I’m going to be honest here: I could not get into Kingdom Hearts as a kid growing up. I remember playing the first game and I was immediately turned off by the time I got to Hollow Bastion because I screwed up during the boss battle against Riku. What happened was the fact that I skipped a couple worlds and didn’t bother to have properly equipped items going into the battle. But I’m not here to talk about Kingdom Hearts right now; that’s for another time.
Back in 2004, SEGA released a game that would serve as a spin-off title to the Virtua Fighter series known as Virtua Quest (aka Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgement Six in Japan) for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2. The game was co-developed by SEGA AM2 and TOSE, who are known for developing Nintendo’s Game & Watch series, several Dragon Ball games, The Legendary Starfy series, and many other games.
The plot of the story is completely different from the VF games since this time it takes place in the virtual world known as Nexus. The main character is Sei, a young boy who wants to become a Hunter, one who collects data chips and sells them for cash, thanks to his friend, Hayami. In order to become a Hunter, you need a Hunter’s License and the only way to get the license is by taking the Hunter’s Test. Once Sei completes the test, he learns about the rankings of each Hunter’s License: LoA, HighA, and ExA. He’s also paired with a strange creature named Bit who appears on his Hunter’s Glove as his navigator. Once he arrived at his first destination, Curio City, he was advised by an aqua-colored girl named Toka to log out of the server immediately. Sei tried it, but Bit refused since he’s in this fight, no matter what.
While searching, Bit detected a Virtua Soul in the warehouse. Sei found the Virtua Soul and began processing the data in his mind. This is where he met Akira, who urged him to forge his own path. After proving his worth, Sei began learning his first Virtua Soul from him, which is one of his signature moves. Sei later asks Hayami about the Virtua Souls, but Hayami tells him that they are like “ghost data”, meaning that they are to the point and they don’t exist.
The plot is long to explain and you will get lost once I explain it more, but just take my word from it. I will say, however, that my favorite part of the game is when Sei finally shut Hayami up about Virtua Souls being useless data. But there were moments where I started getting a bit annoyed with Sei’s character because he tends to become whiny at times.
Now for the gameplay itself, it’s an Action RPG similar to the likes of Kingdom Hearts for example. You have a jump button, attack button, guard button, and a Virtua Soul attack. The Virtua Souls in the game are pretty much the characters based on the Virtua Fighter 4 lineup, so don’t expect Goh and Brad to be involved. Each Virtua Soul contains a signature move that the VF characters used in their moveset, which can be useful for combos. To gain them, you must defeat the character in battle and then they will teach you one of their moves. In a rare move, when Sei talks to the Virtua Souls, you get a background of each character’s stories. The following VF characters appear in the game:
Lastly, Dural appears in the game, but as a boss character since Judgement Six are the main antagonists.
For the first time ever, all the Asian characters received English voice acting, which was rare to see. One of the most noticeable ones is Charles Martinet, known for voicing various Mario characters and Paarthurnax from Skyrim for example, providing the voice of Lau and Shun in the game. This was also the first time where Lisle Wilkerson provided the voice for Sarah Bryant, in which she would become the main voice for the character in the VF5 series.
Virtua Quest did receive mixed reviews with a score of 55 for the Gamecube version and 53 for the PlayStation 2 version on Metacritic. The game was criticized due to loose controls, bad camera angles, lack of challenges with the enemies, sloppy platforming, and the lack of originality for the plot and gameplay. It was ambitious for its time, but it didn’t gain the attention that it needed. The game sold 579 copies, which was embarrassingly low.
But that was not all for Virtua Quest. In Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, some of the tracks from the game reappear as part of the Virtua Fighter 4 and Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution soundtracks, some of them appearing more than once. As for TOSE, they’ve been around since 1979, so they have co-developed over 1000 games in total. Some of them you’ve played before and never noticed, such as Splatoon 2, WarioWare: Get It Together, The King of Fighters XIV, Paper Mario: The Origami King, and more.
Before I end this, I did put in an incentive for my Twitch channel in which if I reach 50 subs, I’ll do a playthrough for Virtua Quest. I’m trying to get the Gamecube port for this game, but it is hard to find in stores. My best guess is to emulate it.
VF Month is still going strong. Join us next time as we talk about the importance of Offline Virtua Fighter events.
Until then… Train Up, Fighters!