19 years ago, SEGA stunned the world when it released Virtua Figher, the first ever 3D beat-em-up, to arcades. With unprecidented graphics and a realism unseen in fighting games at the time, due to each character having his own fighting style, Virtua Fighter soon became a smash hit, and home versions soon followed.
Whilst the Saturn version came out first, and is the release alluded to in our preview paragraph, we're actually going to focus on Virtua Fighter 32X, regarded by many to be the best of all of the home console ports, in spite of its lower graphical quality. Indeed, the gameplay in VF32X is a lot more fluid compared to the Saturn version, and is therefore a lot more fun to play.
Virtua Fighter featured a roster of 8 characters, 9 if you include the final boss Dural, and as stated above, each character featured their own fighting style, which at the time was unheard of (OK, Jacky and Sarah shared a style, and Dural mimicked other fighters, but shhh....) The styles ranged from Jeet Kune Do to Karate to even professional wrestling, with most of the styles becoming genre standards in later fighting series.
The shift into a 3D plane also meant that there was an extra way to win fights. Along with beating seven shades out of your opponent, or beating more shades out of them than they had beaten out of you, you could also push them out of the arena! Fights were staged on a raised platform, and moving too close to the edge could prove costly as even the slightest nudge would send you tumbling to the floor.
Unfortunately for us SEGA fans, Virtua Fighter only had 12 months in the 3D limelight before Namco came along and spoiled the party with Tekken, especially as that game eventually won a Guiness World Record for First 3D Fighting Game! Grr...
Let's end on a high note. My favourite characters were Kage and Jacky. Yours?
Requests between 10th Mar and 17th Mar