Virtua Fighter 3

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Virtua Fighter 3
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Sega AM2
Genki (Dreamcast)
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Daichi Katagiri
Producer(s) Yu Suzuki
Designer(s) Kazuhiro Izaki
Programmer(s) Tetsuya Kaku
Composer(s) Takenobu Mitsuyoshi
Fumio Ito
Hidenori Syoji
Series Virtua Fighter
Platform(s) Arcade, Dreamcast
Release date(s) Arcade
September 1996[1]
September 1997 (Team Battle)
Dreamcast (Team Battle)
  • JP November 27, 1998
  • EU October 14, 1999
  • NA October 18, 1999
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Model3 Step1.0
CPU PowerPC 603e[2]
Sound 68EC000: 44.1 KHz[2]
SCSP: 16-bit, 64-voice, 4-channel[2]
Display Horizontally oriented, Resolution: 640x480, Z-buffer, non-interlaced[2]

Virtua Fighter 3 (Japanese: バーチャファイター3 Hepburn: Bācha Faitā Surī?) is the third fighting game in the Virtua Fighter series. Two new Japanese characters were added to the roster of fighters: Aoi Umenokoji, a beautiful Japanese woman and a childhood friend of Akira Yuki who used a nimble form of Aiki-jujutsu as her fighting style of choice, and Taka-Arashi, a Sumo wrestler from Japan. Taka Arashi would not make another appearance in the Virtua Fighter series until Virtua Fighter 5 R; the series' current producer, Hiroshi Kataoka explained that the removal of Taka in subsequent installments was due to the technical implications of having a substantially larger character.[3] Taka had in fact nearly been cut from Virtua Fighter 3 due to difficulties with his jumping moves.[4]

It was the first arcade game to run on the Sega Model 3 system board. Computer and Video Games described the game's demo, unveiled in early March 1996, as "the most astounding display of video game graphic muscle ever in the history of this industry."[2] Sega had made several announcements that a port of the title would appear on the Sega Saturn. However, lagging sales and the coming launch of the more powerful Dreamcast effectively halted such a plan.

It can be assumed that had the game been released, it would have had significantly reduced graphics to accommodate the Saturn's weaker hardware. Other rumors suggest that the Saturn version might have had to accommodate a 3DFX-powered, Videologic PowerVR-powered, 3DO M2-powered or Lockheed Martin Real3D-powered upgrade card, in order to enable an 'enhanced' port of the game to run that would not have been possible on stock Saturn hardware.[5]


It was the launch title for the arcade board Model 3 from Sega. Developed by Yu Suzuki's Sega AM2, it was a revolutionary game from a technical standpoint, with its detailed graphics earning widespread praise from critics and gamers alike. Characters' eyes now appeared to track the opponent's position, their muscles could flex and relax, the fighting arenas featured stairs and slopes, and Dural, the robotic final boss, was made of a metallic surface that reflected the environment around it.

The gameplay also continued to innovate. This iteration was the first in the series to introduce undulation in the stages, such as a staircase in the Great Wall stage, a stage set on top of a sloping roof and interestingly a raft constructed of individually moving elements on a bobbing water surface.

However, the biggest addition came in the form of a fourth button, the Dodge, (the series had previously used only three - Kick, Punch and Guard), which was used to evade enemy attacks. By pressing the button with the joystick in neutral, your character would move into the screen (i.e. away from you), by pressing the button with the joystick held up the same would happen, but by pressing the button with the joystick held down, your character would move out of the screen (i.e. towards you).

This 'evasion' technique enabled players to dodge incoming attacks, creating opportunities to counter-attack almost immediately. Virtua Fighter veterans were at first resistant to this change, but were soon won-over with the extra strategy and freneticism it added to bouts. The evasion feature would later be used in other 3D fighting games as the 'sidestep' feature.

Virtua Fighter 3 proved to be a success in the Japanese arcades. A Sega Saturn port was announced, but the Saturn's hardware could not handle the game and the graphics were forced to be reduced. While both Virtua Fighter 3 and the Sega Saturn were popular in Japan at the time, the Saturn failed to grab market share outside of Japan and Sega's support shifted to a new console (the Dreamcast).


Virtua Fighter 3tb[edit]

(Team Battle) is an update version of Virtua Fighter 3, that featured battles between teams of various fighters, one after another is defeated. This "team battle" version was later released on Sega's Dreamcast console, being one of its launch games, becoming one of the best-selling Dreamcast games in Japan. Virtua Fighter 3 was intended to be a launch title for the Dreamcast in North America, but it was delayed. Although it did eventually come to North America, it wasn't nearly as successful as it was in Japan. This may have been because Soulcalibur (which had dazzling visuals at the time) had arguably claimed to be the Dreamcast's staple fighter in North America.


Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 2.5/5 stars[6](DC)
Edge 8/10 (DC)[7]
Gamespot 8.2/10[8](DC)

Virtua Fighter 3 has received positive reviews from critics. Edge gave the game an 8/10, stating "Bouts take place atop sloping downtown rooftops and on flights of steps, in the lapping waters of a desert island and on the Great Wall of China...But Virtua Fighter has grown into a highly technical game since the inception of the series in 1993, resulting in the uneven floors of the third game affecting the movement and attacks of the characters...Where once Tekken's approachable 'one button for each limb' system seemed the way forward for the genre, it limits interaction in a true three-dimensional space. VF's alternative, with buttons for punch, kick, defend and dodge, while perhaps not offering the same scope for multiple attack movements, allows you to control the characters with unrivalled grace."[7] Gamespot's James Mielke praised the game, awarding it 8.2/10, saying "Virtua Fighter fans will find all they need neatly wrapped in this package".[8] Allgame's Cal Nguyen, however, compared the game unfavorably with Soul Calibur.[6]


Returning Characters[edit]

New Characters[edit]


  1. ^ YuSuzuki_Profile_Japanese.pdf
  2. ^ a b c d e "News: Virtua Fighter 3". Computer and Video Games (174): 10–1. May 1996. 
  3. ^ Sega-AM2 Interview: Virtua Fighter 5
  4. ^ "Virtua Fighter 3 Hot News!". Sega Saturn Magazine (2) (Emap International Limited). December 1995. p. 8. 
  5. ^ IGN: Miyamoto Opens the Vault
  6. ^ a b Nguyen, Cal. "Virtua Fighter 3tb - Review". Allgame. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Edge Staff (1998-12-23). "Virtua Fighter 3TB Review". Edge Online. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  8. ^ a b Mielke, James. "Virtua Fighter 3tb Review". Gamespot. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 

External links[edit]