Cassandra in Soulcalibur IV
|First game||Soulcalibur II (2002)|
|Designed by||Aya Takemura (Soulcalibur II-IV), Takuji Kawano (Soulcalibur II-IV)|
|Voiced by (English)||Debbie Rogers (Soulcalibur II)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Reiko Takagi|
|Birthplace||Athens, Ottoman Empire|
|Weapon||Digamma Sword & Nemea Shield (xiphos and aspis)|
Cassandra Alexandra (カサンドラ・アレクサンドル Kasandora Arekusandoru?, Greek: Κασσάνδρα Αλεξανδρα) is a fictional character in the Soul series of video games. Created by Namco's Project Soul division, she first appeared in Soulcalibur II and its subsequent sequels, and later appearing in various merchandise and promotional material related to the series. She is voiced by Debbie Rogers in the English version of Soulcalibur II, and Reiko Takagi in Japanese.
Cassandra has been heavily compared to her sister Sophitia in terms of fighting style, though with acknowledgment that they were two different characters. Some sources have noted a fan following for a character, while others have praised her as highly attractive.
In video games
Cassandra is the younger sister of series character Sophitia who was first mentioned in Soul Edge, having witnessed her sister's unconscious body being carried by female ninja Taki after her quest in destroying the cursed sword, Soul Edge. Three years later, she heard her sister had gone to another journey to destroy Soul Edge in Soulcalibur. Four years afterwards, Cassandra visited her sister's home to find that Sophitia's children Patroklos and Pyrrha were fighting for a fragment of Soul Edge that Sophitia's husband, Rothion had found and that Sophitia was very panicked by the incident. She grabbed the fragment and quickly went to the Eurydice Shrine in anger to curse Hephaestus for making her sister endangered. Cassandra stole Sophitia's holy Omega sword after seeing it reacted with the fragment and determined to take a journey to destroy Soul Edge in place of her sister as she already had a family by then. Cassandra continued her quest in Soulcalibur III, briefly going back to Greece to request Rothion to forge her new weapons after the Omega sword had broken following a skirmish at a corrupted city. He told her that Sophitia had gone to destroy Soul Edge on her own, so Cassandra quickly went to search and join her sister after receiving the weapons. She visited the city that she went earlier, where she met a man named Raphael who stole her fragment of Soul Edge and before departing, he told that while she has the power to dispel evil, she was not as strong as the "Holy Stone". After hearing rumors in the city whose townspeople had regained their sanity about a man with a large mass of crystal on his way to Ostrheinsburg, Cassandra reasoned he carried the Holy Stone to fought some evil there which she thought is Soul Edge and decided to follow him.
Cassandra did not make an appearance in Soulcalibur V, although she was mentioned in the official artbook of the game, which stated that in the conclusion of Soulcalibur IV, she arrived at the Ostrheinsburg Castle to find her sister had pledged her service to Soul Edge to save her daughter Pyrrha, who has to rely on Soul Edge to live. Sophitia managed to render Cassandra unconscious with a single strike. When she awakened, she found that the entire castle had begun to disintegrate to the Astral Chaos. Cassandra found Sophitia's unconscious body at one room, but as she approached her, Cassandra was sucked to the Astral Chaos as the castle returned to normal.
Outside of the main series, Cassandra appeared in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny's Gauntlet storyline, a non-canon side story set during the events of Soulcalibur IV, which revolved around Cassandra and her ally Hilde, who search for ingredients to develop a potion to cure Hilde's father. To this end force the protagonist to assist them, and later recruit another person, Dampierre, after Hilde is briefly kidnapped. She also starred as one of the two main characters in the mobile card game, Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul alongside Edge Master; in it, Cassandra and Edge Master travelled to find the fragments of Soul Edge. Outside the Soul series, Cassandra also appeared in Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2 as an unlockable character.
Design and gameplay
Cassandra was designed in mind to have greater determination than Sophitia, with greater physical abilities and skills. Unlike her sister whose skills originate from her weapons and Hephaestus, Cassandra is not as humble and cannot hear him, relying instead on her own strength. To further the contrast between the characters, concept artists emphasized a dress and tights for her instead of traditional Greek attire. Though the rest of the team was initially skeptical of the tights, they warmly received the finished model and heavily praised the decision. Several of Cassandra's animations were done manually by hand and blended with the motion capture-based animations done prior. As a result, the series' production manager noted that it gave some of her movements an uncomfortable appearance, and her proportions seem different from a human being's. Though initially using the same fighting style as predecessor character Sophitia, by Soulcalibur IV Cassandra's moves were changed to instead rely more so on close-ranged combat. However, as a result mid- and long-range attacks were negated or reduced in effectiveness. Two of her attacks, Angel Step and Angelic Twirl, compensate this by allowing her to deflect incoming attacks and shorten the distance between herself and the opponent. Other attacks were also given deflection properties to a similar effect, serving as a defensive measure as well while.
Yujin released a four inch tall immobile figurine of Cassandra after the release of Soulcalibur II, based upon her artwork for the title as part of their "Namco Girls Series #1" line of gashapon figurines. In 2006, Namco released a second Cassandra figurine as part of a Soulcalibur III set based upon her promotional artwork for the game. While not posable, the PVC figure came with three interchangeable weapons for it to hold; an alternate color version was later released in a secondary set. To explain the new features of Soulcalibur IV, Namco released an omake manga featuring Cassandra and Hilde. Written in a humorous tone, Cassandra, representing a veteran of the series, "taught" Hilde about the game's features, while introducing the audience to aspects of Hilde's character.
Christian Nutt of GameSpy noted her similarity in Soulcalibur II to her sister in terms of fighting style, but added "thanks to some intelligent changes she feels like a whole new gal in many important respects". IGN commented on the similarity as well, but added that regardless she played "noticeably different". PSM praised her appearance, featuring her in their 2003 "Girls of Summer" video game character "swimsuit" special, as well as on the issue's cover. GameDaily described her as a character that "grew into her own" since her appearance in Soulcalibur II, and later stated her appearance in Soulcalibur IV "looked better than ever" and described the character as "gorgeous". Edge praised the changes to her character in Soulcalibur IV, adding that they made her feel like "a fresh addition to the series". Kotaku's Michael McWhertor also praised her design in Soulcalibur IV in contrast to other females in the series, stating that Namco "thankfully [...] exercised a tad more restraint" and calling her the female character "you'll be picking when Mom comes over."
IGN's Jesse Shedeen listed Cassandra as one of the series' top ten fighters at number eight in 2008, noting a large fan following and admiration for her "spunk." She placed as the 12th most popular Soulcalibur character in a poll on Namco Bandai's official English Facebook account of the series in 2015. GamesRadar ranked her guest appearance in Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2 with Raphael Sorel, Heihachi Mishima and Ling Xiaoyu at #42 in their list of "awesome character cameos" in 2010, and GameFront ranked her breasts as 25th "greatest boobs in video game history" in 2011.
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