trapped in alternate realms and the power of the Evils is increased. Siegfried realizes Soul Edge's evil nature and that he himself had murdered his father and decides to seal Soul Edge, fighting Inferno when the demon tries to stop him in the form of Nightmare. He defeats Inferno and succeeds in sealing Soul Edge, replacing it with the sword Requiem. Siegrified saves his allies, and together they march against the Empire's army. Siegfried manages to confront and defeat the Masked Emperor and stop her conquest. However, as he leaves her, Soul Calibur, and Soul Edge behind, Iska, the court jester and traveling companion of Siegfried, betrays him and takes both swords, revealing that the Masked Emperor was a homunculus, and fights Siegfried. Killing Iska, Siegfried stands victorious despite the power of the swords.
In his dying breath, Iska reveals the truth of why he did what he did. He had lost his sister to the power of Barboros and wishes not to lose anything else, and so he was driven to the edge of madness in which he created a false human being (The Masked Emperor), even as going as far as making it look like his sister. As Iska dies he exclaims that in the end all will betray Siegfried and that only those with power will prevail in the end, leaving those without it to suffer and ultimately die, just like him. As Siegfried leaves the castle behind, alone, he takes the unsealed Soul Edge with him again, claiming that he regretted "not being able to save you, my friend (Iska)".
Sometime later, a knight in dark blue armor is seen next to a European city...
During the following three years he gathered together a group of followers: the golem Astaroth, the lizard man Aeon Calcos, and the alchemist Ivy. Each of them aided him in Soul Edge's quest to devour souls for a rejuvenation ceremony to be performed in his chosen stronghold, Ostrheinsburg Castle. But as the ceremony was about to take place, the clan was quickly laid to waste. Both Aeon Calcos and Astaroth were defeated; and Ivy left the clan after learning the shocking truth of her horrifying past from the Fu-Ma ninja, Taki. Two young warriors confronted Nightmare after slaying many golems: Kilik, owner of both the sacred staff Kali-Yuga and sacred mirror Dvapara-Yuga; and Xianghua, owner of Krita-Yuga, which revealed herself as Soul Calibur.
The battle between the swordsmen took place in a vortex of hellfire and evil energy summoned by Soul Edge. After a raging battle, the evil sword shattered, and Nightmare and Soul Edge fell into the collapsing void. With Soul Edge severely weakened, Siegfried regained some of his humanity. Along with lucidity came the horrifying memories of the sins he committed, as well as the fear and anger of those who were slaughtered by him. Moreover, he realized that he had been the one who murdered his father, and that his "resurrection" was only an illusion brought by his mind.
Expelled from the void into an unfamiliar place, Siegfried disappeared into the night-the evil sword still in his grip. But Soul Edge was weaker now, and splinters of itself were left in Siegfried's footsteps. Siegfried meditated on all he had done and eventually learned to accept responsibility for his sin. He planned to return to his mother, who had no knowledge of anything that occurred during or after that night three years ago; but just as he was about to knock on the door, he could hear his mother praying, and concluded that if he was to be successful in his new resolve, he must distance himself from society so that he never kills again. He could not see his mother until he was fully redeemed; but he knew he was not yet atoned for, for every time he awoke from a night's rest, he found his new zweihänder Requiem covered in blood, and he was surrounded by the corpses of victims he had presumably murdered in his sleep.
Siegfried was aware that although he had regained his sanity and learned to accept his past sins from three years ago, he was not yet fully redeemed. He knew that Soul Edge still held power over him, but now it used its strength in his sleep, and no matter how hard he tried not to fall asleep again, he would always eventually give in, and the darkness would continue to operate at night in his subconscious. He tried to forsake civilization as far as he could go, so that no person could be corrupted by the dark energy of the Soul Edge, but to no avail.
Four years passed, and he had eventually assumed the azure armor for a second time, becoming Nightmare all over again, desperately pursuing fragments of the Soul Edge that he might fully restore it. As Nightmare plundered powerful souls and recovered shattered fragments of the sword, the cracks in Soul Edge healed one by one. His goal of reviving the evil sword edged toward completion. After some time, the Azure Knight returned to his old stronghold, Ostrheinsburg, as its bloodied land was a fitting stage for the restoration of the evil sword's true power.
