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Virtua Fighter 3

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Virtuafighter3 title.png
Virtua Fighter 3
Publisher: Sega
Developer:
Distributor: Deith Leisure (UK)[1]
System(s): Sega Model 3 Step 1.0
Genre: Fighting































Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade
JP
1996-09 ¥?  ?
Arcade
World
1996-11[1]  ?


Virtua Fighter 3 (バーチャファイター3) is the third entry in the Virtua Fighter series, and a direct sequel to Virtua Fighter 2. It was released in 1996 for Sega Model 3 Step 1.0 arcade hardware, as the first game to hit the system, followed by Scud Race.

Gameplay

Virtua Fighter 3 builds on the work seen in Virtua Fighter 2, however unlike its two immediate predecessors, the game doubled up as a technical showcase for cutting-edge Sega hardware (in this case, the Model 3 board).

This iteration adds undulation for some of its arenas, such as a staircase in Lau's stage, a sloping roof for Pai and a raft constructed of individually moving elements bobbing on a water surface. Some stages are "multi-level" (similar to the techniques used in Mortal Kombat III), and while all the arenas in Virtua Fighter and Virtua Fighter 2 were square, stages in Virtua Fighter 3 are a wide variety of shapes. The "ring out" system has also been downgraded - while it has not been removed entirely, some stages have walls, and characters can use said walls to their advantage.

A fourth button, "Dodge", was added to the Kick, Punch and Guard commands of previous titles (although its inclusion was not originally intended[3]). Pressing the button with the joystick in neutral or held up makes the character move into the screen (i.e. away from the viewer), while pressing the button with the joystick held down makes the character move out of the screen (i.e. towards the viewer). This 'evasion' technique enables players to dodge incoming attacks, creating opportunities to counter-attack almost immediately.

Two new playable characters were added; Aoi Umenokoji and Taka Arashi, the latter of whom represented a huge technical challenge due to his size and subsequently failed to appear in Virtua Fighter 4.

With the exception of Dural who has none, characters' eyes in Virtua Fighter 3 are able to move independently from the head, and so can track the opposing player during a fight. Characters also exhibit heavy breathing and more emotion after performing moves, and clothing is less rigidly attached to their bodies, creating a simplified "silk" effect in places. Faces in the game are reportedly comprised of about 1,000 polygons[4].

Characters

Akira Yuki
Pai Chan
Lau Chan
Wolf Hawkfield
Jeffry Mcwild
Kagemaru
Sarah Bryant
Jacky Bryant
Dural
Shun Di
Lion Rafale
Aoi Umenokoji
Taka Arashi

History

Development

As with its predecessor, work on Virtua Fighter 3 is believed to have begun shortly after the end of Virtua Fighter 2.

Concepts for Virtua Fighter 3 were drawn up and to some degree implemented in advance of the Model 3 board being finalised. In fact, for a while, it appears that Virtua Fighter 3 was literally just an enhanced version of Virtua Fighter 2, with select Japanese journalists being allowed access to what was presumably a version still running on Sega Model 2 code. 100,000 Sega Saturn owners we later given a promotional Virtua Fighter disc with pre-rendered artwork reportedly set to be used in Virtua Fighter 3 - this subsequently evolved into an eleven-part "CG Portrait series" starting with Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vol.1 Sarah Bryant[5].

Many of the character models in Virtua Fighter 3 are said to have stemmed from the Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series, with models being converted to Model 3 hardware. Exceptions include Dural who was likely re-built from the ground up, and predictably the two fighters who did not appear in Virtua Fighter 2.

Virtua Fighter 3 was first shown to the public at AOU Show 1996[6]. The game was not readily playable, showing instead a rolling demo of six characters; newcomer Aoi, Lau, Jacky, Pai, Jeffry and Dural[7]. While rendered by Model 3 hardware, the sequences were scripted to demonstrate the advance in technology; with the fighting frequently stopping for a close up of each character's face.

However, to further demonstrate that the game was indeed running on real hardware, four visitors were chosen by Sega to play a prototype version of the game[6] as either Jacky or Dural[7]. The demo was later unveiled in North America at the 1996 ACME show, held during the 7th to 9th of March 1996.

Once again character animations were created used motion capture technology. Aoi's traditional Japanese dance animations were motion-captured from a traditional Japanese dance instructor. Aoi and Jeffry were the most difficult characters to depict, with Aoi's kimono proving a programming challenge and Jeffrey's muscle movement being controlled by "muscular control" software[8].

The game was the last in the series until Virtua Fighter 5 R to include Taka Arashi. Hiroshi Kataoka, explained that the removal of Taka in subsequent installments was due to the technical implications of having a substantially larger character. Indeed, the character was nearly cut from Virtua Fighter 3 due to difficulties with his jumping moves.

