Virtua Fighter. Sega AM2 (1995) Sega Saturn

I’ve played a lot of shit recently and I thought I’d give something a go that wasn’t absolute ass. So I picked Virtua Fighter in the hope it wasn’t pure unadulterated ass too.

Gameplay

Right, well for the uninitiated Virtua Fighter is a Tournament Fighter . Fights take place on a 20mx20m fighting arena where it is entirely possible to punch somebody off the playing field and win. You can even set the field of play to 4mx4m which means you can beat the game in less than a minute as you punch your opponent once and they will fly out the ring even when you are shit. A competent person who is good can beat the game in less than a minute without resorting to such shenanigans but I’m shit and basically only need to pick the hardest dude and win via uppecut every game.

Easy way to win

The Moves dammit, what about the moves!

I keep telling you all this but I really am shit at fighting games. In Virtua Fighter you have, Defend, Punch, Kick as buttons on  regular control pad and from there you then need to figure out moves. There is no movelist on the start menu to tell you the moves and none of the moves are as simple as forward forward punch, or down circle forward kick as far as I can tell. Certainly none that I could figure out. But after looking at a guide for the moves they are mostly along the lines of: back, hold back, forward, punch + Kick to do like a mediocre kick. Or down, back punch to jump in air and punch opponent on the floor.

So don’t expect to gitgud on a first play and don’t expect to be able to throw around daft moves. However, Virtua Fighter has a fair difficulty curve which allows you to tailor a number of settings to give you a chance of winning. This means even as a nub like me you’ll be able to beat the game and you’ll certainly be able to experience most things on offer. But don’t expect to be throwing fireballs or ripping people’s heads off. But if you put the time there is depth and skill to be found.

There is a speed, finesse and a level of detail in learning moves that a lot of other tournament fighters lack. I know I am terrible but I can appreciate that somebody vaguely competent at the genre will be able to be *that* guy meaning there should be enough to interest a more hardcore player.

Final boss is best of 5 even if you choose 1 round for the rest of the game.

Characters

  • Akira Yuki: Main character, was inspiration for Ryo in Shenmue and is generic male karate guy number 7. Uses Bagiquan fighting style.
  • Sarah Bryant: Lady from San Francisco. Apparently fights using Jeet Kun Do
  • Jacky Bryant: Sarah’s older brother, looks like Cloud Strife. Also uses Jeet Kun Do
  • Pai Chan: Movie Star from Hong Kong. Speedy as fuck as the character that bum rapes me the most. Uses Ensei-ken technique
  • Lau Chan: Pai’s dad. He’s a TV chef… Has Keon-ken fighting style.
  • Kage-Maru: Generic fighting game ninja number 62. Uses Jujutau
  • Wolf Hawkfield: Big lad from Canada. Does wrestling moves
  • Jeffry McWild: Australian fisherman, uses pancratium
  • Dural: Final boss. Is a robot thing that knows all fighting styles. Is one of the character’s mother…

No, I don’t know what any of those fighting styles are but googling themm they are all real, so attention to detail has been paid in picking different fighting styles so it presents a surprising depth to the complicated combat system.

I forgot that the Japanese were weirdly obsessed with Blood Type.

Plot

It’s a fighting game from c1994, so it’ll have zero story in game but some convoluted ass shot written down somewhere. Seriously, I played the game through with 5 different characters and there is no exposition.

Jesus fuck, I googled the story. So ripped directly from Wikipedia:

Once in the Shōwa period, the defunct Japanese army intended to approach Henry Pu-yi, the last Emperor of the Ching Dynasty in their effort to take advantages. However, they were defeated by the Imperial guards who utilized the martial art called Hakkyoku-ken. During World War II, the Japanese army research the mysteries of Hakkyoku-ken to create supersoldiers, developing the ultimate martial art.

Approximately half a century has passed since then, the ultimate World Fighting Tournament is about to start, and all kinds of fighters from around the world engage to determine the world’s best. Behind the Tournament, however, there exists an intrigue designed by a sinister syndicate.

So that. Apparently.

Check this mysterious fella out!

Conclusion

I actually like Virtua Fighter in a way. I can understand the appeal, there is depth to it. There is skill and precision timing, and an interesting difficulty curve meaning a pro will be able to get something out of it. But Virtua Fighter doesn’t pass my 2 tests; firstly I can’t figure out moves and I certainly can’t perform any by picking up and playing. And I am skeptical it’d be fun playing with a mate. The move set is initially limited until you learn the intricacies of the game meaning it’ll come down to who pick Pai and can spam her fast punches or you play *that* guy in which case one of you will get very bored of a constant whomping.

The graphics are very, shall we say, distinctive. It hasn’t aged the best, but I can see the style was chosen so that the game would be as optimised as possible meaning that Virtua Figter runs well enough on home consoles and has that precision required in arcades.

So Virtua Fighter isn’t a great game to pick up and play for a lazy Sunday. Pros will find some depth and enjoyment, but there are a hundred other fighters to fill that urge. Retro-wise, Street Fighter II is better, so too Tekken, even daft games like ClayFighter 63 1/3 provide more fun in short doses.

Play it. It’s worth a crack. But Virtua Fighter won’t the great epiphany in your life that you are searching for.

Pros: tonnes of depth

Cons: buried deep in clunky controls, weird ass moon physics when jumping. Looks a bit like hairy arse

65%

Back in the Day:

Virtua Fighter swept the board with praise and reDONK scores, mid to high 90s, winning most of the fighting game awards and even troubling some best games of all times awards.

Also Available On: Arcade, 32X

I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

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Posted in Sega Saturn
11 comments on “Virtua Fighter. Sega AM2 (1995) Sega Saturn
  1. dreager1 says:

    I gotta say, those blocky polygons are certainly nostalgic! I only played one of the newer Virtua Fighter games and the gameplay is a little bare compared to others. I agree that picking the best character and spamming is the way to go

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never try out modern fighting games as I always think they’ll be too complex. Maybe newer Virtua Fighters would appeal to me more on that basis?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dreager1 says:

        I think it would definitely fit better than the others. In particular Virtua Fighter 5 really went as basic as possible to the point where it could pass for a very old school fighting game. No fancy super attacks or half moon combos to worry about

        Like

  2. Goric says:

    Will be having a look at Shining Force? Really interested that those

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Goric says:

    Shining Force III for Sega Saturn

    Like

  4. Goric says:

    I wonder how can I buy and play them without Sega. You have any ideas?

    I have no idea if SS games are even out there in a digital form..

    Like

  5. Goric says:

    Right. But those also were Shining Force on game gear, I wonder if those are ported somewhere too..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Goric says:

    That’s.. what they been designed for I’m sure of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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