Virtual On Oratorio Tangram – Beginner’s Training Guide 2.0 By commonlogik (email@example.com) TOC 1. Release Notes & Introduction 2. Five Fundamentals A. Jump Canceling B. Dashing: Ground and Air C. Special Dashing Tactics: Curving and Watari D. Dash Vectoring E. Close Combat 3. Extra Basics A. Turbo Attacks B. Virtual Armor C. Dashing Close Combat D. Special Attacks 4. Character overviews 5. Special Thanks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Release Notes & Introduction Release Notes Version 1.0 – (Released sometime in 2000) Original guide released, based on US Dreamcast version Version 2.0 – Release 4/30/09 Updated text, incorporated feedback from various VOOT veterans (MentholMoose & GSaturnZ), restructured format, added new information regarding added Virtuaroids of Temjin 10/80, Stein-Vok, and Apharmd-C. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Introduction I grew up watching Macross, Robotech, Voltron, Gundam, Saber Riders, Dangaioh and the list goes on. Anime and especially anime robots have always fascinated me. When "Virtual On: Cyber Troopers" first came out in the arcades, well, it was over – finally, a video game company got all the elements of what makes anime mechs so cool: speed, agility, cool designs, awesome weapons and an actual balanced gameplay system. The sequel, "Virtual On Oratorio Tangram" not only improved upon the system and character design, it pretty much perfected it. Widely respected, but never really popular in the US, with the XBLA release of "Virtual On Oratorio Tangram" (ver 5.66), not only is this wonderful for all VOOT players in the US to enjoy, but it also gives a new generation of gamers who also share the same interest in anime robots and style to experience this great game. With that in mind, this game is not for the impatient. The controls are hardly intuitive, the speed of the game is dizzying and the game system is fairly unconventional to what most gamers have played. The hope of this Beginner’s Guide is to help new users learn the most important gameplay fundamentals so they can begin to appreciate the system mechanics that make VOOT so unique. While intermediate to advanced VOOT players will likely look past this guide, it’s always good to brush up on the fundamentals, especially since the last time anyone played VOOT against each other was 4-5 years ago (unless, of course you’re lucky enough to have a VOOT arcade machine in your neighborhood). NOTE: Button Configuration description will always be based on the default config for Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver. 5.66 as follows: Left Analog – Moves your Virtuaroid Right Analog – Rotates your Virtuaroid Left Trigger – Fires Left Weapon Right Trigger – Fire Right Weapon X button – Left Turbo B Button – Right Turbo Y Button – Jump (press twice to double jump) A button - Crouch Back button – Special (not used for all characters) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. Five Fundamentals While I have provided a good number of basic strategies and techniques, the first five are what I deem the absolutely most important and fundamental to understand and execute. It’s good to know more, of course and I do encourage beginners to read on beyond the five fundamentals. Also, this is a guide, not an instruction manual – I trust those who are reading this know the basic commands on how to move, lock-on to opponents and fire weapons. A. Jump Canceling With a game as fast as VOOT, it’s imperative to keep track of the opponent. While players can use the Right Analog stick to rotate the mech to keep track of an opponent, this leaves a Virtuaroid absolutely stationary and vulnerable to attack. So it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all new players to use the Jump Cancel. Nothing says "I'm a scrub at this game", more than having to manually turn your robot to track a target; while it may seem to be more natural and intuitive to rotate your character, it’s infinitely faster and more efficient using the Jump Cancel. The reason: whenever you jump (by pressing the Y button), your Virtuaroid automatically turns to face the opponent in the air. While in the air, you can immediately cancel your jump by pressing the A buttonas long the A button is pressed before a robot’s thrusters stop firing (i.e. the white-blue jets that appear whenever a dash or jump is performed). Canceling the jump will immediately place you back on the ground. There’s no need to wait until you're at the peak of your jump to cancel; the second a robot leaves the ground after the Y button is pressed, IMMEDIATELY press A to cancel; even a short canceled jump will automatically turn the mech to face the enemy. There are secondary reasons to cancelling jumps as well – jumping on environment structures, evading enemy fire – so learning the Jump Cancel is one of the most important beginner techniques to master. B. Dashing - Ground and Air Virtual On is a fast