On July 26th 1996, a private showing of Virtua Fighter 3 was held in Kamata, Tokyo, Japan.[9]

Around July 1996, it underwent location testing at Tokyo Joypolis, before getting a wider release in Japan in September 1996[10]. Reportedly the game was so popular during its initial location test that the average waiting time was eight hours, with people being forced to book slots ahead of time[11].

Release

The first cabinets in the United Kingdom appeared at SegaWorld London[12].

Legacy

Virtua Fighter 3 was followed by an update in Virtua Fighter 3tb, and a direct sequel in 2001's Virtua Fighter 4.

Versions

Saturn version

Following its arcade debut, it was rumoured that Virtua Fighter 3 would be brought to the Sega Saturn. This was confirmed at and then confirmed at the Sega Saturn Senryaku Happyoukai conference on the 8th November 1996 by Yu Suzuki[13] However, given the complexities involved in converting Sega Model 2 games to the system, it was widely expected that converting a Model 3 game would bring significant challenges.

It was therefore decided that supporting hardware would be produced - an "accelerator cartridge" (of unknown specifications) would be used to give developers access to Model 3-like graphics[14]. This peripheral could then theoretically be used for other conversions, such as Scud Race[14]. Sega Europe's Andy Mee suggested the price would be pegged at around the price of a third-party Nintendo 64 game in the UK - £80, but hopefully lower[14].

During 1996 a promotional trailer for Saturn Virtua Fighter 3 was released in Japan, and subsequently passed across the world's press. The trailer comprised entirely of pre-rendered footage, with no gameplay shown and no references to dates or price. No in-game Saturn footage or screenshots were ever released to the public during the conversion's development.

By mid-1997, all plans for an accelerator cartridge were scrapped[15][16], likely due to costs and the simultaneous development of a console successor to the Saturn.

Dreamcast version

When the Sega Dreamcast began to make the news, it a port of Virtua Fighter 3 was once again expected, however significant delays meant that it was substituted for the improved Virtua Fighter 3tb. 3tb was a launch title for the console in all regions.

Production credits

Source: In-game credits
Programmers
Designers
Motion Designers
Character Designers
Stage Designers
Planner
Sound Designers
Assistant Programmers
Assistant Designers

Magazine articles

Main article: Virtua Fighter 3/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
100 №180, p80-82[1]
83 №99, p52
Arcade
92
Based on
2 reviews

Model 3, US
VirtuaFighter3 Model3 US Flyer.jpgVirtuaFighter3 Model3 US Flyer2.jpg
Flyer
Model 3, US (Deluxe)
VirtuaFighter3 Model3 US Manual Deluxe.pdf
Manual

Technical information

In the Dreamcast port, the character model of Aoi Umenokoji consists of about 7500 polygons, with her head alone consisting of about 4300 polygons. In the water stage, the polygon count reaches up to 1.9 million polygons per second, about 32,000 polygons per scene at 60 FPS.

