Editor’s Note: After a shockingly long hiatus, Sega’s Virtua Fighter is back with the release of Ultimate Showdown on PlayStation next week. To celebrate, we’re republishing a few older pieces from the series, including this piece from June of last year.
SEGA just celebrated its 60th anniversary – happy birthday, crazy, beautiful bastards – which seems like a good time to reflect on the best in the business. Maybe it’s OutRun, in all its iconic glory, Super Monkey Ball with its minimalist glow, or maybe you could even take a closer look at modern times and put Yakuza 0 forward as the best of the bunch. For reasons that are entirely mine, Virtua Fighter 3 is my personal choice.
This isn’t the best in the AM2 series – Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown easily takes that crown, delivering a crisp take on the no-frills pugilism that’s as close to perfect as we’ll get while we endure the indefinite wait. follow-up – it’s not the most revolutionary either. The original takes up that title, shaking up the industry as it did with its military hardware and the move to muscular 3D. You could argue that Virtua Fighter 2 was the most iconic series as well, capturing the series to live up to its mainstream appeal.
Excuse the state of my cabinet – but shouldn’t all arcade machines be a little scratched?
Why Virtua Fighter 3, then? This is in part because it captures a moment in time, when SEGA was still at the peak of its power and when its power was evident. It was the debut of the Model 3 board, breaking cover in spectacular fashion at the AOU Tokyo show in the early months of 1996 – one of those moments, which the 90s had a lot, where we all wondered if the graphics in the game could be much better – claim that SEGA was at the cutting edge of technology. It’s a land they would abandon in time – by the time Virtua Fighter 4 arrived on the NAOMI 2, those battlegrounds had apparently moved elsewhere.
Virtua Fighter 3 isn’t just SEGA in its prime either – it captures one of the last moments the arcade felt so relevant, and one of the last times a Super Megalo 2 cabinet in the Trocadero London might feel like the most important place in the universe. It always seemed perfect to me that Virtua Fighter 3 never really left the arcades; Like other Model 3 games, it never saw a decent home base, although Dreamcast’s take on Virtua Fighter 3TB was a noble endeavor. To play Virtua Fighter 3 properly, you will need your own Model 3 board.
Virtua Fighter 3 is the only one in the series to be built around four buttons.
Which is why a few years ago I found myself following my own awkwardly translated instructions as I wandered the damp streets of Osaka in search of one of the only arcade shops in town. . Like the best stores of its kind, it feels like a well-kept secret, hidden down a few flights of stairs in a residential building away from the hustle and bustle of Den-Den Town or … well, anything really. It’s only the discarded boxes for the old CPS2 cards lining the stairwell, slowly increasing in number as you get closer to the store, that give the game away.
Inside, alongside rows of nude Nanao monitors hooked up to all manner of arcade exotics, is a business that seems to have been around since SEGA’s heyday and long before. The walls are yellowed with cigarette smoke, the filing cabinets filled with bruised and damaged diagrams and manuals while the shelves behind the counter warp under the weight of so many arcade games. Time has slowed down to become a sweet molasses here, it’s not a chore to wait – the transaction takes over an hour as the owner meticulously prints and cuts fresh marquee artwork and explains to a friend who’s in. translation service how to hang the cumbersome picture on a cupboard.
Arcade card hunting can be just as fun as playing things, and it’s these adventures that are one of the reasons I would never consider putting a PC full of ROMs in my cabinet instead. of one of the small handfuls of cards I have. It is also a thirsty business; that night my friend and I retreat to a sake bar near Kyoto where we drink until the crowds clear and it’s just us and the bartender left. Discussions quickly turn to what we do for a living, and when he finds out that we work around video games, he uninvitedly shares his love for Virtua Fighter, and in particular how Virtua Fighter 3 stands out from the crowd. all others in the series.
Now it’s hardcore.
It’s an opinion I have come to share for similar reasons – how he is alone with his inclusion of an escape button, and how he marked the end of an evolutionary branch of the series before he ever did. becomes a more intense concern with Virtua Fighter 4. The series of movements are simpler, more stripped down, the balance that defines the series more tangible. The arenas, with their staggered floors, put a new emphasis on position and posture. Virtua Fighter 3 is brilliantly composed.
This is the latest example of SEGA’s fighting game series when it was well and truly in the mainstream. Shortly after Virtua Fighter 3, AM2 would embark on Project Berkeley – the game that would eventually be released as Shenmue, a multi-million dollar craze that sped the company’s exit from the hardware race. domestic and put it on a path so different from what we might have envisioned in 1996.
This is something I often think of when I fire up Virtua Fighter 3 at home, hearing Model 3 map fans spinning as the lights in the Astro City cabinet come on. Virtua Fighter 3 isn’t SEGA’s best game – it’s an aberrant, quirky, and flawed game – but it’s the SEGA game I love the most, not just for the way it plays but for what it looks like. ‘it means, both for the golden age of arcades and for me. It’s irrational love, but it is so – you can’t always help who or what you end up falling in love with, after all.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-06-07-capturing-a-piece-of-segas-golden-age