Review by CasaDeJoey

"Sega does it again! And I think that's the problem..."

How easy can a fighting game series possibly get? With time, games are supposed to progress and get better [harder] as the many sequels follow. Virtua Fighter 3 (much like the Japanese Dreamcast launch) laughs in the face of progression in almost every way.

As you've probably noticed from the screen shots, Virtua Fighter 3 is a huge step up in terms of graphics from Virtua Fighter 2. The controls are much better as well, they have a more "grown-up" feel, and the new big, hard buttons are a nice addition as well.

But if that's the only thing VF3 has going for it, then it basically has nothing going for it at all. I enjoy eye candy a lot, but why play a fighting game for some of that when I can play Crazy Taxi and have fun all at the same time? Or if I want to see more rendered backgrounds and want a little more action, there's the short (and sweet) Daytona USA 2, which has been at almost every arcade I go to at one time or another.

The main problem with Virtua Fighter 3 is that it's nothing new. Wow, TWO new fighters, a fat guy and some funny looking girl. Even Mortal Kombat 4 had more than that (although, other than Reiko, I can't name a one of 'em that was truly original).

I guess two new fighters with a bunch of returning ones would have been okay, if the game featured new play mechanics and combos... maybe some new moves and some innovation. But who needs innovation when you can stick to the same ol' formula of three hit combos and easy gameplay?

Gameplay: 7
I know practically said that this was one of the worst fighters on the planet in a few of the paragraphs above, and while it kind of is, this high score is being given because of how much fun I had beating those smoking, beer-drinking losers that spend their life at Dave & Buster's and NEVER play any real fighting games! All they do is just stand around, smoking a cig in your face and sipping their drinks, admiring all of the "young" people playing all of the "cute" fighting games.

So when one of 'em finally does challenge me and I whip their buns, Virtua Fighter 3 becomes a highly satisfying experience.

Sound/Music: 5
Cheesy punch/kick noises, mixed with some techno-ish tunes (not nearly as good as Tekken 3's) and annoying sounds and music play whenever you lose a match or the whole game and watch the computer beg you to continue. Definitely not a game I'd buy the sountrack from...

Graphics: 8
This rating should probably be lower, considering it's 1999 (I first played VF3 in '98 and thought the graphics were an 8, however, when I first saw pics of this game back in '97 they were a 9, but since time has passed, they're just not as spectacular as they use to be).

The eight does the game justice, I think, maybe a little too much. Fully-rendered backgrounds are nice (especially for a fighting game), and so are the lighting and water effects in the beach stage. Then I look the TekkenmPlayStation 2 tech demo screens and suddenly, VF3 doesn't even look like an eight anymore -- it looks more like a one or a two.

Story: 1
This game has no story! Some of you may beg to differ, but just go and beat the game, ANY of the games (with the exception of Virtua Fighter Kids) and come back. Come 'on, it won't take long! I'm sure you can finish off Dural in less than thirty seconds...

Now that you're back, tell me, was there an ending? Hmmmm.... is that so? Just ending credits, you say? Interesting.

Replayability: 4
Kicking the butt of a D & B drunk is fun, but it has its limits. And the limits of this fighter aren't very high, which is unfortunate for such a pretty game. You know, I could just stare at Virtua Fighter 3 all day, but couldn't stand to play it for that long. Sega really needs to take all that graphical power used that game and put it into something more worthwhile, like Nights 2...

Should I buy Virtua Fighter 3?: No.
This $5,000 to $10,000 arcade machine isn't worth much to a gamer, and is worth even less to an arcade operator. Maybe something to show off to your friends and brag about, VF3 is not the type of game that you'll want to own just because it's "so good." The $50 Dreamcast version isn't worth buying either, if you ask me.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 02/20/03

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