Shin Force | Sega Dreamcast Review
Shin Force
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Shin Force ~ Dreamcast ~
 Virtua Fighter 3tb
Genki, AM2
2 GD (Japan)
1 GD (USA)
Nov 27, 1998 (Japan)
Oct 19, 1999 (USA)
1st/3rd Person
Arcade Stick
Backup 12
         > If you're a Fan of 3D fighting, then you're almost surely aware if the heritage Sega has in the genre.  After all, Sega basically invented and popularized this type if game.  Obviously, Virtua Fighter 3tb (VF3tb) is the third installment in the series which began on Sega's Model 1 arcade board.  VF3tb is a Model 3 conversion to Dreamcast by none other than Genki and AM2 (creators of the series).  The "tb" stands for "team battle", which describes the main mode of play during the game.  This mode is quite reminiscent of a Capcom arcade conversion for Saturn known as X-Men vs. Street Fighter (XvSF). The main difference between the two is that VF3tb allows you to choose three team members instead of two and VF3tb does not allow you to switch between team members on-the-fly as XvSF does. 
         > Well, if you're lucky enough to be able to get your hands on the red-hot selling Dreamcast, then VF3tb is definitely going to be on your list of games to acquire.  As far as importing goes, the entire game is in English including the speech.  Also, the Dreamcast console has an option to select English as the default language for the bios menus.
         > I've seen and played the arcade version of the game many times and I can honestly say that it's hard to tell them apart.  The Dreamcast's graphics engine seems to glide through every move and floating view that the game has to offer.  So you like super-smooth animation, then VF3tb is your game. All the arcade characters and locales are intact.  About the only feature which could have been better is the background pictures.
         > Do you like smooth animation?  Good!  The character eyes, mouth and expression change just as they do in the Model 3 wonder.  Transparency is abundant as is the light-source shading.  And just in case you don't know, the backdrops are multi-level 3D animating bliss.  For instance, the waves hitting the shore in Jeffrey's stage has to be seen.  I don't want to build the looks up anymore, but it suffices to say that the graphics are a winner when compared to the arcade original.  One more thing, VF3tb may not look as good as the newer Soul Calibur, but it certainly holds its own in every other category.
         > This is what really separates the best of the genre from the wanna-be's.  AM2 has to be the best at fine tuning control as this game is a pleasure to play.  All the arcade moves are present and easy to pull off.  There's even a view feature which can be utilized with the two triggers.  As for the buttons, there's punch, kick, block and dodge.  Hit combinations and throws are also at your disposal.  In spite of my initial displeasure with the standard controller, I can now say (since I have one) that it's comfortable and compatible with VF3tb.  If you get the Arcade Stick, then you're basically in the arcades.  What can I say? Mint... as expected.
         > The songs are quite similar to Virtua Fighter 2, which is a marquee Saturn title.  They consist of the same type of occasionally fast paced, energy laden guitar rock.  Oh, and the stereo sound that comes from the Dreamcast is second to none. 
         > Some of the sound effects have been carried over from VF2 and some are new.  What really counts is that they sound excellent.  There's plenty of voice and importers will be happy to know that it's all in English!
         > For me, fighters are always best against a friend instead of the computer.  However, VF3tb can easily be played alone simply because the action is so realistic and the eye candy is great.  At any rate, you can choose from Team Battle, Normal and Training modes to add a little spice in the mix.  The American version also has Vs. Team Battle and Vs. Normal modes to select.  Included in the Japanese version is a disc which has a video preview of AM2's most excellent forthcoming title -- Project Berkley (aka Shen Mue; VF RPG).  Finally, VF3tb has unseated Fighters MEGAMiX (Saturn) as my favorite console fighter...
     > Fighting Fans will rush to get their hands on this, the best fighter in the world!  Only Sega and AM2 could be responsible for creating seamless gameplay, graphics, depth and excitement like this in the home.  With titles like this in the first round, there will be no excuse not to get the Uberconsole...  "I look forward to our next bout!"
Overall: 9.6 | Graphics: 9.5 | Control: 9.9 | Sound: 9.5 | Fun: 9.5
~ Shinobi ~