<div class=header> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </div> <div class=headerad> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-5230184257141993"; /* HG101 */ google_ad_slot = "4961941287"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </div> </div> </div> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/books.htm" target="_parent">Books</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://ask.fm/hg_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/askfm.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.patreon.com/hg101" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/supportsmalla.png"></a> </div> <div class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1"> <input type="text" name="q" size="30"> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search"> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </div> </div> </div> </div>

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Virtua Fighter

Page 2:
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter Kids
Virtua Fighter Mini

Page 3:
Virtua Fighter 3
Fighters Megamix

Page 4:
Virtua Fighter 4
Virtua Quest

Page 5:
Virtua Fighter 5
Other

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index


Virtua Fighter 2 (バーチャファイター2) - Arcade, Saturn, Windows, Genesis, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, iOS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (1994)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

PlayStation 2 Sega Ages Cover

By merit of its inventing a new subgenre, Virtua Fighter had the arcades all to itself. The sequel, however, needed to deal with some competition: Very close to its release Namco started the arch rival series Tekken, ironically directed by Yu Suzuki's right-hand man on the first Virtua Fighter, Seiichi Ishii. Ishii stayed at Namco for the first two Tekken games, before founding his own company Dream Factory, responsible for Ehrgeiz, Tobal and Kakuto Chojin.

Virtua Fighter introduced Sega's new Model 2 hardware, and so much is certain: In the technology discipline, the game not only made its predecessor look like an early alpha test version, but also mopped the floor with its contender. The characters were now fully textured and twice as detailed as before. Their facial expressions now change when they attack, get hit or strike their winning poses. Even more impressively, all stages now included fully modeled 3D scenery. The most impressive was the new fighter Shun's stage, which takes place on a raft floating down a river. Each time it passes under a bridge, the combatants are bathed in its shade. The fighting area still remains a rectangular platform with ring outs for all stages, though.

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

In typical fighting game update manner, the entire cast of the first game returns, with two additions:

New Characters

Shun Di

Every fighting game needs a Drunken Fist master, preferably an old buffer from China's countryside. In Virtua Fighter, this slot is filled by Shun Di. He has the typical crazy, overhanging moves, which make him one of the more hard to control characters. Sometimes he even takes a dring of his bottle after an attack, and in later games getting him drunk actually makes certain moves more effective.

Lion Rafale

Hailing from France, Lion Rafale is Virtua Fighter's first European character. He's the rebelling son of a French aristocrat family that's also involved in illegal arms trade. His fighting style is Tourou-ken (Tanglangquan or Praying Mantis), and his low, defensive stance can make him a really annoying opponent to fight.

But Virtua Fighter 2 is more than bells and whistles, so the mechanics also have been updated a lot. The game is noticeably faster and counter attacks are more prominent, although still difficult to execute and require perfect timing. A few characters have even gotten dodge moves in and out of the z axis, but the game is still a bit awkward with the 3rd dimension, resulting in occasional unsatisfying angles.

The simulation aspects have been cranked up even more: It's now possible to gain momentum by running at the opponent to hit them harder, which actually makes a difference in the damage the attack is dealing. Some moves leave a fighter with an opposite stance, and the resulting leg placement has an impact on the success of a combo and the effectiveness of attacks. If both combatants hold stances that keep their bodies far away from each other, for example, it becomes much harder for them to throw each other. Certain moves, especially with the fast characters, now also end with the back to their opponent, leaving them in a very vulnerable position.

Besides the typical arcade and 2-player vs. modes, additional play options can be accessed by inputting secret codes: Ranking mode just grades the player after each fight. Expert is simply an extremely high difficulty setting, where the CPU is pulling no punches and uses all the techniques at the characters' disposal.

For most casual players that extra boost won't be necessary, though: Even on the default setting, Virtua Fighter 2's difficulty is well above average. Even those that can easily beat the newer games on the highest difficulty aren't really prepared for this amount of old-school brutality. The first two or three fights are still relatively easy, but without some serious study of the mechanics, most will probably never get to see - not to even mention defeat - Dural, who appears in a slow-motion underwater stage this time.

