Virtua Fighter (video game)
North American arcade flyer of Virtua Fighter.
INT December 1993
April 1995 (Remix)
JP November 22, 1994
NA May 11, 1995
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Model 1, ST-V (Remix)|
|Display||Horizontally oriented, 496 × 384, 8192 palette colors|
Virtua Fighter (Japanese: バーチャファイター Hepburn: Bācha Faitā?) is a 1993 fighting game developed for the Sega Model 1 arcade platform by AM2, a development group within Sega, headed by Yu Suzuki. It is the first game in the Virtua Fighter series, and the first arcade fighting game to feature fully 3D polygon graphics. It has been ported to several home video game consoles including the Sega Saturn and Sega 32X. A port was also released for Microsoft Windows in 1996.
The Virtua label indicates that the onscreen action takes place in 3D. The images were created using wireframes and flat-shaded quads. Beyond 3D, it retained the staple of multiple characters, each with their own distinctive moves.
Unlike other fighting games of the time (such as Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat), the game relied on a control stick and only three buttons, Punch, Kick, and Guard (block) although different situations and button combinations led to a vast variety of moves for each character.
The player faces all eight characters (including a duplicate of the chosen character) in a pre-determined order, followed by a fight with the game's boss, Dural. Each fight is a best-of-three match, and the player has three ways to win: knocking out the opponent, forcing him/her out of the ring, or having more health left when time runs out.
The game is highly regarded for its in-depth fighting engine and real world fighting techniques, and was considered revolutionary upon release.
- Akira Yuki -- Birthdate: September 23, 1968—A Kung Fu teacher from Japan, fights with (Bajiquan)
- Pai Chan -- Birthdate: May 17, 1975—Martial arts movie star from Hong Kong, fights with Ensei-Ken (Mizongquan)
- Lau Chan, Pai's father—Birthdate: October 2, 1940—Cook from China, fights with Koen-Ken (Tiger-Swallow Fist)
- Wolf Hawkfield -- Birthdate: February 8, 1966—Professional wrestler from Canada, fights with Professional Wrestling
- Jeffry McWild -- Birthdate: February 20, 1957—Fisherman from Australia, fights with Pancratium
- Kage-Maru ("Kage") Hagakure—Birthdate: June 6, 1971—Ninja from Japan, fights with Jujutsu.
- Sarah Bryant -- Birthdate: July 4, 1973—College student from San Francisco, CA, fights with Jeet Kune Do (Sega changed her fighting style to "Martial Arts" in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution)
- Jacky Bryant, Sarah's older brother—Birthdate: August 28, 1970—Race car driver also from San Francisco, fights with Jeet Kune Do
- Dural, A gynoid-like creature. Dural is the game's boss character. She is also, somewhat inexplicably, Kage's mother. She fights with a mix of all the other characters' styles.
An Arab fighter named Siba was planned, and his character model even appeared on some Virtua Fighter arcade cabinets (though, in some cases, Akira's name was placed under his portrait). He was ultimately dropped, but later appeared in the Sega Saturn Fighters Megamix game.
The original 1993 arcade release of Virtua Fighter was widely lauded for its impressive tech and revolutionary 3D gameplay, with many gamers also responding favorably to the game's grounding in realism as opposed to the superhuman elements (e.g. fireballs or high-flying kicks) found in most 2D fighting games. Some gamers, however, found the game's slow pace hard to adjust to, especially compared to fast-moving 2D fighters like Street Fighter II.
In particular there was criticism that the jumping in the game was too "floaty" and unwieldy but, due to the games focus on more realistic combat compared to other fighting games, aerial combat wasn't a major focus in the game. Therefor this perceived flaw was generally easily overlooked. Additionally one of the challenges to developers of early 3D games was with the way characters jumped and how they controlled during a jump; so most critics saw little reason to judge Virtua Fighter any more harshly than existing 3D titles.
