Thursday, 1 November 2007

Virtua Fighter 4



The Saturn would have always been my choice over the Playstation, and there was one in my home for two years before I eventually buckled under pressure from my boys and bought one for them. One of the reasons for my Saturn love was the most excellent Virtua Fighter series, which played out four releases on the Saturn. Virtua Fighter, VF2, Virtua Fighter Remix and VF Kids. (Plus the VF characters also played a major role in the wonderful Fighter's Megamix...)


The game was quality all the way with great characters like Shun and Kage, who had great background stories and a fabulously oriental feel. I love Kung Fu movies (even the really old badly dubed/speeded up fight scene ones!) and having the chance to control a fighter was a dream come true!

Everything about Virtua Fighter works: Moves, music, speech samples, backgorund settings, victory cries and so on. However great the gameplay is though, even the most die-hard Saturn fan would have to admit that the graphics haven't stood the test of time. The characters look square and blocky, angular and pixellated.




When I eventually graduated to the Dreamcast, I was really anticipating VF3tb (originally slated for the Saturn- look here), but having played Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive, VF3tb didn't really do it for me. I can't really explain why, but the graphics and gameplay just didn't cut it after playing SC and DOA, and VF3tb became the least played fighter of my Dreamcast collection. However, the ever wonderful Shenmue series employed the fighting engine from Virtua Fighter and the central character Ryo Hazuki was based on VF's Akira. (You could also collect capsule toys -very pleasurable in itself... of VF and VF Kids as you embarked on Ryo's quest.)

Fast forward to 2007 and I happened upon a rather battered copy of VF4 for the PS2. At first I was gutted because the disc wouldn't load and there was no mannual in the box. But thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I'd soon downloaded the mannual and thanks to a blob of toothpaste, I'd soon managed to get the disc working.

Don't know about the toothpaste trick? If you've got a disc that won't load, simply smear your disc in toothpaste and rub outwards from the centre of the disc in straightlines with your finger. Wash it off in lukewarm water and dry with a paper towel. I'm not guaranteeing it'll work but it did for me...

Onto the game. The beauty of VF4 is that it is basically the same great game as the Saturn original, but with sumptuous graphics and a couple of new characters to compliment the originals. First off there is the mysterious Shaolin Monk, Lei Fei and then the amply chested Vanessa Lewis. (Why do women in fighting games have big breasts? Not that I'm complaining... *Ahem!*)




The backgrounds and arenas are simply stunning, the characters look great and the fighting is fantastic. I always play as Kage, as I love his ninja look and trademark upside down pile driving headbutt! But the game is fiendishly dificult to progress in however... As the saying goes, "Easy to play, dificult to master!"

Dedication and repeated gameplay is needed to make headway into the game but for the £7 your likely to pay for it you couldn't get a better fighter. But now I'm a little stuck, as VF5 is out for the XBox 360 & PS3, and I don't own one of those suckers. And to make matters worse, the prospect of online battles on the 360 is making me drool for one. That AND Sega Rally Revo.
You see I'm a Sega fan through and through and it hurts me to know franchises I've loved will be progressing on systems I don't own. So here's the plan... I'm going to try and persuade the boys to get a 360 as their collective Christmas present! Cunning plan huh? I'll update you in December as to whether it comes off!

Wanna know more about Virtua Fighter? Then have a look at these links...

10 comments:

gnome said...

Excellent feature post/article Father. BTW, I've only played arcade version of VF and was rather shite...

hex said...

The arcade version was definitely crummy. Excellent article. =D

NebachadnezzaR said...

Gosh, this post could have been written by me :)

I have VF 1, 2 and Kids for the Saturn and I just love them, specially 2. The realism of the game was unique at the time (and actually it still is), with realistic characters and moves, and no absurd special effects (like those stupid blasts of energy in the Tekken series...).

As for Virtua Fighter 3, well, it was one of my last acquisitions for the Dreamcast and I didn't really like it. It was fun, but as you say, there were better fighting games for the DC.

But VF4 sure is a fucktastic game! The graphics are just plain beautiful and it has a lot of content. Unfortunately I too find it rather hard...

And now that I think of it, what am I waiting for to download the VF5 demo for the Xbox 360? I played it before (it's great!), but still I think I'm going to grab that demo...

The GagaMan(n) said...

A Virtua Fighter 4 article without a single screen from VF4? For some reason the PS2 version of VF4 Evolution looks pretty assy via component cable, as if the game is running at half the normal resolution just so the PS2 can actually play it at a decent speed. Otherwise I love the quest mode that gives it a lot more depth as a 1 player game than before. If I ever get me a 360 one of these days, VF5 is on the top of my list.

fatherkrishna said...

Thanks for your comments guys! I spent quite a lot of Friday night and Saturday playing thiswonderful game. Got to Dural on Arcade mode(eventually) and she kicked my ass (using Shun's moves...)and that was it! POW! It was game over with no continues!!! DAMN!

Do you know how long I was fighting? My thumbs ar blistered and bruised! They have swollen to ten times there natural size!

And I'm right back at square one... ;P

J said...

I was always pissed that the European release of VF4: Evolution didn't include the anniversary version of VF1 though. That was a real slap in the face, because to this day I still like the first game. It also has the best music. I still remember Sarah and Jacky's kick arse themes!

The GagaMan(n) said...

Same here, J. It was one of the main reasons I even bought the game. VF4's soundtrack is rubbish as well, I basically like all the other soundtracks over this ones'.

fatherkrishna said...

I think the soundtrack is OK! The gameplay has me hooked... So I'm guessing the Evolution has a bit of a retro theme? Saturn originals and all that?

Jeez! This whole blogging thing id a bit of an education...

Now that I think of it the clues in the name...

I seem to remember I got VF4 on J's recomendation and he told me off for not getting the Evolution edition...

I'm gonna order it off of eBay

The GagaMan(n) said...

Yeah, VF4 Evolution is a much better game than regular VF4, it has two extra characters for a start. The retro Saturn style thing we're talking about is a Japanese only release called Virtua Fighter Anniversary which was essentially VF4 with VF1's graphic style and music =)

NebachadnezzaR said...

I haven't played with my copy of VF4:Evolution (NTSC) for a long time, but I vaguely remember some option, called VF Anniversary I think, which was basically VF1 with a much higher resolution and nicer textures (but still the same game, not a remake or something). Could that be what you're talking about, gagaman?

I'm gonna check it out anyway...