game and a big reason why are the dash commands. It’s safe to say you will be spending 70% or more of your time dashing, so it’s important to learn to tactically dash rather than just running around like a headless machine. Each character will have different dash accelerations, speeds and lengths. It’s important to learn the speed, duration, and length of a dash for each Virtuaroid; in general, bigger robots will have slower speeds compared to lighter, smaller robots. When dashing without firing a weapon, at any time during the dash period you can cancel a dash by simply pressing the dash button. It doesn’t matter if a player uses the Left or Right dash buttons to cancel a dash. You may also cancel dashing by jumping (Y button). One piece of personal advice for beginning players – AVOID dashing backwards unless absolutely necessary. There are exceptions (i.e. dashing backwards to get behind an obstacle) but dashing backwards will likely leave you wide open for an easy shot by the opponent. When used in conjunction with weapon attacks, Dash Attacks become really useful and will be a central part of a player’s offensive game. With Dash Attacks,players can avoid enemy fire while closing in on an enemy and/or gaining better position (i.e., behind obstacles, away from the enemy's field of view). Another advantage is the homing ability of all Dash Attacks. When a Dash Attack is initiated, the Virtuaroid will always rotate toward its enemy and fire; each robot rotates and tracks at different speeds, so some robots are better at locking on to their targets, and some can rotate faster to face them (Both Raiden and Temjin are very good characters for beginners to use because of their comfortable Dash Attack rotating speed and tracking ability). There are three main types of Dash Attacks: forward, side and backward. Forward Dash Attacks deliver great damage and speed, but run the risk of sustaining serious damage if hit during a forward Dash Attack. Side Dash Attacks are great for evading the enemy, but are less damaging and are slower than forward attacks. Backward Dash Attacks should be performed as often as back dashes--never! Diagonal dashing attacks, (as pointed out by VOOT player PtBlank), are a combination of a side dash and forward/backward dash attack (obviously depending if a player is dashing diagonally forward or backwards). For beginners, Dash Attacks will likely be a primary method of attack but use these attacks wisely as there is a penalty– there is a brief recovery period at the end of a Dash Attack that leaves a robot immobile for a brief second and vulnerable to retaliation. Needless to say, many beginners are constantly frustrated when dashing side-to-side, weapons ablaze, only to be met with a heavy attack at the end of the dash. There are ways to shorten this delay through some highly advanced (and difficult) techniques but for the beginner player, learn the speed and length of dashing and use Dash Attacks wisely and with precision. Finally, a few words on Air Dashing: to execute an air dash, press the Y button to jump in the air, then press a direction and any Turbo button. Ground dashing rules apply to air dashing and there is one additional rule: once a mech is done with an Air Dash, the Virtuaroid will slowly fall to the ground and that can leave a robot vulnerable during this descent. Players can try to speed up this descent from an Air Dash by pressing the A button (Crouch), but a better way to avoid being an easy target while floating down from an Air Dash is not to jump too high when executing an Air Dash. Known as SLD (Super Low-Altitude Dashing), performing an Air Dash low to the ground will greatly cut down your descent duration. C. Dash Vectoring: To outsiders, Virtual On may seem like a game where robots constantly dash side to side, forward and back, firing weapons randomly and hoping with luck something hits. But there is a fundamental strategy (some say science) that comes in to play and draws a clear distinguishing line between a VOOT rookie and an intermediate competitor. That fundamental is Dash Vectoring, a combination of techniques and tactics based on a simple principle that even new players can use to improve their skills almost immediately. The “science” of Dash Vectoring was introduced in Virtual On: Cyber Troopers by Virtual On legend Chris Tan and, by its nature, is a reflexive tactic that always starts off with this question: "Which way is my opponent dashing and when is he firing?" Dash Vectoring only works if an opponent performs a Dash Attack FIRST. So, keeping the enemy in your sights, here are the basic steps to Dash Vectoring: 1) Make your opponent dash 2) Wait for him/her to fire his Dash Attack 3) Dash to the correct dashing path 4) Fire your Dash Attack as your foe's Dashing ends While this may sound somewhat complicated, let’s break it down step by step. Step 1: Make your opponent dash As stated earlier, the theories of Dash