#254 Virtua Fighter

Posted: 9th July 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

253rd played so far


Genre: Fighting
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega

In the realm of fighting games, there are two main early entries: Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The former arose in the late eighties, with the latter coming in in the early nineties. Both started off as traditional 2D sidescrolling type games. Virtua Fighter took that a step further, being the first to be set fully in 3D, using 3D characters with extended interaction. (Tekken, the final franchise, joined a year later and isn’t relevant to the further story).

I’ll save the details for later. Suffice it to say that the advances are big and impressive, as much as 3D may be commonplace by now. Last time we found that Tekken didn’t hold up as well. How about Virtua Fighter then?

Our Thoughts

It’s a weird thing. These days, 3D is so common that it’s nothing special. In fact, it’s often as easy to fabricate parts of your game in 3D and use that to ‘fake’ 2D environments rather than starting with a new, separate 2D engine. It is all build in and automated and collision checking is all done for you. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to understand how big a leap it is to have proper 3D graphics.

Even so, if we take the graphical leap as read (and yeah, there’s not much to say about it now and it seems petty to complain), graphics-wise it still has its own small brilliant touches. As much as it must have been an additional way to show off the 3D graphics, hats and other otherwise impractical bits of clothing fall off during the fight (it was for that reason that I always used to play as Pai, just for the hat to fall off) and stay around on the arena floor. It’s not relevant to anything, but is an otherwise needless touch that you don’t tend to see elsewhere even now… no idea why not, really, as it makes sense.

Beyond that, the game plays like many other fighting games of its kind -at least to someone like me who doesn’t have much experience in them. Moves, combos and such. There’s some good character differentiation, such as in speed and power. The book praises the game for being easy to pick up and learn – it’s fairly true, as most of the basic moves get you quite far already and combos that exist aren’t as necessary. It’s nicely straightforward. which makes it as much fun to play, even though there are further layers to master.

It might be dated now in some ways, but the game still offers its own new experience and is still remarkably playable for game that’s now twenty years old.

Final Thoughts

Whilst I did question the validity of Tekken on this list it is easy to see why the original Virtua Fighter is. The 3D graphics, whilst clunky by modern standards, was such a leap forward in fighting gaming.

This marked the beginning of a successful franchise and this leaves us with Dead or Alive, Mortal Kombat and The King of Fighters to cover soon.

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