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Model 2 Collection: Sonic The Fighters/Virtua Fighter 2/Fighting Vipers Review

The transgression from 2D to 3D fighting games was a bit of a non-event for me. Touted as the future of fighting games, titles like Virtua Fighter and War Gods failed to impress with their blocky graphics and unresponsive controls especially compared to the 2D fighters like Street Fighter II. But 3D stayed and 2D all but until recently disappeared, bringing me kicking and screaming into the modern age of gaming. Things got better, Tekken and Soul Blade started to make great leaps not only in graphics but playability. SEGA, back then kings of the arcade had their own team creating some classics, AM2, many of which were ported to the SEGA Saturn and many other consoles, with three of their best titles now finally gracing the digital download stores for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Each of these games comes in at 400MS Points or 3.69 GBP a piece, so even grabbing all three is not really a wallet buster if you are crazy into the old 3D fighters. Each game comes with a HD makeover and plays just like the arcades all those years ago. The basics for all three are pretty similar, sporting around ten characters each give or take a few unlockable secrets with fighting relying on three buttons and the many different combinations available with punch, kick and guard. Through they are made from a similar game engine; there are enough differences to consider purchasing each game.

Sonic The Fighters

Long before Smash Bros there was Sonic The Fighters, with the world yet again under threat from Eggman and Metal Sonic it gives a chance for Sonic the Hedgehog and pals to put friendships aside and duke it out to see who gets to fly into space and take on the nefarious duo in this 3D fighter. Though supporting the three button basics there is also a Barrier that offers protection, though if overused it will break, resulting in no blocks at all. With no story links in-between the fights it is just constant fighting, with the rivals gradually getting harder and harder to defeat.

The character models are a little strange, with little spindly legs supporting the huge bodies of some very familiar faces like Sonic, Knuckles and Tails alongside some of the more unknown characters like Espio the Chameleon and Bark the Polarbear. A surprise addition is the inclusion of a few other characters that you need to unlock, with Eggman and Metal Sonic playable alongside a third character never seen before in the game's history.

Sonic The Fighters is a fun 3D fighter that doesn't take itself too seriously, offering plenty of comedic special moves with the familiar Sonic theme.

Virtua Fighter 2

Taking a more realistic approach to fighting, Virtua Fighter 2 granted us a deadly roster of fighters, each with their own particular fighting style like Wolf Hawkfield the wrestler, Chinese martial arts from Akira and the ninja Kage-Maru and his Jujutsu. Though older than Sonic The Fighters the action feels a lot more fluid, allowing for some brutal punch combos. The action is this time set around open arenas, allowing for the often cheeky Ring Out victory.

There are two versions available to play in this game, version 2.0 and 2.1 and other than tweaks to gameplay I have no real idea what this means, but to include it must be a big deal to fans of the series. With a few d-pad inputs you are also able to unlock hidden character Dural and a ranking mode this is classic game. Virtua Fighter 2 is 3D fighting at its best, a significant improvement over the first game and testament to the quality way back then, not a lot has changed in this series since then other than the obvious graphical overhaul.

Fighting Vipers

If Virtua Fighting 2 was your more standard fighter with familiar characters and moves Fighting Vipers was its more fashionable brother, hosting a crew full of street cred dudes and dudettes ready to beat the heck out of each other. The characters are a little more obscure with an interesting mix like the hair metal fanatic called Raxel who sports a lovely blonde poodle mullet and a Flying V guitar, Picky, a young skateboarder who hides behind his protective gear as well as swinging his skateboard around and fan favourite Candy, a fashion designer who wears a blood red plastic angel dress with thigh high stiletto boots.

The largest difference and something that many fighting games do not bother with now is armour. Each character has certain pieces of protective gear on, requiring you to destroy them before going to work on the soft body underneath. To help through the armour are a few extra moves to try out, like taking advantage of the enclosed ring and throwing your opponent face first into the wall. Next to each health gauge is a small graphic of a body, starting off green, the more hits taken it will gradually turn red, with the armour eventually smashing and the game replaying the instance over and over again just to rub it in.

All three games initially play in their original resolution, which looks nice but does not fit most TV screens, leaving bland borders surrounding the picture however you can stretch the picture to fit your TV.

Though at the time not an issue, modern gamers will find the content of these three games extremely light when compared today's standards with the low character count and only a single player and versus mode. Thankfully there have been some modern additions with the inclusion of leaderboards for each game and full online function with a decent connection online allowing for lag free fights. The only problem with this is that there doesn't seem to be many playing these games so I suggest friending people with a copy if you want to get the most out of the games.

Modern fighting fans may come away a little disappointed with these purchases as even with a HD makeover they are very dated but each of these titles are a slice of 3D fighting history, with any purchase guaranteed to excite the retro fighting fan but at a push, just because of the characters and sheer insanity of moves Fighting Vipers will always come out my favourite.

Words by Dan Pearson.

(Version Tested: Xbox 360 / Xbox LIVE)


- A chance to play some AM2 classics.
- Easy to follow command list.


- Very basic modes for each game.
- Blocky graphics.

Edited On 07 Dec, 2012

( 7 )
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
The only 3D fighter i have really ever like is DBZ Raging blast 1/2. Love new style 2D fighters like Mortal Kombat and Tekken, so hopefully they keep them coming!!
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
Sorry to be a pedant, but 400 MS Points works out at £3.40, not £3.69.
neohawk's avatar
400 points on xbox, £3.69 on PS3. The reviewer wasn't doing a conversion.
neohawk 4 years ago
madeinwales's avatar
£ 3.33 to be pedantic, the re curring three ! and he was doin a conversion or tryin too, no mention of a ps3 price
madeinwales 4 years ago
Ash Buchanan's avatar
£3.69 is the PS3 price, the paragraph before states Xbox and PS3, next time will be more clear.
Ash Buchanan 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Can't see why there is so much fuss, it's only bout 30p difference, oops sorry i mean 29p :P
tomas 4 years ago
neohawk's avatar
neohawk 4 years ago
Virtua Fighter 2 still holds up pretty well, the other 2 not so much.

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