Vectoring won’t necessarily work unless the opponent dashes first; whether a player flushes a target out with a bomb, fires a high damaging weapon to get him to force an opponent out of the area or evades a Close Combat attack by dashing, get the enemy to start dashing first. Step 2: Wait for him/her to fire his Dash Attack Whether by sight, sound or ESP, avoid dashing early until the opponent fires their Dash Attack. This can be a very difficult discipline, especially if the enemy is very close. Once the opponent fires his Dash Attack... Step 3: Dash to the correct dashing path Now, what's the correct dashing path? The answer lies with your opponent and what direction their taking during a Dash Attack. While it’s optimal to keep a target in line of sigh, here's what direction a player should dash after an opponent fires his Dash Attack: Opponent Forward Dash Attack = You Side Dash Opponent Side Dash Attack = You Forward Dash Opponent Back Dash Attack = Stupid Opponent Now the explanations... When an opponent commits to a forward Dash Attack, side dashing will force the opponent to change his firing angle at the last second and that can decrease the chances of getting hit. Likewise, when an opponent executes a side Dash Attack, a forward Dash also forces the enemy to change his shot angle, reducing the precision of the enemy. And obviously, back Dash Attacking enemies are inviting you to beat them up. (Actually, a diagonal Forward Dash Attack is best in that scenario). While this is the basic theory of Dash Vectoring, players must also keep in mind the varying dash speeds of different robots as well as the different weapon attack characteristics of opponent weapons and their weapons as well. Adjust accordingly, as the Dash Vectoring timing and spacing will definitely be different when facing a Virtuaroid like Raiden versus a Fei-Yen. D. Close Combat: While there’s excitement as VOOT players exchange firepower across an arena, nothing quickens the heart and sweats the palms quite like melee engagements; nothing cooler than three-story robots executing kung fu fighting moves on each other (see: G Gundam). While certain characters are much better at Close Combat (CC) than others, beginners should definitely know the basics to survive melee brawls that occur more often than not. First off, Close Combat is only initiated when a robot gets within CC activation range; this occurs when a “double-lock cursor” appears on a target, and when at least one of the weapon meters turns completely yellow. Each robot has different CC activation ranges for each weapon; Raiden needs to be very close (34.9 Virtual Meters) in order to activate the Center Weapon CC attack as opposed to Apharmd-B who can surprise players in how far and fast his CC attack can be initiated (134 Virtual Meters). When a Close Combat double-lock appears, a player performs a Close Combat attack with any weapon that has a full yellow weapon meter; if a player presses a weapon attack button that isn't highlighted with the yellow meter, the weapon will fire normally. Avoiding CC attacks can be done by simply dashing away or jumping; players can also block Close Combat attacks by inputting the Crouch command (A button). Note, that a block can only be performed if a player is close enough to initiate a Close Combat Attack (i.e., when you have the double-lock on your opponent). What this means is gamers have to know the exact timing and spacing when to execute a block command; if entered too early, CC attacks will not be blocked. Lastly for beginners, CC attacks come in three basic forms: standing, crouching, and jumping. The timing for crouching and jumping CC attacks is a little tricky and involve entering a crouch or jumping command, IMMEDIATELY followed by a CC attack command. It should also be mentioned that crouching CC attacks cannot be blocked, but are much slower than standing attacks. There is a complete art to Close Combat, including many advanced techniques (i.e. combinations, “Q Step”, Right Turbo CC attacks) that I encourage beginners to explore, but learn the CC basics first. E. Special Dashing Techniques - Curving and Vertical (Watari) Dashing: Determining the final of the Five Fundamentals was a bit of a brain exercise, but in the end, the special dashing techniques of Curving and “Watari Dashing will ultimately be very useful as rookie players begin to improve on the basics. The concept behind Curving (Curve Dashing) is pretty simple. During any dash, use the Right Analog Stick and press left or right to " curve" the dashing path left or right, respectively. Curving cannot be performed after a Dash Attack, but can be done before you activating a Dash Attack. Curving gives players slightly more maneuverability, and can be pretty useful when attacking an opponent prior to a Dash Attack; Curving to rotate a mech towards the target right before a Dash Attack is executed can increase the chances of hitting the