Fighting games are a staple of the video game diet, but while their number has been plentiful over the years, few have maintained a legacy. You've got your Street Fighters and your Mortal Kombats, but neither of those was created using technology co-developed by Lockheed Martin. The Model 1 arcade board is what helped set Sega's Virtua Fighter apart from the competition in 1993, and what helped earn the 3D polygonal fighter a place in fighting fans' hearts.

The series continued along and improved its presentation using the cutting edge technology of whatever era a sequel released in, but the blocky graphics of the first entry will never be forgotten. That's what makes these new Virtua Fighter Figmas so special. While there have been video game Figma figures before, they mostly hold to a more realistic standard. Few Figmas have been as stylized to capture such a significant art style and moment in time as the upcoming Sarah Bryant and Akira Yuki Virtua Fighter figures.

Like ever other Sega fanboy in the mid-'90s, I had a Sega 32X. I'm one reason they sold seven of those things. We didn't have a traditional arcade near my house, so getting to play Virtua Fighter in its original form was a rare thing indeed. The home version came two years later, but I spent hours fixating on becoming the very best person at Virtua Fighter on my block. It wasn't that hard. There was only one other kid my age within five houses. Even though I didn't get to experience all of what Model 1 had to offer the classic fighter, the polygonal pugilists were still a major part of the home version's style.

To say Figma has captured the essence of Sarah and Akira perfectly would be a tremendous understatement. While there have been retro figures popping up here and there, few have committed to the bit as strongly as Good Smile and Max Factory. Not only are the geometric shapes building the characters perfect, but the small details like pixelization of the features on their faces build the illusion that these fighters stepped right off the rotating platform that served as Virtual Fighter's arena. The standard Figma stand and high-articulation also means you can recreate some of the more outrageous moves, like Sarah's kickflip or Akira's backwards uppercut.

While only the default "Player 1" outfits are officially up for pre-order now, there's going to be "Player 2" variants released eventually as well. Nice as alternate paint jobs are, I wish there was more information about the potential continuation of this line. Without Kage-Maru or Wolf Hawkfield, Virtua Fighter just wouldn't be the same. Then again, there's a reason why these two mainstays were picked to be the focal point to kick things off.

Both figures are currently available for pre-order now at outlets like BigBadToyStore for $44.99, and are expected to arrive this September.


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