Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram

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Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram
Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Coverart.png
North American Dreamcast cover art
Developer(s) Sega AM3
Sega AM2 (XBLA remake)
Publisher(s) Sega
Activision (NA)
Series Virtual On
Platform(s) Arcade, Dreamcast, Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Release date(s) Arcade
Dreamcast
  • JP December 9, 1999
  • NA June 1, 2000
Xbox Live Arcade
  • JP April 29, 2009
  • NA April 29, 2009
  • EU April 29, 2009
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player, Multi-player
Distribution GD, 229 MB download

Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram (電脳戦機バーチャロン オラトリオ・タングラム Dennō Senki Bācharon Oratorio Tanguramu?) is a 1998 Japanese Sega Model 3 arcade game that was later ported to the Sega NAOMI arcades and then later for the Dreamcast home console in both Japan in 1999 & America in 2000. Oratorio Tangram is a 3D fighting game where the player assumes control of a giant humanoid robot,[1] and a sequel to the 1995 video game Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Operation Moongate. It was released on April 29, 2009 for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade as a remake of the Version 5.66. It is the most popular game in the series by far according to a SEGA poll taken in Japan.

Versions[edit]

There were actually three arcade versions released, each marked by the "Mind Shift Battle System" (M.S.B.S.) version: Ver5.2, Ver5.4, Ver5.66. Changes to the game were placed in 5.4 to better balance matches, largely altering short-range fighting and left-turbo weapons. The Dreamcast port, labeled as version 5.45, was based on 5.4 with a few additional arenas brought back from Cyber Troopers Virtual-On. The Japanese version offered a customization mode for original color schemes and emblems, where the files were compatible with Ver5.66. The Dreamcast version can also be played as Ver5.2

Arcade Ver5.66 signaled the title's move from the expensive Model 3 hardware to the Dreamcast-based Naomi board. It featured the addition of three new virtuaroids, and the cabinets now housed VMU slots for customized color schemes made from the Dreamcast version 5.45. "Quick messages" was yet another addition, which were predefined text strings that could be mapped to the controls and displayed during matches. Because the three new virtuaroids and quick messages were not a part of the Dreamcast version 5.45 and could not be customized, a special GD-ROM was given out with an issue of the Dreamcast Magazine in Japan to edit these new additions, although the disk does not actually allow the player to control the three new virtuaroids, merely customize their colors. A remake of the Version 5.66 was released on April 29, 2009 for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade and costs 1200 Microsoft Points.

A special attraction based on version 5.2 enhanced with force feedback was specially created for Sega's Tokyo based Joypolis game park.

Oratorio Tangram is widely considered the best in the series, due to its faster gameplay, deeper variety in tactics, and a balance that was refined through several iterations.

  • 1999: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.2 (AM3, Model 3)
  • 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.4 (Hitmaker, Model 3)
  • 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.45 (Hitmaker, Dreamcast)
  • 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.66 (Hitmaker, Naomi)
  • 2009: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.66 (AM2, Xbox 360)

M.S.B.S Ver.5.2[edit]

This is probably the most common version found in American arcades. Compared to the previous Virtual On, the game mechanics and graphics are greatly enhanced.

The possible weapon input combinations has been greatly increased, with the ability of using the turbo button in combination with the weapon triggers to form "turbo attacks". Many of the attacks are further modified through the stance, with different actions during standing, crouching, jumping, dashing, moving, dash-crouching or air dashing.

The fight mechanics were further expanded where melee combat featured additions like side-stepping, strikes during dashes and jumping attacks for countering.

Also worth noting are special abilities for virtuaroids ranging from special attack maneuvers to a death countdown that gave a short window of invulnerability.

Featured Virtuaroids[edit]

MBV-707-G Temjin (テムジン)[edit]

A hot favorite among beginners and experts alike. The new Temjin features generally balanced long and short ranged capabilities. Its forward dashing beam rifle and gliding ram can easily turn the tide of the game. It is regarded as the series' helm ship character.

  • Special Attack- Gliding ram. Whirlwind attack.
  • Bugs- The right weapon basic attack can be cancelled into an infinity Machine gun beam rifle.

RVR-39 Apharmd B (アファームド・バトラー)[edit]

The original Apharmd was split into 2 separate VRs, specialising in close-ranged combat and long-ranged combat. Where Apharmd the Striker is fitted for long-range combat, Apharmd the Battler is the close-range variant, retaining the trademark tonfas of the original Apharmd. It features devastating close-combat weapons, suited for combat at close to mid-range.

  • Special Transformation- Hyper Mode (can only be used once per match)
  • Special Attack- Leap Kick.
  • Bug- Infinity Sonic Ring bug.