target. Vertical Dashing, better known as Watari Dashing is an EXTREMELY useful dash technique; story goes that when Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram debuted, the Vertical Dashing technique was demonstrated first by producer Juro Watari. This technique enhances dashing strategy - during the middle of a dash phase, press any direction 90 degrees away from your original direction. If done properly, the Virtuaroid will shift to dash in that direction. For example: Start a forward dash, and in the middle of the dash, press either left or right on the Right Analog Stick. The mech will change its forward dash direction to a left dash! This can be done multiple times, and in some cases, players can initiate 130 degree change in Watari Dashing (try side dashing left then Vertical Dash diagonally forward right). Watari Dashing affords the player great maneuverability, not only in dodging enemy fire, but also in offensive positioning. For example, begin dashing sideways, then perform a Watari Dash Attack forward; the Dash Attack will be treated as a Forward Dash Attack, even though it started out by dashing to the side. Watari Dashing Attacks will always take the effect of the dashing direction right before the attack. NOTE: On default config for VOOT XBLA, Watari Dashing can be a bit tricky as players will likely need to feather the Left Analog stick back to its neutral position to properly perform the Watari Dash, so keep that in mind. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. Extra Basics The following “Extra Basics” are all pretty important and should eventually be learned. Some may argue that the techniques, tactics and information below are just as important as the fundamentals, but I felt that beginners really need to learn the fundamentals above first before learning even more advanced and complex techniques. A. Turbo Attacks: Some of the most useful, powerful and sometimes comical weapon attacks are done with Turbo Attacks. Turbo Attacks are executed by pressing a Turbo button (X for Left Turbo or B for Right Turbo) simultaneously with an attack command (Right, Left, or Center). Turbo attacks cannot be performed while dashing but can be performed in every other situation (i.e. standing, crouching, jumping). Each character's turbo attacks will obviously be somewhat different, but all share the following basic functional similarities. Right Turbo (RT) weapon attacks will always inflict more damage than normal attacks, and can often freeze enemies for a short time (i.e., Angelan's Right Turbo Right Weapon and Apharmd-B's Right Turbo Center Weapon). Unfortunately, Right Turbo weapons deplete the weapon energy meter very quickly and have very little to no homing ability; they also deplete little to no Virtual Armor (more on Virtual Armor below) off opponents. More often than not though, Right Turbo weapons issue the coolest-looking attacks. Left Turbo (LT) weapon attacks don't get the same attention as their Right Turbo counterparts but they can be a lot more useful in the middle of battle. In most cases, Left Turbo weapon attacks will deal less damage than basic attacks, but will have very unique effects; most Left Turbo attacks will deplete Virtual Armor very quickly (i.e. Temjin's Left Turbo Left Weapon), some can immobilize opponents (like Raiden's Left Turbo Center Weapon) and others have their own special abilities that are unique for each character. For example, all of Specineff's Left Turbo attacks will temporarily disable certain weapons from the enemy. Left Turbo weapons also have great homing ability and, for the most part, don't rapidly deplete the weapon energy meter. B. Virtual Armor: Virtual Armor (V. Armor) was introduced in VOOT as a way to combat defensive long distance play and promote aggressiveness in battle. At the bottom right corner of the screen, there are two V. Armor measurements - one in orange (yours), and one in green (your opponent's). Heavier, better armored mechs will have higher V. Armor ratings than lighter armored robots, enabling them to deflect all but the most powerful weapon attacks from afar (fyi: Dordray has the highest rating of V. Armor). In general, having a high V. Armor rating gives a increased ability to deflect long range attacks. Having good V. Armor doesn't equate to invin- cibility though; all center weapon attacks will either decrease V. Armor or simply go through it, all Right Turbo weapon attacks will ignore V. Armor, forward Dash Attacks can penetrate V. Armor, and almost all Left Turbo Right Weapon attacks will decrease V. Armor. It’s often useful when playing against robots with high V. Armor to use Left Turbo weapon attacks to deplete V. Armor in order to make opponents more vulnerable to normal weapon attacks. C. Dashing Close Combat Attacks This is one of the most spectacular attacks to pull off on an opponent; it's also one of the most difficult, no matter what robot you play with. Dashing