Virtua Fighter 3:TB (Japan) - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Additional Information
27/11/1998SegaGenkiJap Reviews Avg : 92%

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The Virtua Fighter series has been a phenomenal hit for Sega in the arcades. From the very first game using Sega's Model 1 arcade board the series has drawn in the crowds, not only for it's impressive visuals, but also with some of the most refined gameplay in any fighting game in the history of computer games.

After canning the expected Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 3 Sega spent a lot of time on the Dreamcast version of the game to make an arcade perfect port to the home and to ensure the Dreamcast has a successful launch in Japan. Click To Enlarge Image

Sega decided to release the Team Battle version of the game where each player can select 3 fighters for the three rounds. Virtua Fighter : TB features 12 fighters in 13 different stages, including walled arenas.

One somewhat strange move by Sega, and the games developer Genki, was to exclude a VS mode from the game. This means you have to start a 1 player game and get the 2nd player to join in. Why did they do this? According to Sega it was to keep the game as faithful to the arcade version as possible.

Sega really couldn't have done a better job if they tried. Although Genki did the conversion to Dreamcast it is almost arcade perfect. Only almost I hear you say? Well yes, there are some differences which I shall proceed to explain. Click To Enlarge Image

The main difference is that the graphics in the Dreamcast are slightly different in spots to the arcade game. However, these differences are very minor and only the hardcore VF3:TB arcade player will notice them. There are a few other cosmetic differences such as the intro but they are irrelevant to the game.

Unlike the Playstation's excellent Tekken 3 conversions, the power of the Dreamcast has allowed Sega to retain the 3D backgrounds in the game, and very impressive they are too. The ground actually slopes in parts and gives the game a visual quality that has never been seen in the home before. Of particular note is the stage set on the island with beautiful water surrounding it.

Playability in Virtua Fighter 3 : TB is second to none. Although there is only a punch, kick and guard button and it seems simpler then Tekken 3 it will take a lot longer to master then Namco's fighter. The characters respond instantly to your commands and their movement is very smooth.

However every game has it's flaws and the biggest in VF3:TB is the practice mode. It is no where near as good as Tekken 3's. Sega haven't give us a list of moves to master and the opponent is pretty pathetic. Click To Enlarge Image

Another slightly disappointing thing about the game, although it is purely cosmetic, is that there are no CGI endings for the characters, just rendered still pictures. Oh well, I guess they ran out of time, and personally, it's much better that Genki perfected the gameplay rather then add cosmetic enhancements.

Still, Virtua Fighter 3 : TB is the perfect way to launch the Dreamcast for Sega. It's a remarkable game overall that will be loved by any fighting fan around the world. What more could you want for a Dreamcast launch? Well done Sega.