Sunday, 18 December 2011

Virtua Fighter (32X)

It's Virtua Fighter, the first 3d fighting game to ever hit arcades! Though I'll be playing the 32X port that came out two years later. Not really as impressive.

I'm sure I've played this one before, I just don't remember... well, anything about it. It's really my not my genre but I'll give it shot. I already like the music. "Get get down, get down, get get down, get down."

Whoa, what is wrong with your face? I understand they only have limited polygons to work with, but it looks like they've carved his head out of a tree. With an axe.

Hmm, he works as a cook and his hobby is poetry. If this was Virtua Chef  or Recital Kombat I would definitely consider choosing him, but for a fighting tournament I think I might be better going with someone else.

I don't know what you're grinning about mate, you could use a little Gouraud shading yourself.

Job: Kung Fu Teacher.
Hobby: Kung Fu.

Hmm, I think I've found my guy.

There's no messing around with cutscenes or even the slightest explanation about why kung fu teachers are beating up chefs here, I'm just dumped straight into the gameplay. Which works fine for me.

My opponent for this fight shall be Jacky Bryant. He's an IndyCar racer, his blood type is A and his hobby is training. Okay Jacky, lets see what you've got.

Right, let's try this again.

The game is actually pretty slick and playable for such an early polygon fighter. Despite the 3d graphics, it seems to be firmly 2d in gameplay. If there's some way for me to dodge around into the third dimension then I haven't found it yet.

I managed to get a couple of hits in near the end. Maybe I'm actually getting the hang of it now.

It seems that the game uses three buttons: block, punch and kick, and no amount of button mashing is making my guy do a hadouken. On the plus side the other guy isn't throwing any fireballs my way either. The game seems pretty down to earth in general.

The original arcade version released two years earlier in 1993 does look a lot better, (y'know... relatively speaking) with higher detail models, a higher res, and fluffier clouds. But otherwise the 32X version seems like a pretty solid port. The Saturn and PC ports are closer to the original though.

YES, round two is mine!

Okay Akira, calm down mate. Your expression is kinda creeping me out right now.

Without an understanding of the more advanced techniques, or even the basics, I'm forced to rely on my experience and instincts.

So I hammer buttons until the other guy falls over.

I don't know why you're looking so damn pleased with yourself Akira, that was only the first opponent and you nearly lost.

This is Jeffry Mcwild. He's a fisherman, his blood type is A, and his hobby is reggae music.

Fresh from my victory over Jacky, I face my new opponent with renewed optimism and steely determination.

And then he destroys me.

C'mon man, I keep hitting you, so why won't you go down?

Jeffry hits like a truck, tearing out chunks of my health bar with each punch. I've been lucky so far this round, but it won't last. I need to land a few more hits on him, fast.

Okay that's just embarrassing. With less than an eighth of a health bar remaining he turned the tables on me and in ten seconds he'd won the match.

I still got another hit or two on him though, for all the good it did me.

I think I'll just lie here for a while and contemplate my failure.

Well I could go back and face Jeffry again... but look at all these other modes I can try out instead! 'Arcade' is the single player game I was just playing, 'Vs' is for two player. But what's 'Ranking mode'?

Ranking mode seems a lot like Arcade mode so far.

Yeah, this is all pretty familiar. Damn you Jeffry!

Though at least now I've learned I can win by pushing opponents out of the ring.

Oh I see, this mode gives me a certificate at the end showing just how badly Jeffry kicked my ass. Shame I don't know how to do throws.

Okay, the last mode on the menu screen is 'Tournament', which seems to be exactly what you'd expect, an 8 player tournament with the AI filling in for any slot not taken by a human player.

It's got a surprising amount of different outfits for each character, but it doesn't show the character stats any more. How the hell am I supposed to know what Sarah's blood type and hobbies are now?

It's put me against myself? Well as long as I'm not against Jeffry I can live with that.

It seems I have to sit through all the AI vs AI fights too. Wait, Pai (action star, blood type O, hobby: dancing) took down Jeffry? Interesting.

Okay, I have a cunning plan. I've started on Arcade mode again, only this time I've adjusted the ring size in the options to be comically small. Now I'm playing as a character I've seen take down Jeffry in an arena so small I'd only need a few hits to push him out.

My victory is all but assured.


Son of a bitch! 0.97 of a second.

You know, despite the graphics this does seem like a pretty competent fighting game. I'm sure someone with more aptitude for the genre could still find some fun in it. But I'm limping off to find something else to play.

1 comment:

  1. The Saturn version looked closer to the arcade but was a total mess in motion, with the edges of the arena popping in and out of existence and the fighters' arms and legs constantly clipping through each other. It was bad enough that Sega sent the improved "Remix" version to Saturn owners at no charge (actually you didn't even have to prove you owned a Saturn--I somewhat shamefully admit that I requested and received a copy years before I finally picked up the console to play it on).


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