Virtua Fighter 2
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|Virtua Fighter 2|
3D Ages (PlayStation 2)
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Model2 A-CRX|
Virtua Fighter 2 (Japanese: バーチャファイター2 Hepburn: Bācha Faitā Tsū?) is a fighting game developed by Sega. It is the sequel to Virtua Fighter and the second game in the Virtua Fighter series. It was created by Sega's Yu Suzuki-headed AM2 and was released in the arcade in 1994. It was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1995 and Microsoft Windows in 1997. In 1996, a super deformed version of the game, Virtua Fighter Kids, arrived in arcades, ported to the Sega Saturn in the same year. It was also ported to the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1996, but because the hardware couldn't handle the complex visuals of the arcade version, it was re-made as a 2D fighter. In addition, Virtua Fighter 2 was converted for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 as part of Sega's Ages 2500 series in Japan. The Mega Drive/Genesis port was re-released on the PS2 and PSP in 2006 as part of Sega Genesis Collection, on the Virtual Console for the Wii on March 20, 2007 (Japan) and April 16, 2007 (North America), and for iOS on January 20, 2011.
Virtua Fighter 2 was known for its breakthrough graphics. It used Sega's Model 2 arcade hardware to run the game at 60 frames per second at a high resolution with no slowdown. The Saturn version was also extremely impressive for its time, especially given the system's 3D programming difficulties. It became a huge hit in Japan and sold relatively well in other markets, notably the UK, where The Prince (Hatim Habashi) was crowned by Sega Europe as the Official UK Virtua Fighter 2 Champion.
The arena size could be adjusted up to a very small platform or all the way to 82 meters, which in the genre is considered very large. This is the only game in the series—other than Virtua Fighter Remix—that could have such size adjustments. The physical energy meter could also be adjusted to infinity, giving the player the advantage when beating opponents or practicing moves against the computer player. Adjusting the arena to a smaller size and giving the characters infinite health could lead to mock sumo matches, wherein victory is achieved by knocking the other player's character out of the ring.
At the beginning of 1995, Sega AM2's Sega Saturn division was split into three sub-departments, each one charged with porting a different arcade game to the Saturn: Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Cop, and Daytona USA. Due to unexpectedly slow progress in the Daytona USA port, a number of members of the Virtua Fighter 2 team were reassigned to Daytona USA. In March, AM2 Research completed the Sega Graphics Library, a Saturn operating system which made it feasible to create a near-arcade perfect port of Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn.
After completing the Daytona USA port in April, the team took a short holiday before beginning work on the Virtua Fighter 2 conversion in earnest. In June, AM2 gave the first public demonstration of Saturn Virtua Fighter 2 at the Tokyo Toy Show. To increase confidence in the accuracy of the port, they displayed non-playable demos of the characters Lion, Shun, Pai, and Lau running on the Saturn hardware at 60 frames per second - the same speed as the arcade version.
However, AM2 continued to face problems in creating an accurate port for the Saturn. Due to the high number of moves in Virtua Fighter 2, months had to be spent on developing compression techniques in order to fit all of the game's moves onto a single CD. Also, in order to maintain the 60 frames per second, the Saturn version could not use nearly as many polygons as the arcade version. To make this difference less apparent, the programming team used texture mapping on the characters, taking advantage of the fact that the Saturn could map 16 different colors to each polygon, whereas the Model Two arcade hardware could map only 1. In addition, the polygon background objects of the arcade version were replaced with parallax scrolling playfields with selective scaling. By the end of September, hit detection had been enabled, and the now fully playable conversion was displayed at the JAMMA show.
Taking into account audience reactions at the JAMMA show, the team spent the next two months on final adjustments, play-testing, and the addition of Saturn-specific options. Development on the port was completed in November 1995.
Virtua Fighter 2.1 is a Japanese-only release. This version featured re-tweaked gameplay, slightly enhanced graphics and the ability to play as a newly designed Dural. This version was also released in the Sega Ages 2500 series. It is possible to switch to the 2.1 game mechanics in the Saturn and PC port, however none of the other features are updated.
Sega reported pre-orders of 1.5 million units for Virtua Fighter 2 in Japan, which is nearly as many of the number of Saturns that had been sold in Japan at that point. At the time of its release, Virtua Fighter 2 was the top-selling game for the Saturn, and remains the highest selling Saturn game in Japan with 1.7 million copies.
Virtua Fighter 2 received generally positive reviews. Next Generation gave the game a perfect 5/5 stars, calling it "the ultimate arcade translation" and "the best fighting game ever." The magazine cited its "accurate representation of 10 very distinct and realistic fighting styles", "remarkable AI", and "a general attention to detail that sets a new mark for quality game design." Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 98%, citing the smooth frame rate, the realistically varied reactions to blows, the huge variety of moves, and the addition of features such as Team Battle Mode. Similarly praising the variety of moves and the accuracy of the port, Game Revolution gave the Saturn version an A and concluded that "Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn looks better and smoother than any other polygonal fighting game for the next generation systems. This just might be the best home console fighting game ever." Game Informer's Andy, Reiner, and Paul were slightly more mixed, praising Virtua Fighter 2 for its depth and variety but criticizing inferior background details in the Saturn port. In addition, Paul felt that the original Virtua Fighter required more strategy.
GameSpot gave the PC version a 8.1/10. Praising the game's realism, depth, and opponent AI, and the PC version's inclusion of online multiplayer, they deemed it "unquestionably the best fighting game on the PC, and certainly one of the finest fighting games of all time", adding that the PC version "rivals even the excellent Sega Saturn console port."
- "Sega unleashes exclusive lineup of arcade hits for Sega Saturn". Business Wire. October 30, 1995. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- Leadbetter, Rich (November 1995). "Virtua Fighter: The Second Coming". Sega Saturn Magazine (1) (Emap International Limited). pp. 36–41.
- "Virtua Fighter 2 Development Diary". Sega Saturn Magazine (2) (Emap International Limited). December 1995. p. 46.
- Hickman, Sam (January 1996). "Virtua Sell Out!". Sega Saturn Magazine (3) (Emap International Limited). p. 7.
- Reiner, Andrew et al. (January 1996). "Blowout!!!". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
- "Virtua Fighter 2 Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- Kasavin, Greg (October 16, 1997). "Virtua Fighter 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- [dead link]
- "Platinum Pick: Virtua Fighter 2". Next Generation (Imagine Media) 2 (13): 179. January 1996.
- "Excellent!". Next Generation (Imagine Media) 2 (14): 160. February 1996.
- Leadbetter, Richard (December 1995). "Review: Virtua Fighter 2". Sega Saturn Magazine (2) (Emap International Limited). pp. 72–73.
- Rich Knight, Hanuman Welch, The 30 Best Arcade Video Games of the 1990s, Complex.com, August 28, 2013.
- Virtua Fighter 2 at the Killer List of Videogames
- Virtua Fighter 2.1 at the Killer List of Videogames
- Virtua Fighter 2 at MobyGames