RVR-33 Apharmd S (アファームド・ストライカー)[edit]

The original Apharmd was split into 2 separate VRs, specialized in close-ranged combat and long-ranged combat. Where Apharmd the Battler is the close-quarters battle version, Apharmd the Striker is the long-range variant. The latter is slightly slower speed and the projectile shots give it a lower firing rate but a much higher attack power at a distance. The tongfers are replaced with a combat knife, giving a limited close-combat range and significantly less attack power. The variety from its range of long-distance weapons and a comparatively fast speed are the defining characteristics of its play style.

  • Special Transformation- Hyper Mode (can only be used once per fight).
  • Special Attack- Flying Punch.

RVR-14 Fei-yen Kn (フェイ)[edit]

An advanced model of the original Fei-Yen, it follows its predecessor's role as the fastest virtuaroid among the cast, but still retains weak armor. To compensate for this, it is highly agile and has speed matched only by the Cypher. The majority of attacks are suited for mid-range combat. Once its life gauge drops below 50%, it will transform into hyper mode, and switch to a golden color. In this form, the virtuaroid gains yet an extra speed boost, its attack power increases and its abilities are pushed far beyond their limits.

Fei-yen Kn makes an appearance in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 and Super Robot Wars K as a playable character, voiced in Alpha 3 by Chieko Higuchi.

  • Special Transformation- Hyper mode at half or less life gauge.
  • Special Features- She can cancel her Left Weapon and its turbo shots via her "Musical song" combo chains.

RVR-42 Cypher (サイファー)[edit]

A descendant of Viper-II from the first Virtual On, the Cypher now features a frame that can transform into a fighter plane form. The S.L.C. kamikaze-ram from Viper-II makes a return, and the virtuaroid still houses very strong mid to long-range projectiles, but are now all beam-based weapons. It can even fight relatively well at close ranges, with the trade-off for speed and versatile combat abilities being minimal defenses. In fact, it has the weakest physical defense and the second lowest V-armor of all the robots in the game.

  • Special Transformation- Fighter jet Mode.
  • Special Attack- 'She's Lost Control'(S.L.C.) Ram.
  • Special Abilities- Double aerial attacks. Aerial Close-range attack.
  • Bugs- "Rowing" bug in the air, allows rapid movement in the air. Infinity Daggers bug.

RVR-87 Specineff (スペシネフ)[edit]

A new VR to the series, the Reaper-like Specineff has great dashing speed and is marked by a range of indirect attacks, like disabling one of the three weapons on an enemy. Where Angelan is the new angel to the game, Specineff is the new devil. Generally, his movements are slow and makes use of the burst of speed from its dash; it is also equipped with impressive ranged weapons. For example, it has a trademark energy scythe that can fire a tall wave of energy for long distances and fight at close-range. It is the only Virtuaroid in the game to feature a dual-Turbo Center weapon.

  • Special Mode- Death Mode: a 13-second countdown of invulnerability. If Specineff fails to destroy the enemy before the countdown runs out, it dies.
  • Special Attack- Will-o-the-wisp: The Specineff spins around and fire a series of energy spheres with slight homing towards the opponent. Power slide. Scythe Spin.
  • Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement on land.

SGV-417-L Angelan (エンジェラン)[edit]

Where Specineff is the new devil to Virtual On, Angelan is the new angel. It is the sister-unit of Fei-Yen, with ice-based attacks, and is the second female-form virtuaroid in the series. However, Angelan is vastly different from Fei-Yen in its low speed and minimal close-range combat abilities, which affords it one of the strongest V-armor and impressive ranged weapons. Attacks vary from those with strong auto-homing capabilities to others with strong defensive strategic value.

  • Special Transformation- Angel Mode.
  • Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground and air, allows rapid movement.

SAV-326-D/9 Grys-vok (グリスボック)[edit]

A heavily armed virtuaroid with a formidable arsenal of physical projectile weapons. The two giant missile pods on the side give it an appearance of having four arms. It has multiple ways to fire many projectiles in a short period of time. The unit is suited for fights against VRs with a strong V-armor and low speed. It is a descendant of the Belgdor VR, and no longer has the high center of gravity problem that affected the balance of its predecessor. Despite being a heavier virtuaroid, it has surprisingly decent speed.

  • Special Attack- I.C.B.M: a huge missile, with one fire per game until the next continue.
  • Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement on land.

