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Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (Dreamcast) artwork

Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (Dreamcast) review


"Never having played the first Virtual On, I can't compare it with the Dreamcast Virutal On. This can be good or bad for a number of reasons. But this review will be from a gamer that's basically new to the mech fighting genre (Armored Core wasn't for me). Virtual On is a game about robots fighting. Yes, it's shallow, and I have to be blunt. There is no story, just several robots kicking the crap out of each other. Yet strategy is involved, so this game is deep. Very deep. The casual gamer may be..."



Never having played the first Virtual On, I can't compare it with the Dreamcast Virutal On. This can be good or bad for a number of reasons. But this review will be from a gamer that's basically new to the mech fighting genre (Armored Core wasn't for me). Virtual On is a game about robots fighting. Yes, it's shallow, and I have to be blunt. There is no story, just several robots kicking the crap out of each other. Yet strategy is involved, so this game is deep. Very deep. The casual gamer may be turned off by it.

VO:OT's graphics are beautiful, fast, and arcade perfect. VO:OT at the arcade was much like the Dreamcast incarnation, though some things were changed, gameplay details that will be explained in the next paragraph. Every detail has been put into the Dreamcast game: every Virtuoid's move, look, and every stage. Two player isn't as impressive due to the size of the Virtuoids compared to the screen during a match. But that can be fixed by changing screen views: horizontal, vertical, player one getting the upper left corner and player two getting the lower right corner, and one mode similar to Armored Core's default 2-player view. Considering the stages' sizes, and the Virtuoids, slowdown should be and is nonexistent in the one player mode, as well as in the two player mode.

VO:OT is one of the deepest video games anyone can buy with one of the biggest learning curves. The game has an innovative control setup to replace the twin sticks Virtual On is known so well for: analog for view, d-pad for lateral movement (strafe left and right, forward and backward) Y for jump, two turbo buttons for dashing and turbo attacks, A for crouch and guard, and the triggers for shooting. All can be combined for dozens of attacks. Your guns are put under a power meter,which reloads quickly. You have 3 weapons, a left, a right, and central weapon. Initially, you can shoot all of them, but after using up your power meter, you have to wait for it to reload and/or max out. Using attacks that use the max bar take longer to recover from, and attacks that use less than max, can be used more frequently.

Strategy is very important and a critical part of winning the game. Fighting in Virtual On is essentially a chess match. Imagine your opponent dashes left and shoots a rapid energy attack. Merely dashing forward while attacking would take you out of their range of attack, and put them in your range. When starting this game, I wouldn't have thought to dash toward my opponent, but after several hours of play, it makes sense. The game is difficult for a newbie, even under easiest setting. And many battles make you want to throw your controller, but the computer can be predictable and does have patterns. This took a little something out of the experience. The gameplay is one of its fine points, and this fine point will irritate the lazy gamer looking for an all out shooting game.

VO:OT also includes different versions of several characters, and a different older version of VO:OT. It features a stronger Temjin, faster weapon loading, and unlimited armor, a feature from the original Virtual On.

The link feature for Virtual On was a fantastic idea. Playing a friend with a copy of VO:OT without having to use a splitscreen--fantastic idea. However, no one has released a link cable to the public yet. IGNDC's editors are probably the only people on the planet with one. But once one is released, gamers will have the option of playing with two monitors instead of two halves of one screen.

Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram is the deepest mech game on the market. Armored Core can't match it, Zone of the Enders will try to be like it, but VO:OT is an unparalled experience. VO:OT may have a steep learning curve, but it's not a waste of money to a gamer that spends some real time with it. Learning the controls and beating the game isn't enough; it's mastering the game entirely, as I always say.

--Sniper

Rating: 9/10

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Community review by stealthsniper (Date unavailable)

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