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Sega Saturn version of the game a 36 out of 40. Edge rated the Saturn version 9/10, stating "Saturn Virtua Fighter has all the pulling power of the arcade version, including the swooping, gliding game camera, the stylish polygon characters, the totally convincing animation and the compulsive gameplay...[The graphics] were impressive enough in the original, but on the Saturn, under the kind of intense scrutiny you can never give a game in the arcades, they emerge as simply astounding...It's arguably the first true 'next generation' console game, fusing the best aspects of combat gameplay with groundbreaking animation and gorgeous sound". The console port, which was nearly identical to the arcade game, sold at a nearly 1:1 ratio with the Saturn hardware during the Japanese launch. Sega Saturn Magazine gave Virtua Fighter Remix 5 out of 5 stars, saying that it fixed the glitches and graphics of the original game while maintaining the already excellent gameplay. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Remix a 7.25 average. The reviewers praised all the game's improvements, but most of them concluded that it was still not worth buying for players who already owned the original game. Famicom Tsūshin scored the Virtua Fighter Remix version of the game a 35 out of 40. Famicom Tsūshin scored the Sega 32X version of the game a 30 out of 40.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the 32X version a 7.625 average, calling it an excellent conversion given the system it's on, but dated next to the graphically superior Saturn version and especially Virtua Fighter Remix, both of which had already been released.
Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtua Fighter Remix was an update of the original Virtua Fighter with higher-polygon models, texture mapping and some gameplay changes. It was given free to all registered Saturn owners in the US via mail. It also had an arcade release on the ST-V (an arcade platform based on the Sega Saturn) and later ported to Microsoft Windows as Virtua Fighter PC. The game was developed by Sega-AM1.
Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary
With the 2003 PlayStation 2 release of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution arriving in time for the series' 10th anniversary, a remake of Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary, was released exclusively on the PlayStation 2. While the music, stages and low-polygon visual style were retained from the first game, the character roster, animations, mechanics and movesets were taken from Evolution. In the previous PS2 release of Virtua Fighter 4, a button code would make the player's character look like a VF1 model. In Japan, the game was included as part of a box set with a book called Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary: Memory of a Decade and a DVD. The box set was released in November 2003 and was published by Enterbrain. In North America, the game was included within the home version of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, and in Europe it was only available as a promotional item; it was not sold at retail.
Though its blocky, plainly detailed polygon fighters were revolutionary in 1993 and were responsible for the game's distinctive look, Virtua Fighter's graphics would quickly become obsolete due to rapid advances in polygon technology that allowed for rounder, more detailed, higher-polygon-count character models. In spite of this, Virtua Fighter forever revolutionized the fighting game genre. Up until that time, fighting games (such as Capcom's Street Fighter series) were designed and rendered on sprite-based 2D graphics hardware—both the character animation and background scenery were composed of 2D sprites and tilemaps, which when using multiple layers produced a parallax scrolling effect as the screen moved to follow the characters.
Virtua Fighter dispensed with the 2D primitives, replacing them with flat-shaded triangles rendered in real-time, by the Model 1's 3D-rendering hardware, allowing for effects and technologies that were impossible in sprite-based fighters, such as characters that could move left and right rather than just backwards and forwards, and a dynamic camera that could zoom, pan, and swoop dramatically around the arena.
- おオススメ!! ソフト カタログ!!: バーチャファイター. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.335. Pg.114. 12–19 May 1995.
- Edge Staff (1994-12-22). "Virtua Fighter Review". Edge Online. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
- Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. p. 502. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4.
- "Review: Virtua Fighter Remix + CG Portrait Collection". Sega Saturn Magazine (1) (Emap International Limited). November 1995. p. 94.
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- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: バーチャファイター リミックス. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.344. Pg.31. 21 July 1995.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: バーチャファイター. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.358. Pg.30. 27 October 1995.
- "Virtua Fighter Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (75) (EGM Media, LLC). October 1995. p. 36.
- "Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary Hits Japan". IGN. Ziff Davis. 10 October 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Virtua Racing – Arcade (1992)". 15 Most Influential Games of All Time. GameSpot. 2001. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Virtua Fighter (video game) at the Killer List of Videogames
- Virtua Fighter Remix at the Killer List of Videogames
- Arcade version referenced and shown within this 2002 video piece on the history of Polygon Graphics
- VFDC VFDC