Virtua Fighter

The name Virtua is synonymous with Sega’s. Virtua Fighter, created by the now legendary AM2 Department headed by Yu Suzuki (famous for titles such as Space Harrier and Outrun) is stooped in gaming history as well as a critical part of Sega’s internal and troubled politics.

The game was right at the forefront of the (then) new 32-Bit era. It was the first ever fully 3D fighting game to be created featuring polygonal combatants. These characters used a variety of authentic fighting styles ranging from kung-fu to professional wrestling.

The release of Virtua Fighter in the arcades created an innovative and incredibly popular franchise that still continues to this day. Fighting purists believe the VF series is the best fighting series ever with the deep sophistication of the fighting engine.

This particular game also has the prestige of being the first ever Saturn game being an arcade perfect port that launched Sega’s 32-Bitter in all regions.

Virtua Fighter Case Scan Virtua Fighter Case Scan

Case Quote

“Sega Saturn unleashes the state--of-the-art fighting simulator that rocked the arcade world! With all 700+ special arcade moves, al 9 polygon based fighters, super-smooth sprite scaling and ground breaking 3D graphics, Virtua Fighter is the fastest, most awesome punch ‘em up EVER!”

Click on the images for larger versions.



Virtua Fighter started in 1992 when AM2 began to use polygons in their games to create a formula one simulator called Virtua Racing. Afterwards, the technology was extended to create a fighting simulator. Because of the technology of the time each character was limited to 1200 polygons which gave them their ‘boxed’ look.

Sega Model 1 Arcade Board

VF was released in the arcades in November 1993 to much wonderment. The power of the (then) state-of-the-art Model 1 arcade board blew everybody away showcasing full screen, full colour, fully rendered 3D graphics. It was the most revolutionary fighting game since Street Fighter 2.

As well as graphics, VF concentrated on representing fighting techniques accurately and implemented a physics engine never before seen. When a character was hit a certain way the fell a certain way.

Nobody had cared about arcade hardware before Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter came along. In the following months VF would become the holy grail of fighting games.

Destination: Saturn

The announcement of the Sega Saturn console came the month after VF hit the arcades. Sega let it be known that ports of both Virtua Racing and especially Virtua Fighter were in the works for their new console.. This made perfect sense since the arcade version was so hugely popular.

Sega Saturn

The Saturn launched in Japan 22nd November 1994 along with Virtua Fighter. On launch day Japanese gamers qued for insane amounts of time to be able to take this game home.

Within 2 days over 250,000 Saturn’s had been sold with an almost equal number of copies of VF. It single handedly carried the console for the first six months despite the launch of the Playstation a week later.

Virtua Fighter Demo

Virtua Fighter Opening Movie

There were some problems in porting VF to the Saturn. The complexity of the new console (a common problem) was the major issue and the need to rush the game to meet the console’s launch date did not help either.

Ultimately, this led to the development of the Sega Graphics Library created almost a year later which without it there would never have been a conversion of Virtua Fighter 2 amongst other titles.

VF on the Saturn was a virtually perfect port replicating everything from the arcade, graphics included. The flat-shaded polygons had quickly been surpassed by this time with smoother looking texture mapped ones. This soon became an issue.

Virtua Fighter Remix was released several months later. It was merely a graphical overhaul but addressed problems of the original title. These were flickering polygons, the dropping of some surfaces and sometimes bad responsiveness.

This followed on the heel of the arcade release of sequel Virtua Fighter 2 on the new Model 2 arcade board creating a new revolution in graphics.


The Imperial Guar of China developed a powerful Kung Fu technique known as Hakkyoku Ken (the Eight Point Fist). It won great admiration and many followers. Around the time of the second world war. The Japanese army created their own version of the Hakkyoku Ken technique in order to create the ultimate fighting force.

150 years have since passed and the only practicing master is a young man named Akira Yuki. On a personal quest he sets off around the world to find enlightenment and worthy opponents.

He encounters several in the World Fighting Tournament. The strongest have gathered to determine who is supreme in the art of hand-to-hand combat. Any and all methods of fighting are allowed as long as contestants only use their bodies.

After weeks of contests only 7 fighters remain. Jacky Byrant and sister Sarah both skilled in Sekken Do, Lau Chan and daughter Pai masters in their own variant of Kung Fu, Jeffry McWild master of the voilent Greek style of Pancratium, Wolf Hawkfield a ruthless professional wrestler and the mysterious Kagemaru with his unique techniques.

All eight of these fighters have arrived to test their methods and their might against each other. Who will stand victorious?


Virtua Fighter is all about realism. There are no fireballs, weapons or 100-hit combos. Focus is placed on the fighting techniques of each of the characters. Each character has 100’s of moves that can be performed.

Virtua Fighter

Whilst this sounds complicated the gameplay is very simple.

As with all fighting games, the goal is to simply knock your opponent out within a time limit. In VF, this can be done in just a few seconds if you know what you are doing.

Virtua FighterVirtua Fighter

On the screen is both characters energy bars, the timer for the round, the number of victories and the total time a player has been in the game.

