Virtua Fighter

Virtua Fighter
4
Game Name: Virtua Fighter
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): SEGA AM2
Genre(s): Fighting
Release Date: 8th July 1995
Serial Number: MK81005-50
Region: PAL

Virtua Fighter Screenshot3D graphics had long been mooted as being the next big thing in videogames, able to produce lifelike interactive characters and worlds, 3D polygons were to provide a new way of creating games with diversity and possibilities previously made impossible by the use of 2D sprites. SEGA’s arcade games department, AM2 (headed by Yu Suzuki) had first given us a taste of this with the arcade hit Virtua Racing which became one of the rare successes of the ill-fated 32X add-on.

Now AM2 are back with their ‘Virtua’ franchise with a revolutionary title for the Saturn’s launch which promises to do away with the cliche’s that have dogged a genre dominated by Capcom’s Street Fighter and Midway’s Mortal Kombat.

As with traditional fighters, Virtua Fighter pits two fighters against each other with the aim of depleting the opponent’s life-bar by use of strikes, combos and throws.

Virtua Fighter Screen Shot

A new feature of this game is the ring-out system; protagonists square up in a ring, the size of which can be altered in the game’s Options menu, which gives a boarder to the gameplay and forces players to think more about their positioning and attacks.
This provides a break from the genre’s traditional cornering. The game uses a 3 button system (Block, Punch, Kick) to control player’s movements, stringing these together with directional movement produces combos which differ depending on character and fighting style.

Unlike other fighting games, the character’s style really separates the characters, these styles range from Karate, Kung-Fu, Ninjitsu, Jeet-kune-do and Wrestling. As with similar games each character also has special moves, Akira has some devastating strikes that can knock opponents across the ring, Pai and Lau use combos that use rapid speed and varying height, and Wolf uses throws including one where he swings fighters around by their feet before slinging them out of the ring.

Virtua Fighter Screen Shot

Fighters are fully animated using a wide-range of motion capture which produces a real sense of movement unseen in a videogame before, the smoothness of transition between each move is seamless.

The character’s themselves are produced by using polygons and despite not looking as aesthetically pleasing as the movements they employ they make up for their lack of detail with pleasing charm.

Despite being a revolutionary title the game is not without its flaws. For instance, the game’s physics are especially floaty, while this aids the juggle combos it does effect the game’s realism and is most notable when jumping.

Virtua Fighter ScreenshotOne can’t help but think that with the game’s 3D gameplay the ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ button would be better put to use by enabling the player’s to circle one another and evade attacks rather than the traditional jump and duck. This missed opportunity holds Virtua Fighter back from truly separating itself from predecessors in the genre.

Regardless of these flaws Virtua Fighter represents a phenomenal leap for a genre which had become stagnated by sequels, copycats and gimmicks.
While raising the bar it also introduces new concepts that keep the game fresh and provides an utterly addictive and compulsive experience.

A new dawn for videogames!

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