Sega's Virtua Fighter series literally spawned the 3D fighting genre back in the early 90s. It has also been one of the most well-received and successful fighting game franchises of all time, spawning numerous sequels, alternate versions, and spinoffs over the past two decades. That's what makes tonight's release of Virtua Fighter 2 [$1.99] on the App Store so disappointing – it's not the highly refined arcade sequel to the groundbreaking Virtua Fighter, but rather its severely gimped Genesis version running in Sega's iOS Genesis emulator.

I have mixed feelings towards the iOS Genesis games. Some of the titles they choose to bring to the App Store turn out pretty good, and remain highly fun and playable even after many years have passed. Some, though, are completely ill-suited to a touch screen platform, and merely serve to scratch my nostalgia itch when needed. The Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2 is neither of these.

Since the 16-bit Genesis was incapable of doing a 3D fighting game, Sega created a 2D version of Virtua Fighter 2 for its popular home console to take advantage of the huge popularity of the Virtua Fighter series in arcades. It only slightly resembles its arcade counterpart, and honestly it wasn't even that good of a 2D fighter when it released 15 years ago. It completely baffles me that Sega would opt to bring such a poor example of one of its strongest brands to iOS rather than the excellent arcade version, or at least the Sega Saturn version, both of which should be totally possible with the iOS hardware.

This is a random YouTube video of the Genesis version, just so there's no mistaking what the gameplay is like if you're curious about picking up the game:

Chances are there are some folks out there who never knew the beauty that was the Virtua Fighter series in arcades, but had Virtua Fighter 2 on their Genesis and played the snot out of it back in the day. To those people you will be happy to know you can now carry that experience around in your pocket, running fairly smoothly inside of Sega's no-frills emulator. There's even a nifty Bluetooth local multiplayer mode for you. Unfortunately I am not one of those people, and in fact, I don't even know anybody who is. The forum discussion has echoed a similar disappointment to my own, and I can only hope that someday we will see a proper version of a Virtua Fighter game on the App Store.

  • Sesquipedal

    Game Release Fail.

    • Michael A. Robson


      Dear Sega. Seriously get this shit out of my face. Capcom owns you.

  • Anonymous

    Even if Sega are sticking to their philosophy of just dumping out emulated Genesis ROMs with zero effort, there are so many that might actually work with the terrible virtual d-pad controls... yet they keep putting out action-based games like this one.

    I really don't understand Sega at all.

  • Anonymous

    Dam i thought is was a Saturn version..DAM

  • Adams Immersive

    That giggling! Possibly the most irritating sound I have ever heard in a video game...

  • random_newb

    If it's not a real Virtua Figher 2, it's a disgrace to humans.

    They made a bad decision.

    I do believe iPhone has the capability to handle what Model 2 required.

    But maybe Sega does not have a budget. Major game companies are now turning into places that care more for earnings per share.

    We need a real Virtua Fighter 2, otherwise it does not exist period.

  • Anonymous

    Can't believe they are actually doing this. Looks like they gave up on the platform.

    • Michael A. Robson

      Right. Smart. Let's give up on a platform with like 200 million users. Pfft.

      • TheLastPixelArtist

        160 million, and that's devices not individual users (I have 5 myself lol).

  • Ecco6t9

    Sega, whoring at the Genesis/Mega Drive $1 at a time.

  • Phil Baxter

    What a bizarre release. The iPhone 4 could easily handle a proper port of VF 1, 2 or 3.

    And what's with releasing each Mega Drive game as it's own app? It's incredibly messy. Sega should look at the PC Engine emu to see how this type of thing should be done.

  • Gameplay
  • Siredge

    VF2 was an excellent game. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's far from "wasn't even that good."

    That said, this version of VF2 is a terrible game. Go figure.

    • Jared Nelson

      If you're talking about the article, the part you quoted was in reference to this Genesis version. I love all of the proper 3D Virtua Fighter games a ton, that's why this release pains me so much.

