Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram isn't the typical fighting game by any stretch of the imagination. You pilot a giant Gundam-like machine in a 3-D arena armed with three different weapons which can have altering effects depending on the situation their employed and the movement of your mecha. The game is one of a handful which supports the Dreamcast link cable, so you if you have it and can find two sets of twin sticks, you can really enjoy the arcade in your homes, which is helpful since only five of the arcade cabinets actually made it to the US. 1-2 PlayersProduct Description More than just a fast-paced fighting game, Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram is a pixel-by-pixel port of the arcade hit. A sequel in the popular Virtual-On universe, this game is set in a sci-fi future where virtuaroids are pitted against each other in battle. Armed with a variety of weapons, speed, strength, and combat techniques, each virtuaroid poses a different threat. You'll fight your way through a dozen of these (one is a secret character) to reach the final and most powerful enemy, Tangram. Weapons on your hip--and attached everywhere else--include bazookas, swarm missiles, lasers, and more. You'll meet for battle in 17 venues, from desert bluffs to modernist gardens to postmodern cities. Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram offers single-player and two-player fights with both horizontal and vertical split-screen options. Also, to sharpen your skills, try the replay, training, and watch modes. Amazon.com The first question we couldn't help asking ourselves after a few minutes of playing Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram was "Why?" More specifically, we asked why Activision would go to all the trouble of converting this game perfectly from its arcade counterpart only to stiff gamers by not letting them program the controller? Oratorio Tangram is all about perfect control--the arcade version uses a pair of sticks that allow for all types of moves--and this Dreamcast version contains only a handful of preset controller configurations. None of them work well, and it really hurts the gameplay. Control issues aside, this is one of the most visually stunning Dreamcast titles available. The graphics are simply eye-popping, and the loud sound effects are perfectly appropriate for a giant-robot game like Oratorio Tangram. If you've ever wanted a title to show off your Dreamcast to friends, this game will do the job nicely, and it doesn't hurt that the two-player mode is more fun than the single-player game since both players suffer from the same controller limitations. With just one little addition (programmable controls), this game would have been near perfect. As it stands, the game is good-looking, but doesn't have it where it counts. --T. Byrl BakerPros:Stunning graphics Tons of mechs to play with Cons:Inability to program the controller means many moves are impossible to pull off Review Virtual On has been the mech-lover's dream since it first appeared in arcades back in the mid-'90s and subsequently in the A-for-effort port to the Sega Saturn in 1997. When AM3 unleashed the Model 3-powered sequel, Oratorio Tangram, the general opinion was that the game was little more than a flashier, more graphically potent version of its predecessor. In the meantime, similar games like Armored Core and Frame Gride have come along and upped the ante with customizable parts and stunning graphics, respectively. Now that games like Virtua Fighter 3tb, Sega Bass Fishing, and Sega Rally 2 have all found their way home, how does Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram fare as not only a Model 3 conversion but as a port to the consumer market? The first part of that question can be answered like this - VO:OT is, graphically, the best Model 3 conversion yet, with incredibly accurate models and all the special effects of the arcade, with little to no compromises made. Whereas Virtua Fighter 3 had inconsistencies and slowdown compared with the original arcade version, and Sega Rally 2 lacked the full-bodied look of its arcade counterpart, VO:OT is basically a pixel-perfect translation. Closer than any Model 3 conversion yet, the game never suffers from any sort of slowdown and cruises along at a shimmering 60 frames per second at all times. Sega hasn't taken any shortcuts to achieve this either. Every background, while admittedly simple, is rendered in full three dimensions, while special effects abound at every turn. After an impressive opening CG sequence, you'll be treated to a parade of light-sourcing effects, gorgeous gourad-
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