Virtua Quest Hands-On Impressions

Sega's new action adventure has more in common with its namesake than you might think.

We went hands-on with the GameCube version of Virtua Quest today at Sega's E3 booth. In the game, you'll take control of a young boy named Sei who has the uncanny ability to access "Virtua Souls," which are data clusters spread around the world that will grant Sei new fighting powers. Sei will be pursued by an evil group that desires his powers throughout the game.

We played one scenario in which Sei must fight off a number of oncoming enemies in a bar setting. The game's fighting system actually feels a good bit like the one in Virtua Fighter, although, as you'd expect, it's much simplified. You can do simple combos on enemies with the regular attack button, and a special attack will let you execute a backflip kick or a harder punch. Like in VF, it's fairly easy to pop enemies up in the air so you can score additional hits on them. Sei also has an electric wire that he can use to effectively snare enemies while they're up in the air, which lets you suspend them in place while you jump up to perform a high-flying combo.

After we beat the toughs in the bar, we went upstairs and encountered our first Virtua Soul. As soon as we accessed it, we were transported to a sort of virtual arena and had to face off against Virtua Fighter star and all-around badass Akira. Akira seemed to have many of his moves from the fighting series, though we didn't have too much trouble blocking his attacks and eventually defeating him. After our victory, Sei began to learn his first, new ability, but, unfortunately, the demo ends before you actually get to use it.

Virtua Quest seems to be a pretty nifty adventure game with a solid and entertaining fighting model. The game will have lots of non-player character interaction, though we only experienced combat in our demo. Look for Virtua Quest to hit stores this fall, and we'll bring you more on the game before then.

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