Happily surprised by this; I had the North American version back in the day (which came out a year later with at least several improvements over the JPN version, which was a DC launch title: character shadows were no longer broken into a bunch of pieces, and it had a dedicated player VS menu item, instead of making 2P press Start while 1P was playing the arcade mode), and my first impression of it, which scared me off permanently, was that it was tremendously gray and stiff, and graphically crude (compared to Soul Calibur)--but now that I'm playing it on a real arcade stick (Hori PS4 2017 RAPV w/ Sanwa controls, via Brook Super Converter), the control feels *really* sharp, maybe even sharper than VF4 and 5.
I mean, this thing feels really good to control--which is huge after the horror of losing your inputs all the time, even if the CPU just bumps into you, in VF2 (see entry 1378). Really good. I do hate having evade (or "Escape" as this version calls it) on a separate, fourth button...but then again I'm horrible at evading in 4 and 5, so maybe it's for the best I can just forget about that button now entire. ; )
There's a camera switching button which is horrible, and an accidental press can lose you the round. Unmapped. : P
There is no autosave, and after loading you have to set the button setting back to Custom to have your mapping work again, it seems. Bleh!
Very limited on modes for single-player, basically you've got a regular Arcade mode and then a 3-on-3 team version, KOF-style (and it will re-use characters from stage to stage!).
The uneven terrain stages are great, the characters look surprisingly good (newcomers Aoi and Taka-Arashi may never have been better), the music is *really* good...man this is just a good VF, even in this iffy port by Genki.
Oh, and playing through as Wolf, was surprised to find that I faced Aoi on the "final" stage (Dural remains the "bonus" stage opponent--and she's gold!!). On the default "Normal" difficulty, it was surprisingly a bit breezy up to that point; until Aoi, the opponents didn't feel like they were getting tougher after the first stage or two. It was a decent start point, hopefully the higher difficulties can pose a decently beefy challenge for extended play, though.
The advanced Virtua Fighter 3 YouTuber I mentioned was "oneida," who can really show what makes VF3 special: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzlGuIA4Zj77cNDER_fzxXw
Playing through Virtua Fighter 3tb on Dreamcast, at the default "Normal" difficulty, with Jeffry McWild, then horsing around a bit with "Alphabet Character" after entering my initials, and kind of breaking him and strewing his pieces around the desert. : oo It was all a horrible accident!
0:00 - start and Options 1:30 - Normal Mode w/ Jeffry 27:23 - credits 28:29 - Name Entry 29:28 - breaking Alphabet Character 36:54 - ending movie & babbling
So it looks like what happened with "Alphabet Character" (I was calling him "letter man" in the video; the internet seems to call him "Alphabet Character" most often, although I don't know that there's any official source) after Name Entry is that well first the game waits for you to hit Start to quit, maybe just because I got the first game clear (I'm not using a memory card) that unlocks the Ending Movie; then, in that untimed period you have to just horse around in the desert with Alphabet Character, I knocked him down four times; this changed his pieces to say "End" instead of a letter, and he wouldn't get back up.
From there, though, it got weird; his pieces, at the edge of the screen, began slowly drifting back toward me. And then, I noticed that when I backed far enough away--and you can get really far away in that version of the desert stage--his hands and one of his letter pieces followed, like they were leashed to me somehow. I could tow them all over the desert!
So, uh, that was weird.
I got to thinking about something else after this session. I think I was talking here about how VF3tb didn't have a story, and maybe that didn't help its sales in the States--but it occurred to me that maybe, if VF *had* had a story, we never would have got a purely story-free single-player mode like Kumite/Quest, which first came along in the next VF game, VF4.
To select the alternate costume, you press Start, then select the character with the A button, according to GameFAQs--so maybe I'd hit Start? (Or this black one *is* the default costume?) (Also I didn't hit A, the select screen just timed out. :P)
I think this is the first time I got the Dural version of Jeffry's island, and man, those lighting flashes! What's funky is that if you single-frame them (on a computer, pause, then press the period "." button to advance a frame at a time), you can see that the initial frame of the flash only covers about 70% of the screen, with a big blocky edge; it's a really rough lightning effect. : o
Kinda like Sarah not having a stance she relies on to survive (her one-legged "Flamingo" in later games); she can just move around and kick people, wooo. : D Also, did way better with Kage than I'd expected!
