Virtua Fighter 2 touched up for iPhone with multiplayer beatdowns included

Sega has released a port of mid-90s beat 'em up Virtua Fighter 2 for iPhone and iPod touch, which includes a Bluetooth battle mode for head-to-head fights.

The pristine polygonal Virtua Fighter series remains beloved by hardcore beat 'em up fans, but will their ardour extend to a buttonless version for iPhone? Sega hopes so: Virtua Fighter 2 has just gone live on the App Store.

It's the first Virtua Fighter game to be released for iOS devices, although a version of the original Virtua Fighter did come out for non-smart phones a few years ago. iPhone owners are certainly getting a good deal: the new game costs just £1.19 on the App Store, and with a filesize of 6.3MB, you don't need to be on a Wi-Fi connection to download it.

As that filesize and name indicates, this isn't about PS3-quality visuals -- or, indeed, Sega Saturn. Disappointingly, Virtua Fighter 2 is a straight port of the 2D game originally released for the Mega Drive (or 'Genesis', its name in the US, which is used in this iPhone version), itself a 2D-isation of the classic 3D Saturn game.

That makes it more of an exercise in nostalgia than a truly modern reworking in the vein of rival iPhone beat 'em up Street Fighter IV.

Still, there are eight playable characters -- Akira, Pai, Lau, Wolf, Jeffry, Kage, Sarah and Jacky -- with the solo mode structured around a World Fighting Tournament. You battle the other characters before taking on "the perfect fighter", Dural. He can be unlocked as a playable character too.

The controls take the form of a virtual D-pad and three buttons for punching, kicking and grabbing. More modern is the inclusion of a Bluetooth battle mode, enabling you to duff up a friend. Alas, there's no use of Apple's Game Center for achievements -- something that would have suited the game.

If you have happy Mega Drive memories of the original game, slip on your rose-tinted specs and download Virtua Fighter 2 right now, just be aware it's not the better-known Saturn version.

We found our attention wandering after a few minutes, however, specifically to the potential for a whizzier, 3D, connected Virtua Fighter game for iPhone, making more use of multi-touch gestures. Perhaps if this basic retro port does well, Sega will consider it.

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