References


Virtua Fighter series
Virtua Fighter (Remix | PC) (1993-1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 (Mega Drive | Sega Ages 2500 Series) (1994-1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 (3tb) (1996-1997) | Virtua Fighter 4 (Evolution | Final Tuned) (2001-2004) | Virtua Fighter 5 (R | Final Showdown) (2006-2010)
Spin-offs
Virtua Fighter Kids (1996) | Virtua Fighter Animation (1997) | Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary (2003) | Virtua Quest (2004)
Cross-overs
Fighters Megamix (Game.com) | Dead or Alive 5 (5+ | Ultimate | Last Round) (2012-2015)
Portrait series
Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series: (1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | The Final) (1995-1996) | GG Portrait: Yuuki Akira (1996) | GG Portrait: Pai Chan (1996)
Others
Virtua Fighter (LCD) (1995) | Electronic Virtua Fighter (199x) | Virtua Fighter (R-Zone) (199x) | Virtua Fighter 3 Win-PC-Collection (1996) | Virtua Fighter Mobile (2008) | Virtua Fighter Cool Champ (2012) | Virtua Fighter Fever Combo (2014)
Characters
Akira Yuki | Jacky Bryant | Pai Chan | Sarah Bryant
Demo discs
Java Tea Original Virtua Fighter Kids (1996)
Albums
Virtua Fighter: Akira/Kage (1994) | Virtua Fighter (1994) | Sega Saturn Virtua Fighter Maximum Mania (1994) | Virtua Fighter "Sega Saturn" Image by B-univ Neo Rising (1994) | Virtua Fighter 2 Sound Track (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Dancing Shadows (1995) | "Kuchibiru no Shinwa" (1995) | "Wild Vision" (1995) | Virtua Fighter Soundtrack Vol. 1: Shinshou Hassei (1995) | Virtua Fighter & Virtua Fighter 2 Music Tracks (1996) | Virtua Fighter Soundtrack Vol. 2: Ryuuko Kaikou (1996) | "Kyouhansha" (1996) | Tianshi Xiang (1996) | "Ai ga Tarinaize" (1996) | "Eien no Mannaka de" (1996) | Virtua Fighter Complete Vocal Collection (1996) | Virtua Fighter Kids Sound Tracks (1996) | Virtua Fighter Soundtrack Vol. 3: Koubou Banjou (1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 Sound Tracks (1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 On The Vocal (1997) | Virtua Fighter 4 Official Soundtrack (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution Original Sound Tracks (2002) | Virtua Fighter 5 Original Sound Track (2011) | Virtua Fighter 5 Official Sound (2012) | Virtua Fighter 5 R Official Sound (2012) | Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Official Sound (2012) | Virtua Fighter Official Sound (2013) | Virtua Fighter 2 Official Sound (2013) | Virtua Fighter 3 Official Sound (2013) | Virtua Fighter Best Tracks + One (2015)
Books
Virtua Fighter Maniax (1994) | Virtua Fighter Maniax Replays (1994) | Virtua Fighter Sega Saturn Fighting Manual Vol. 1 for Novice (1994) | Virtua Fighter Guide Book V-Jump (1994) | Virtua Fighter Ougi no Sho (1995) | Virtua Fighter Maniax for Windows (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Act.1 (1995) | Virtua Fighter Sega Saturn Fighting Manual Vol. 2 for Expert (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Act.2 (1995) | Virtua Fighter Remix Sega Saturn Fighting Manual Complete (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Act.3 (1995) | Virtua Fighter Strategy Guide (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Sega Saturn Fighting Manual Vol. 1 for Novice (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Perfect Guide (1996) | Virtua Fighter 2 Game Guide Book (1996) | Virtua Fighter Graphics "Model 2" (1996) | Tokyo Virtua Monogatari (1996) | Virtua Fighter 2 Sega Saturn Fighting Manual Vol. 2 for Expert (1996) | Virtua Fighter 2 Fighter's Bible (1996) | Virtua Fighter Kids Fan Book (1996) | Virtua Fighter Kids Sega Saturn Fighting Manual (1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 Command Game Guide (1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 Act.1 (1996) | Virtua Fighter Relax (1996) | Virtua Fighter 3 Act.2 (1996) | Virtua Fighter Honoo no Maki: Pai Chan Bukyou Gaiden (1996) | Fighters Mega Books Mix Ultimate Guide (1997) | Prima's Virtua Fighter 3: Unauthorized Arcade Secrets (1997) | Virtua Fighter 3 Official Playing Guide (1998) | Virtua Fighter 3tb Kanzen Kouryaku Doku Hon (1998) | Virtua Fighter 3tb Perfect Guide (1998) | Prima's Official Strategy Guide: Virtua Fighter 3tb (1999) | Virtua Fighter 3tb Official Strategy Guide (1999) | Prima's Official Strategy Guide: Virtua Fighter 4 (2001) | Virtua Fighter 4 Perfect Guide (2001) | Virtua Fighter 4 Red Book: Elementary Phase (2001) | Virtua Fighter 4 Yoku Wakaru Haoh Yousei Dojo (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 Blue Book: Advanced Phase (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 The Complete (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution Perfect Guide (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution Green Book: Law of the Junkies (2002) | Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution: Yokuwakaru Hisshou Senjutsu Shinan (2003) | Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary: Memory of Decade (2003) | Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned Master Guide (2004) | Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Judgement Six no Yabou Kouryaku Navigation (2004) | Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned Orange Book: Junkies' Last Stand (2004) | Virtua Fighter 5 White Book: Keep It Real (2006) | Virtua Fighter 5 Black Book: Keep It Moral (2006) | Virtua Fighter 5 Technical Book (2006) | Virtua Fighter 5 Official Strategy Guide (2007) | Virtua Fighter 5 for PlayStation 3 Complete Guide (2007) | Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Masters Guide (2010)
TV and Film
Virtua Fighter CGMV (1994) | CGMV Virtua Fighter 2 (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Eternal Battle (1995) | Virtua Fighter (1995) | Virtua Fighter Special Training Pack (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Wheel of Fortune (1995) | Virtua Fighter 2 Wheel of Fortune The Best Bout (1996) | Sega Official Video Library Vol. 2: Virtua Fighter Kids (199x) | CGMV Special Virtua Fighter 3: Shippuu no Shou "System" (1996) | CGMV Special Virtua Fighter 3: Geki no Shou "Battle" (1996)