If both characters are still standing when time has run out then the player with the most energy wins that round. If you manage to knock your opponent out with out taking any damage then an “excellent!” is yours.

You can loose the round by either being knocked/falling out of the ring which can be a hazard when fighting more tactical rounds. A short replay is also played after each. It is also possible to draw a round.

Generally, a match is the best of 3 rounds. You can change this number in the options. If you loose a match then the game will be over. You can continue where you left off by pressing START. You can also select a different character.

Whilst the game contains a vast amount of moves it utilises a simple control system.

VF can be played with a standard controller or for the real arcade experience the Virtua Stick.

The D-pad or arcade stick
Moves your character around the screen/arena. A single push in a direction is a quick step. Pressing forward twice will make your character run in that direction. Pressing DOWN will make your character crouch. Pressing UP will make your character jump.

Button A is defend
Button B is Punch
Button C is Kick
L trigger has no use
R trigger has no use

Button X,Y and Z generally have no use but can be used as buttons for combinations. These are set up in the options.

Throw moves are generally performed (except for Akira) by pressing DEFEND and ATTACK (A+B) when in close quarters.

A medium level kick is done by holding diagonally DOWN-FORWARD and pressing KICK (DF+C)

Stomp/Dive attack on an opponent lying on the floor is performed by pressing UP and ATTACK (UP+B)

The attack button pressed in rapid succession will create flurries. Combine these with directional movements for different attacks. Directional movements can be single directions such as forwards or back or a degree of motion (roll) around the D-pad. For example, rolling from backwards to forwards (180o).

Combinations of buttons will also produce different moves. Generally Button A+C will produce a power move. Again combine these with directional movements for more moves.

Virtua Fighter

When knocked to the floor you can speed up the time for your character to make it back to their feet (recover) by rapidly pressing the D-Pad LEFT and RIGHT. This is important since opponents can still attack you when you are down mostly by diving on you.

There are variations to recovery:

Holding the direction away will make your character roll backwards. Pressing DEFEND rapidly 3 times (A,A,A) will make your character roll away to the side. Pressing UP makes your character flip to their feet.

You can also perform recovery and launch immediately into a kick.

Pressing KICK rapidly 3 times (C,C,C) will bring your character to their feet with a high or vertical kick.

Holding DOWN and pressing KICK rapidly 3 times (C,C,C) brings your character up with a sweep kick.

Pressing DEFEND then KICK (A then C) when your character is completely on the ground will make them roll away to the side with a sweep kick.

The art to VF is linking many moves together as well as use of defence. This takes practice since there are so many permutations with any character. Button mashers can have a degree of success.

The Fighters

There are 8 playable characters in the game each with their own arena along with Dural - a robot who is able to use all the moves of the other fighters. You will face them in this order.

Jacky Bryant Jeffry McWild Sarah Bryant Kage Maru Pai Chan Wolf Hawkfield Lau Chan Akira Yuki

Jacky Bryant

Jeffry McWild

Sarah Bryant

Kage Maru

Pai Chan

Wolf Hawkfield

Lau Chan

Akira Yuki

The character Dural is playable through a cheat. See Below.

3 Modes of play are on offer; Arcade, Vs Mode and Ranking.

In arcade mode you are simply pitched against each of the characters in order with an encounter with Dural as a bonus round.

In addition to arcade mode you also have a Vs option and Ranking Mode. Vs mode simply pits one player against another. Matches with 2 experienced players can be brilliant.

Vs Mode Ranking Mode

Ranking Mode is unlocked plays the same as arcade mode but with a data sheet of your overall performance at the end.

Options Screen


VF offers several options to tweak the gameplay.

Life Gauge - adjust the size of your life gauge.

Match Point - specify how many points are needed to win a match.

Time Limit - Set the time limit of a round.

Enemy Level - Sets the difficulty level for arcade mode. Choices are easy or expert.

Continue - Toggle the ability to continue where you lost a match in arcade mode. Selecting OFF will return you to the title screen when you loose.

Sound Test, Voice Test, Music Test - Test the various sounds in the game.

Record - See the stats of all the fighters in the game.

Pad Control - Allows you to customise your controls.


Plenty more screenshots of the game can be found on the screenshots page

Virtua Fighter Screenshots


Option Plus

Change Ring Size and Stage Select

At the title when “Press Start” is flashing quickly press UP 12 times, then press START. Now enter the Options screen. You will hear a mighty “KO” . Move down to EXIT and press DOWN. Finally, press A and a new screen will appear.

Play as Dural

At the character select screen, press Down, Up, Right, Left + A. If done correctly you will get a laser sound.

Free Play Mode

During Free Play, matches cannot be paused. To activate Free Play mode, press X + Y + Z at the title screen.

Ranking Mode...the easy way

At the title screen, press Down + Right + C + L + R + Start.

Ranking Mode...the hard way

If you beat the game ranking mode will be unlocked.

Show Developer Names

To view the names of VF staff, hold L + R and press Start at the title screen.