In the ruins of the chapel, a lone fencer, Raphael Sorel appeared in search of Soul Edge. The two of them faced off, but at the end of the fierce battle, Nightmare stood victorious. As he stepped forward to finish Raphael off, he muttered something incoherently.
Deep within Nightmare's eyes a faint light dwelled. It was the will of Siegfried. As he struggled to free his mind from the influence of evil, the spirit of the sword sneered at him. The two held a formless fight, as Siegfried struggled to take his body back while Inferno mocked him and his father. (Sometime during this, Raphael made a desperate last strike and damaged Soul Edge, a contributing factor to Siegfried's final escape.)
The battle raging deep within his mind caused the Azure Knight to stand motionless. Beside him, the wounded body of Raphael trembled. Only Raphael's great will enabled his gravely injured body to move. Drawing on his last strength, Raphael unleashed a desperate final blow upon his enemy. The strike pierced the center of Soul Edge.
Nightmare let out an inhuman cry. Inside him, the crazed, wounded mind of the evil sword clawed at his consciousness. Siegfried stood with an iron will against the raging storm, and finally restored control. He who had been lost to the cursed sword for so long had reclaimed his body as his own. In response to the rapidly weakening evil, light poured out like the coming of the dawn...
When it was all over, Siegfried thought back in a daze over what he had done. As he looked around, he sighted a sword that appeared along with the light. As if guided by something, he took the sword in his hand and drove it into the evil eye that was the core of Soul Edge. That sword was the holy sword Soul Calibur, which had been trapped by the power of the evil sword.
The blow, however, was not enough to destroy the evil sword. The evil energy of Soul Edge had quieted, but the holy sword, still piercing cursed sword, had gone silent, as if it too, had lost its power.
"This isn't enough..." Forcing his exhausted mind into motion, as he began to think. He threw off his detestable armor and smashed it into pieces. Then, picking up both swords, he left that cursed land. "I will seal away Soul Edge for all eternity and atone for my sins. This I swear!" His bloody fate would not release him so easily, however. From time to time, the feeling of that grotesque arm rose from the depths of his memory. The residue of the nightmare tormented him. Those seeking revenge on Nightmare would occasionally appear in his path. Each time he was forced to fight them, his mind was wracked with guilt. Moreover, Siegfried did not realize that another dark omen was on the horizon. Indeed, there was no way for him to know that the azure knight would soon be revived and a man who wanted to end an ever-lasting curse wanted the two swords in order to do it.
Eventually, Siegfried and the resurrected Azure Knight would meet again at Lost Cathedral. Zasalamel used his dark arts to break Soul Embrace and both the Spirit Sword and the Cursed Sword were freed. Both Siegfried and Nightmare took their respective swords and clashed one more time, causing an explosion that destroyed the entire cathedral and nearly destroyed them both...
Someone was calling him, but he could not clearly hear it. He strained to see, but could see nothing. Then the voice came again, and this time he could hear every word.
"So you would forsake our friendship?"
"Yes. No one will ever again be a part of my life. Every man or woman who has known me has ultimately fallen to death's touch. So go. Leave me. Forget you ever knew me."
The voice that had replied was his own. He began to lose his consciousness, his focus wavered, and then another voice came to him from behind.
"I have seen what you have done. Now you devote your life to atoning for your sins and redeeming your soul. Are you not as much a victim of that sword as the others?"
"No, no! No matter what beguiling words you whisper, my sins cannot be forgiven. I-I slew my father with my own bloodied hands. No cursed sword forced me to do that!"
As Siegfried spoke his answer, the man who questioned him faded from his vision, to be replaced once more by the memories of that night. The wind blew the clouds from the face of the moon, and suddenly the head that he held triumphantly aloft was brilliantly revealed. He saw the face, and there was no denying the truth. It was his father. His heart was in agony as if it had been pierced by a white-hot blade.
Siegfried jerked upright, as if yanked by a puppeteer's string. The full moon bathed his face in light. It had been a dream. He was alone.
He pressed his hand against the armor that covered his heart. A terrible scar marked him there. The maelstrom of power unleashed by Soul Calibur and Soul Edge clashed at the Lost Cathedral had torn his body apart. His long quest to destroy the cursed sword had been so nearly completed; redemption had been within his grasp, yet, in that moment, he had died, the scream of frustration at his failure silenced on his lips. Perhaps the spirit sword responded to that outpouring of emotion, for the sword whose destiny it was to destroy the cursed sword resonated with Siegfried's soul. It chose Siegfried for its master, and doing so saved his life.
