Sometimes it seems like a company does something just for the gaming fans. Though it often seems like the games that are released are not made with us in mind (the lack of endings jumps to mind), there are times when you just have to step back and admit to yourself, this is such a great idea, I'm glad somebody thought it would work. And even though Fighters Megamix is kind of a mixed bag, it is simply put the best fighting game on the system.
What makes Fighters Megamix shine isn't the amount of characters, which is impressive, but the attention to the fans Sega (Am2) spent making the game. The littlest things, like reintroducing characters from games that only die hard Genesis junkies remember (Rent A Hero anybody?), or letting you duke it out in the first level of Sonic the Hedgehog, these are the things that stand out in my memory.
But Fighters Megamix will go down in history, inevitably, with the pure amount of characters it offers. From the get go there are all the characters from Virtua Fighter, and all the characters from Fighting Vipers. And then Sega was kind enough to have you fight to aquire the likes of characters from Sonic the Fighter, Rent A Hero, Virtua Fighter Kids, Virtua Fighter 2, and even the car from Daytona USA! All pitted against each other fighting to the death. And to top it all off, you have the ability to fight either Virtua Fighter-style, or, you guessed it, Fighting Vipers-style. While neither is overly different, it does effect the handling and other nuances throughout the game.
Speaking of differences, another thing that jumps out from the first experience is the difference in levels. The Virtua Fighter characters have nice large, open levels, while the Fighting Vipers fights take place in an enclosed ring. It has been my experience that the game plays a bit quicker, and without slowdowns, when you are in the Virtua Fighter levels, but the slowdowns aren't bad enough to complain about. The nice thing about the Fighting Vipers levels, in case you haven't played the arcade game, is that you can literally punch somebody through a wall. Not the interactivity of Dead or Alive 2, but it's a start.
The slight slowdowns is really the only major gripe I have about the games graphics. Other than that the game runs along at something between 30 - 40 frames per second. I have read that the game achieves 60 frames per second, but I find it hard to believe, and if true, does not hold it's rate for long. The characters don't look quite as high res as Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn, however, the game does play slightly faster. The low res effect isn't awful, and the backgrounds really help take your mind off of it. The backgrounds, I have found, can be a bit ambitious, as well, causing a great deal of the slowdown, but again, these are only the Fighting Viper levels.
The control is solid, or at least as solid as Virtua Fighter 2's was. There is a floaty feeling, but that's not too uncommon among Saturn AM2 games (read: Sega Rally). Some of the characters are certainly not easy to control (especially a few of the secret guys, the car from Daytona USA comes to mind), but it's hard to get every bodies control right. The characters are also far from balanced, but again, what are you to do when there are so many different types of fighters.
On a parting note, I must say that among my favorite innovation is something that is not used at all anymore. Sega was so kind as to give us different tasks to complete. In order to get one of the secret characters, you must fight a series of women attackers, or Smart Guy attackers, or Bosses, or whatnot. All of the different mini adventures made me want to keep playing more. Way to go, Sega.