Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Canon Video Game Review: Virtua Fighter (32X)

I'm not the world's biggest fan of fighting games. The main reason is because I never was any good at them. While my brother and my friends would master games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, pulling off all of the combos and the fatalities and what not, I'd be struggling pulling off even the simplest combos, except for Scorpion's "get over here" move in Mortal Kombat. Other than that, I was lost.

I also am not the biggest fan of the Sega 32X. Then again, there are not very many fans of the 32X. In case you don't know, the 32X was an add-on for the Sega Genesis, with its own games and a 32-bit processor, meaning that in theory, it was twice as powerful as the 16-bit Genesis. The way it worked was that you would plug in an adapter to the back of the Genesis system, and then put the 32X into the Genesis in the slot where normally cartridges are put. If it sounds complicated, well, that's because it was. I remember back in 1996 or so, where we first bought a 32X from a music store in Commerce, GA. At first, it was kind of fun, particularly the game Doom. But it never really worked right, as we had problems after problems with the 32X. We'd go to different stores, trying to find another 32X, which by this point had become rare. We even went out and got a different Sega Genesis system just to get the 32X working properly. Eventually, we gave up on it, and my Dad went out and bought a PlayStation instead, which turned out to be the right move.

With all of that said, it was only natural that I would review Virtua Fighter, a game whose genre I'm not particularly a fan of, which was originally for a system that I came to despise. Released in 1995, Virtua Fighter is credited with being the first fighting game that used 3-D polygons. The game was originally released by Sega as an arcade game, and much like other arcade games like Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, the game was ported to other systems once it became popular. Virtua Fighter was ported for the Sega Saturn, as well as the 32X. I have decided to review the 32X version because, well, that's the one that's on my computer.

While the graphics for this game were considered revolutionary at the time of its release, they really don't hold up today. The characters are all blocky, and the fighting environments are flat and boring. Even 2D games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat had superior looking fighting environments. However, the animations are smooth, and there's not any issues with character movement or anything like that. The controls seem to be responsive enough, however, I was using a keyboard so it was hard to tell. There are eight different characters in this game. At first I chose Pai, mainly because she had on a silly hat, but I found her moveset hard to master. Then I went with the Australian fisherman Jeffry, and a was at least able to master a few of his big moves, like the power slam and the overhead gorilla press slam. There are a lot of different moves in Virtua Fighter, and unlike other fighting games at the time, there's nobody that shoots fire or ice or uses duplicity or anything of that sort. It's all hand to hand combat, making it a little more realistic than its competitors. The gameplay isn't bad at all, as it's quick paced and everything runs smoothly. The one problem I had was that each character had a vertical leap like Michael Jordan, and would seem to float in the air for a good two to three seconds. The jumping made it seem like the fighters were competing on the moon or another low-gravity surface. It was actually kind of ridiculous.

To conclude this review. Virtua Fighter is a rarity, a quality game for the 32X. Sure there are some weaknesses, but the overall package is strong enough to compensate somewhat for the issues that the game has. If for some reason you have a 32X (or if you're like me and have a 32X emulator on your computer), then this game will be an enjoyable experience. Put it this way, there are a lot worse games you can play than this one. Overall, I'll give Virtua Fighter a 6.5 out of 10. Thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews, or you would like to contribute a review of your own, than either leave me a comment on The Canon Review or shoot me an e-mail at KtheC2001@gmail.com. I leave you with a man nearly setting himself on fire.

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