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Cyber Troopers Virtual-On (電脳戦機バーチャロン Dennō Senki Bācharon , roughly "Computer Fighting Machine Virtual-On") is a series of video games created by Sega AM-3 (Amusement Research and Development Department 3, later renamed Hitmaker). The original series was first published for arcades in February 1995. The game features fast, action-oriented gameplay requiring quick reflexes. It has seen four iterations to date and has been ported to several video game consoles.
The mecha designs for all installments of the series were created by robot designer Hajime Katoki. Related merchandise released for sale include plastic models, original soundtracks, trading figurines and audio drama CDs.
Virtual-On features mechs called Virtuaroids, or VRs, that are large robots the player controls in battles against enemy VRs, and its twin-stick control, in which two joysticks, complemented by an array of controls, are used by players. Additionally, in the plot of the first game, Cyber Troopers Virtual-On (Virtual-On: Operation Moongate), the Virtual-On's arcade machine is actually a remote operation device sent from the future in search of "Virtual-On Positive" (VO+) pilots.
In the Virtual-On universe, Virtuaroids became relatively easy to produce when the creation of matter through "reverse conversion", and the virtuaroids themselves, were discovered. They are produced by first constructing a working skeletal frame, then installing the "V-connector", and lastly creating their armor through reverse conversion. Later in the series, the V-converter would be responsible for the full creation of the Virtuaroid, including the skeletal frame.
List of Virtuaroids
- MBV-04-G "Temjin"
The first of the two original Virtuaroids, the Temjin is a well-balanced VR that serves as the architecture basis of all Virtuaroids. It is well equipped for long-, mid-, and close-range combat; a pair of fold-out boosters installed underneath its V-converter aids in both speed and aerial combat. When the Temjin was first designed, its concept included a railgun for combat, which proved to be too cumbersome, and ill-suited for melee combat. Eventually, it was retooled to use a Multipurpose Beam Launcher, or M.P.B.L., a weapon capable of acting both as a rifle and an energy sword.
A simplified variant of the Temjin was also produced. This streamlined version, called the 10/80, is colored gray and equipped with a vulcan cannon and sometimes a railgun. One of the first pilots to use it effectively was Issy Hatter of the S.H.B.V.D., who used the 10/80 to defeat a second-generation Apharmd.
- HBV-05-E "Raiden"
The second of the two original Virtuaroids, the Raiden was created alongside the Temjin as a heavy battle VR. Heavily armored and incredibly strong, it is highly feared on the battlefield. The Raiden's shoulder-mounted lasers were salvaged from 26 Battlecruisers disassembled after the war. With these high-powered lasers, the original purpose of the Raiden unit was to intercept and destroy enemy spacecraft before they reached Earth's atmosphere. These lasers are capable of completely destroying a VR in a single shot or, less commonly, of heavily incapacitating one. To complement the lasers, the Raiden is equipped with a "shell bazooka", which was originally designed with a flat-launcher laser, although its power flow proved to be impossible to regulate while the weapon was in use. The Raiden is also equipped with mines that are dispensable from its palms. Due to the high-cost construction of the Raiden and lack of available postwar battlecruisers, it was impossible to produce them in high numbers. This resulted in production being halted at 26 units. Consequently, the D.N. corporation created the Belgdor and Dorkas Virtuaroids to make up for the low production numbers of the very expensive Raiden.
When Operation Moongate ended and the D.N. cooperation split into the DNA and RNA armies, the DNA army created the Special-Heavy-Battle-Virtuaroid-Division, or "S.H.B.V.D.", as a special forces unit. The unit was made up mostly of heavily customized Raidens, such as the HBV-05-SR4 unit belonging to Lt. Salpen, which uses heavy chaingun, and Dash Pronger's HBV-05-E/k2, which was capable of faster movement than normal.
- MBV-09-C "Apharmd"
A guerrilla-warfare VR based on the Temjin's skeletal frame. The Apharmd is the choice of advanced virtuaroid pilots, possessesing special melee weapons known as "Tongfers", which are fold-out beam-blade versions of tonfa weapons, connected by a swivel on its wrists. These tongfers use high-density beams of energy that can break through even the toughest defense. In addition to the Tongfers, the Apharmd is armed with a shotgun and the same dispensable bombs as those used by the Temjin. With its high speed and agility, the Apharmd is a highly capable Virtuaroid and, in large numbers, a force to be feared.
When Operation Moongate ended and the D.N. corporation split into the DNA and RNA armies, the Apharmd became the choice VR of the RNA army. It was one of the first VRs to undergo transformation into the second generation series, resulting in the creation of a number of variants to cater to different types of special missions.
- SAV-07-D "Belgdor"
A heavy-type Virtuaroid created out of necessity due to the high cost of the Raiden unit, it uses the Raiden's skeletal frame as a chassis, and uses missiles rather than lasers. It has twin missile launchers built into its shoulders, as well as a high-frequency radar dish built into its head. This VR is often used for bombing operations. It carries a grenade launcher in its right hand and is armed with a napalm weapon in its left. Its weapons can be considered quite powerful, and is used as foil to the Raiden series. However, the dramatic change in the design has left it with relatively weak armor, and the missile weaponry installed in its upper body has resulted in balancing issues. These issues make the Belgdor unsuitable for close-range combat.