Close Combat attacks are Close Combat attacks performed while dashing. These attacks can be performed anytime but be aware that Dashing CC attacks have to be manually aimed. This is undoubtedly a powerful attack with Close Combat specialists like Temjin and Apharmd-B. To perform a Dashing CC attack, you must be dashing forward (or diagonally forward). While dashing, press back on the Left Analog Stick and execute a weapon attack simultaneously. To attack an opponent on the left, press your Left Weapon Attack button; to attack an opponent on right, press your Right Weapon Attack button. You can even use the Center Weapon attack though they have to be lined up more perfectly to hit. Dashing CC attacks can be blocked with good timing, but are probably easier to avoid by dashing and/or jumping. Last note, Cypher is the only character that features an Aerial Dashing CC attack. D. Special Attacks: The following Special Attacks are especially unique to each Virtuaroid. These “hidden” techniques aren’t all very useful; some are done more for comic relief than for practicality. But they’re fun to perform and see; as a personal touch, I’ve give each special attack a grade on how useful they can be (IMHO, of course): Angelan Angel Wings: (Grade: C) Performed by: Press Crouch (A button) + Special Button. Activating this special ability will drain 50% of Angelan's current health, but gives Angelan an incredible amount of speed and maneuverability. Can be executed an unlimited number of times and last for about 20 seconds. Apharmd-B Apharmd-B Diving Kick: (Grade: D) Performed by: Jump (Y button), forward Air Dashing Center Weapon attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100%. Apharmd-B jumps in the air and descends with a powerful diving kick; the higher the jump, the steeper the diving angle. The Diving Kick has absolutely no homing ability, so unless your opponent is dashing backward, this move is rarely used. Hyper Mode: (Grade: C) Performed by: Double Jump (press Y twice) + Center Weapon attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100% Once activated, you'll be surrounded by "the glow" for about ten seconds; while in Hyper Mode, Apharmd-B's weapons recharge faster, dash speed is slightly increased, and his weapon damage is slightly increased. Can only be activated once per round. Apharmd-C Apharmd-C Diving Tackle: (Grade: D) Jump (Y button), Air Dash forward + Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100%. Nearly identical to Apharmd-B's Diving Kick, Apharmd-C jumps in the air, then dives toward the target, engulfed in an energy field. Again, you must manually aim this move; it has no homing ability whatsoever. Hyper Mode: (Grade: C) Performed by: Double Jump (press Y twice) + Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100% This is exactly the same ability Apharmd-B has, with all the same features. This mode can only be activated once per round. Apharmd-S Apharmd-S Diving Tackle: (Grade: D) Jump (Y button), Air Dash forward + Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100%. Nearly identical to Apharmd-B's Diving Kick, Apharmd-S jumps in the air, then dives toward the target, engulfed in an energy field. Again, you must manually aim this move; it has no homing ability whatsoever. Hyper Mode: (Grade: C) Performed by: Double Jump (press Y twice) + Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100% This is exactly the same ability Apharmd-B has, with all the same features. This mode can only be activated once per round. Bal Bados E.R.L. (Ejectable Remote Launcher) Specials All the special attacks of Bal Bados involve ejecting all four of his E.R.L’s and all require a 100% Center Weapon energy meter. Delta End Pyramid (Grade: D) Performed by: Crouching Right Turbo Center Weapon Attack (A + B + Center Weapon attack) With the proper anticipation, you can trap your opponent in an energy pyramid; once trapped, your E.R.L's can still fire within the pyramid. Long set up and slow initiation speed. Black Hole: (Grade: D) Performed by: Standing Right Turbo Center Weapon Attack (B + Center Weapon attack) A huge stationary energy ball is formed and all of the opponent's attacks will be sucked into this Black Hole. Lasts for about 10 seconds, and can only be performed once per round. Reflect Laser: (Grade: B) Performed by: Jumping Right Turbo Center Weapon Attack (Y + B + Center Weapon attack) The ejected E.R.L.'s will form an intricate satellite laser attack;delivers great damage though leave Bal Bados a little vulnerable in the air (Bal Bados performs a little “dance” in the air). E.R.L. Switch (Grade: C) Performed by: Press the Special button (Back) By default, all right-side E.R.L.'s shoot Ring Lasers, while left-side E.R.L.'s shoot Mines. This can be switched when Bal Bados ejects his E.R.L’s. Not particularly useful for beginners but quite useful for intermediate players. Cypher Cypher S.L.C.: (Grade: B) Performed by: Jump (Y