Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram 5.66 on the Dreamcast

Jun 13, 2004
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#1
...Well, kinda. This is old, but I dug out my twinsticks and decided to begin nerding out over this game again.

The Japanese Dreamcast release of VOOT had netplay, as you may know. You could even customize the appearence of your VR to take online, though offline play was limited to a test mode; just a quick fight against your own customized VR.

After the Dreamcast release of VOOT, the arcades saw a second update of the game. Version 5.66 ran on Naomi hardware, so, like the Dremcast port, it had simplified backgrounds and fewer transparency effects. On the upside, it added 3 new VRs (Apharmd C, 10/80 Temjin, Stein-Vok), new arenas (well, it brought the DC-exclusive ones to the arcades), and probably had some gameplay tweaks. It also had a VMU slot, so you could load customized VRs from the Dreamcast 5.45.

So, wait. How would you customize the new VRs? A disc was released with the Japanese Official Dreamcast magazine that contained the VR customization feature, allowing you to do just that.





Of course, there was no test mode, so you couldn't try the new VRs.

In comes Scott Robinson. Long-time leader of the VOOT Netplay Project, and an all-around cool guy, he found that 5.66; engine, arenas and all, was on the disc. Specifically, test mode was there, but there was no option to enter it.

Scott released a bootdisk (available on the Sourceforge site linked above) that allows you to access test mode if you have this disc. It also allows you to load customized mechs in the original game, US or Japanese, in any offline mode.




(pictures from Scott Robinson)

So, it's more like a 5.66 preview due to the lack of multiplayer, but it's still fun to mess with the new VRs.

The VOOT Netplay Project has been idle for a hell of a long time, I think, but he actually did get it to play via broadband adapter. Impressive for reverse-engineering.

After this "5.60" was discovered, Sega decided to re-release VOOT for the Dreamcast (greatest-hits style). It broke my heart that they didn't bother to polish this up and release it instead.
 
Jul 23, 2004
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#2
Virtual On is a game I always wanted to like, but something never quite clicked with it. Perhaps it was the lack of human opponents and being forced to play it alone.
 
Jun 13, 2004
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#3
Lack of human opponents will do it, but it's also kinda hard to get a hang of the controls.

If you rotate often and don't jump-cancel, you probably wont like it. I've also seen many new players do nothing but mindlessly side-dash attack, which is a good way to suck. You wouldn't think that playing against the AI, though. Many players also don't look into the attacks offered by each VR, either.

It's an amazing game with human competition. There's so much variety in the combat (Christ, just look at a good Bal Bados player), and melee and range mix works so well.
 
Jun 9, 2004
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#5
Tain said:
Lack of human opponents can do it, but it's also kinda hard to get a hang of the controls.

If you rotate often and don't jump-cancel, you probably wont like it. I've also seen many new players do nothing but mindlessly side-dash attack, which is a good way to suck. You wouldn't think that playing against the AI, though.
That's so true. Without the sticks, unless you get used to rotating and jump-cancel (i sometimes used the jump cancel in place of the rotate for additional speed), the game's really difficult.
 
Jul 23, 2004
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#6
No, no, I actually knew how to play and actually found it easier to control with a Saturn/DC controller rather than the Twin Sticks at the arcades. I can use the dash, immediately get my opponent in my sight at all times and perform special attacks. But I am not having much fun with it.

The game oozes style, especially with those robot designs, and has some happy electronic music that is not distracting. On DC, the game was quite a technical showpiece, the Watch mode made it more impressive to look at.
 
Jun 13, 2004
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#7
Actually, I've found that the game is very playable without the twinsticks. Yeah, the twinsticks make rotation easier, and subtle rotation (especially prior to dash attacks) is a huge deal, but I actually enjoy the controller quite a bit.

It's an awkward configuration, but I think the game is 100% enjoyable with the pad. I'm talking about the Activision US config, by the way.

Also, one tip for the pad: When rotating with the analog stick, only move it to the left or right slightly instead of all the way out. It works wonders.

(i sometimes used the jump cancel in place of the rotate for additional speed)
You can cancel almost immediately after jumping. ALWAYS use jump cancelling to find the enemy.