Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Reviews

  • Zonrith1Zonrith1627,053
    05 Oct 2009 23 May 2013
    10 6 11
    This is a port of a popular Japanese arcade title. It is a mech fighting-game, a simple enough concept though as a genre that aligns itself primarily to dedicated, hardcore players, it is very challenging to master.

    Graphics/Sound (3/10)
    The graphics are aged, and it really shows. While the vibrant colors are nice, it seems the transition to an HD output really offers nothing special. The game is blocky and pixelated. Other than the vibrant color scheme this is an overall letdown. Given it decided against a realism approach, one would have hoped for something attractive in an old-school, cartoony style. Instead, one gets this. I'm sure it's great for frame-rate reasons, but given the technological advancements that have been made since the arcade game first came out, so much more could have been done. A better face-lift than this was in order for the 360.

    Audio is better but not great. Those who love the classic sound effects won't be disappointed, but it's nothing to write home about. Likewise, I found the musical fare to be frustrating with its surprisingly "happy" tone. Definitely something I'd play my MP3 collection over. All-in-all, one isn't going to want this game for its cutting edge look and sound.

    Controls (6/10)
    The initial control scheme will come across as frustrating to some, but there are customization options to reassign buttons to more preferable layouts. However, unlike most fighting games, it felt to me like I was spending most of my time fighting with the controls to keep the enemy within my field of view. Jumping re-centers the enemy, but nothing else seems to, resulting in either continuously hopping (and all the downsides that go with it) or else trying in vein to pan and keep up with the enemy (not an easy feat, especially if they are in anything but the slowest mechs). A lot of this is, I'm sure, intentional, but for someone with familiarity with other types of fighting games I felt that overall I was spending a bit too much time looking for the enemy to target and not enough time actually fighting him. The game wasn't originally designed for the 360 controller, and that shows at various points.

    Story (2/10)
    What story? About all I figured out is the mechs are called Virtuaroids. I have no idea which were "good" or "bad", or if there was any rhyme or reason to the fighting. To me, while definitely not the focus of the games, the fighting genre has always symbolized one where a basic story exists to provide some sort of cover as to why everything is happening. As near as I can tell, Virtual-On is devoid of this feature.

    Replay Value (5/10)
    I would rate it about average for a fighting game. It lacks a lot of different fighting modes, but does allow customization of the robots. Like all fighting games, it's something that is somewhat easy to get into (on paper), but requires a time commitment to master. With online play mode supported, there is the standard potential for a lot of time investment in the game.

    Achievements for replay value are a waste. I gained all of them in approximately 40 minutes, and I was terrible at it. They will not keep anyone interested for long.

    Also, in what I view as a major oversight, the game has no support for local split-screen multiplayer. Very disappointing.

    "Fun" Factor (3/10)
    I did not enjoy this game. One's mileage will vary, but the opponents I fought online so totally and completely dominated me that it was clear I would have to invest substantial time to properly master the controls, learn which mech units are best to use against the others, and figure out any particular customizations that may be seen as critical to have a sporting chance. The single-player is pretty short (like most fighting games) but set a poor example, at least on Normal difficulty, to teach me about the tactics and skill used by those I met online. The learning curve is really, really steep.

    This game may have inspired some key elements of games like Zone of the Enders and Armored Core, but as a stand-alone title I think its time has come and gone. Online play was difficult to find, and almost everyone I did face off against was in Japan (where I assume the title remains popular). My recommendation is if you love classic mech games you may want to give this a whirl, but if you are just a fighting game fan there are a lot better looking games out there which are easier to get started in while still rewarding those who want to invest the time to become masters.

    Overall score average: 3.8

    Score-to-Star Translation Guide:
    5 stars: 9.01 to 10 (out of 10)
    4.5 stars: 8.01 to 9
    4 stars: 7.01 to 8
    3.5 stars: 6.01 to 7
    3 stars: 5.01 to 6
    2.5 stars: 4.01 to 5
    2 stars: 3.01 to 4
    1.5 stars: 2.01 to 3
    1 star: 1.01 to 2
    0.5 stars: 0 to 1
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    ColumbineCQCI love this game. I never played it originally when it first came out in the arcades. At first, I really hated it, then I switched to twin stick control style, and it became a lot more enjoyable. They also added the ability for there to be observers in Xbox LIVE party lobbies, so now you can have two people fighting and six buddies watching the match at the same time. I think this review is awful, because all it talks about is "OH GOD THE CONTROLS HRRRRGNNNG", which are perfectly fine if you get the hang of it. Then again, we are living in an age where shooters are the most popular genre, and require little to no thinking to play. The reviewer should have played this game for at least two weeks, versus the fourty minutes he dedicated to get that 200, before posting this. My complaining aside, this a game better played with four to six of your buddies. Stay out of ranked matches, don't fight random people, and you'll have loads of fun pulling off pyramids as BAL-BADOS against your friend(BTW, his reaction will be priceless).
    Posted by ColumbineCQC on 27 Jan 10 at 00:12
    Zonrith1The suggestion that a game should be played two weeks before a review is asinine. A game that would require two weeks of analysis for a proper review isn't a game, it's a dissertation in the guise of entertainment. I'd have gladly played the game for two weeks if it hooked me, but alas it did not. Indeed, I would advocate that Dr. Doujinshi should write his own review of this game, given his strong feelings on the subject.

