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|“||You really stand out too much. The people love you... Such an irritating sight to behold. But now, I regret... not killing you myself when I had the chance!||„|
|~ Strife, before battling the Player|
''Strife Astlar Grandall appears in Soul Calibur III s side-quest mode Chronicles of the Sword as the main antagonist and final boss of the mode. He's also an unlockable Bonus Character in the main game.
Strife is the only heir of the Astlar dynasty ruling the empire of Grandall. After his father's death during a battle, he was appointed as ruler when he was only ten years old. Blinded by greed and power, his close relatives plotted everyday to kill him and take control of Grandall for themselves.
Strife endured days without a proper meal, without good sleep and hiding a knife every time. Eventually the stress and fear started eating away at his sanity.
Then one day he started hearing voices every time he sat on the throne. The voices came from deep within the castle. Eventually he began to understood these voices and his behavior changed completely.
He started executing his relatives, and torturing anyone who aroused his suspicions. His leadership turned into dictatorship. He also started amassing armies in silence, while not interfering with the war between Dalkia and Halteese. Around this time, he apparently got hold of the cursed Soul Edge, which further deteriorated his mind.
Despite being the final boss and the main antagonist, Strife's role as such is not revealed until advanced the plot of the Chronicles. During the Chronicles of the Sword, Strife takes little actions during the first half, mostly giving orders to the player and the unit to confront Dalkia first, then Halteese. His orders are always discussed by Girardot, as they are almost suicidal. Strife is also reluctant to send more troops to help the player against entire armies. All this because the player is gaining fame among the people, and this has enraged him to the point of wishing to see him/her die.
A year after the end of the war, Strife sent the player against a rebelled Girardot apparently under the advice of Chester, who has turned into his minister. After the Cadet defeats Giradot in battle, Strife appears to finish Giradot off. Unfortunately for Strife, this action causes the Cadet to realize the malevolence of the emperor and his ambitions, and causes the Cadet to rebel as well.
Unfortunately, Strife implanted fragments of Soul Edge into the player's former allies when the Cadet rebelled, somehow allowing Strife to control their minds. As the player, you must fight and defeat Aeneas and the others who helped you in the earlier chronicles. After the Cadet defeats their friends, it turns out they do not die, but instead they wake up from their trance and decide to join the Cadet once again. Apparently, whoever controls the main body of Soul Edge controls the people it's fragments are forcefully implanted in.
Strife meets the player's unit at last during the last chronicle, sending his elite troops against them. Old Toledo - Burning Gallery stage serves as his castle's interior during his fight in Chronicles of the Sword. The stage seems to represent the castle being set on fire. Even with his best warriors, he's at last confronted by the player and killed in battle.
- In Soulcalibur IV, the player may select a custom character to appear in the opening cinematic. However, no matter what weapon he/she chooses for said character, they will wield Strife's sword or an extremely similar sword while facing the phantasms, then is confronted by Cervantes. Strangely, the sword cannot be used in actual gameplay.
- Strife's name and use of a Zweihander could be a reference to the character Cloud Strife. Coincidently, one of his swords, "Demon Knife", bears a striking resemblance to the Sword, also used by Cloud.
- The word "strife" means conflict or struggle.
- Some of Strife's moves are borrowed from Nightmare's moveset from Soul Calibur II, for example, one of the obvious ones are one of his throws where he grabs his opponent by the throat, a surge of electricity goes up his arm, then he slams them on the floor in the opposite direction.
- One of Strife's victory poses are borrowed from Devil Jin.
- The "mind control" power that Soul Edge possesses has never been revealed prior to Soulcalibur III and is never used in Soul Calibur IV; it is, however, a major theme in Soul Calibur V.