VIRTUA FIGHTER | SEGA AM2 | 1994

Virtua Fighter

The name Virtua is synonymous with SEGA's. Virtua Fighter (VF), created by the now legendary AM2 Department once headed by Yu Suzuki (famous for titles such as Space Harrier and Outrun) is stooped in gaming history as well as a critical part of SEGA's internal and troubled politics.

The game was right at the forefront of the (then) new 32-Bit era. It was the first ever fully 3D fighting game to be created featuring polygonal combatants. These characters used a variety of authentic fighting styles ranging from Kung-Fu to professional wrestling.

The release of Virtua Fighter in the arcades created an innovative and incredibly popular franchise that still continues to this day. Fighting purists believe the VF series is the best fighting series ever with the deep sophistication of the fighting engine.

This particular game also has the prestige of being the first ever Saturn game being an arcade perfect port that launched SEGA's 32-Bitter in all regions.

Virtua Fighter European Case
Virtua Fighter Case Scan Virtua Fighter Case Scan

Case Quote

"Sega Saturn unleashes the state--of-the-art fighting simulator that rocked the arcade world! With all 700+ special arcade moves, al 9 polygon based fighters, super-smooth sprite scaling and ground breaking 3D graphics, Virtua Fighter is the fastest, most awesome punch'em up EVER!"


Click on the images for larger versions.

HISTORY

AM2

Virtua Fighter started in 1992 when AM2 began to use polygons in their games to create a formula one simulator called Virtua Racing. Afterwards, the technology was extended to create a fighting simulator. Because of the technology of the time, the MODEL 1 arcade Board, each character was limited to 1200 polygons which gave them their 'boxed' look.

SEGA Model 1 Arcade Board

Model 1 Arcade Board

Virtua Racing Arcade

Virtua Racing Arcade

VF was released in the arcades in November 1993 to much wonderment. The power of the (then) state-of-the-art Model 1 arcade board blew everybody away showcasing full screen, full colour, fully rendered 3D graphics all moving in real-time. It was the most revolutionary fighting game since Street Fighter 2.

As well as graphics, VF concentrated on representing fighting techniques accurately and implemented a physics engine never before seen. When a character was hit a certain way, they fell a certain way.

Nobody had really cared about arcade hardware before Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter came along. In the following months VF would become the holy grail of fighting games.

Other games bearing the Virtua prefix include, Virtua Racing, Virtua Cop, Virtua Striker, Virtua Tennis and Virtua Athlete.

Destination: Saturn

The announcement of the SEGA Saturn console came the month after VF hit the arcades. SEGA let it be known that ports of both Virtua Racing and especially Virtua Fighter were in the works for their new console. This made perfect sense since the arcade version was so hugely popular.

SEGA Saturn (Japanese Logo)

The Saturn launched in Japan 22ndNovember 1994 along with Virtua Fighter. On launch day Japanese gamers queued for insane amounts of time to be able to take this game home.

Within 2 days over 250,000 Saturn's had been sold with an almost equal number of copies of VF. It single handily carried the console for the first six months despite the launch of the Playstation a week later.

Virtua Fighter Attract Video (Saturn)
Virtua Fighter Demo

Virtua Fighter Attract Video

There were, however, some problems in porting VF to the Saturn. The complexity of the new console (which plagued the system for its entire life) was the major issue and the need to rush the game to meet the console's launch date did not help either. As such it exhibited some problems...

Ultimately, this led to the development of the SEGA Graphics Library created almost a year later which without it there would never have been a conversion of Virtua Fighter 2 amongst other titles.

VF on the Saturn was a virtually perfect port replicating everything from the arcade, graphics included. The flat-shaded polygons had quickly been surpassed by this time with smoother looking texture mapped ones. This soon became an issue when placed against other games.

Virtua Fighter Remix was released several months later. It was merely a graphical overhaul but addressed problems of the original title. These were flickering polygons, the dropping of some surfaces and sometimes bad responsiveness.

