Review by Dr.Zan
"God stirkes again!!!"
After the day I finished playing Tekken 3 I thought that the ultimate point in fighter games was attained. Polishing the graphics here and there was probably all that was left to do but...
Now I own Virtua Fighter 4, and except my weekly ration of food this is the best 80$(Canadian) investment I have ever made.
I'll review the most important aspects of a Fighting game:
Controls: This is where Virtua really shines. Each character has his own style of which all go in-depth. Firstly, any beginner can easily master the basics of a character and have fun beating the crap of the computer and friends who don't own the game.
Yet one day a man shall come, and whoop you so badly you'll fall to your knees and question your worthiness. Shortly after this man leaves, a voice shall come from the heavens: ''Fear not my son, for if thou shall practice thou shall win''
After that kodak moment, you'll rediscover the ''once useless in every other game'' training mode. You'll learn about moves you would never of thought imaginable, blocks, reversals, reversals of reversals that will give a use to the word defense. On the same note, you'll smack your head after realizing why you'd get beaten so easily while performing certain sets of moves. Then most importantly of you'll learn how to do the same to your opponent. Then you'll be able to raise your head up high again, look down at rpgs and say: ''this is what experience is''!!!
After you master a character you'll fight other masters in the fastest most brutal and unforgiving strategy game on earth. Only then will you at lay your eyes upon Sega and see them not for the company who created inferior hardware, but as the ones who just created the most beautiful piece of software to ever exist.
Graphics: Putting aside the fact the controls alone would be worth buying this game, you are now invited to actually contemplate the beautiful scenery and character design that sega has prepared for us. There are over 10 different levels which each have their own charm and tactics.
From the sunny beaches of Australia to the calm autumn of a Ninja's forest, passing by the insane ultimate fighting cages of ruffian bars you'll be taken away by the detail given to the environment. Flowing water, flying birds, flying helicopters, torches, yelling fans all executed to the best of the PS2's capability. To add on to this are impressive idle surroundings such as castles and sky scrapers that will make you feel like you are somewhere special.
Most importantly of all though is the interactivity ones fighter has with the surroundings. In one particular level you duke it out in a ring containing about 1 foot of water in it. The water itself is beautiful but the effects of players moving around in it are like never seen before on PS2. Similar levels include breaking floor tiles and leaving you marks in the gentle snow. Most levels also have walls around the rings.
The twist here is not only that you can joyfully bounce your opponent back and forth between your fist and these ring borders but that you can break them. Once broken you can take a gamble and aggressively try to throw your opponents out from that spot, causing a Ring out. The difference in model and resistance is different for every levels. in certain levels like the dojo you have weak wooden walls, in others like the Ultimate Fighting cage you have nearly unbreakable steel cages. Even better for the inexperienced aggressive player is the levels where there are no walls at all. Making not only fighting an issue, but staying in the ring a major one also.
Sound: No deceptions here. The music is brilliantly varied from level to level even though you may not notice it the further on you go into this game when you fall in your big black bubble of concentration. The sound effects are perfect so are most of your characters taunts. Except maybe for lion who has brats voice but we won't go there... They have made sure falling in the water did not make the same sound as hitting the ground of a dojo but in the end, this part of the game is immensely overshadowed by both the graphics and the gameplay. Anyways, this is nothing less than expected when you see how well they polished every area of the game.
Character Design: As I mentioned earlier on, each character has his own fighting style which goes in depth but that can also suit beginners. It is very likely not even 30 minutes after you have played you'll point out the two or three's guys that fight the way you are compatible with and
start mastering them.
The great thing about this game is that each character goes so in-depth and is given such an equal opportunity that you won't find yourselves all fighting with the same guys. Even though I claim superiority to certain characters, I'll never stop getting beat by other players who use ramblers I would have rather thought useless.
Each one of the thirteen characters is very original and has a much better defined personal attitude than in most other games. While being short on story, you can evidently see character depth and motivation just by the expressions on their faces and the taunts they use. You'll be able to use a wise Falun Gong kung Fu master, an Angry Canadian Wrestler, An old alcoholic, an arrogant b...londe, a snobby pretty boy, A reggae listening fisherman etc...
Value: Well, all i can say is that if you rent this game you'll waste 5$, since you'll eventually end up paying the full 80$(Canadian) after you've been striked with the virtua fever. With a traditional arcade mode, an AI training mode(that'll show them pokemon trainers), a never ending Kumite mode that ranks you according to your performances and a vital training mode you'll be spending RPG like time on this one. in the end though, all for this will be done to go one on one with friends and show them, with pride or meekness, who is the king of this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/08/02, Updated 04/08/02
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