Despite all that weight on stark simulation and relentless challenge, Virtua Fighter 2 isn't devoid of humor, though: To enter initials for the high score table, one has to beat down a human-sized alphabet letter with arms and legs. On the Saturn, it's even possible to challenge them to battle through a secret input.

A little less than a year after Virtua Fighter 2 first hit the arcades, AM2 updated the game with a new version, dubbed 2.1. Besides the usual balancing and timing tweaks, this also brought a more noticeable change to the mechanics: The backwards dash, which allowed rapid fast retreats in the vanilla release, has been nerfed to require a bit of a recovery period after each execution.

Japanese Saturn Flyer

Japanese Saturn Cover

American Saturn Cover

European Saturn Cover

The 32-bit home of Virtua Fighter 2 did not mess around. It was obvious that the Saturn wouldn't be able to do the full 3D environments, so it doesn't surprise they're replaced by flat bitmap variants. The fighters, however, are some of the most detailed models to ever grace the platform. The hidden playing modes from the arcade version are now freely selectable, with the addition of a Team Battle mode, where every player gets to chose up to 5 characters.

Virtua Fighter 2 was the last title in the series to get a PC release, which is unfortunately based off the Saturn version, even though powerful PCs at the time surely would have been able replicate the arcade graphics. The bitmap backgrounds also look a bit weird, because the Windows port runs in a higher resolution and the programmers just put the background bitmaps in their original size. Therefore all the background elements seem to be far away from the ring, with a big circle of nothing in the immediate vicinity. Otherwise the port is ace though, and remained about the best fighting game available for PCs all throughout the 1990s. It also features a gallery of CG art, and even allows switching between 2.0 an 2.1 rules.

European Mega Drive Cover

Brazilian Mega Drive Cover

Was the 32X version of the original game already a surprising demake, this time Sega went one step further, and made Gaibrain, who had previously done some SNK fighter conversions for Takara, port Virtua Fighter 2 to the Genesis. The game was completely transplanted into two dimensions, even with original sprite art instead of just prerendered versions of the 3D models. There is some slight perspective change effect for the floor, though. As a 2D game, it seems even more stiff than before, and because of the limited animations, the controls just don't feel right. It all doesn't connect in a satisfying way. It's not a terrible game, but its purpose seems questionable. Thanks to Sega's prolific output of Genesis compilations, this most inferior version was also by far the most accessible one, appearing on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP and Wii Virtual Console, on Windows PCs and iOS devices - the latter of course with unsuited touchpad controls.

Virtua Fighter 2 (iOS)

For a long time, only Japanese gamers (and importers) could enjoy a near perfect port of the arcade version, in form of the Sega Ages 2500 Vol.16, although that still had some issues with inferior quality textures and (very) minor slowdown. Only in 2012, the rest of the world finally got an even better deal, as the game appeared on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. Of course the game had to have online multiplayer, but depending on the region it was already near impossible to find random matches just after its release. Without organizing an online meetup with friends, it's effectively impossible to use this feature, although that isn't really Sega's fault. The lack of proper SDTV support certainly is, though, and it's inexcusable for a game that was originally meant to be played on a 4:3 screen. There are several settings to resize and stretch the image, but there's no way to get rid of the fat horizontal borders on an old CRT, while all that can be done for widescreen TVs is stretching out the image, so there's never a quite satisfying way to display the game in full screen.

While by no means unwelcome, it's somewhat surprising to see this new release, anyway. Sure Virtua Fighter 2 certainly was the best of the best in its day, and is still considered by purists to be the most "perfect" series entry ever, but it's not an enjoyable game to be not perfect at. Since its debut, the fighting game genre has evolved so much it's hard to put up with the unforgiving timeframes, the floaty jumps that still carried over from the first game, and the lack of interesting modes to keep single players interested.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Producer / Director:

  • Yu Suzuki (鈴木裕)

Genre:

Theme:


Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Genesis)

Virtua Fighter 2 (Genesis)


Comparison Screenshots


Virtua Fighter Kids (バーチャファイター キッズ) - Arcade, Saturn (1996)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

American Saturn Cover

European Saturn Cover

Virtua Fighter Kids is a product that could only have been made at the height of the Virtua Fighter craze - it's basically just Virtua Fighter 2 in super deformed. Some of the first merchandise items Sega produced for its then flagship franchise were plush dolls of the characters, which could be won at the claw cranes that fill the entrance area of every Japanese arcade. The stars of Virtua Fighter Kids are actually just those dolls, only with much larger heads. The game opens with a hilarious FMV intro that shows the sentient dolls kicking their large "real" versions' asses. It's also the first and only game in the series that shows a video ending for each character after playing through arcade mode.

