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Showing posts with label Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1. Show all posts

Retrospective: Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1

When is a football game not actually a football game? When it's Virtua Striker, of course! The Dreamcast iteration of Virtua Striker 2 was initially released in Japan in 1999, under the slightly odd moniker of Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1; a title which you'd be forgiven for mistaking as a Windows update patch. This comparison isn't actually as outlandish as you might think though, when you consider that previous Model 3 arcade based versions of Virtua Striker 2 were bequeathed with similarly date specific nomenclature - Virtua Striker 2 was previously delivered to arcades in ver '98, ver '99 and ver 2000 before ver 2000.1 finally made its way into homes as part of the Dreamcast library.

Naturally, that this Sega AM2 developed soccer title has a numerical suffix hints that it is indeed a sequel, and not only that; for if you were to be even more inclined to combine inquisitive cognition and the human ability to conceive of future tenses (even though we are technically going into the past, here), then you'd also be totally correct to hypothesise that it is also simultaneously a prequel. Basically, what that absolute nonsense means in a nutshell is that there was a prequel (Virtua Striker) released in arcades 1994; and two sequels in the form of Virtua Striker 3 released on Nintendo Gamecube and in arcades in 2002; and Virtua Striker 4 released exclusively as a coin-op in 2004.

Now we've covered the potted history of Virtua Striker releases in very abridged form, let's get down to brass tacks. Cast your mind back to when you first started reading this badly constructed article and you'll recall that I rather brazenly announced that Virtua Striker is not a football game. And that's because it's not. Rather, it is football in the most arcadey format you're ever likely to see...which kinda makes sense given the actual arcade cabinet based origins of the series. Apologies if the constantly backpedaling mess of contradictory meandering is confusing the whole situation here, but I've had a long day and I just need to write something. Anything. And it's turned out to be this. Sorry.

Designed to be played in short sessions, easy on the eye and spectacular almost to a fault, the Virtua Striker games are divisive in the extreme...and Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 for Dreamcast does nothing to upset this particular apple cart. Indeed, I think I'm well within my rights to pompously declare Virtua Striker the Marmite of football games - you'll either absolutely loathe it; or you'll think it is the best thing since sliced bread (and then try to spread it on said staple before ravenously devouring it, you contemptible monster).

I remember when games magazines of yore would show screens of Virtua Striker, sometimes even going as far as to state that a Sega Saturn port was in production. I would gaze longingly at those chunky-legged polygonal footballers contorted into impossible shapes while toe-poking sharp-edged footballs into bulging nets, and dream of them someday adorning my beloved Saturn. Alas, that dream never became reality, and so my first real taste of Virtua Striker's flavour of footy came when Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 burst onto the PAL Dreamcast in 2000. 

Feverishly I loaded the GD into my console and was instantly mesmerised by opening cinematics of highly detailed footballers lining up for Sega-ised anthems in cathedral-like stadia. Footballing nirvana was a mere button press away. The hype was real, Virtua Striker 2 was finally in my living room and memories of ISS '98 on the Nintendo 64 were ready to be overwritten with the barnstorming return to glory of the mighty Sega. And then the game started and I almost cried. With sadness, that is.

Before I go on, I want to remind you that I'm writing this from memory - I was a teenager who had heard about how amazing Virtua Striker was, had never played it but been a fully paid up passenger on the hype train since the first time I saw the amazing screenshots of Virtua Striker 2 in magazines. And now here it was, finally being pumped into my eyeballs via the power of a Tatung CRT television (with full on mahogany surround and Fastext, I might add)...and yet I was heartbroken. Why? Because - and to be blunt - it played like absolute arse crack.

I was expecting something like ISS 64 but with CGI graphics; instead I was playing a computerised version of Subbuteo with a cloth pitch that hadn't been ironed properly so the ball never made it over the creases to the intended destination. Virtua Striker 2, here, in all it's amazing looking glory...but with no commentary, no changeable camera angles, about two buttons and a stupid 'swooshing' noise every time you attempt to tackle. Idiotic AI teammates, hardly any teams to actually play as, a daft time limit on matches, no half times, and no substitutions. I hated it. I hated what I was witnessing. How could they have gotten something that looked so right, so awfully and harrowingly wrong...?