Week in Arcade: Sonic the Fighters, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Fighter 2

A trio of Model 2 Sega arcade games make their debut digitally this week, and for a paltry $15 total.

Sonic the Fighters

Obscure arcade fighter that never saw US release on home consoles comes to the Live Arcade… and you can probably see why it never came home. Sonic characters battle in familiar locations using a slimmed down Virtua Fighter engine that lacks the cohesiveness. Big heads mean massive targets and lack of genuine impact. It’s almost too quirky for its own good.

Fighting Vipers

Probably the best of the trio here, with an all-original roster of fighters that have breakable armor when attacks are focused. Stages have walls that can be cracked to sent opponents flying. Even if the fighting system is familiar to a fault, it’s broken up by weapons inserted into the move sets. It’s a speedy, rapid fire punch/kick-a-thon with threadbare technique, but it holds up.

Virtua Fighter 2

If you need something a little deeper, there’s always the consistent throwback. While eclipsed by its sequels, it’s far easier to get in on the ground floor of this series than it is later entries. In reality, not much has changed at the core. It’s all the little things that have created one of the finest fighters on the planet. This was the jump point.

It should be noted that all three games have online play, and the emulation is gorgeous. The polygons are stunningly sharp, and a huge leap from the boxy Saturn ports.