This followed on the heel of the arcade release of the sequel Virtua Fighter 2 on the new MODEL 2 arcade board creating a new revolution in graphics and the next instalment in one of SEGA's biggest franchises.

STORY

The Imperial Guar of China developed a powerful Kung Fu technique known as Hakkyoku Ken (the Eight Point Fist). It won great admiration and many followers. Around the time of the second world war. The Japanese army created their own version of the Hakkyoku Ken technique in order to create the ultimate fighting force.

150 years have since passed and the only practicing master is a young man named Akira Yuki. On a personal quest he sets off around the world to find enlightenment and worthy opponents.

He encounters several in the World Fighting Tournament. The strongest have gathered to determine who is supreme in the art of hand-to-hand combat. Any and all methods of fighting are allowed as long as contestants only use their bodies.

After weeks of contests only 7 fighters remain. Jacky Byrant and sister Sarah both skilled in Sekken Do, Lau Chan and daughter Pai masters in their own variant of Kung Fu, Jeffry McWild master of the violent Greek style of Pancratium, Wolf Hawkfield a ruthless professional wrestler and the mysterious Kagemaru with his unique techniques.

All eight of these fighters have arrived to test their methods and their might against each other. Who will stand victorious?

GAMEPLAY

Virtua Fighter is all about realism. There are no fireballs, weapons or 100-hit combos. Focus is placed on the fighting techniques of each of the characters. Each character has 100's of moves that can be performed. Whilst this sounds complicated the gameplay is very simple.

Virtua Fighter

As with all fighting games, the goal is to simply knock your opponent out within a time limit. In VF, this can be done in just a few seconds if you know what you are doing.

Virtua FighterVirtua Fighter

On the screen are both characters energy bars, the timer for the round, the number of victories and the total time a player has been in the game.

If both characters are still standing when time has run out then the player with the most energy wins that round. If you manage to knock your opponent out without taking any damage then an "excellent!" is yours.

You can loose the round by either being knocked/falling out of the ring which can be a hazard when fighting more tactical rounds. A short replay is also played after each win. It is also possible to draw a round.

Generally, a match is the best of 3 rounds. You can change this number in the games options. If you loose a match then the game will be over. You can continue where you left off by pressing START. You can also select a different character.

Whilst the game contains a vast amount of moves it utilises a simple control system.

VF can be played with a standard controller or for the real arcade experience the Virtua Stick. Default controls are:

Virtua Stick

Virtua Stick

Default controls are:

The D-Pad or arcade stick moves your character around the screen/arena. A single push in a direction is a quick step. Pressing forward twice will make your character run in that direction. Pressing DOWN will make your character crouch. Pressing UP will make your character jump.

Button A is defend.
Button B is Punch.
Button C is Kick.
L trigger has no use.
R trigger has no use.

Buttons X,Y and Z generally have no use but can be assigned as buttons for combinations. These are set up in the games options. (Camera Change only in 32X version)

Throw moves are generally performed (except for Akira) by pressing DEFEND and ATTACK (A+B) when in close quarters.

A medium level kick is done by holding diagonally DOWN-FORWARD and pressing KICK (DF+C).

Stomp/Dive attack on an opponent lying on the floor is performed by pressing UP and ATTACK (UP+B).

Attack buttons pressed in rapid succession will create flurries. Combine these with directional movements for different attacks. Directional movements can be single direction presses (taps) such as forwards or back or a degree of motion (roll) around the D-Pad. For example, rolling from backwards to forwards (1800).

Combinations of buttons will also produce different moves. Generally Buttons A+C will produce a power move. Again combine these with directional movements for more moves.

When knocked to the floor you can speed up the time your character makes it back to their feet (recover) by rapidly pressing the D-Pad LEFT and RIGHT. This is important since opponents can still attack you when you are down mostly by diving on you.

Virtua Fighter

There are variations to recovery:

Holding the direction away from opponents will make your character roll backwards.

Pressing DEFEND rapidly 3 times (e.g. A,A,A) will make your character roll away to the side.

Pressing UP makes your character flip to their feet.

