Virtua Fighter (video game)

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For the series, see Virtua Fighter (series).
Virtua Fighter
North American arcade flyer of Virtua Fighter.
North American arcade flyer of Virtua Fighter.
Developer(s) Sega AM2
Sega-AM1 (Remix)
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Yu Suzuki
Producer(s) Yu Suzuki
Designer(s) Seiichi Ishii
Programmer(s) Toru Ikebuchi
Composer(s) Takayuki Nakamura
Series Virtua Fighter
Platform(s) Arcade, Saturn, 32X, R-Zone, Windows
Release date(s) Arcade
October 1993[1]
April 1995 (Remix)
  • JP November 22, 1994
  • NA May 11, 1995
  • EU July 8, 1995
  • JP July 14, 1995 (Remix)
  • NA October 2, 1995 (Remix)
  • EU October 27, 1995 (Remix)
  • JP October 20, 1995
  • NA October 10, 1995
  • EU November 30, 1995
Windows 95 (Remix)
  • NA August 31, 1996
  • EU 1996
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Upright
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 created 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 platforms, including the Sega Saturn, Sega 32X and Microsoft Windows. It was a launch game for the Saturn,[2] and served as the pack-in launch game in North America.[3] The game is highly regarded for its in-depth fighting engine and real world fighting techniques, and was considered revolutionary upon release.


Lau Chan vs. Jacky Bryant (arcade)

The Virtua label indicates that the onscreen action takes place in 3D. The images were created using wireframe and flat-shaded quads. Beyond 3D, it retained the staple of multiple characters, each with their own distinctive moves.

In single player mode, 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.

Unlike other fighting games of the early 1990s (such as Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat), the game relies 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.


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 32X version of the game was developed by the same team responsible for the Genesis port of Virtua Racing.[4]


Virtua Fighter Remix[edit]

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 United States via mail.[5] 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[edit]

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.[6] 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.


Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 5/5 stars[7]
CVG 95%[8]
Edge 9 / 10[9]
EGM 31.5 / 40[10]
Famitsu 36 / 40[11]
GamePro 5 / 5[12]
GamesMaster 96%[13]
Maximum 5/5 stars[14]
Mean Machines 96%[15]
Mega 97%[16]
Sega Power 97%[17]
Sega Saturn Magazine 5/5 stars[18]
Sega Saturn Tsūshin 38 / 40[19]
Ultimate Future Games 96%[20]
Publication Award
Gamest Awards (1994)[21] 3rd Best Game of the Year,
3rd Best Fighting Game,
6th Best Graphics
Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1UP,[22] Famitsu,[23]
Computer Gaming World[24]
Best Games of All Time
GameSpot,[25] 1UP[26] Most Influential Games of All Time

In an early preview of the arcade game, the October 1993 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly hailed Virtua Fighter as a demonstration of "just how far video games have come in the last eight years." EGM made particular note of the advanced graphics, how the camera moves along different axes depending on the fighters' location, the use of multiple viewpoints in the instant replay, the high quality of the gameplay, and the smoothness and realism of the animation.[27]

It went on to become one of the highest-grossing arcade games of all time in Japan.[28] 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.[29]

On release of the Saturn version, Sega Saturn Tsūshin scored the game a 38 out of 40.[19] Famicom Tsūshin would score the same version a 36 out of 40 five months later.[11] In a review of the Japanese release, GamePro praised the retention of the fighters, moves, varying camera angles, and controls of the arcade version, as well as the improved voice and sound effects and home version options, and concluded it to be "one of the best games ever bundled with a system".[30] Their later review of the North American release was similarly laudatory, but remarked that Tekken and Battle Arena Toshinden for the soon-to-launch PlayStation were even better.[12]

Maximum gave it five out of five stars, calling it "a stunningly close conversion that is quite possibly the best game available for the machine." They remarked that the innovations such as the 3D motion capture remained impressive, as well as the depth and variety of the character's gameplay application: "every fighter has almost limitless scope for coming up with all-new attacks." They also praised the "very clever mixture of superbly exaggerated sound effects coupled with a tangible, realistic impact for every blow."[14] Electronic Gaming Monthly were more subdued in their reaction, but two of their four reviewers commented that it was nearly identical to the arcade version. They scored it 31.5 out of 40 (average 7.875 out of 10).[10] 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".[9]

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.[18] Electronic Gaming Monthly scored Remix 29 out of 40 (average 7.25 out of 10). 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.[31] Maximum likewise praised the quality of the game and its low price tag, but felt it was not worth buying with the release of the even better Saturn conversion of Virtua Fighter 2 less than a month away. They scored it 4 out of 5 stars.[32] Famicom Tsūshin scored the Virtua Fighter Remix version of the game a 35 out of 40,[33] and the Sega 32X version of the game a 30 out of 40.[34]

Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the 32X version 30.5 out of 40 (average 7.625 out of 10), 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.[35] GamePro also noted that the 32X version suffers from more slowdown and fewer polygons than the Saturn version, as well as "tinny sound quality", but praised the additional options not included on the Saturn version and rated it as an overall strong port. They scored it 4.5 out of 5.[36]


