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
EU July 8, 1995
JP July 14, 1995 (Remix)
NA 1995 (Remix)
EU October 27, 1995 (Remix)
JP October 20, 1995
EU November 30, 1995
Windows 95 (Remix)
NA August 31, 1996
|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.
Home versions 
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Sega Saturn version of the game a 36 out of 40. Despite the success and acclaim that Virtua Fighter received in its arcade incarnation and internationally, the game was considered by Western audiences to have taken several missteps in making its transition to home consoles. The original Sega Saturn port was rushed to market in order to be ready in time for that system's surprise early American launch in May 1995, and as a result it suffered from inferior visuals, gameplay glitches, and a lack of adequate game modes. As an apology to fans who felt burned by this version, Sega released "Virtua Fighter Remix" in July of that year, available free to all registered Sega Saturn owners for set amount of time, which improved on the Saturn original and was generally considered to be a better version of the game, though still noticeably inferior to the arcade version. Famicom Tsūshin scored the Remix version of the game a 35 out of 40. Finally, a version of the game was released for Sega's short-lived 32X add-on for the Sega Mega Drive in 1995.
Though the underpowered hardware necessitated that this version of Virtua Fighter be seriously stripped down visually, it actually looks very impressive considering the hardware restrictions and it plays very well. In fact, in spite of the lessened visual quality, the 32X version is considering something of a fan favorite by followers of the series compared to the other home versions, as it featured the smoothest, most consistent gameplay of any home console port, plus a few exclusive extras not available anywhere else. Virtua Fighter 32X also has the distinction of being one of the only games released for the add-on that took full advantage of the hardware and didn't simply look like an only slightly better looking and sounding version of a Sega Mega Drive game, as most 32X games were generally regarded as being. Famicom Tsūshin scored the 32X version of the game a 30 out of 40.
While the Virtua Fighter series would again see struggles in the arcade-to-home conversion years later with Virtua Fighter 3 on the Dreamcast, the rest of the series has had a great presence on a variety of consoles, including an excellent port of the far technologically superior Virtua Fighter 2 on the very same system that seemingly could not handle the much simpler original, the Sega Saturn.
Virtua Fighter Remix 
Virtua Fighter Remix was an update of the original Virtua Fighter with higher-polygon models (when compared to the Sega Saturn port; the original Sega Model 1 arcade game has higher-polygon models than Remix), 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 less powerful Sega Saturn) and later ported to Microsoft Windows as Virtua Fighter PC. The game was developed by Sega-AM1.
Though its blocky, plainly detailed polygon fighters were revolutionary in 1993 and were responsible for 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.
- 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 (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