XBV-819 Bal-Series (バル・バドス, バル・バロス, バル・ケロス)[edit]

Oratario Tangram actually features three versions of the Bal family that appear in different variants. On land, it is the Bal-Bados (XBV-819-TR, バルバドス), with legs as the lower torso. In the sea, it is the Bal-Baros (XBV-819-TM, バルバロス), with a submarine-like lower torso. The variant for the space-like final stage is the Bal-Keros (XBV-819-TS, バル・ケロス), with yet another legless lower body. There are minor differences in attacks for all three forms.

As with its predecessor the Bal-Bas-Bow, Bal-Bados is marked by the variety of attacks and the floating bit arms. Because of the vast number of available attacks, it is one of the hardest virtuaroids to master. It can launch well over 500 projectiles in a single battle. In addition to the 2 original ERLs adapted into its arms, it has 2 additional ERLs mounted onto its thighs. The ERLs can now be stationed at parts of the stage to provide attack from multiple angles. The placement of ERLs plus special button combinations produce some of the most powerful special attacks in the game.

  • Special Attack- Reflective laser, laser pyramid, black hold bomb.
  • Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement. If over 60 mines are present on the field at any given time, the game freezes.

HBV-502 Raiden (ライデン)[edit]

Named after the Japanese word for "thunder", the trademark of this virtuaroid are the two giant laser irridators folded onto its shoulders. They are the most powerful single-shot weapons among the VR cast, second only to the Apharmd's energy sword and the Grys-vok's homing missiles, at the expense of poor homing ability. The lasers can now be cancelled and the player can also choose to fire just one of the two beams to trade damage and beam width for a quicker recharge. It is not the slowest VR anymore, and is quite agile.

  • Special Transformation- Armor Break: removing all defense armaments to trade for extreme speed gain, making it the fastest Virtuaroid in the game.

RVR-68 Dordray (ドルドレイ)[edit]

The Dordray is a descendant of Dorkas, but bears little resemblance to the compact VR, now with a massive body marked with wide shoulders and a flat plateau top. Being outfitted with the heaviest armor plating and the strongest V-protection, the amount of punishment it can take seems intimidating to some opponents. The hammer of Dorkas has been replaced with a drill, which can pierce through physical barriers. It retains the heavy-hitting and wide-ranged weaponry but its speed suffers as a result. This unit features the strongest V-armor in the game.

  • Special Transformation- Giant Mode.
  • Special Attack- Flame Charge. "CD" Charge. Whirlwind attack.

Ajim (アジム)[edit]

The crystal guardian appeared in response to the awakening of the Tangram. It is a pure V-crystal manipulating energy from the Reverse-Convert to craft a solid body. In its pure form, it is ludicrously powerful and should be regarded with extreme caution even for seasoned veterans.

As with the Jaguarandi in the first Virtual On, Ajim is meant to punish players who played over defensively. Those who accumulated long overall play time in the first half of the game would encounter the Ajim as a 'penalty boss'. The AI Ajim is ridiculously overpowered in almost every aspect, compared to the playable version, featuring stronger weapons, speed and vastly improved V-armor. Ajim is also a time released character, being a very powerful character, and allows the user to set its speed-to-armor ratio. A long-range missile projectile is an important part of Ajim's attacks, but it does varying damage, and may even replenish enemy life by chance. The random nature of Ajim makes it a potentially powerful choice, but very hard to use. Ironically enough, the playable version has the weakest V-armor in the entire game, whereas the AI-controlled version is ludicrously armored to an unbelievable extent.

CB-97 Bradtos (ブラットス)[edit]

Bradtos is the earth crystal restraint system built at the 4th Plant "TSC Dramen", and is invulnerable until it exposed the crystal inside.

Bradtos can be immediately recognized as two bottom halves of the final boss from Operation Moongate, the Z-gradt, stacked top-to-top on each other, encasing the giant crystal inside. It is powered by 8 man-made V-crystals.

Tangram (タングラム)[edit]

Beyond the 8th Planet "Flesh Refoe" lies the "space time continuum mechanism" (時空因果律制御機構), the 9th planet "Tangram," and it is the last boss of the game. It is a giant sphere made up of small triangles suspended in a massive space with no ground. Tangram has a wide range of attacks, and can even duplicate the player's virtuaroid to obscure attacks. It has an almost impenetrable surface with the weakness being a section that opens up, revealing a red eye, before it fires a giant laser. Should the player fail to defeat Tangram within the time limit, the game ends without the opportunity to continue.

M.S.B.S Ver.5.4[edit]

Changes in relation to 5.4[edit]

  • Both (yours & the opponent's) V-armor value are shown on screen.
  • Rowing bugs are removed.
  • Infinity bugs are removed.
  • A minor glitch involving a transparent floor on the Public Port stage was fixed.

