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Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast) artwork

Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast) review

"Ok you've seen the score, you know this is going to be a negative review. Quite frankly I disliked every single aspect of this poor excuse for a fighting game and I'm not going to pull my punches. "

Ok you've seen the score, you know this is going to be a negative review. Quite frankly I disliked every single aspect of this poor excuse for a fighting game and I'm not going to pull my punches.

When I first got my dreamcast I was really excited about the prospect of playing ''next generation'' games across all formats. Sonic Adventure was a hugely impressive console game and beautifully encapsulated what a 128 bit console should be about. ''Wow'' I thought ''If Sonic can impress me, being a platform game (and I'm not a huge fan of platform games), then this Virtua Fighter game should be an AMAZING beat 'em up''.

So I bought it.

BIG mistake.

You see my initial impressions of the game were formed looking at screenshots in magazines and reading the gushing reviews. Every magazine was giving it 90% reviews. Now having no other basis back then to judge the game on I swallowed the hype.

I expected a smooth running, exciting and complex beat 'em up. What I didn't expect was a blocky, pig-ugly, jerky, boring excuse for a fighting game.

To say I felt let down was an understatement. I had heard so many good things about this game, but it was rubbish! And this is what was rubbish (to use a technical reviewers term) about it.

1) Bad graphics. The character modelling was laughable. The characters looked blocky and moved like arthritic old ladies. The backgrounds were OK, but most of the stages were undistinguished. And as for the music....ugh.

2) Dire characters. The Virtua Fighter crowd have to be the most humourless and one-dimensional crowd ever created, I did play this game quite abit hoping some affection would form for any of the characters, but even after two weeks I couldn't muster up any favourites. To compare with Tekken 3, I became obsessed with several characters and got quite involved with their stories, even to the extent of discussing their histories and plight with fellow Tekken-heads (yes sad i know, so sue me). I felt no empathy with any of this cardboard crew.

3)Dull gameplay. Yes the gameplay bites. Which is odd, because that's usually mentioned as the Virtua Fighter's saving grace. Well I personally find the button setup awkward and unwieldy, and very inflexible. Combo's do not flow naturally from this setup, unlike the elegant setup of the Tekken games, or the manic d-pad twirling of the Capcom School.

What really kills the gameplay stone dead for me is the suffocating obsession with ''realism''. Yeah, being able to fire energy blasts may not be realistic, but it's a damn sight more fun. To put it another way, would you rather watch a balls out Jackie Chan vs. Jet Li acrobatic kung fu fight with special effects, or two sweaty men grappling with each other in a school hall's regional Judo Final's?

It's not a difficult choice is it?

So there we are. It's salutary to note that many gaming magazines are re-evaluating early DC games and giving them scores that better reflect their status in comparison to newer games. Now Virtua Fighter 3tb scores around the mid-fifties... that's a BIG drop from scoring 90-plus.

With Soul Calibur, Powerstone and Project Justice available on the Dreamcast, Virtua Fighter 3tb is not worth buying and only worth renting so you can remind yourself that the pursuit of realism in gaming is not always worth the trade off in fun.

falsehead's avatar
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)

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