button), forward Air Dashing Center Weapon Attack; requires all weapon meters at 100%. Cypher transforms into his jet fighter form and charges the target surrounded by an energy field. Great damage, though you actually have to "steer" your plane to hit the target (Use Left Analog stick to climb and descend, Right Analog stick turn left and right). And yes, if someone starts firing a barrage of weaponry, it can disrupt your S.L.C. Jet Fighter Mode: (Grade: C) Performed by: Double Jump (press Y twice), Press the Special button (Back) For this attack, Cypher double jumps and transforms into his Jet Fighter Mode; you can fire weapons while in this mode, though you're limited to three attacks. While not extremely practical, you can do it as many times as you like as it doesn’t deplete weapon energy to perform - and it's just plain fun. Dordray Dordray Giant Mode: (Grade: C) Performed by: Press the Special button (Back) Dordray will start shaking and growing. While this is happening, Dordray is not only vulnerable to attack, but taking too much damage will interrupt the growing process. Once at full size though, Dordray’s armor and damage values increase. Keep in mind that this attack is mainly for show, and there's nothing more humiliating than having a giant- sized Dordray stomp on you (Right Weapon Attack when in Close Combat range). Can be performed only once per round. Spinning Drill: (Grade: D) Performed by: Right Analog Stick left or right, Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon Meter at 100%. Spinning like a top, Dordray automatically locks onto the target, striking the foe with his drill; good damage, but like Temjin's Spinning Sword, comes out slowly. Fei-Yen Kn Manual Hyper Mode: (Grade: B) Performed by: Press Special button (Back) Fei-Yen’s Hyper Mode can now be activated manually, though in exchange 70% of health is lost. But like Fei-Yen’s Hyper Mode activated after taking damage, Manual Hyper Mode gives Fei-Yen enhanced speed, range, and damage. Grys-Vok ICBM Nuclear Missile: (Grade: C) Performed by: Crouch (press A button) + Special Button (Back) Grys-Vok fires a humongous missile that slowly travels up into the sky, only to come back down with a huge detonation. Massive damage, the only drawback is that Grys-Vok can be hurt by the explosion as well. Avoid firing in under or right next to large obstacles! It can only be fired once per match. Raiden Raiden Armor Shed: (Grade: C) Performed by: Jump (press Y button). Press the Special button (Back) While it sounds bizarre to shed the really good armor of Raiden, it’s done for the need for speed. Performing Raiden's Armor Shed will give him the fastest dashing speed of any robot (yes, faster than Fei-Yen Kn). From a practical standpoint though, its use is limited if you're really low on health and are near the end of the match. Sacrificing armor for speed might give you the edge in such a situation. Specineff Death Mode: (Grade: A) Performed by: Press Special Button twice Any time Specineff has less life than the opponent, Death Mode can be activated. Once done, Specineff has 13 seconds to defeat the enemy before exploding itself. During these 13 seconds, Specineff is completely invulnerable; Death Mode is extremely useful if time is running out in a match. Sliding Tackle: (Grade: F) Performed: Dash forward + Crouching Center Weapon Attack (A + Center Weapon buttons); requires Center Weapon Meter at 100%. This is a non-aerial version of the Apharmd brothers diving attacks; in this one, an energy-fielded Specineff slides into the enemy. While it’s a cool-looking attack, it has two major drawbacks: the attack needs to be manually aimed and ALL weapons meters are depleted. The latter reason is enough to avoid using this attack. Spirit Arc: (Grade: D) Performed by: Right Analog stick left or right + Left Weapon Attack. Specineff releases 12 floating, purple-flamed orbs that slowly glide toward the enemy. Homing ability is very low and damage is average (unless 3 or more orbs hit). Supposedly, can be used in Close Combat with massive damage effect. Scythe Whirl: (Grade: F) Performed by: CC range, Right Analog Stick left or right + Center Weapon Attack. Specineff twirls his scythe in one hand above his head, helicopter style. Doesn’t hit in normal Close Combat unless opponent is jumping away or performing a jump CC attack. Instant style points, though. Stein-Vok Giant Magnet Cruise Ball: (Grade: C) Performed by: Crouch (A) + Special Button (Back) Similar in concept to Grys-Vok ICBM Nuclear Missile special attack, Stein-Vok fires a much larger version of his Magnet Cruise Ball. Homing ability is decent and it ball moves faster the longer it takes to hit the target. Big time damage when it connects and the bonus of deplete ALL Virtual Armor off the opponent. Can only be fired once per match. Temjin Surfing Ram (Grade: B) Performed by: Jump (Y button), forward Air Dashing Center Weapon Attack. Requires all weapons