You can also perform recovery and launch immediately into a kick.

Pressing KICK rapidly 3 times (e.g. C,C,C) will bring your character to their feet with a high or vertical kick.

Holding DOWN and pressing KICK rapidly 3 times (e.g. C,C,C) brings your character up with a sweep kick.

Pressing DEFEND then KICK (e.g. A then C) when your character is completely on the ground will make them roll away to the side with a sweep kick.

The art to VF is linking many moves together as well as use of defence. This takes practice since there are so many permutations with any character. Button mashers can have a degree of success, but not as much with other games.

The Fighters

There are 8 initial playable characters in the game each with their own arena along with Dural - a robot who is able to use all the moves of the other fighters.

Virtua Fighter Characters
Jacky Bryant Jeffry McWild Sarah Bryant Kage Maru Pai Chan Wolf Hawkfield Lau Chan Akira Yuki

Jacky Bryant

Jeffry McWild

Sarah Bryant

Kage Maru

Pai Chan

Wolf Hawkfield

Lau Chan

Akira Yuki

You will face them in this order:
Jacky Bryant
Jeffry McWild
Sarah Bryant
Kage Maru
Pai Chan
Wolf Hawkfield
Lau Chan
Akira Yuki
Dural

The Dural character is playable through a cheat. See Below.

3 Modes of play are on offer; Arcade, Vs Mode and Ranking.

In Arcade Mode you are simply pitched against each of the characters in order with an encounter with Dural as a bonus round.

A second player can interrupt a single player game at anytime by pressing START on controller two.

In addition to arcade mode you also have a Vs option and Ranking Mode. Vs mode simply pits one player against another. Matches with 2 experienced players can be brilliant. Obviously two controllers are needed.

Ranking Mode is unlocked when you complete the arcade mode and have defeated Dural. It plays the same as Arcade Mode but with a data sheet of your overall performance at the end. Use this to improve.

Vs Mode

Vs Mode

Ranking Mode

Ranking Mode

Game Options

Options Screen

VF offers several options to tweak the gameplay.

Life Gauge - adjust the size of your life gauge.

Match Point - specify how many points are needed to win a match.

Time Limit - Set the time limit of a round.

Enemy Level - Sets the difficulty level for arcade mode. Choices are easy or expert.

Continue - Toggle the ability to continue where you lost a match in arcade mode. Selecting OFF will return you to the title screen when you loose.

Sound Test, Voice Test, Music Test - Test the various pieces of audio in the game.

Record - See the stats of all the fighters in the game.

Pad Control - Allows you to customise your controls.

SCREENSHOTS / ARENAS

Each of the characters background story gives them a specific arena to brawl in.

Virtua Fighter (Saturn) Screenshots
Round 1 (Jacky) Round 2 (Jeffry)
Replay Round 3 (Sarah)
Round 4 (Jacky) Knockout!
Replay Round 5 (Jacky)
Ring Out Round 6 (Jacky)
Victory Round 7 (Jacky)
Round 8 (Akira) Bonus Stage (Dural)
Virtua Fighter Credits Virtua Fighter Credits

CHEATS AND TIPS

Option Plus

Extra Options: Change Ring Size and Stage Select

At the title when "Press Start" is flashing quickly press UP x12 times, then press START. Now enter the Options screen. You will hear a mighty "KO". Move down to EXIT and press Down. Finally, press Button A and a new screen will appear.

Easy Unlock Ranking Mode

At the title screen, press Down + Right + C + Y + L + R + Start.

Show Developer Names

To view the names of VF staff, hold L + R during the opening demo.

Play as Dural

At the character select screen, press Down, Up, Right, Left + A. If done correctly you will get a laser sound.

Add Dural to Records Screen and Vs. Mode

At the title screen, press Up 17 times, then Start. Now enter the Options screen. Dural's stats are now on the Records screen.

OTHER VERSIONS

Arcade Version

These are the arcade cabinets that VF came in. They are slightly different in appearance though essentially the same having an arcade stick and 3 buttons.

