Virtua Fighter is considered to be the father of all 3D fighting games. Not only that, but it is one of the only arcade games that has permanent resident at the Smithsonian Museum. All of the characters utilize real martial arts styles, resulting in a more realistic fighting game experience than something like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat.

Back to the tournament fighter roots

The earliest examples of fighting games were largely based on real Karate moves and rules in tournaments. However, they had gone almost completely extinct with the release of Street Fighter II. Obviously, there was a Street Fighter 1, but it didn’t become a worldwide phenomenon like the second one did, so its influence would be negligible without the sequel to back it up. The spin kicks, fireballs, and dragon punches were just too good to not mimic. The characters were diverse and appealing to everybody. Mortal Kombat gave rise to a similar but different kind of fighting game. One that went for shock value by showing digitized, real people maiming and dismembering each other.

Virtua Fighter aimed to return to a more realistic fight. Out were the supernatural moves, complex button combinations, and violence. They focused on actual martial arts controlled with a simple but deep button configurations, just as the originals did. Most moves are simply a direction and button or two. Most combos are only two or three hits. This cuts down on infinite combos and general cheapness. It’s up to you to have a good mix-up game, and up to your opponent to respond appropriately.

The first few Virtua Fighter games are guilty of allowing characters to jump absurdly high, as it was later dubbed the “moon jump” due to its gravity defying lift and slow descent. By the third game, it was mostly gone. As a throwback to its origin, Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution gave us the anniversary mode, which allowed you to play the fourth game in the style of the first game. It’s adorable.

The fighters and their styles

We will be covering each of the fighters in this series and giving a bit of background of their real life fighting style. Because of the limitations of early hardware, we may show clips from the latest entry in the series to show a better example of how the style translates to the game. We will also aim to show early iterations to show how far they’ve come. We hope you enjoy it!