Virtua Fighter 2
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|Virtua Fighter 2|
3D Ages (PlayStation 2)
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Sega Model2A-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 and was ported to the Sega Saturn. A 2D remake was released for the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1996. 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, rendering 3D characters and backgrounds with filtered texture mapping. 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 well-received for its graphics and gameplay. 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. 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.
Upon release, the Virtua Fighter 2 video game arcade cabinet cost £6000 for arcade operators (equivalent to £10412 or $16475 in 2014). For players, the arcade game cost £1 per play (equivalent to £1.74 or $2.74 in 2014).
Virtua Fighter 2.1 is a revised version featuring re-tweaked gameplay, slightly enhanced graphics and the ability to play as Dural. Though it was never released outside of Japan, it is possible to switch to the 2.1 game mechanics in the Saturn and PC ports, however none of the other features are updated. This version was also released in the Sega Ages 2500 series.
The arcade version was well received. The January 1995 issue of Computer and Video Games gave the arcade version a score of 93%. The February 1995 issue of Future Publishing's Ultimate Future Games magazine gave the arcade game a score of 95%, describing it as "quite possibly the best thing ever." They praised the graphics, noting they are better than the original Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA, and stated that it is "finally approaching a photographic quality" and "the backgrounds are the lushest we've ever seen." They also praised the gameplay, noting new moves, new characters such as "the Drunken Master" Shun Di, and "overhauled and improved" older characters, resulting in "a much better balance." They criticized the price of £1 per play but stated it is "the best beat 'em up £1 can get you at the moment." They concluded that Sega AM2 as "the most innovative and technically brilliant design team in the world" and that Virtua Fighter 2 is "the best combat game of all."
For the Saturn version, 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 best-selling Saturn game in Japan, with 1.7 million copies sold. In addition, it sold over 500,000 copies in the United States, adding up to over 2.2 million units sold in Japan and the United States.
The Saturn port of Virtua Fighter 2 received positive reviews. In Japan, among Famitsu 's panel of four reviewers, one gave it 9 out of 10, while the other three each gave it a full 10 out of 10, adding up to a near-perfect overall score of 39 out of 40. This made it one of the magazine's three highest-rated games up until 1995, along with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Ridge Racer Revolution. In Europe, the December 1995 issue of Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 98% score, 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. The January 1996 issue of Computer and Video Games (published in December 1995) gave the Saturn version ratings of 95% for graphics, 98% animation, 90% music, 93% sound effect, 98% gameplay, and 97% value, with a 97% score overall. They stated that it is "the greatest arcade game ever" and "now the greatest console game ever made." They concluded that it is the "singlemost incredible happening in the console industry yet" and that it "rules."
In North America, the January 1996 issue of Next Generation gave the Saturn version a perfect score of 5 out of 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." In its January 1996 issue, Game Informer's Reiner, Andy and Paul gave it scores of 8.75, 8.5 and 9 out of 10, respectively, adding up to 26.25 out of 30. They praised Virtua Fighter 2 for its depth and variety, but criticized inferior background details in the Saturn port, while Paul felt that the original Virtua Fighter required more strategy. In its February 1996 issue, the four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly felt the port was not as arcade perfect as it could have been, but highly praised the wealth of options and modes, with two of their reviewers declaring it by far the best fighting game on the Saturn thus far. Two of the reviewers gave it 8.5 out of 10, while the other two gave it 8 out of 10, adding up to 33 out of 40 overall, or 8.25 out of 10 average. In 2004, 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."
GameSpot gave the PC version an 8.1 out of 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."
In Japan, the arcade version won several Gamest Awards, including Game of the Year, Best Fighting Game, and Best Graphics. It was also nominated for the awards of Best Director, for which it came 6th place, and Best VGM, for which it came 3rd place.
It has been listed among the best games of all time by various publications. Next Generation ranked it the 6th best game of all time in 1996, and the 8th best game in 1999. Electronic Gaming Monthly ranked it the 79th best game of all time in 1997, the 59th best in 2001, and 37th in 2006. IGN ranked it the 68th best game of all time in 2003, Famitsu ranked it the 47th best in 2006, and Stuff ranked it 89th in 2008. Virtua Fighter 2 was also ranked as the 19th best arcade game of the 1990s by Complex in 2013.
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