Virtua Fighter Arcade Cabinet Virtua Fighter Arcade Cabinet

More information about the actual Model 1 arcade board can be found at http://www.system16.com.

Virtua Fighter Remix

VF Remix was released during the development time of Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn. The flat-shaded polygons of VF, whilst a faithful replication of the arcade version, quickly looked dated and against the competing Playstation and looked primitive. SEGA concerned with the image of their new 32-Bit console graphically overhauled the game.

VF Remix essentially identical to the original except it utilises texture mapped characters instead of the flat shaded polygons. It also fixes several other issues found with the original such as graphical glitches.

Virtua Fighter Remix (Saturn)
Virtua Fighter Remix Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtua Fighter Remix Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtua Fighter Remix

It became bundled with the Saturn. It saw a very limited release in Europe and US where the game was free for a limited amount of time.

It has issues when booting with an Action Replay 4-in-1 cartridge too.

Virtua Fighter 32X

Virtua Fighter was also ported to the Mega Drive/Genesis 32X. This version is essentially same containing less sophisticated graphics and with extra tournament modes not found in the Saturn version. Ranking mode is also available without having to beat the game first.

Some consider this a better version because of the fewer bugs and the extra gameplay modes. It is best with a 6 button controller.

Virtua Fighter 32X
Virtua Fighter 32X Virtua Fighter 32X
Virtua Fighter 32X Case Virtua Fighter 32X Case

PC Versions

Virtua Fighter Remix and Virtua Fighter 2 were both ported to the PC under the SEGA PC brand and ran under Windows 95. Remix was renamed to Virtua Fighter PC.

Virtua Fighter PC Virtua Fighter PC Virtua Fighter PC
Virtua Fighter PC

Virtua Fighter PC

Virtua Fighter 2 (PC)

Virtua Fighter 2 (PC)

These can still be purchased online as a downloadable game.

A special version of Virtua Fighter appeared on the PC packed with the Diamond Edge video card which was one of the very first 3D accelerators. This particular card allowed the use of Saturn controllers on the PC.

Diamond Edge 3D

Diamond Edge 3D

8-Bit Versions

Virtua Fighter Animation was released on the Master System (Brazil) and Game Gear in 1996 and was basically a very simplistic game not having much in common with the original. Between the bouts cut scenes advance the games story almost like a comic book.

Virtua Fighter 8-Bit Versions
Virtua Fighter Animation Virtua Fighter Animation Virtua Fighter Mini

Master System

Master System

Game Gear

The Game Gear version also goes by the name Virtua Fighter Mini.

UPDATES AND SEQUELS

Below is a list of the major titles in the Virtua Fighter franchise in chronological order. The spin-off titles are also included.

Virtua Fighter 2

Virtua Fighter 2 was released in the arcades in 1994. It sparked a revolution in graphics to the point where it was doubted that it could even be possible on the Saturn. Nevertheless the Saturn version was released in 1995. Then in 1996, a very basic 2D version was released on the Mega Drive/Genesis.

Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter 2 Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

For the full low-down on Virtua Fighter 2, and the other versions of that game, check out the feature on this website.

Virtua Fighter Kids

Virtua Fighter Kids originally in the arcades in 1996 and ported to Saturn, takes the characters of Virtua Fighter 2 and turns them into Chibi's - a Japanese anime style that has small bodies, big heads with big eyes!

Virtua Fighter Kids
Virtua Fighter Kids (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter Kids (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn)

The arcade version is playable with the latest versions of MAME.

Virtual Fighter C.G Portrait Collection

This was a series of "art" applications where visuals and animations of a VF character are accompanied by Japanese pop music. There was a separate release for each character. They utilised the systems CD+G abilities. One was included with the PAL version of Virtua Fighter Remix as a bonus.

