Virtua Fighter 3tb
Way back before GameFabrique was created, I remember playing the original Virtua Fighter in a pizza place. I thought it was the coolest game I had ever seen. I did not play it much but I knew that it was revolutionary. Then, along came the , with exclusive rights to Virtua Fighter. It seems like just yesterday that I was faced with the tough decision of choosing to buy a Saturn so I could have VF or taking a chance on the new kid on the block with the Playstation. After a very painstaking process, I finally decided that I had given Sega enough of my money already (Sega CD, 32X) and that I would forgo VF for the likes of . Obviously I made the right choice, but the Virtua Fighter series carried on without me. I have not touched a VF game since my days in the pizza place. My, how the times have changed.
Since I have not played any of the later VF arcade games, I will judge Virtua Fighter 3tb on its merits as a console game, not as an arcade port. Also, since I have not followed the series, I can only assume that all of the old favorite characters are in this game. There are 13 different fighting stages with 10 of the classic characters plus two new ones. This game is no pushover when it comes to fighting styles so you will need to come with your best techniques if you care to progress.
I am not the biggest fan of fighting games. There, I said it. I don't know what it is about them but I grow bored rather quickly with them. With that being said, I still know what makes a good fighting game and what is not so good. This game has some things that make up a good fighter and other things that really frustrate me and make me not want to play it. I will start with the good and then let you in on what I did not like.
One of the best parts of this game is the level of challenge it provides. As you progress through the different stages, the game gets downright tough to win. You should breeze through the first couple of fights but then you had better know what you are doing or else you will not stand a chance. This is one of the things that kept me playing. Games that are too easy are no fun and games that are too tough are not fun either. VF 3tb manages to find that perfect mix of challenge and skill required to win.
Another thing that I liked about the game was that the fighting style was more realistic than most fighting games. There are no weapons, projectiles, 40-hit combos or over the top moves. Everything is pretty controlled and realistic. Okay, there are a few moves that would not be possible to ever pull off in real life but the point is that instead of trying to make the game action arcade centered, they chose to make more skill based which was a nice change.
Speaking of being skill based, you had better learn all of the moves in this game. If you try to come out swinging, you will not last long. The game has a punch, kick, evade and guard button and you will find yourself using the evade and guard buttons if you want to win anything. This is a big difference from most other fighting games out there and it was a nice change. This game takes more thinking and planning than any other fighting game I have played. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of all out, button-mashing, battles that take place but there is also much more strategy involved.
The last thing that I thought was a neat touch was the different environments you can fight in. Instead of just fighting on a level surface, some of the environments have different elevations, which completely changes your fighting style. For example, one level has stairs and you can actually walk up the stairs while fighting. That means one of the fighters will be higher up than the other. It was amazing how this one little detail completely changed the fighting style. Nice touch. Okay, so what did I not like about the game? Well, first and foremost, it felt slow to me. I would hit buttons or try to move and it would just feel sluggish. One of the most important aspects to a fighting game to me is the reaction time between button presses and execution. I can't really describe it more than just to say that the game feels slow compared to other fighting games on the market.
My other complain with the game is that it just does not add anything new to the fighting genre. While I have not played the other VF games, I have played just about every fighting game on the PSX and aside from the better graphics, this game does not really offer anything that has not already been done before it. Fighting games have been done so many times that I feel if you don't have anything new to bring to the table, don't bother.
This game is definitely not the best looking fighter on the Dreamcast (that honor goes to Soul Calibur) but it does a respectable job. The backgrounds and fighting environments all look pretty good. The fighters do look a little blocky at times but the facial features are all very clear and they have great animations. There are plenty of neat little touches like hair that flies around when you get hit or flowing water that you can fight in. There is also a neat history video that chronicles the history of the Virtua Fighter series. It is cool to watch, even if just to see how far the games have come from that original game.
If you are a fan of the series or if you love fighting games, you will get more out of this game than casual fighting fans. The sluggish feel of the game was a turn off to me. Oh yeah, the game also does not support the use of the analog control stick. What is up with that? On the bright side, the game will offer up some challenging gameplay. You will not finish it in a single evening, that is for sure. I suggest renting it to see if the fighting style fits your gaming style.