Saturnday is our weekly spotlight on the games and stories surrounding the Saturn, Sega’s doomed mid-90s 32-bit console. A very special thanks to YouTube user King Arthur Pendragon for uploading all of these videos.
The ultimate 3D fighting game series is Virtua Fighter. Don’t worry about it, just accept it. At the Sega Saturn’s launch, Virtua Fighter was already a couple years old and Virtua Fighter 2 was already out in arcades. The sequel, when ported to the Saturn in late 1995, was superior to the original in every way (unless you love that Reboot aesthetic, for which I couldn’t blame you) and set the foundation for the superb competitive fighting action found later in the series.
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In 1996, Virtua Fighter developer Sega AM2 made Virtua Fighter Kids, a version of Virtua Fighter 2 featuring chibi-like character models, more childish background designs, and uptempo stage music. While the game plays mostly identically to the excellent Virtua Fighter 2, it was criticized for being a full-priced, glorified big-head mode and for characters having a very limited attack range because of their tiny limbs. The Sega Saturn was weird!
While other Virtua Fighter entries are very light on in-game storytelling, each character in Kids has a specific ending movie that plays upon Arcade Mode completion. These endings are frankly incredible. Let’s rank them!
11) Akira Yuki
Akira’s ending is about as boring as Akira himself. Not even the cute art style could save this from being stale. A big dude threatens a dojo. Akira saves the day. So darn cute, though.
10) Wolf Hawkfield
Wolf’s ending is the most straightforward of all the Kids, which is why it ranks so low. Still, hitting a picture-perfect Dragon Screw Leg Whip and Tiger Driver on a much bigger opponent (Mauler from Fighting Vipers???) is impressive.
9) Sarah Bryant
Sarah’s ending is confusing. I guess Dural wants Sarah to kill her brother Jacky at a race in Las Segas (lol) and Sarah’s just very bad at it? It’s relatable, sure. I know when shapeshifting cyborgs send me to kill someone there’s a lot of pressure. Sarah takes Jacky out with a Flash Kick and then runs into a sign. Cool.
8) Lau Chan
Lau has a Chinese restaurant in his ending, which is Virtua Fighter canon. Did you know that canonically Lau won the first tournament, as well? News you can use. Anyway, his ending is kinda cute! He uses a few of his moves while he cooks, which is similar to when I do tiny dances in the kitchen when anything I cook turns out okay. This ending loses points for giving me anxiety about messy kitchens right at the end.
7) Jeffry McWild
Did you know that I used to be a Jeffry McWild main in competitive Virtua Fighter 5? Well, I was! My favorite character has a pretty good ending in Kids. A shark is ruining his day and goes on land (impressive) to ruin Jeffry’s flowers??? Giving a Splash Mountain to a shark is a feat of unbelievable strength, but it killed the shark? I’m with the new Shark Week discourse, sharks are cool. Don’t hurt sharks. You hear me, Jeffry?
6) Jacky Bryant
Jacky might be the worst character in Virtua Fighter, but his ending is pretty funny. I like it because it uses the same premise as Sarah’s ending, but with Sarah being actually cool and good at her “trying to kill her brother” job than in her own ending. Also Jacky uses jeet kune do to lightning kick his car into oblivion. Oh and then one of his pit crew completely brains him with a piston at the end.
5) Shun Di
The drunken boxing master of the Virtua Fighter crew gets a Rip Van Winkle ending in Kids. Shun Di sleeps through several seasons and then narrowly escapes death. God, that’s a big mood, huh?
Dural’s ending is heartbreaking and life-affirming, which is odd for a character that is the most explicitly evil in the entire series. Dural just wants friends, I guess, but no one will hang out! Aww! Dural buys balloons and floats into the stratosphere where she meets an alien who looks a lot like her. Then they become friends. Awww!!! It almost makes you forget that Dural is a liquid metal cyborg build from the soul and body of Kage’s mom! And that she’s evil!
3) Lion Rafale
Lion is a bratty little French prince who gets everything he wants, which doesn’t sound like the makings of a good ending. However, he spends most of his time after being dressed by his many handmaidens training with a literal praying mantis friend. It’s…unbelievably cute. Lion is so careless, though. Come hang out with me, praying mantis! I won’t squish you!
2) Kagu Maru
Kage’s ending is so good because it involves an intense game of mahjong. Maybe that sounds boring, but a room full of ninja playing a super old game? Love it. Kage’s a sore loser, too, which is also hilarious to me. Bonus points for performing the screw attack move I spam every time I play as Kage.
1) Pai Chan
Pai understands fashion more than any other Virtua Fighter character. She’s an action star. She has a cool personality. She’s great at beating people up. She’s stepping out of the shadow of her overbearing father. All of this and she has the best ending in Virtua Fighter Kids? Her action movie sequence is cool and major bonus points for punting the crap out of a creep at the end.