to be at 100%. Temjin jumps on his now-transmorphed sword/surfboard and rams the target. Good homing ability and great damage - however, Temjin's still vulnerable, and can actually be knocked off. Can also be avoided if you perform a crouch attack when the surfboard's about to hit you. It can also be avoided by jumping and can be blocked as well. Spinning Sword (Grade: D) Performed by: Right Analog Stick right or left + Center Weapon Attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100%. Temjin spins with his sword out; no lock is needed, as this attack automatically homes in on the enemy. However, doesn't cover much ground and starts out very slowly. Temjim 10/80 Gliding Ram (Grade: D) Performed by: Jump (Y button), press forward + Right Turbo Center Weapon attack; requires Center Weapon meter at 100%. A salute to Temjin’s old Gliding Ram from the original Virtual On: Cyber Troopers, Temjin glides forward with his beam sword to ram opponents. Good damage, but needs to be manually aimed and is quite slow. Style points for sure. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. Character Overviews Depending on your playing style, technical skill and other intangibles, everyone will have a different view on how characters are played and rated. The following is an analysis on each of the characters based on general effectiveness as well as level of difficulty in playing. Angelan A good array of homing attacks, excellent air maneuverability and solid Virtual Armor for a light robot, Angelan can play “keep away” all day. A good player can mix her homing ice pillars, Ice Dragons and Ice blasts to slowing deplete an opponent’s health and her staff gives her slightly surprising CC range. However, despite her high Virtual Armor Angelan has weak armor and a solid CC attack on Angelan can deplete a lot of her health. A very good character in the hands of intermediate to advanced players. Apharmd-B Great speed, good armor but below average long-range weaponry, Apharmd-B's key to victory is Close Combat. His Tongfers are the most feared Close Combat weapon in VOOT and as most opponents know that already, getting in close with AphB will be even more challenging. AphB's tactics revolve around stunning, knocking down or freezing targets to get in close – as AphB’s key to victory is Close Combat, it’s not surprising that he also has the best CC activation range. Utilizing Dashing Close Combat attacks will be of great benefit; he's recommended for intermediate to advanced players. Apharmd-C Armed with a throwback shotgun from Virtual On: Cyber Troopers (complete with pink shells), Apharmd-C is a “tweener” in terms of speed (slower than B, faster than S). The shotgun packs quite a punch, but is only really effective a midrange. While armed with a machete, his CC range is nearly the same as AphS and as a missile weapon it’s really not effective in both damage and homing ability. Recommended for intermediate to advanced players. Apharmd-S While Apharmd-S is considered the "bastard" version by some Virtual On purists, he has good speed and much better long-range weaponry over AphB. In exchange for better long-range weaponry, AphS is somewhat average in Close Combat with slightly weaker armor compared to AphB. Also, while he has improved long-range capabilities his Right Weapon can deplete quickly and the speed and homing ability of his weapons definitely takes some practice getting used to. Suggested for intermediate players. Bal Bados Bal Bados is not an easy character to learn due to his non-traditional tactics. The strength of Bal Bados is in the versatility in the way of using his weapons in various methods. When used properly, he can flood the arena with an assortment of air mines, bouncing spiked bombs and ERL attacks making it almost impossible not to get hit. He is most effective when properly setting up his ERLs and using the right attack at the right moment. Average armor and speed ratings, he’s recommended strictly for advanced users. Cypher The master of air combat, Cypher is an extremely dangerous opponent in the hands of a master. While Cypher suffers from the worse ratings in armor and a lack of a “knockout weapon” attack, Cypher more than makes up for it with high aerial maneuverability, good speed and a mixture of weaponry that is designed to annoy and provoke opponents into mistakes. Cypher belongs in the air and also has the extremely useful ability to fire two weapon attacks while in air. Finally, Cypher has arguably the best “style points” attack in the game – the aerial dashing Close Combat attack that can only be executed by Cypher. Still, due to his low armor he’s best reserved for intermediate players. Dordray I personally regard Dordray players as the most challenging. While not very fast, Dordray has possibly the highest V. Armor rating, so forget about long-distance provocation, because most Right Weapon attacks will bounce off of him. Dordray's weaponry is