The S.H.B.V.D. was known for using Belgdor alongside Raiden when the group was first formed. When it was discovered RNA had already finished the new second-generation Apharmds, the Belgdors were discovered to be nearly useless against them. As a result, the "Belmate", a slightly larger Belgdor painted gray rather than the traditional green, was developed. The Belmate was equipped with a much better radar system than the Belgdor, and was used briefly in Operation Sand Sycthe until its successor, the GRYS-VOK, was developed.
- HBV-10-B "Dorkas"
A heavy-battle type Virtuaroid also created as a substitute for the expensive Raiden Unit. It has a design very different from that of the Raiden and Belgdor, very high strength, and was created with energy efficiency in mind. It also has a mace-like hammer that can be launched at the enemy mounted on its left arm, a claw mounted on its right hand, and a fire-lanced bombing system implanted into its chest. The Dorkas is much shorter than the other virtuaroids, which makes it somewhat difficult to engage in melee combat. Despite its incredible strength, demand for the Dorkas was relatively low, which caused production to cease quickly, before Operation Moongate had ended.
The RVR-64 "i-Dorkas", a variation of the Dorkas was created for use in construction. It has no weapons and has a shovel claw installed on its left arm.
- TRV-06-E "Viper 2"
The XMU-06A "Viper Version Alpha" and later the TRV-06-E "Viper" were created by the eccentric scientist Dr. Yzerman, who reworked the Temjin's concept into a more mobility-based Virtuaroid. The Viper had much higher mobility and speed, which became its greatest assets in aerial combat. However, during one of the VR's tests, the pilot of the Viper lost control over the VR, and his last words before the unit crashed into ground were, "She's lost control!"
The Viper was eventually modified to fix the loss of control over the aerial thrusters. Once the TRV-06-E "Viper 2" was finished, it was fitted for weaponry: a beam launcher was built into the its chest, and it carries a fast-firing vulcan cannon, which is also capable of launching streams of missiles, in its right hand. The Viper 2 also has Special Wing Binders mounted onto its back to compliment the powerful thrusters. However, as a side effect of its high mobility, the Viper 2 lacks sufficient armor for prolonged combat, and is often turned down for the less agile but better armored Temjin. In what is believed to be either a sick joke at the late test pilot's expense or a dedication, the Viper can empty all of its energy into its thrusters and ram into its opponent in a kamikaze-like fashion; this moved has been dubbed "S.L.C.", short form for "She's lost control."
Eventually, Yzerman continued his research on the Viper in an attempt to give it more functionality. The result was the YZR-540SH "Viper 540sh", which was capable of transforming into a jet-fighter. While the prototype ultimately proved unfit for combat, special retooled variations were given to a select few pilots, two of whom were part of the RNA's "Rose Sisters."
- XBV-13-t11 "Bal-Bas-Bow"
The design of the Bal-Bas-Bow was based on the head of a Virtuaroid found during the excavation of the moongate, which was incomplete upon full recovery. The Bal-Bas-Bow is a highly experimental and unstable Virtuaroid, that is armed with E.R.L.s, or Ejectable-remote-limbs, on its arms. These weapons can be mentally controlled from the cockpit, and serve as remote turrets. The bottom half of the Bal-Bas-Bow is a hovercraft instead of legs, which provides poor mobility to inexperienced pilots.
- SRV-14-A "Fei-Yen"
The SRV-14-A "Fei-Yen" is the only Virtuariod from Operation Moongate not designed by the D.N. Corporation. It was designed by a mysterious independent syndicate; specifically, by L'Ln Plajiner, the daughter of a renowned VR scientist, a child prodigy at age 10. She managed to design and build the "Fei-Yen", a feminine Virtuaroid unit with an emotion-system built into its V-converter. However, through some unknown means, the original Fei-Yen model "escaped", and has been missing ever since. A simplified version of Plajiner's original design has gone into production. It has high speed but relatively weak weapons, and its left hand is equipped with a sword that can launch weak beams towards its enemy. During moments of extreme panic or weakness, the Fei-Yen's emotion system goes into "hyper mode," during which its color changes to bright gold, its weapon systems increases in power, and its speed output is pushed to its limits.
A powerful enemy and the guardian of the Moongate, the Z-gradt is a powerful 4-legged tank that protects the moongate and its solar-cannon. It has a very high defense, and built-in beam weaponry. A large particle-cannon is constructed into the center of its frame. While the Z-gradt's defense is lowered when the particle-cannon is in use, the cannon itself is stronger than even that of the Raiden's laser-irradiators. What controls the Z-gradt is unknown, but appears determined to prevent humanity from using the moongate.