    Other than that, the only thing I'd like to express is my desire for folks who comment to at least fully read the review. Controls were the highest rated category in my evaluation, and I admitted later in the review that it would have taken a longer time investment on my part to master the controls. I respect that others may have a different take on the game, but I feel my review is quite fair to the product.
    Posted by Zonrith1 on 27 Jan 10 at 01:21
    ColumbineCQCZonrith1, you should write reviews for G4 or IGN.
    Posted by ColumbineCQC on 31 Jan 10 at 11:56
    Duke Of DirgeI'll admit I loved this game when I was a kid. and you right it's outdated probly not as fun as it was. also its not dreamcast part 2 came out on dreamcast this Relict was in the Arcades in the late 90's when saturn was out I was around 11yrs when i first laid eyes on it.
    Posted by Duke Of Dirge on 29 Mar 10 at 20:49
    Duke Of DirgeStory really is for lack of a better word stupid. Company’s go to war with each other in a virtual reality world for control over the economy of the future witch of course is on the verge of dyeing. I think theres like comics about it I'm not sure.
    Posted by Duke Of Dirge on 29 Mar 10 at 20:53
    TwistedsymphonyDuke of Dirge is incorrect... while "Virtual On" was in the arcades in 1995 this game is "virtual On Oratorio Tangram" which is essentially "Virtual On 2"... That would be like calling Halo 4 a "relic" because Halo 1 came out years before.

    Also this game is NOT a port of the Dreamcast version. There were three versions of VOOT in the arcade, v5.2, v5.4 and v5.66. The first two versions were released in 1998 and ran on Sega's Model 3 arcade hardware. The Dreamcast version was released in 1999 and was an enhanced version of the v5.4 arcade.... (the Dreamcast version is known as v5.45) In 2000 Sega revamped the game, improved the graphics and sound, added new levels, new fighters and new features and released the "2000 Edition" AKA v5.66... This also Ran on the NAOMI Arcade hardware, which was much more powerful than the Model 3 hardware. This XBLA release is a port of the v5.66 arcade release...

    The Dreamcast has nothing to do with it. One reason you may have confused this is the presence of the Dreamcast VMU, in the character selection screen as well as the small Dreamcast units on the backs of the fighters... these are both present in the v5.66 arcade release. the v5.66 arcade release allowed you to customize and save your fighter to a VMU, it actually had a VMU slot on the machine, you could change the color scheme of your characters using a Dreamcast but since the Arcade version was newer and featured characters not available on the DC version you couldn't actually transfer the fighters between the two.

    When it comes down to it, this game is a port of the Arcade's "Virtual On Oratorio Tangram 2000 Edition" that includes English Language localization, HD rendering of the original graphics, and online play...
    Posted by Twistedsymphony on 21 May 13 at 15:52
    TwistedsymphonyIt's also important to note that this is the ONLY version of the 2000 Edition ever released outside of the arcade, and the ONLY version of the 2000 Edition ever made available outside of Japan.
    Posted by Twistedsymphony on 21 May 13 at 15:56
    Zonrith1Thank you for the comments regarding the Dreamcast and the porting history, Twistedsymphony. I did not play the DC version myself, and had to research the port history for the review. I wrote this a while ago, but I was very confused trying to sort out the history of the title.

    I've gone and pulled out the Dreamcast references, so as to avoid supplying false information.
    Posted by Zonrith1 on 21 May 13 at 17:16
    TwistedsymphonyYou may also consider changing the line that claims it's based on the "1995" arcade game... as VOOT was originally released in 1998 (though it's technically based on the 2000 re-release)
    Posted by Twistedsymphony on 22 May 13 at 19:21
    Zonrith1I deleted the year reference as the specific year isn't relevant to my critique (only that a number of years have passed).
    Posted by Zonrith1 on 23 May 13 at 03:44