  • Anonymous

    I would have preferred virtual fighter 4.

  • Bubble Pets

    There must be some licensing, distribution, or other legal reason that is preventing Sega from emulating the arcade versions of their games. I highly doubt it's technical, and I can't imagine why else they'd continue to release these lackluster Genesis ports.

    • Michael A. Robson

      @Is there a reason the graphics suck balls? has anyone at sega taken a peak at what Capcom is doing on iPhone??

      • Phil Baxter

        The graphics are bad because this is an emulation of the 16-bit Mega Drive/Genesis port of VF2, not the arcade original.

        Sega could have ported the original, but that would have taken a company which actually gives a damn about quality.

    • FastOne

      I bet it's a roadmap they've come up with to milk the crappier releases for all their worth before releasing the good stuff. Problem is they're developing a reputation for crap releases, so I think it's a bad strategy. If you're not giving the market what it wants, someone else will.

  • Rothgarr

    I bet the iPhone 4 and iPad could each do Virtua Fighter Remix at the very least and probably even Virtua Fighter 2

  • Ben Ruddock

    You guys all fail. VF2 on Mega Drive was amazing, I'm so totally getting this.

  • Iluvsailormercury

    whoever wrote this article must be a moron, ios devices are not capable of sega saturn emulation. scope the specs before you just crank out assumptions. playstation barely crawls on my ipad and the saturn is far more complex.

    • Eli Hodapp

      You're reading between the lines too much. No one said that Saturn emulation was possible. The point Jared was making is that there's no much reason why a native Virtua Fighter wouldn't run on the iPhone, especially since a single character model in a game like Aralon likely sports more polygons than the entire game world of Virtua Fighter.

      Bringing the Genesis game wrapped in Sega's lackluster emulator just seems odd, to say the least.

      • htp24

        What would make more sense is ported Virtua Fighter 3tb from the dreamcast, honestly. The iphone can already do THPS2 and Rayman pretty well.

    • Charles Albert

      You sir, has just FAILED.

      • Iluvsailormercury

        no fails here, i can emulate a dreamcast at full speed on a shitty netbook. if u knew how a sega saturn was built (dual cpus both using a central ram unit) you might understand how programming a saturn emulator isnt even worth it. everything was written in assembly language so if you think you can get it working id like to see you try

  • Mike

    There's some a-hole mobile product manager at Sega who's laughing their ass off right now. At least, I hope they are. This release is a joke, right? Well it's a damn good joke!

  • htp24

    I doubt the dual VDPs can be emulated on the iphone/ipad. The Saturn wasn't powerful per se, but the hardware was a serious kludge to do 3D. The SSF emulator for the PC requires a dual core for acceptable gaming. Forget Saturn emulation on anything, it was too niche of a system and requires too much effort for acceptable performance. Playstation ports on the other hand...

    I loved Sega as a child, loved them as a teen, loved them as an adult until the demise of the dreamcast. They'll crank out one gem for every ten turds. Nine more to go...

  • meetmesumwhereahgotplenyagats

    Dear Sega,


  • Objection

    Stop promoting the retro crap already!!!!

  • reno

    Son of a. They could have even ported the 32x version, which was 3D (albeit a little blockier than the Saturn port), and it would have been better. What a disappointment, and what a way to screw your fans over.

  • P45

    Oh man just gave it a spin...not sure how to check out the move list or if there is even an option for it. Overall it's "ok" but man Saturn version would be 100X better than this.

  • Charles Albert

    I think that they shoud made a Virtua Fighter game based on the Saturn/Arcade version. Not an PORT or a EMULATION, but the iPhone packs enough firepower so they should be able to do something totally similar with no problems.

    Now, Sega doesn't meat to take the iOS platform very seriously, do they? So many games that would make terrific iOS versions, like Outrun or even, i don't know, Panzer Dragoon... That would be swell!

  • Asd

    this is just evil. I bet many people bought this game thinking it was the arcade version then to find out its a crap port.