M.S.B.S Ver.5.45[edit]

Changes in relation to 5.45[edit]

  • New arenas added, including ports of a few Operation Moongate stages.
  • A special FMV ending was added, only after completing the game with every mech without continuing.
  • Ajim added as a hidden character.

M.S.B.S Ver.5.66[edit]

New features and Differences[edit]

  • Switched to NAOMI arcade board.
  • 3 new VRs were added, although they were more variants than new models.
  • VMS support for custom coloring and emblems.
  • "Quick messages" are available for customization.
  • The extra stages featured in the Dreamcast version 5.45 were included.
  • The empty player side no longer has a live view of the battle taking place on the playing side.
  • The freezing problem caused by 60 floating mines was fixed.
  • Improved sound and music quality.

M.S.B.S. Ver.5.66 Virtuaroid Update[edit]

MBV-04-10 10/80SP[edit]

The "ten-eighty special" is a mass-produced version of the original MBV-04-G Temjin from Operation Moongate in the first Virtual On game. Compared to the old Temjin, it featured slightly sedated attacks, but comparatively better response. The pistol it holds is named as the C.G.S. type a1/c by the Hobby Japan novel installments.

Unfortunately, it suffers being modeled after a Generation I Virtuaroid, and lacks the full range of turbo attacks as well as the ability to air-dash. Its speed is marginally adequate for the combats of Oratorio Tangram. It is often seen as a handicap machine, akin to Dan in the Street Fighter Alpha series.

The 10/80 was first featured in the One Man Rescue and subsequently The Wall of Truth novel installments in the Hobby Japan magazine.

RVR-12 Apharmd C (アファームド・コマンダー)[edit]

A third Apharmd model released to accompany the split Battle and Striker models is the Commander model. It is more balanced between long and short range fights than the others, and is likened to a descendant of the original Apharmd. It has an arm-mounted removable machete instead of tongfers and a shotgun, similar to that used by the original Apharmd.

SBV-328-B Stein-Vok (シュタインボック)[edit]

A variant of the Grys-Vok. The basic body frame design is exactly the same as the Grys-Vok. While the Grys-Vok featured a full armarment of missile weapons, the Stein-Vok replaces all the physical projectiles with high-density beam weapons. The beam weapons still feature the wide array of attacks, which is a trademark of the Grys-vok, but the beam weapons often face a disadvantage against virtuaroids with strong V-armor. The beam attacks generally travel faster, but deal less damage. The Stein-Vok is relatively less popular among the cast of virtuaroids.

M.S.B.S Ver.5.66 (Xbox Live Arcade Remake)[edit]

New features and Differences[edit]

  • Transparent floor version of Public Port re-added.
  • 1-on-1 Network play added.
  • Graphical improvements made to accommodate the 360's capabilities.
  • Re-rating from Teen to Everyone 10+.
  • Split-Screen play removed.
  • Leaderboard replays (no XBL gold required)
  • Score Attack mode added.
  • Character color customization.
  • Graphical bloom effects option added. Affects the look of certain weapons and environment [patch update].
  • Observers feature added for party lobbies [patch update].

Reaction[edit]

In 1999 Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan, rated Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram for the Dreamcast. And to most everyone's surprise, the title received one of the highest marks the magazine has ever given out - 10,10,9,10 (a total of 39).[2] A near-perfect score. At the time, the only games Famitsu had ever awarded a perfect score of 40 (all tens) to were Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64.

In 2009, the 360 version became the #1 selling XBLA game in Japan, surpassing Megaman 9, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and The King of Fighters ‘98: Ultimate Match. Sega announced that the game sales exceeded expectation. Despite being a smaller XBLA game, Hori release arcade twin sticks soon after the game's release. The twin sticks cost ¥30,000 (approximately $368.28) and quickly sold out. With the online experience being nearly lagless, US/Europe to Japan play was feasible and communities grew around the game. Even though the arcade game is played on twin sticks, a great majority of the 360 players are on pad. Some of the top players prefer the 360 pad over the twin sticks. Certain techniques are easier to accomplish on pad while others are easier on twin sticks.

A survey was taken in 2009 by SEGA of Japan for Virtual On. Virtual On Oratorio Tangram was the most popular by far with 70% of the votes. A mere 5% went to Virtual On Marz, while the remaining votes was split between Virtual On Operation Moongate & Virtual On Force.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ign.com/games/virtual-on-oratorio-tangram/dc-14534
  2. ^ ドリームキャスト - 電脳戦機バーチャロン オラトリオ・タングラム. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.38. 30 June 2006.