During one of the many tests DN performed to discover pilots with a high VO+ rating, a small boy's consciousness was absorbed into the Reverse-convert while controlling a Raiden. The result was a fatal bug and mutation in the M.S.B.S.'s gameplay. Should a player disengage against the computers made to test the pilot, the bug will manifest itself in the form of a mutated Raiden known as Jaguarandi. Jaguarandi is heavily armed with four Laser irradiators and powerful seeking-bombs. While the armament has been confirmed by reports, the Jaguarandi's size and appearance has varied greatly. Respective eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen it as red, green, and many other colours. Some claim it was as large as a battleship, and others, as tiny as a Dorkas. While Jaguarandi has proven to be an annoyance to players of the M.S.B.S. control games, DN found it to be nothing more than a bug, and have no plans to remove it from the program.
The games in the series are as follows.
- Cyber Troopers Virtual-On (Virtual-On: Operation Moongate)
- Released between 1995 and 1996 for arcades, Sega Saturn, and PC. The Saturn version of the game is one of few games that supports the SEGA Net on the console. It also features the Sega Twin Stick Peripheral. The game features M.S.B.S. v3.3 (Arcade), v3.3s (Sega Saturn) and v.3.3w (Windows PC), among others.
- Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram
- Released between 1998 and 2000 for arcades and Sega Dreamcast, with special peripheral device, the Twin Sticks, and in 2009 for Microsoft Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service. Very few VOOT arcade units made it outside of Japan. The US release of VOOT on Dreamcast had many features such as Cable Versus and Custom Virtuaroid locked for unknown reasons, and the game was not released in Europe. Later versions for the arcade incorporated a VMU slot for imported colours created on the Japanese version of VOOT on Sega Dreamcast. The game features M.S.B.S. v5.2 (Early Arcade), v5.4 (Arcade), v.5.45 (Sega Dreamcast), v5.6 (Rare Bonus disc addon) and 5.66 (Late Arcade and Xbox 360 XBLA).
- Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Force
- Released exclusively in Japanese arcades in 2001. It was the first game in the series to be released after AM3 was renamed to Hitmaker, and features a new system of gameplay where players are teamed up in pairs to oppose another pair, with a leader/subordinate ruleset. The machines use a card system found in other arcade machines to keep player data. The game features M.S.B.S. v7.5, v7.6 and v7.7.
- Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Marz
- Released in Japan and the United States in 2003, exclusively for the PlayStation 2. It uses the VO: Force rules for gameplay and graphics, and is the first Virtual On game to have a single player story mode, which follows on with the Virtual-On universe. As the PlayStation 2 has no official Twin Sticks, the game's controls rely on the PS2's DualShock controllers. The game features M.S.B.S. v8.5.
The Virtuaroids Temjin 747J, Ahparmd the HA-T and Fei-Yen the Knight from the Virtual-On series appeared in the Japanese, turn-based strategy game Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. This was the first occasion of characters from a video game series, owned neither by Banpresto nor their parent company Namco Bandai, appearing in a Super Robot Wars game. Of note about the game is that if the other pilots in the game remove their suits, approach the Virtuaroids and try to speak to their pilots, the Virtuaroids would say that they were being remote-piloted by pilots in another plane or dimension.
Little is known about these drama CDs because there has been no translation or transcript in the English speaking community as of yet.
- Cyber Troopers Virtual On Counterpoint 009A Episode #16. The S.H.B.V.D. (Special Heavy Battle Virtuaroid Division), including Black Onyx and Mimmy Salpen's search for the original Fei-Yen. Track Listing:
- • 01. fragment
- • 02. prologue
- • 03. intermission_1
- • 04. black onyx
- • 05. fade to black
- • 06. formidable tolerance
- • 07. belgdor corporate anthem
- • 08. on X-band
- • 09. procession
- • 10. intermission_2
- • 11. cyber imaginary space
- • 12. magical wonderland
- • 13. m.s.b.s. Ver.3.01
- • 14. intermission_3
- • 15. harmless harmony
- • 16. my sweet chocolate
- • 17. dislocation
- • 18. am r&d dept. #3
- • 19. burned by the fire
- • 20. conversation piece
- • 21. another future
- • 22. delta junction
- • 23. intermission _ 4
- • 24. maximum momentum
- • 25. party a go go
- • 26. love will tear them apart ...
- • 27. epilogue
- • 28. absent lovers
- Cyber Troopers Virtual On Cyber Net Rhapsody Episode#14. Not much, including the plot, is known about this Drama CD. It contains the original Fei-Yen singing various songs and orchestral remixes. Track Listing:
- • 01. Next ～壊れかけたドアの向こう～
- • 02. D_Sequence #1
- • 03. main title
- • 04. D_Sequence #2
- • 05. 危機～逃亡
- • 06. D_Sequence #3
- • 07. Theme of Fei-Yen
- • 08. D_Sequence #4
- • 09. Love14
- • 10. D_Sequence #5
- • 11. 戦闘
- • 12. D_Sequence #6
- • 13. Believe
- • 14. D_Sequence #7
- • 15. 大団円
- • 16. Appendix
- General resources
- Virtual-Century A fan-created database of Virtuaroids and general storyline information, taken from Sega's official guidebooks.