Virtua Fighter Portrait Series
Virtua Fighter Portrait Series Virtua Fighter Portrait Series (Jacky)

Virtua Fighter Portrait Series

Virtua Fighter Portrait Series - Jacky

Fighters Megamix

Fighters Megamix

Fighters Megamix, though not strictly a Virtua Fighter game, was a fusion of characters from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers (another AM2 fighting game) with obscure characters from Virtua Fighter Kids and even the Hornet from Daytona USA. It was released in the arcades and the Saturn in 1996. It was the first ever cross over fighting game like titles such as Capcom Vs SNK.

Fighters Megamix (Saturn)
Fighters Megamix (Saturn)
Fighters Megamix (Saturn)

Virtua Fighter 3

Virtua Fighter 3 and Virtua Fighter 3tb were released in the arcades on the Model 3 arcade board in 1996 and 1997 respectively. The "tb" refers to Team Battle and only this version was released on the Dreamcast and also as a launch title.

Virtua Fighter 3
Virtua Fighter 3tb (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 3tb (Arcade)

Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast)

Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast)

The console version of Virtua Fighter 3 was originally headed for Saturn. It was completed but the release cancelled at the very last moment in a totally bizarre turn of events. For more information about this take a look at SEGA History.

Virtua Fighter 4

Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2) European Case

Virtua Fighter 4 was released in the arcades on the Naomi 2 board 2001 and on the PS2 in 2002.

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (VF4E) was released in the arcades in 2003 and included 2 new characters as well as graphical enhancements, major and minor tweaks to the game and characters. VF4E is, in many ways, a whole new game. It was also ported to PS2 in 2004.

Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2)
Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2)
Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2)

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution also includes Virtua Fighter 10th anniversary mode that features all the characters of Evolution and places them in the flat-shaded polygon environment of the original. This feature was exclusive to the US version of VF4E but has been released as a separate game in Japan. SEGA Europe gave away a limited number of copies to select customers. For screenshots and movies checkout http://games.kikizo.com/news/200307/023.asp.

Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned was released in the arcades in 2005 as an upgrade to VF4E. It was not ported to any consoles.

Virtua Quest

Virtua Quest also known as Virtua Fighter RPG was released for the Game Cube in 2004 and the PS2 in 2005. It is a simplified RPG aimed at younger audience in a futuristic setting.

Virtua Fighter 5

Virtua Fighter 5 was released in the arcades in May 2006 running on the SEGA Lindbergh arcade board.

It was ported to PS3 and then later to Xbox 360 and that version saw a major free update which improved all aspects of online play, gameplay tweaks, new costumes as well as bug fixes.

Virtua Fighter 5 (European Case)
Virtua Fighter 5 (XBox 360)
Virtua Fighter 5 (XBox 360)
Virtua Fighter 5 (XBox 360)

Both versions got rave reviews.

There have seen several revisions and re-releases of VF5. The two major ones are VF5 R (which has not been ported to any consoles) and VF5: Final Showdown which has been released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2012.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown

SEGA has an official website at http://www.sega.co.uk/games/virtua-fighter-5-final-showdown/

EMULATOR COMPATIBILITY

Arcade Version - The best emulation can be done with MAME. There are graphical anomalies but the game is for the most part playable.

Saturn Version - Some Saturn emulators exist and VF can be played using the SSF Emulator.

Mega Drive 32X Version - The game is perfectly emulated using the Fusion or Gens emulators. These can download them from the [Mega Drive/Genesis Emulator] page.

The ROMs of these games may be found on various emulation websites.

MISC INFO

RELATED

SEGA Saturn Accessories Virtua Arcade Stick

SEGA Saturn Games Gallery

Virtua Fighter 2 Feature

Virtua Fighter 3tb Overview (Dreamcast)

LINKS

Virtua Fighter Moves List at Gamefaqs

http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/saturn/game/574017.html

VFDC

The latest in Virtua Fighter

http://virtuafighter.com

History of Virtua Fighter

An article describing all the games that have appearing in the Virtua Fighter series across all the platforms.

http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/august03/millennium/day1/

Virtua Fighter Series at 1-UP.

A more in-depth article about the game.

http://www.1up.com/features/5-cover-story?pager.offset=2


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