So Virtua Fighter was the king of 3D fighters…until something better came out. It was innovative graphic wise, it was simple and fun but nothing in the likes of Street Fighter, but that’s fine, that’s what makes this game unique and not SNK for a while. But Sega decided to improve upon Virtua Fighter’s formula with better graphics, smoother framerate, texture-mapped 3D characters and the best motion capture animation of the fighters for the time. This is Virtua Fighter 2 (バーチャファイター2 Bācha Faitā Tsū), developed and published by Sega and was first released in the Arcades in November 1994, then it was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1995 in Japan and in the US and in 1996 in Europe.
So many fighters from the first game either won or lost or both, but changed the lives of many of them. Some became friends, some became rivals but it was a valuable fighting experience and that was it. But the World Fighting Tournament returns for its second year and the fighters are once again invited. Though there may be a syndicate called the Judgement 6 who could be pulling strings in the tournament. So all of the fighters return along with a couple of newcomers and all have reasons of going to the tournament because fighting game let’s move on.
So you can play as 11 fighters as you fight to be the winner. It’s basically the first game but with some improvements. We have another 3D fighting game, using the same three buttons, making for another simple fighting game yet again. But the gameplay is now faster-paced and using momentum to perform stronger attacks. Each fighter now has more moves and each individual fighter now feels different. Heck, some fighters can do sidesteps, giving character advantages in battle. But other than that, the game is still simple to an extent, but it’s still near enough of an improvement even if it doesn’t offer anything too amazing. The graphics have improved immensely, the fighters feel and look fluid and all memorable with unique attacks. But the level designs…haven’t aged well, flat backgrounds that are detailed but nothing too memorable which is a shame, for its time, it’s the best it could have been. In fact, I kind of like the polygon filled style of the first game, it’s so appealing and I love the cube-like characters.
Yeah, there’s nothing really much else to say, it’s not a bad game, it’s fantastic but…it shows that I’m not going to be a fan of this series. Another problem? It was surpassed a month later by another much better and brilliantly complex game, Tekken. Yeeeeah!
Overall, Virtua Fighter 2 is a fantastic improvement from the first game with much more features that make it a great fighting game. But it’s also a game I wasn’t amazed by or had too much fun with compared to Street Fighter or Tekken, it’s far too simple, and I’m not even a true master of fighting games, not to say the game is bad, it’s good and I think it still holds up, but I like some kind of complexity with my fighting games with a hint of balance too. If you’re a true MLG fighting gamer, I wouldn’t recommend it, though I would recommend it to people who may want to start playing fighting games for the first time, just change the difficulty setting to easy to get a good start.
You can get it on the Arcade, Saturn, R-Zone, PlayStation 2, Windows, Virtual Console, iOS, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.
But before I go, I’ll take a quick look at the Sega Mega Drive version. Yep, Sega did the first de-make…as far as I’m aware. But you’re probably thinking, ‘How were they able to take 3D polygons and put them on a 16-bit machine? I bet they did a Virtua Racing again!’ Surprisingly, NO! When I said it was a de-make, it really is a de-make, so we’re back to having 2D sprites. The game was developed by Sega and co-devloped by Gaibrain, who ported Fatal Fury to some consoles like the Game Boy and the Sega Mega Drive…and did some other stuff, I don’t know, it’s just another Japanese gaming company who didn’t survive the 90’s gaming industry.
We still have the gameplay of Virtua Fighter but now a little diluted. Funny how Sega had an innovative 3D fighting game for it’s time and the Sega Saturn was the only way to have a great experience right at your home. But I guess Sega also wanted everyone to play it, especially those who hadn’t yet transferred from the Sega Mega Drive so released a version for those people. But we come to a slight problem as the one thing that made the game famous at the time was it’s graphics. So, when you take that away, you’ve effectively made Virtua Fighter even more vanilla, I mean there’s nothing wrong with that, but the 3D graphics molded the gameplay, giving you the immersive experience. What is this going to do for you? It’s just another so and so fighter that is nothing special and yet it exists.
This game has been re-released on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable (via Sega Mega Drive Collection), Wii Virtual Console, iOS and Steam and yet no one cares about this version, it’s literally a forgotten footnote in the Virtua Fighter series; Virtua Fighter Animation is a much more talked about game than this. So as it is, if you want to try this one out, it’s not too hard to download a copy of it and fight on.
My final Arcade review for the year is from Capcom. And this time, we’re going back…way back!
And for those who are wondering if I’ll review Virtua Fighter 3…next year, though I wonder how this is going to be improved. Oh well, I have the game on the Sega Dreamcast so at least I’m sorted for that.