There are some names in our community that come to your mind when you see a particular character. You see Nightmare, you think of Keev. You see Mitsurugi, you think of Belial. You see Leixia/Xiangha, you think of Kayane. You see Voldo, you think of this week's guest.
Di: Who exactly is Enkindu?
Enkindu: Firstly, thank you for taking the time to interview me. I'm honored. I was pleasantly shocked and surprised to recieve that message. Anyways, I'm just regular guy who was raised on playing video games. Every Saturday, my mom would go play BINGO, and my dad would be stuck t home with us. So every weekend, he would buy a new ATARI 2600 game for us to play so we wouldn't bother him while he was programming and stuff. He passed away when I was 9 so I didn't get to grow up with a father figure in my life. All I really had were video games. My mother got my brother and I into different sports like bowling, baseball, martial arts, and basketball. I was in to sports for awhile but when I was around 14 or 15 I got back into video games, and got into my first fighting game which was SSF2 on the SNES. Back in those days we didn't have internet so I never knew how popular this game was. I just remember enjoying to play it and figuring stuff out on my own.
I remember spending half a day playing that game on the hardest setting, and going through arcade mode without losing a round so that I could get the special ending. After that, I got back into sports, mostly basketball until I was about 17. Then I was going to the mall every week to play MK2. After hanging out at the mall for so long, I ended up trying the other fighting games they had out at the time. They had VF1, SSF2Turbo, and Samurai Showdown 2. There was just something about the fighting game genre that I loved, and I had to play every fighting game that came out after that. When Killer Instinct came out, nobody knew anything about the game outside of what was listed on the arcade cabinet itself. This was around the time when the internet was just starting. I think all we had was AOL, but they had message boards for video games, so I would go over to one of my friends' house to use his computer and go look up new information about the game and also share what I've learned. Without getting too long winded, KI was really the start of Enkindu in competitive fighting games.
I did a few local tournaments for that game, and won them all. I really felt like I couldn't be beaten at that game but I never heard about any major tournaments going on back then, so traveling out of state was never a thought in my mind. I didn't start traveling until I got into Capcom Vs SNK 1 where I went down to Miami for the weekend to compete in the South Florida Challenge that was hosted by DreamTR. This is where I first met Floe, Sabin, and Alex Navarro. I had never seen so many people in one place to play one game. It was an incredible feeling. I didn't know anybody there, and they didn't know me, so I didn't know who was going to be a tough match or not. I remember getting so excited when I would win challenging matches and how I felt after losing close matches. Those very moments still fuel my drive to play better. I haven't had that feeling, win or lose, since then. These days, you pretty much already know who to look out for, who they are going to use, and stuff like that, so it kind of takes the fun and mystery out of it after a while. I still love doing it though, and will continue doing it until my hands fall off.
Enkindu's first SC2 Voldo combo video.
Di: When and why did you start playing Voldo? What's so magic about him?
Enkindu: I think it was back in 2001? I'm not exactly sure, but I was big into CvS 1 and 2 and had traveled to a couple EVO's for it and MvC2. I was talking to one of my training buddies while I was at work one day and he told me I should try out SC2 when I went to the arcade next. I laughed at him because I remember going to tournaments where SC1 was being played and those players seemed very anti-social and didn't care about any of the other games being played. I thought this was so strange because practically everyone that I've met at the tourneys I've been to have always had an interest in other games. It just seemed like the brand itself wasn't anything to be taken seriously, but I had a lot of experience in the 3D genre with the VF and Tekken series' up to that point, so I said, "What the hell, I'll try it". So the next time I went to the arcade, I got some tokens and a beer, and sat down in front of SC2. I watched the intro, I read the instructions on the control panel, I tried to get a good idea of what I was getting myself into. So I put my money in, pressed start, and start scrolling through the characters. Everyone seemed like your typical fighter. You have the samurai, the nunchuku user, the sword and shield, the bo-staff, ect... All of them looked really cool, but typical, you know? When I got to Voldo, I thought to myself, "Here is a unique character." I've never seen anything like him before and since his weapons were extensions of his hands and not arms, that he would have to be one of the most versatile characters in the game.
I was right and it was this kind of logic that helped me to immerse playing the game. Everything that happened in the game, and with the story itself seemed to make sense, and was pretty easy to understand. This made me think that this game was worth the effort to master. So I did. I learned everything about Voldo on my own, and from playing great players like Killer Tofu, Bojack, Fetz, Godspu, Trinity, Renki, kAb, ImaBeast, and many others locally on a regular basis, I was able to develop strats and patterns that kept me being successful in matches. I quit playing everything else so I could learn everything I could about SC2. After a couple weeks of playing, I went to my first tournament, and that's where I first met Godspu and Trinity. Trinity was the prettiest girl I had ever seen playing video games, and Godspu was one of the coolest. This guy had legit dreads and a long beard. They definitely didn't look like gamers. Anyways, I end up playing him in the tournament, and I put him in the losers bracket. I ended up having to play him again later on, and he totally destroyed me that time. After that, I realized I still had so much left to learn, and that I needed help.