Siegfried thought again of the dream he had just seen. He thought of the people who had once stood by him and the people he had left despite knowing that Siegfried was none other than Nightmare.
Bathed in the moonlight, Siegfried looked up into the night sky. He knew now what he must do. He would brush aside the outstretched hands that tried to help him. Once, not so long ago, he had stood at the center of the terror that Nightmare wrought. The enemy he now faced was the cursed devourer of souls, Soul Edge. Awaiting him was the maelstrom of destruction unleashed at the cathedral.
Soul Calibur shone with a cold light in his hand. Siegfried made up his mind to become like the sword. No one would touch his heart, no man or woman would sway him from his path, until the cursed sword was destroyed for all time. Images of his brothers-in-arms, comrades, even friends that might have been - and, of course, his father - flashed one by one through his mind. He was alone, and he had no choice but to be alone, for he would never again hurt those he loved.
Siegfried turned his gaze away from the heavens. Before him a black shadow lay heavy over the cursed city of Ostrheinsburg. His journey was coming to an end.
Siegfried had played host to Soul Calibur and, ultimately, destroyed Soul Edge. After that epic battle, the knight returned home and enjoyed a brief period of peace. But deep down he knew his work was not over; the cursed sword's minions—the malfested—remained a serious threat. Realizing he couldn't stop them alone, Siegfried gathered his staunchest allies from his old clan known as Schwarzwind, he reformed the clan of thieves into a clan of mercenaries.
One day, after more than a decade of service protecting humanity from the malfested, Siegfried discovered that Soul Calibur had transformed into a new one-handed sword—a clear harbinger of Soul Edge's return. A new champion to wield Soul Calibur would need to be found; Siegfried assigned the task to Z.W.E.I., a wandering swordsman who had joined his mercenary group.
"So... The time has come..."
Soul Calibur, like Soul Edge, possessed dangerous power. Siegfried quietly awaited the one who would be worthy to wield it...
In Soul Edge and Soulcalibur Legends, Siegfried is somewhat cocky and arrogant, never stopping to achieve what he desires. However, after being freed from Soul Edge in Soulcalibur, he stops being selfish and strives to atone for his sins. When he becomes Nightmare again in Soulcalibur II, he is portrayed as a heartless beast. But when he becomes himself again in Soulcalibur III, he regains his desire for atonement. In Soulcalibur IV, Siegfried fears that he would get other people hurt if he lets them join him. So he isolates himself from others in order to destroy Soul Edge and repent for his sins. However in Soulcalibur V Siegfried is much calmer and relaxed, he also acts as a mentor to his comrades.
Siegfried's fighting style relies on utilizing his vast array of moves and stances to keep the opponent guessing. He can be difficult to master at top level play due to the fact that good command of most of his moveset is needed to make him truly dangerous, as well as knowing his numerous stances inside out. However, once Siegfried has the momentum of a match behind him, he becomes very dangerous and difficult to stop. It can take some work, but in truly skilled hands, Siegfried is extremely powerful and can make the opponent look like a beginner.
Siegfried can switch stances either to evade or perform other signature moves. He has a large number of stances and they are all important to Siegfried - they must all be learned inside out in order to be truly effective. Siegfried has great range on his attacks, which can give some characters great difficulty when trying to get in on him. His throw range is also great - throws are a powerful part of Siegfried's up close game, especially since they are damaging and can ring out.
However, Siegfried is slow in general and fast characters can give him trouble if they get close and start to dictate the pace of the match. Also, many of his moves recover quite slowly and can be easily punished, so at times Siegfried can seem like quite a risky character. In addition, he can have difficulty getting around in general due to his speed. To combat these weaknesses, one must time Siegfried's attacks properly and take advantage when the opponent gives an opening. Also, by keeping the pressure on, keeping the opponent guessing to the point that he is scared to attack is a good way to deal with Siegfried's lack of overall speed. This is why it is so crucial to be familiar with Siegfried's moves - one must be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, manage Siegfried's slower moves and be able to maintain pressure when necessary. The keys to mastering Siegfried are intimate knowledge of his moveset, the ability to pile pressure on the opponent and the ability to keep the opponent guessing - which is something a good Siegfried can do very well.
Overall, his tier varies, from low to high depending on the user.