View Credits

Hold A + B + C during the opening demo to view the credits.

Add Dural to Records Screen and Vs. Mode

At the title screen, press Up 17 times, then Start. Now enter the Options screen. Dural's stats are now on the Records screen.

Arcade Version

These are the arcade cabinets that VF came in. They are slightly different in appearance though essentially the same having arcade stick and 3 buttons.

Virtua Fighter Arcade Cabinet Virtua Fighter Arcade Cabinet

More information about the actual Model 1 arcade board can be found at

Virtua Fighter Remix

VF Remix was released between the time of development of Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn. The flat-shaded polygons of VF, whilst a faithful replication of the arcade version quickly looked dated and against the competing Playstation looked primitive. Sega concerned with the image of their new 32-Bit console graphically overhaued the game.

VF Remix essentially identical to the original except it utilises texture mapped characters instead of the flat shaded polygons. It also fixes several other issues found with the original such as graphical glitches.

Virtua Fighter Remix Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtua Fighter Remix Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtua Fighter Remix

This became bundled with the Saturn. It saw a very limited release in Europe and US where the game was available free for a limited amount of time.


Virtua Fighter was also ported to the 32X. This version is essentially same containing less sophisticated graphics and with extra tournament modes not found in the Saturn version. Ranking mode is also available without having to beat the game first.

The game is best played with a 6 button controller.

Virtua Fighter 32X Case Virtua Fighter 32X Case
Virtua Fighter 32X Virtua Fighter 32X

Virtua Fighter Remix and Virtua Fighter 2 were both ported to PC under the Sega PC brand and ran under Windows 95. Remix was renamed to Virtua Fighter PC.

A special version of Virtua Fighter appeared on the PC packed with the Diamond Edge video card which was one of the very first 3D accellerators. This particular card allowed the use of Saturn control pads on the PC.

Diamond Edge 3D

Virtua Fighter Animation appeared on the Master System and Game Gear in 1996 and was basically a very simplistic game not having much in common with the original. The Game Gear version also goes by the name Virtua Fighter Mini.

Virtua Quest also know as Virtua Fighter RPG was released for the Game Cube in 2004 and the PS2 in 2005. It is a simplified RPG aimed at younger audience in a futuristic setting.


Virtua Fighter 2 was released in the arcades in 1994 and on the Saturn in 1995.

Virtua Fighter 2 Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn)

A 2D version of which was released on the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1996.

Virtua Fighter Kids takes the characters of Virtua Fighter 2 and shrinks them down in a strange Japanese anime-stylee with small bodies and large heads. The game still has traditional VF gameplay.

Virtual Fighter Portrait Series is a collection of “art” applications where visuals and animations of a VF character is accompanied by Japanese pop music.

Virtua Fighter Portrait Series Fighters Megamix

Though not technically a Virtua Fighter game, this was a fusion of characters from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers (another AM2 fighting game) with obscure characters from Virtua Fighter Kids and even the Hornet from Daytona USA. It was released in the arcades and the Saturn in 1996.

Virtua Fighter 3 and Virtua Fighter 3tb was released in the arcades on the Model 3 arcade board in 1996 and 1997 respectively. The 'TB' refers to Team Battle and only this version was released on the Dreamcast and also as a launch title.

Virtua Fighter 3tb (Dreamcast)

The console version of VF3 was originally headed for Saturn but was cancelled at the very last moment in a totally bizarre turn of events. For more information about this take a look at Sega History.

Virtua Fighter 4 was released in the arcades on the Naomi 2 board 2001 and on the PS2 in 2002.

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution was released in the arcades in 2003 and included 2 new characters as well as graphical enhancements, major and minor tweaks to the game and characters. VF4-E is, in many ways, a whole new game. It was also ported to PS2 in 2004.

Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2)

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution also includes Virtua Fighter 10th anniversary mode that features all the characters of Evolution and places them in the flat-shaded polygon environment of the original some 10 years before. This feature was exclusive to the US version of VF4E but has been released as a seperate game in Japan. Sega Europe gave away a limited number of copies to select customers. For screenshots and movies checkout

Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned was released in the arcades in 2005 as an upgrade to VF4E. There is presently no plans to release a console version.

Virtua Fighter 5 has been released in the arcades in May 2006 and has already been announced to be an exclusive title for Playstation 3.

Virtua Fighter 5


Arcade Version

The best emulation can be done with MAME. There are graphical anomalies but the game is partically playable.

Saturn Version

Some Saturn emulators exist and VF can be executed using the Satourne emulator. Other emulators such as SSF may have more success.

Mega Drive 32X Version

The game is perfectly emulated using the Fusion or Gens emulators You can download them from the Mega Drive/Genesis Emulator page.

The ROM is available at various sites websites.


Virtua Fighter Moves List at Gamefaqs

Virtua Fighter at Wiki

Information about all the Virtua Fighter games and their spin-offs.

History of Virtua Fighter

An article describing all the games that have appearing in the Virtua Fighter series across all the platforms.


The latest in Virtua Fighter



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Sega Saturn Sega!

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