Virtua Fighter Vs. Tekken

Which is the better game: Virtua Fighter or Tekken? Which tournament fighting game franchise has the best combat, the most responsive controls, the coolest moves, the best animations and most interesting plot (as if that mattered)? Today we’re pitting these two street fighters in mortal kombat against eachother, so we hope you’ve got an Iron Fist (even if it’s blocky), because it’s time to FIGHT!

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Virtua Fighter VS Tekken


We hear there’s an evil corporation putting together a tournament, and you can bet these two franchises are gonna be front and center. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, the two franchises that put 3D fighting games on the map are going at it: Virtua Fighter and Tekken.
They’ve trained long and hard, but now, it’s time to take those skills and step into the ring.

Round 1: Story


Story? In a fighting game? Ha! Virtua Fighter knows what’s up and keeps it nice and simple. Evil J6 corporation (10:54). Tournament. Boom! Done. Each character has his or her own motives, of course (0:19), but beyond that... who needs an overarching plot?
Well, to be honest, we do.
Yes, we know that combos and special moves are a huge component to any good fighter, but to us, it makes the game so much better if there’s a reason why those fighters are engaging in those heart-pounding matches. That’s where Tekken comes in. As crazy as the Mishima family is, it’s impressive that the series has had an ongoing plot since day one. We’re pretty sure that wasn’t Heihachi’s intention when he tossed Kazuya over that cliff and started the King of Iron Fist Tournament, but you reap what you toss over, we guess. Kazuya wants revenge against Heihachi. Heihachi wants revenge against Kazuya (2:29). Kazuya’s son, Jin, is dealing with the devil gene he inherited from his cold-hearted father while trying to keep his mother’s kindhearted virtues in tact (28:22). Oh, and there’s other Mishima’s, too, they just keep popping up like overpowered weeds (3:15). Did we mention that there’s other plotlines to keep up with (1:44)? We don’t have enough time to get started on those crazy Williams sisters (1:19).
Winner by default: Tekken

Virtua Fighter : 0 / Tekken: 1

Round 2: Characters


So who are these people trying to beat the crap out of each other? We can’t string together that ridiculous wrestling combo without a character to control, now can we (21:48)? Both Virtua Fighter and Tekken have their flagship characters, whether it’s martial artist, Akira Yuki (0:00), or the sinister Heihachi... or Kazuya... or Jin... or...
Yeah, we’re gonna give this one to Tekken.

Tekken’s characters are much more memorable than the cast of Virtua Fighter (0:20). This isn’t just because the Tekken franchise is still going, it’s because the characters are more fleshed out. The characters of Virtua Fighter always felt like placeholders to the point that you could swap them with other fighting game staples: Akira was the Ryu, Pai Chan was the Chun-Li, so on and so on (4:36). We know that each character has a reason to enter the ring, but honestly, you don’t really get the full picture unless if you sit and read a Wiki article about them (0:49).

With Tekken, the characters feel like... characters, and each one has a significant purpose in the game -- even the genetically engineered kangaroo has a place in the plot (0:39). The best part? Each character’s story always connects with someone else’s (0:37). This increased tenfold with the release of “Tekken 3,” which gave us a new generation of fighters who were all linked to the original cast (1:27).
Winner: Tekken

Virtua Fighter: 0 / Tekken: 2

Round 3: Legacy


Only one of these games is known as the grandfather of 3D fighting games (0:18). In an era where 2D fighters reigned supreme, Virtua Fighter was the first of its kind and introduced polygon-based graphics in a fighting game (0:07). This allowed characters to move in three dimensions, and it even allowed for more dynamic camera movement. Virtua Fighter is so important to the genre that it was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution for contributions in Art and Entertainment in 1998.

As for Tekken? Well, ironically enough, it wasn’t even meant to be a fighting game (8:51). What started as a test case for animating 3D models would later become the King of Iron Fist tournament.. with a little help from an old rival (1:16). Namco acquired developers from Sega, one of which was Seiichi Ishii, who would go on to direct Tekken and help make it the success it is today.

Did we mention that Seiichi designed Virtua Fighter?

Frankly, Virtua Fighter did what no other fighting game had done at the time, and its resounding success helped influence the entire genre. Without Virtua Fighter (0:02), there’d be no Tekken to even compete against it (1:39).

Winner: Virtua Fighter

Virtua Fighter: 1 / Tekken: 2

Round 4: Lasting Appeal


Let’s be honest: the first few titles in both of these series haven’t aged well. It’s like cardboard box figures going at it in the middle of an MS Paint field (0:04). Still, Tekken did look better back in the day, with substantial looking backgrounds and characters that resembled people (1:50). Such was the benefit of having Virtua Fighter to look to for inspiration (0:46). Fortunately, both games adapted to the times, and those laughable blocks gave way to some fine looking graphics.

With that in mind, it comes down to this: which game are we most likely to pick up and play today? Minus the fact that the Tekken franchise is still going and Virtua Fighter hasn’t had a release in years.

While Virtua Fighter made the 3D fighting game genre what it is today... it’s not our go-to fighter. That’s not to say that its contribution to the genre isn’t remarkable, but... what comes after that (13:51)? The gameplay mechanics are fine, the backgrounds are fine, the characters are fine, but that’s just it... everything is fine. To be honest, we only remember Virtua Fighter for what it was, and not what it is today (1:55).

Meanwhile, Tekken is not only adding to the overall story, it’s adding something new with each installment. New, interesting characters, new gameplay modes, improved fighting mechanics, bowling... hey, that bowling game is actually pretty fun, o.k. (0:43)? And let’s not forget one of the best fighting game spin offs out there: Tekken Tag (8:35). Tekken is a series that you can pick up and play at any time, whether it’s a new title, an old classic, or hell, even Street Fighter X Tekken is a good time (7:16).

Winner: Tekken

Virtua Fighter: 1 / Tekken: 3

Round 5: Combat


As we said with the first round, we know what matters most in a fighting game: combat. Virtua Fighter’s combat was fairly simple, with characters using moves based on real world fighting styles (8:44). The goal, like most fighters, was to knock your opponent out (2:00), but Virtua Fighter had one more trick up its sleeve: ring outs. No matter how much health an opponent had, if you knocked them out of the ring, you automatically won the match (0:01). Jeez... thanks for starting that trend, Virtua Fighter.
Tekken works in a similar fashion, with characters using a variety of fighting styles (0:28). The most important mechanic Tekken introduced was the fact that each button on your controller represents a different limb, which opens up more possibilities in each character’s attack (1:51). It definitely lets you get creative with combos, to the point that if you’re good enough, you can beat an opponent in one shot. These combos get more creative in the Tekken Tag franchise, where you can call in your partner mid-combo and let them pick up where you left off (0:15). This works especially well if you pick the right combination of characters (0:00)
To us, that makes Tekken the winner in this round. There’s more variety in the fighting, and more is being added to the combat system with each new installment in the franchise.

Winner: Tekken

Virtua Fighter: 1 / Tekken: 4

It looks like the Mishima family will go on to fight another day... and probably fight each other in the process. While this was nearly a clean sweep for Tekken, we have to give credit where credit is due, so thank you Virtua Fighter for even making a game like Tekken possible.
But maybe you prefer Sega’s franchise over Namco’s. Battle it out in the comments before, and be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more iron fisted versus matches.
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