The upcoming re-release of Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram(lovingly abbreviated as “VOOT”) has begun a revitalizing of a long-dormant community.
However, the unique control system for Oratorio Tangram(or OraTan for the short-short abbreviation) may not be ported over and I wanted to explain exactly how two digital sticks are the very heart and soul of Virtual On.
A growing number of forum-goers have been asking why dedicated fans are concerned about how Sega will adapt the control system. More precisely: why we clamor for Twin Sticks. Some people are convinced that the twin analog sticks on a 360 controller would suffice to duplicate Twin Sticks, or that a controller is “faster”.
Adding to the problem is most Westerners' cultural identification of the twin-stick control system. Almost every gamer has unconscious memories of Battlezone or Tank. Both of these games used a pair of stick controls, and were extremely limited in their movement options: rotate left or right, move forwards, and move back. Most players logically assume that Virtual On is just as limited, and chalk it up as a mech-game with a novelty tank-layout control system. And this frequently leaves them minus a credit after the AI opponent has done some simple dashes and wiped the floor with them.
The Virtual On series are not really 3D combat games. They are effectively a 3D fighting game based around fixed-length vectors. Trying to play it like a typical FPS will only cause confusion and defeat. Insert Credit's PN.03 review identified a similar theme: your motions are arbitrarily constrained to give purpose to the game. If you could run willy-nilly throughout the level and shoot at your opponent, you've just re-invented Quake(or Shogo, I suppose). Both PN.03 and Virtual On are defined by their control limitations as much as they are restricted by them. And thus trying to remap the underlying control input will not result in happy players.
To see what makes VO so different, let's start at the basic manuevers, and work our way to the top.