So after that tournament was over, I approached Godspu and Trinity and told them that I am really interested in learning this game, and asked if they would mind teaching me what they know. They said "sure" of course. About a week goes by, and I've been at the arcade every day waiting for them to show up one day. Then the friend that got me into SC told me about soulcalibur.com and how they had a forums section to meet other players in your area. Anyways, I go there, and check out the Florida thread, and there was GodSpu and Trinity talking trash about how FL was free and don't bother coming down here and stuff. I laughed at it, because it was true, but that was because I was still learning. Anyways, I made my first post and it went something like this, "Hey Godspu, I met you at the tournament last week. If you could come down to the arcade today and teach me soulcalibur, I'll buy you beer. And I'm not talking one or two beers, I'm saying we'll leave the place stumbling." Of course he and Trinity came down, and he beat me 30 games straight that night. I had a great time learning and afterwards, they invited me over to their place to show me some stuff on SC1 that worked on SC2. I was genuinely impressed by their dedication and knowledge of the game, that I made it a personal goal of mine to learn everything possible about Voldo and the game itself. It's been like that ever since. Without Godspu's mentorship and friendship, I don't think I'd still be playing today. So I hold him in my highest respects.
SC3 Voldo combo video by Enkindu.
Di: Which Voldo version (SC game) do you like the most?
Enkindu: It would have to be SC3 Voldo. I loved him in SC2, but he just felt like an incomplete character. In SC3, they introduced some new options in his stances, while also retaining the previous advantages in those stances from SC2. He really felt like a finished character. That also helped show me how much thought and effort actually goes into making SoulCalibur games.
Di: Have you ever had an opportunity to play SC2 PAL Voldo?
Enkindu: Haha, you know, when SC2 first came out on consoles, you could only get it in Japan. It wasn't going to come out for another 6 months in the USA, so I took my PS2 to a flea market and had a mod chip installed that allowed me to play regional games on it. I order SC2 from a Japanese website, and also ordered the SC2 Hori joystick at the same time. So I could've easily played the PAL version by doing the same thing, but I never did. I remember Voldo had some glitches in that version that made him better than he was in the NTSC versions. I still have this video made by RD2K? I think I've forgotten his name, but he was a member of the French community (not 100% sure), and he showcased PAL Voldo better than anyone could I was thoroughly impressed by it, that I saved it to a DVD, and I go back and watch them from time to time, but the tourney standard in the USA was NTSC so that's what I played.
this is what Voldo could do in SC2 PAL.
Di: How has he changed in SCV?
Enkindu: In every new installment he changes. It's not just your typical changes where the frames change or the ranges change slightly or the damages, they rebuild his entire movelist from scratch. So what you previously knew in the older SoulCalibur will no longer work in the new one. You have to learn every input all over again. With that said, SC2 and SC3 Voldo were very similar in terms of frames, damages, range. He also had the same attacks. They just added a few more to him. This is the kind of upgrade I was expecting when SC4 came out, but was surprised to see how much they changed his Mantis Crawl and Blind stance. MC was his best stance in SC2 and 3, and they actually made it worse in SC4. So what I knew and did in SC2 and SC3 were completely obsolete and I had to learn how to use him all over again. There is nothing I do in SC2 and SC3 that is remotely similar in SC4 and 5. Everyone saw him as top tier in SC4 and I don't disagree, but he would've been so much better had he retained his old Mantis Crawl. When SC5 came out, I thought for sure they were going to bring back the old Voldo I fell in love with back then. Because that's the information they were feeding everyone. I thought there was no way they could make Mantis Crawl any worse than it was in SC4 at least. Man, I have egg on my face from that. Mantis Crawl in SC5 is a little bit worse than it was in SC4. It's slow, clunky, and easily avoided. MC B+K will never hit most of the cast unless they do an attack that moves their body forward a little bit. I do like the new B+K cancel on MC 66 which allows you to trip, then launch someone, but after the launch, nothing is guaranteed so it's not very useful. They also took away so many of his moves that he's back to feeling like an incomplete character again. He's still fun to use, but man do I miss some of his old attacks (A+B).
it's time for a video from SCV, isn't it?
Di: What are your predictions before Evo?
If I wasn't going to Evo, I'd say:
Enkindu vs. RTD at CEO 2011.
Di: You've been running a SCV stream for some time now. Do people enjoy it?
Enkindu: I have to thank my brother Robert, Rich (ZDamned), and my mother for helping me put together enough hardware to allow me to stream. Without their help, I'd just be uploading low quality videos from my PS3. With that said, I think people are enjoying it. Voldo is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting characters to watch. I'm all about entertaining them too. I get about 20 viewers at max, but most of them have come by every single time I've streamed so I've developed friendships with most of them. I really enjoy streaming and talking to the chat at the same time. I've gotten a lot of gameplay help from people in the chat so I think I am better now because of it, so I give back as much as I can by doing my best to entertain them. I hope they enjoy it.
If you are a fan of Voldo, make sure you bookmark Enkindu's twitch and YouTube channels: