Alright, I finally have occassion to talk about games on my own blog! I think this stuff is under the radar enough.
A couple of weeks ago Sega released the first few titles in their Model 2 Collection on PSN/XBLA: Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers, and Sonic the Fighters. I will reiterate my statement made on Twitter:
Virtua Fighter 2 is an essential title, the first step in 3D fighting games beyond the mere proof of concept that the original VF and Tekken represent. Though it is not really in the Western genre canon, it is a videogame with equivalent impact to Street Fighter 2.
Fighting Vipers is an early experiment with that formula, a game that borrows the basic framework of VF2 and goes crazy with it. Wacky character designs, wacky game design ideas: the game is just weird. A lot of the ideas come from 2D games, like air recovery (effectively eliminating the scripted juggle combo and changing the air situation into another guessing game) and attacks with auto-guard. A lot of the ideas worked their way into VF, like the interactive walls and Jane becoming Vanessa. The armor gimmick, on the other hand, never seen again. Fighting Vipers 2 badly needs a home port.
If Fighting Vipers is a crazy-mode version of VF2 then Sonic The Fighters is a crazy-mode version of Fighting Vipers. This is a rarely-seen game, only having been released for a console one time in the past, buried in a Sonic collection. It's a cute game for people to pick up and mash, but as a fighter, well..
It's practically an anti-fighting-game, in that the ideas you're used to from playing 3D games don't exist or just don't work. Blocking is heavily penalized, dodging doesn't really work, there's no defense. It's trying to construct a new game out of these elements, but I couldn't find it for the life of me. I played this online for a while and just did not have fun, despite wanting to like it. Just doing a single jab over and over again seemed to be the move of the game.
All of these ports are simple emulations of the original arcade games, and not the inferior Sega Saturn ports. I am fine with this-- the core original game is what is important to me-- but stuff like videos are out. The games are pure and accurate, but aside from online play and a command list, they lack any of the trimmings of a home port. Where is the training mode? I shouldn't have to set up an inactive Player 2 just to practice moves in this day and age.
Also, the online community for these games disappeared fast: I already have a very hard time getting a Fighting Vipers or VF2 match. Sonic is packed, of course.
Each game is $5: the collection will complete with Virtual On and Virtua Striker later.