If you spent any amount of time in an arcade in the early- to mid-90s, you’re likely well aware of Sega’s prominence in the field of giant, noisy video game machines. The company has been one of the biggest arcade game developers since the early years of the industry, and it remains one of the few companies still churning out arcade games to this day. Given how many arcade titles Sega has made over the years, it’s to be expected that some of them would be lost to the sands of time, but today we’re happy to report that Sega has officially revealed its plans to revive three of its classic arcade fighting titles for modern consoles.
According to a new entry on Sega’s official blog, Virtua Fighter 2, Sonic the Fighters and Fighting Vipers are all scheduled for release on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network in mere days (November 27 for PlayStation users and November 28 for Xbox 360 devotees). All three titles will feature a $5 price tag, regardless of which platform you purchase them on, and while that paltry amount isn’t enough to warrant a fully-upgraded re-release of these games, each will feature “support for full online multiplayer and achievements/trophies” on top of the otherwise arcade-perfect ports of these classic games. Unfortunately, as you can see from that Fighting Vipers screenshot at top, while the resolution of each of these games was increased to match modern gaming machines, none of the now-archaic art assets were reworked, resulting in arcade-accurate, yet arguably unattractive letterboxing during gameplay. We sent Sega an email to ask if these games will offer any other viewing modes, but have yet to hear back.
So, you read through all of the above and have become substantially psyched for these releases before realizing that you’ve never heard of these games before. Alright, Virtua Fighter 2 is familiar, but what the heck are Sonic the Fighters and Fighting Vipers? Sega’s blog offers an official synopsis of each:
Sonic the Fighters
Sonic the Fighters’s arrival in arcades in 1996 offered players a first-ever opportunity to take to the ring with characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, including Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose. Players had to battle their way through eight stages to collect chaos emeralds and once again thwart the evil plans of Dr. Robotnik and Metal Sonic!
Fighting Vipers came to arcades and the SEGA Saturn the following year, in 1996, adding a new concept that was a fighting game first: destructible armor. Players could maximize their damage dealt by destroying an opponent’s protective gear, and could then finish the round by punching or kicking the other player right through the arena’s walls.
Those are pretty accurate descriptions, though most players view Virtua Fighter 2 as the real gem here. All three games actually play relatively similarly to one another owing to their similar gameplay engines, but Fighting Vipers lacks a necessary amount of polish and Sonic the Fighters was never really seen as anything more than a novelty fighter aimed at rabid fans of Sega’s most famous mascot. Completionists or those who refuse to admit that arcades are dead will want to nab all three titles, especially given that the entire lot can be had for a mere $15, but those of you who are new to the polygonal fighters created by Sega’s AM2 development wing should probably stick solely with Virtua Fighter 2.