Playing through Virtua Fighter 3tb as drunken master Shun Di, at the default difficulty level, on a Japanese Dreamcast, and exploring the lava cave stage I just found in Training Mode! = oo
0:00 - Lava cave stage in Training = ooo 3:19 - double-checking other stages 'p' 6:49 - Normal Mode with Shun! 7:29 - vs Aoi 9:09 - vs Wolf 11:29 - vs Shun 13:19 - vs Kage 15:35 - vs Pai 17:45 - vs Sarah 20:15 - vs Jeffry 25:25 - vs Akira 27:55 - vs Dural (Bonus Stage - elevated train station!) 29:21 - credits 30:27 - name entry 32:20 - Shun training in the lava cave 41:11 - wrap-up & what's next! 46:20 - unlocked "Ending" movie
Took me a while to figure out that yes up-forward+Punch is a jumping attack on a downed character; Shun also has down-forward+Punch as a direct hand-to-hand attack on a downed character.
Was a little disappointed to find that Shun can do down, down, then press all three buttons to take a drink--increasing his drink meter by 3 points. He does stand up after that, and even the training stage AI was hitting me enough to make it probably not at all worthwhile to do, but still it does leave a bit of the 'oh I have a second here I'd better try to drink' pressure in place. I'll try to forget about it. : P His actual attack moves that also trigger drinks--like his neutral (?) throw--award more drinks (5 instead of 4 for the throw, I think?) than in say 4 where you could just drink freely at any time.
Can see what looks like this lava cave stage in the upper center square of the montage graphic at the top of this article https://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Virtua+Kazama/virtua-memories-virtua-fighter-3-tb-virtua-fighter-month--327280.phtml , showing health meters--ie, not Training mode, which suggests to me that it's also selectable for Vs play.
I can find no other documentation about the lava cave stage!
This was the first time I fought Dural in her remixed version of Sarah's subway stage--but with the far tunnel walls removed, and a city at night skybox visible through the sides, it's transformed into an elevated train station! So cool! These Dural stage versions also have their own, spicy music tracks!
Man I love how unabashedly weird this game is, they just went for it!
I *think* I actually *did* land an axe-kick-to-flip-kick combo (bG+K,ubK) @ 40'24, but it was in first-person so aside from hearing the distinctive flip-kick hit sound, it's hard to tell because you can't really see the axe kick directly. : P At any rate, it seems way harder to do in 3tb than it is in 4:Evolution.
Spamming Jacky's elbow worked a bit too well on the AI, although I did get KO'd somewhat frequently while cheesing my way through, I suppose. And I couldn't seem to elbow spam past Lau at the 4th stage on Hardest difficulty (still the best name for highest difficulty!). So maybe the 3tb AI isn't quite as spam-proof as I'd liked to think, but still better than the Final/Ultimate Showdown AI--from what I was able to do here, at least.
(I hadn't meant to spam-test the AI in 3tb, it's just that the fP elbow was the only move with which I could kind of tell what I was doing in 1st-person view. : ooo ... I think I'm going to go back to disabling that darn Camera button. : P)
This is me mashing my way through "Normal Mode" (aka arcade mode) of Virtua Fighter 3tb on Dreamcast as Sarah Bryant, in her 2P costume (hold Start when selecting her) using just the Punch and Kick buttons--no Guard button! It was even clumsier than necessary because I didn't remember until the end that duh I could still do a few fancier moves with the directional inputs, even lacking the Guard button: no throws, sweeps, or rolling, for instance, but I got in at least one flip-kick KO before the end, anyway. : PP
So this was really repetitive for most of it because for some brain-dead reason I was stuck thinking that all I had available, sans Guard button, was straight punching Punch or Kick, maybe with forward on the stick... Dumb! Yet on this Normal (default) difficulty that actually worked pretty well up until the mirror match against AI Sarah, who could do all that and more... Then I finally remembered flip-kick, and found a few other moves--like especially the back+Kick double kick worked weirdly well on her, she just couldn't seem to avoid getting hit by it!
Playing without blocking--I did this because my long-abused-at-the-drawing-table right shoulder seems to resent being asked to hold down any button on my arcade stick continuously--is actually pretty fun! And there's a lot more I can get out of it, even here in 3tb where, unlike in later VFs, you can't set buttons to be combinations of things--no G+P throw button here in 3tb, for instance.
It also just seems to fit in with the general insanity and loopiness of 3tb somehow. ^_^
Playing Shun Di through Virtua Fighter 3tb on Dreamcast, Normal difficulty, and finding my silly scheme of not having a Guard button makes things extra tough for him, since he needs that for his drinking power-up shtick. Resorting to desperate measures, I ended up finding an exploit. : o
Then I played some Jacky to see if the same exploit worked for him, too. It did, even on Hardest difficulty. So, along with VF4, 5, and F/US, 3tb's now another VF I've ruined for myself by breaking the AI. ;_- I hope hope hope this doesn't work in 4: Evolution...