Virtua Fighter dispensed with sprite-based graphics, 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 in three dimensions, and a dynamic camera that could zoom, pan, and swoop dramatically around the arena. It has been credited with both introducing and popularizing the use of polygon-based graphics in fighting games.[37][38][39] 1UP listed it as one of the 50 most important games of all time. They credited Virtua Fighter for creating the 3D fighting game genre, and more generally, demonstrating the potential of 3D polygon human characters (as the first to implement them in a useful way), showing the potential of realistic gameplay (introducing a character physics system and realistic character animations), and introducing fighting game concepts such as the ring-out and the block button.[26]

A journalist commented in Electronic Gaming Monthly that, at a time when fighting games were becoming increasingly focused on violence and shock value, the popularity of Virtua Fighter demonstrated that fighting games focused on gameplay were still commercially viable.[38] Game designer Yasuyuki Oda remarks being impressed by this video game while working for SNK.[40]

Some of the Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) staff involved in the creation of the original PlayStation video game console credit Virtua Fighter as inspiration for the PlayStation's 3D graphics hardware. According to SCE's former producer Ryoji Akagawa and chairman Shigeo Maruyama, the PlayStation was originally being considered as a 2D focused hardware, and it wasn't until the success of Virtua Fighter in the arcades that they decided to design the PlayStation as a 3D focused hardware.[41] Toby Gard also cited Virtua Fighter as an influence on the use of polygon characters, and the creation of Lara Croft, in Tomb Raider.[42] The game made a cameo appearance in the anime series Ben-To.


  1. ^ "Megadrive Review: Virtua Racing". Mean Machines (19): 48–50. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Sega's Saturn Launched in Japan". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (65): 60. December 1994. 
  3. ^ "Sega Hopes to Run Rings Around the Competition with Early Release of the Saturn". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (72): 30. July 1995. 
  4. ^ "Virtua Short Stories". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 117. October 1995. 
  5. ^ Kalinske, Tom (October 1995). "Saturn Savaged on the Net: Tom Kalinske Strikes Back". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 115. 
  6. ^ "Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary Hits Japan". IGN. Ziff Davis. 10 October 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Edge Staff (1994-12-22). "Virtua Fighter Review". Edge Online. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  10. ^ a b "Review Crew: Virtua Fighter". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (72): 38. July 1995. 
  11. ^ a b 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.
  12. ^ a b "ProReview: Virtua Fighter". GamePro (IDG) (83): 48. August 1995. 
  13. ^ GamesMaster, episode 73 (series 4, episode 11), November 29, 1994
  14. ^ a b "Virtua Fighter". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 142–3. October 1995. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Mega, issue 29, pages 38-41
  17. ^ Sega Power, issue 63, pages 14-15
  18. ^ a b "Review: Virtua Fighter Remix + CG Portrait Collection". Sega Saturn Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 94. November 1995. 
  19. ^ a b SegaSaturn GameCross Review: バーチャファイター. Sega Saturn Tsūshin. No.1. Pg.6. 2 December 1994.
  20. ^ Ultimate Future Games, issue 3, pages 78-81
  21. ^ "第8回ゲーメスト大賞". GAMEST (in Japanese) (136): 40. 
  22. ^ "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. February 6, 2006. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  23. ^ Edge Staff (March 3, 2006). "Japan Votes on All Time Top 100". Edge / Famitsu. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b "Classic's Essential 50". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Virtua Fighters". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (51): 66. October 1993. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ "Saturn ProReview: Virtua Fighter". GamePro (IDG) (68): 31. March 1995. 
  31. ^ "Virtua Fighter Remix Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (76): 46. November 1995. 
  32. ^ "Maximum Reviews: Virtua Fighter Remix". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (2): 143. November 1995. 
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: バーチャファイター. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.358. Pg.30. 27 October 1995.
  35. ^ "Virtua Fighter Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (75): 36. October 1995. 
  36. ^ "ProReview: Virtua Fighter". GamePro (IDG) (86): 66. November 1995. 
  37. ^ "Virtua Racing – Arcade (1992)". 15 Most Influential Games of All Time. GameSpot. 2001. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  38. ^ a b "Future Fights: A Looking Glass into Tomorrow's Fighting Games". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (68): 91–93. March 1995. 
  39. ^ "Tekken 2". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 21. October 1995. At the end of 1993, the genre was re-defined by Sega's Virtua Fighter, which introduced stunningly animated 3D polygon fighters that greatly excited arcade gamers. 
  40. ^ "『ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ XIV』プロデューサーインタビュー! 最新作は新旧スタッフが総力を挙げて開発(1/2)". Famtisu. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  41. ^ Feit, Daniel (2012-09-05). "How Virtua Fighter Saved PlayStation's Bacon". Wired. Retrieved 2014-10-09. Ryoji Akagawa: If it wasn't for Virtua Fighter, the PlayStation probably would have had a completely different hardware concept. 
  42. ^ "BBC News - NEW MEDIA - Q&: The man who made Lara". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 

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