A bunch of Virtua Fighter merchandise (photo: GamePro 2/1996)

The premise allows AM2 to do all kinds of crazy cartoony stuff that makes the game a real slapstick experience: When characters run, they leave a dust cloud, and when they get hit, stars fly around them. They also all got chipmunk voices in their win pose speech samples. When crouching beneath high attacks, a goofy animation plays where they swing around their enormous heads like boxers. All the while the huge heads make facial expressions so much more visible and distinctive. The little creatures are actually supposed to be dolls in the game's narrative: Aside from the FMV, there is a hidden factory stage that shows their assembly line when Shun fights against himself, as well as a toy shop in a Pai vs. Pai match. There is also a variant of Dural whose head is a transparent fish bowl - an its inhabited!

The game isn't just called Kids and styled kiddy-friendly, it's actually servable as an entrance level variant for kids... and other amateurs. It introduces the new difficulty setting "Practice," which sets the CPU at about the intelligence level of baked beans, and it's even possible to make the own character invincible. The game also allows to program combo macros for easy access during play. Unfortunately, the large heads really weren't such a great idea for a fighting game. They give the game a really weird feel, and keep clipping into each other all the time.

Virtua Fighter Kids was released for Saturn and in Arcades. The latter runs on the low-end STV hardware, though, so both versions look identical. When playing the Saturn disc through emulation, though, one has to take into account that the game uses an interlaced video mode. SSF has an option to circumvent it, but it costs tons of extra processing power.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Makoto Osaki (大崎誠)

Genre:

Themes:


Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn)


Additional Screenshots


Virtua Fighter Mini (バーチャファイター ミニ) / Virtua Fighter Animation - Game Gear, Master System (1996)

Japanese Cover

European Cover

While evoked as part of a series of Saturn-to-Game Gear ports in Japan (see Panzer Dragoon Mini), the Western title makes it perfectly obvious that the only handheld Virtua Fighter is based on the animated series that aired around the same time. As such it's also the only title in the series that has a dedicated story mode, which goes through an extremely condensed version of the anime's plot. It's only a handful stages long, and disappointingly none of the TV series' original characters appear as fighters in the game. Available are only the characters from the first Virtua Fighter game minus Jeffry.

Due to the limitation of buttons, block had to be put on the start button, which is a bit unwieldy. The controls in general aren't all that responsive, but it doesn't matter cause the CPU is really dumb most of the time. Its best shot at a win is through a ring out, which has very broken physics in this game. The English version also had 2-player link mode taken out, so Virtua Fighter Animation is easily the most useless series entry ever created, portability be damned. Not only is the Japanese version superior, it was also sold in a bundle with a neat special edition Game Gear system.

Japanese Virtua Fighter Mini Game Gear Bundle

At the start of each fight in story mode, one has the choice for some really strange zoom options - they grossly enlarged the sprites, but leave the backgrounds as is, which makes the game just look silly. Another option switches between perspectives if the combatants get close to each other, which of course is even more terrible.

Tec Toy produced a Master System version for the Brazilian market, but that is even more miserable. It simply omits the blocking button, completely depriving the game of what little tactical finesse was left. The full view of the stages looks neat, but leaves the game with huge borders at the top and bottom.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Chief Designer:

  • Teruo Hamai

Genre:

Themes:


Virtua Fighter Mini (Game Gear)

Virtua Fighter Mini (Game Gear)

Virtua Fighter Mini (Game Gear)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Virtua Fighter

Page 2:
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter Kids
Virtua Fighter Mini

Page 3:
Virtua Fighter 3
Fighters Megamix

Page 4:
Virtua Fighter 4
Virtua Quest

Page 5:
Virtua Fighter 5
Other

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index