Virtual On - Cyber Troopers

Virtual On - Cyber Troopers

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

The one-on-one fighting game world has seen its share of oddballs—demon warriors, dinosaurs, zombies, skeletons, even hedgehogs—but Sega’s Virtual On – Cyber Troopers introduced a new breed of fighter: the “virtuaroid.” Clearly inspired by the agile “mechs” of anime programs like Robotech and Gundam, these heavily-armed fighting machines took each other on in cybernetic combat to the death (or its robotic equivalent).

Set in a 3-D arena complete with obstacles and hiding places, Virtual On followed the “best of three” fighting game formula, letting virtuaroids Apharmd, Bal-Bas-Bow, Belgdor, Dorkas, Fei-Yen, Raiden, Temjin and Viper II blast each other to bits for a minimum of two rounds. Each mech came equipped with three weapons, suited to either long- or short-range combat, and each had a trade-off of skills (Viper II had good aim but weak defenses, Raiden was strong but slow, and so on). Firepower was plentiful, with bazookas, laser swords, homing beams, guided missiles and other implements of mass destruction, but trigger-happy novices soon found themselves with overheated weapons and a dangerous few seconds of cool-down time.

Instead of the standard joystick/buttons control system, Virtual On gave its virtuaroid commanders two separate joysticks, each with fire and dash buttons. With this type of control, players could slide sideways, strafe, charge forward, run circles and more, giving them free movement in the game’s 3-D world. By pressing both joysticks away from each other, the virtuaroids could even leap into the air for a short burst, letting them rain down fire from above on their exposed foes. The controls took a bit of adjustment for players used to Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat or even 3-D fighters like Virtua Fighter and Tekken, but the payoff was worth it once that first enemy mech crumpled like an aluminum can.

Not surprisingly, Virtual On – Cyber Troopers made its biggest impact in Japan, home of the Shogun Warriors and Micronauts, but the game’s unique approach to the one-on-one fighter brought in stateside fans as well. Virtual On 2 – Oratorio Tanagram arrived in 1998, bringing even more robots and more advanced graphics to the battlefield, ensuring that the nuts-and-bolts carnage would continue for years to come.

Arcade Machine Release History

1995 - Virtual On - Cyber Troopers
1998 - Virtual On 2 - Oratorio Tanagram

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