Windows – 1997
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Description of Virtua Fighter 2
The Virtua Fighter gang is back for another go at each other. This time they are joined by two new contestants in the World Fighting Tournament. Lau Chan may have won last year’s championship, but all of the fighters gained some new tricks. After a year of hard training, Akira Yuki is back to try out his new moves and to fight the decisive battle against his new-found rival Wolf Hawkfield. Hong Kong movie star Pai Chan returns for another chance to defeat her father, Lau, while Lau Chan, who has returned to defend his title, strives to perfect his techniques. Pancratium master Jeffry McWild fights to preserve his livelihood. The ninja Kagemaru returns on both official and family business, as he seeks to break the cover and discover the secrets of the mysterious syndicate that pulls the strings of the World Fighting Tournament. Jacky Bryant comes to rescue his sister, Sarah, who – ironically – has been brainwashed and carefully trained to eliminate him. Master of Drunken-style kung fu, Shun Di arrives to try his skills against the hottest young fighters in the world, while Torou-ken expert Lion Rafale fights for his freedom. Whatever — Virtua Fighter 2 is about one thing — beating the crap out of your opponent! You can count the good PC fighting games on one hand but luckily with the release of Virtua Fighter 2, the list of good fighting games became a bit longer. Virtua Fighter 2 serves up a simple but fast-paced fighter that is a graphical treat for the eyes. The three dimensional polygon fighters have become smoother and more lifelike than the previous version. The settings and rings are more detailed and everything from the fighting moves to the animated taunts seem to be turned up a notch on the speed dial. If you’ve never heard of the Virtua Fighter series of games, I’d have to ask what planet you come from. Starting in arcades, later moving to Sega’sSaturn platform, Virtua Fighter is one of the most successful fighting games of all time. Its only competitor to the title of Best Fighting Game Ever is probably Mortal Kombat. There is a big difference between the games — Mortal Kombat is rendered in a flat 2 dimensional world while the Virtua Fighter world is in 3D with a flying camera and changing views. Also Mortal Kombat ‘s characters are based on camera shots of real actors while Virtua Fighter ‘s characters are larger but completely computer generated masses of polygon graphics. Mortal Kombat also has an excellent movie based on the characters in the game, while Virtua Fighter ‘s thin plot has not yet spawned a movie. What about the other popular arcade fighter, Street Fighter ? Well, despite its popularity on other platforms and its mediocore film version starring the late Raul Julia and Jean-Claude Van Damme, the PC version was a complete disaster. You can control your fighter by game pad, joystick or keyboard. I found Act Lab’s PowerRamp, a keyboard emulator with an arcade control pad-like console, to be a killer controller. When playing against a buddy holding a game pad, I found that my character seemed to react twice as fast to the PowerRamp ‘s keyboard emulated commands. The PowerRamp also allows the programming of special combination moves. It doesn’t take long to realize what an advantage this gives you. Speaking of combination moves, Virtua Fighter 2 does add a lot of interesting moves compared to the original. I especially noticed a lot of “stomping” moves to inflict when your opponent is knocked out on the floor. Why simply wait for him to get back on his feet when you can stomp on his stomach or neck? Ouch! That hurts! The game is true to its arcade version and adds a few twists for the PC. In “Arcade Mode”, you pick the fighter and the CPU will pick your opponent. “VS Mode” allows you to pick your opponent. “Ranking Mode” is sort of like sports rankings — your rank as a fighter is determined by your performance in a series of matches against CPU-controlled fighters, once you lose a fight your ranking appears. In “Expert Mode”, the CPU learns and remembers the moves you have used in Arcade and VS Mode play, and uses what it has learned to counter your fighters style. “Team Battle Mode” is rather cool. Here you can assemble a team of fighters that lets you pit three or five fighters against each other. There is also a multiplayer mode for internet or direct connections and a playback mode that lets you view previous games. Watch mode lets you watch the CPU battle itself if there is nothing on TV to watch. One of the most interesting modes is the “Portrait” mode. Here you can view computer rendered lifestyle photo albums of the fighters. Sega seems to be trying to further develop the personalities of these digital fighters by creating entire life backgrounds. In the photo albums you can see Lion’s fancy house and expensive toys. You can see Jeffry’s tender moments pushing a young boy on a swing and fishing for sharks with a harpoon. The results are interesting if not a bit manipulative. Often the “snapshots” seem to have a sexual edge to them. The fighters are shown sprawled on beds, holding a armful of flowers (for you perhaps?) and one character is even shown taking a shower! If the fast-paced fighting action doesn’t attact the teens, why not throw in a bit of sexual fantasy? [Sigh] When I was a teen all we had was Ms. Pac Man to lust over. Well, I guess this comes from a society that at first glance seems to be totally sexually repressed — for example, Japanese law requires the “naughty parts” of men and women to be fuzzed over — but then often sneaks sexually charged themes into animation and comic books. Of course, if Virtua Fighter was a U.S. developed game we would probably have dressed the female characters in itsy bitsy yellow polkadotted bikinis. After all, we produced Laura Croft of Tomb Raider fame. What does this have to do with fighting? Nothing — and that’s the point. Luckily this does not hinder Virtua Fighter 2 as one of the best fighting games on the PC. If you always wanted to get a good fighting game for your computer Virtua Fighter 2 is an excellent choice. Owners of the original game who play it every day should upgrade to better graphics and new characters. If you own the original but shelfed it after a few days, you might not want to buy this version. Only the true fans will appeciate the improvements.
Review By GamesDomain
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