Nightmare as he appears in Soulcalibur II
|First game||Soul Edge (as Siegfried!) Soulcalibur|
|Designed by||Aya Takemura (Soulcalibur II-IV), Takuji Kawano (Soulcalibur II-IV, Legends)|
|Voiced by (English)||Ted D' Agostino (SCII), Patrick Ryan (SCIII, SCIV), Michael McConnohie (SCL), Charles Klausmeyer (SCV)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Nobuyuki Hiyama (SC, SCII), Fumihiko Tachiki (SCIII), Kōsei Hirota (SCL, SCIV), Yasunori Masutani (SCV)|
|Birthplace||Ober-Getzenberg, Holy Roman Empire|
|Fighting style||Original style|
|Weapon||Soul Edge (Zweihänder)|
Nightmare (ナイトメア Naitomea?) is a fictional character in the Soul series of fighting games. The evil alter-ego of Siegfried Schtauffen (ジークフリート・シュタウフェン Jīkufurīto Shutaufen?), he later becomes an entity separated from Siegfried in Soulcalibur III and IV.
Nightmare first appeared 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 powerful evil sword 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 in contrast to the protagonist role played by Siegfried, as well as serving as Siegfried's archenemy until Soul Calibur V where a new Nightmare was there.
Nightmare has appeared in all the sequels to Soulcalibur, visually different for each game. His fighting style was altered from Soulcalibur II to Soulcalibur III because Siegfried was now a distinct character in terms of both gameplay and story.
In video games
Even though Nightmare originally debuted in Soulcalibur, its predecessor, Soul Edge, featured a prototype of his character. 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 the cursed sword Soul Edge. This early version was much different from the former Nightmare, having crimson 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 the conclusion of Soul Edge, Siegfried battled with the corrupted pirate Cervantes de Leon and eventually came into possession of the Soul Edge with its lingering spirit, Inferno. Soul Edge tempted Siegfried to wield it with a promise to resurrect his dead father in exchange for gathering souls for its consumption. Not knowing that he is just being used, Siegfried agreed and started killing people to gather souls. Eventually, Soul Edge consumed him and Nightmare is born.
Allying himself with Astaroth, Ivy, and Lizardman in the city of Ostrheinsburg, Nightmare attempted to completely restore Soul Edge. However, the attempt failed when his castle was attacked by Kilik, Xianghua, and Maxi, causing his allies to abandon him. Nightmare was eventually defeated by Xianghua, which caused Siegfried to realize that he is the one who killed his father and managed to briefly broke free from Soul Edge's control. He then hid the sword and himself out from civilization to atone his sins that he committed when he was consumed by Soul Edge.
By Soulcalibur II, the balance between the restored Soul Edge and Siegfried was broken, and Soul Edge was able to take over Siegfried's mind. At first it was for short periods of time during his sleep, but eventually he took Siegfried's body completely and used him to cause destruction once more. 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 allowed him to defeat Inferno and break free once again. Siegfried then discovered Soul Calibur, released from Inferno's body after its defeat, and impaled Soul Edge's eye with it. Both swords sealed, Siegfried abandoned his old armor and left with them.
In Soulcalibur III, Zasalamel revived "Nightmare" in essence. Created as an avatar for a disembodied Inferno using the original armor as a shell, he pursued and eventually recovered his true body, Soul Edge. Nightmare also met Tira, who became his servant and manipulated others into protecting Soul Edge and sacrificing souls for Nightmare, to eventually become sacrifices themselves. Meanwhile Zasalamel manipulated Siegfried, leading him to Nightmare, and wielding Soul Calibur, he 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.
In Soulcalibur IV, Soul Calibur revived Siegfried, while Inferno restored Soul Edge fully and strengthened his hold over the animated armor that was Nightmare. Inferno then claimed the entire city of Ostrheinsburg as a vessel due to the fact that Nightmare lacked the capacity to contain his consciousness, and as a result, the city became cursed and many of its inhabitants were corrupted. Tira continued serving Nightmare and manipulating Astaroth, Sophitia and others into serving Soul Edge, in order to weaken Soul Calibur and provide Nightmare with the strength necessary to destroy the spirit sword. Nightmare would then clash against Siegfried in a final duel, though his plans were interfered with the appearance of Algol and the Tower of Remembrance.
As revealed in Soulcalibur V, Soul Edge shattered with Nightmare ceasing to be during his final duel with Siegfried. However, the blade regained consciousness with what little pieces of it were found and collected by its servants; allowing Nightmare to gain a new body and assume the alias of Graf Dumas. From there, Dumas worked his way into the grace of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to be awarded the Kingdom of Hungary, exploiting the war with the Ottomans to initiate a widespread search to find the remaining fragments to restore Soul Edge to its former glory, while simultaneously wanted to consume more souls under the guise of massacring the "malfested". Unknown to him however, his former servant, Tira had been working to create a new Nightmare as she is not satisfied with Dumas. One of his soldier, Patroklos Alexander; whom he manipulated for the massacre in exchange for searching his sister Pyrrha, revolted and fled from service. Dumas eventually met with Patroklos and Pyrrha again; this time revealing himself as Nightmare, and forced Pyrrha's hidden Soul Edge power to consume her, causing Patroklos to abandon her. Nightmare then initiated a war throughout Europe with his newfound power, but is eventually struck down and killed by Z.W.E.I., a young man whom he previously tried to hunt before.
In 2000, Epoch C-Works released a series of action figures based upon the original Soulcalibur, amongst them Nightmare. The semi-posable figure came with equipable weapons from the title in the same package. 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.
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." 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." 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.
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. Nightmare placed first in UGO.com'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." 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. 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. In 2013, Complex enlisted the 20 best characters from the series, ranking Siegfried/Nightmare the best character, citing his duality as the reason that makes the character "one of the most fascinating characters in the entire series". In Game Informer 's 2009 list of "Top Ten Best Fighting Game Characters", Nightmare placed second.
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