an eclectic mix of flame shots, homing launched arm parts and "charging attacks." His charging attacks are probably the most lethal; not only do they deal massive damage, but they enable Dordray to either close in on enemies or escape opponents very quickly. While not great at Close Combat, Dordray is the only character I'm aware of with an awesome throw attack (Right Turbo + Center Weapon in Close Combat range). Dordray's suggested for intermediate players. Fei-Yen Kn If speed is all your care about, here’s your character. The fastest character in the game has annoying attacks that can really add up if you don’t pay attention. Worst yet, when Fei-Yen goes into Hyper Mode after taking enough damage, she becomes especially lethal. Her phenomenal dashing speed and decent melee-ranged weapon make her a Dashing CC threat. Beginner players can be successful with her, though they should keep in mind of her weak armor. Grys-Vok Countries like China cower in fear at the type of incendiary explosive weaponry Grys-Vok wields. Many of his weapons have good knockdown power and Grys can fill the room with dozens of missiles and bombs, not to mention mini and full-sized nukes. While he has average speed, his decent armor combined with excellent long and mid- range weapons make him a pretty good and fun character for beginner and intermediate players. Raiden Any robot named after a Japanese thunder god is going to have powerful attacks. While Raiden still features the most powerful long range normal attack in his twin lasers, he’s has a surprisingly good variety of solid weapon attacks. Still, it’s all about setting up the opponent and delivering the fatal knockout laser attack – for most Virtuaroids, two hits from the Raiden’s standing laser attack from any distance is fatal. Speed is a problem for Raiden; he’s slow and most of his weapon attacks aren’t too fast either. Still, his great armor and good ability to lock-on to targets with Dash Attacks makes him my recommended choice for beginner players. Specineff Specineff is the most unusual Virtuaroid from the whole VOOT cast and not only because of the way he looks or moves around like a hockey player. Weak armor and a very short dash duration may make him seem like a pretty weak character. However, veteran VOOT players argue and have proven that in the right hands, Specineff is down-right dangerous. While his dash duration is short, it is lightning quick and he has good ability to lock-on to targets. His Right Weapon is extremely reliable and his Left Weapon floating orbs can make it very difficult on opponents. He’s recommended for intermediate to advanced players because of his relatively weak armor and unconventional movement patterns. Stein-Vok Replacing explosion and incendiary explosions for energy and beam weapons, Stein-Vok’s has slightly better armor than Grys-Vok though Stein-Vok is a step slower. His weapon arsenal is a mix of energy weapons that borrows a little something from everyone including Cypher (LTCW), Temjin (RTRW), and Raiden (LW). His attacks can do decent damage, but they’re not very fast attacks. Stein-Vok’s Magnet Cruise Ball (Crouch RTCW) is slow but has good homing ability and the Giant Magnet Cruise Ball does awesome damage and strips away all V. Armor as well – too bad it can only be fired once a match. Like Grys-Vok, Stein-Vok is a decent beginner choice. Temjin The default all-around dude, Temjin does everything pretty well; he can be an aggressive Close Combat assailant, a solid mid-range attack jouster and he can handle long-distance exchanges decently. Temjin’s only possible weakness is that he doesn’t have a true knockout weapon, other than his high-risk Surfing Ram. Still, given his above average armor and good speed, Temjin’s the choice character for everyone, beginner to advanced levels. Temjin 10/80 Temjin 10/80 is a throwback character from “Virtual On: Cyber Troopers”. Essentially, he’s Temjin with no air or Watari dashing abilities. Still, he has good weaponry including the ability to fire his Right Turbo Right Weapon attack repeatedly (unlike normal Temjin). A decent character for all levels limited only by the lack of maneuverability. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. Special Thanks Special thanks are in order to MentholMoose, a VO veteran, for his input on the guide. He maintains one of the few US-based VOOT fansites at www.oratan.com with a friendly community – those interested in furthering their “academics in VOOT” are encouraged to visit the site and don’t act like an ass. Thanks to GSaturnZ for all the times of beating me down in the he-day of Dreamcast VOOT, as well as making me aware of the value of selective firing with Apharmd-B. Special thanks to all players at SHGL learning center for my VOOT experience back in the arcade days. For corrections, suggestions, or random VOOT offerings, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you online! Happy VOOTing!