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Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram (電脳戦機バーチャロン オラトリオ・タングラム, Dennō Senki Bācharon Oratorio Tanguramu) is a 1998 Japanese Sega Model 3 arcade game that was later ported to the Sega NAOMI arcades and then later for the Dreamcast home console in both America and Japan in 1999. Oratorio Tangram is a sequel to the 1995 video game Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Operation Moongate. It was released on April 29, 2009 for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade as a port of version 5.66.
There were actually three arcade versions released, each marked by the "Mind Shift Battle System" (M.S.B.S.) version: Ver5.2, Ver5.4, Ver5.66. Changes to the game were placed in 5.4 to better balance matches, largely altering short-range fighting and left-turbo weapons. The Dreamcast port, labeled as version 5.45, was based on 5.4 with a few additional arenas brought back from Cyber Troopers Virtual-On. The Japanese version offered a customization mode for original color schemes and emblems, where the files were compatible with Ver5.66. The Dreamcast version can also be played as Ver5.2
Arcade Ver5.66 signaled the title's move from the expensive Model 3 hardware to the Dreamcast-based Naomi board. It featured the addition of three new virtuaroids, and the cabinets now housed VMU slots for customized color schemes made from the Dreamcast version 5.45. "Quick messages" was yet another addition, which were predefined text strings that could be mapped to the controls and displayed during matches. Because the three new virtuaroids and quick messages were not a part of the Dreamcast version 5.45 and could not be customized, a special GD-ROM was given out with an issue of the Dreamcast Magazine in Japan to edit these new additions, although the disk does not actually allow the player to control the three new virtuaroids, merely customize their colors. Version 5.66 was released on April 29, 2009 for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade and costs 1200 Microsoft Points.
A special attraction based on version 5.2 enhanced with force feedback was specially created for Sega's Tokyo based Joypolis game park.
Oratorio Tangram is widely considered the best in the series, due to its faster gameplay, deeper variety in tactics, and a balance that was refined through several iterations.
- 1999: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.2 (AM3, Model 3)
- 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.4 (Hitmaker, Model 3)
- 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.45 (Hitmaker, Dreamcast)
- 2000: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.66 (Hitmaker, Naomi)
- 2009: Cyber Troopers: Virtual On Oratorio Tangram ver.5.66 (AM2, Xbox 360)
This is probably the most common version found in American arcades. Compared to the previous Virtual On, the game mechanics and graphics are greatly enhanced.
The possible weapon input combinations has been greatly increased, with the ability of using the turbo button in combination with the weapon triggers to form "turbo attacks". Many of the attacks are further modified through the stance, with different actions during standing, crouching, jumping, dashing, moving, dash-crouching or air dashing.
The fight mechanics were further expanded where melee combat featured additions like side-stepping, strikes during dashes and jumping attacks for countering.
Also worth noting are special abilities for virtuaroids ranging from special attack maneuvers to a death countdown that gave a short window of invulnerability.
A hot favorite among beginners and experts alike. The new Temjin features balanced long and short ranged capabilities. Its forward dashing beam rifle and gliding ram can easily turn the tide of the game. It is regarded as the series' helm ship character.
- Special Attack- Gliding ram. Whirlwind attack.
- Bugs- The right weapon basic attack can be cancelled into an infinity Machine gun beam rifle.
RVR-39 Apharmd B
The original Apharmd was split into 2 separate VRs, specialized in close-ranged combat and long-ranged combat. Apharmd the Battler is the close-range variant, retaining the trademark tongfers of the original Apharmd and features very high close-combat damage, suited for combat at close to mid-range.
- Special Transformation- Hyper Mode (can only be used once per match)
- Special Attack- Leap Kick.
- Bug- Infinity Sonic Ring bug.
RVR-33 Apharmd S
The original Apharmd was split into 2 separate VRs, specialized in close-ranged combat and long-ranged combat. Apharmd the Striker is the long-range variant. The striker variant is slightly slower speed and the projectile shots give it a lower firing rate but a much higher attack power at a distance. The tongfers are replaced with a combat knife, giving a limited close-combat range and significantly less attack power. The variety from its range of long-distance weapons and a comparatively fast speed are the defining characteristics of its play style.
- Special Transformation- Hyper Mode (can only be used once per fight).
- Special Attack- Flying Punch.
RVR-14 Fei-yen Kn
An advanced model of the original Fei-Yen, it follows its predecessor's role as the fastest virtuaroid among the cast, and still features weak armor. It is highly agile and has speed matched only by the Cypher. The majority of attacks are suited for mid-range combat. Once its life gauge drops below 50%, it will transform into hyper mode, and switch to a golden color. In this form, the virtuaroid gains yet an extra speed boost, and the attacks increase in attack power and travel speed.
- Special Transformation- Hyper mode at half or less life gauge.
- Special Features- She can cancel her Left Weapon and its turbo shots via her "Musical song" combo chains.
A descendant of Viper-II from the first Virtual On, the Cypher now features a frame that can transform into a fighter plane form. The S.L.C. ram from Viper-II makes a return, and the virtuaroid still houses very strong mid to long-range projectiles, but are now all beam-based weapons. It can even fight relatively well at close ranges, with the trade-off for speed and versatile combat abilities being minimal defenses. It has the weakest physical defense and the second weakest V-armor in the game.
- Special Transformation- Fighter jet Mode.
- Special Attack- 'She Lost Control'(S.L.C.) Ram.
- Special Abilities- Double aerial attacks. Aerial Close-range attack.
- Bugs- "Rowing" bug in the air, allows rapid movement in the air. Infinity Daggers bug.
A new VR to the series, the Reaper-like Specineff has great dashing speed and is marked by a range of indirect attacks, like disabling one of the three weapons on an enemy. Generally, his movements are slow and makes use of the burst of speed from its dash, and impressive ranged weapons. It has a trademark energy scythe that can fire a tall wave of energy for long distances and fight at close-range. It is the only Virtuaroid in the game to feature a dual-Turbo Center weapon.
- Special Mode- Death Mode: a 13-second countdown of invulnerability. If Specineff fails to destroy the enemy before the countdown runs out, it dies.
- Special Attack- Will-o-the-wisp: The Specineff spins around and fire a series of energy spheres with slight homing towards the opponent. Power slide.
- Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement on land.
Where Specineff is the new devil to Virtual On, Angelan is the new angel. It is the sister-unit of Fei-Yen, with ice-based attacks, and is the second female-form virtuaroid in the series. But Angelan is vastly different from Fei-Yen in its low speed and minimal close-range combat abilities, which affords it one of the strongest V-armor and impressive ranged attacks, many with strong auto-homing capabilities and some with strong defensive strategic value.
- Special Transformation- Angel Mode.
- Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground and air, allows rapid movement.
A heavily armed virtuaroid with a full set of physical projectile weapons. The two giant missile pods on the side give it an appearanace of having four arms. It has multiple ways to fire many projectiles in a short period of time. The unit is suited for fights against VRs with a strong V-armor and low speed. It is a descendant of the Belgdor VR, and no longer has the high center of gravity problem that affected the balance of its predecessor. Being a heavier virtuaroid, it has surprisingly decent speed.
- Special Attack- I.C.B.M: a huge missile, with one fire per game until the next continue.
- Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement on land.
Oratario Tangram actually features three versions of the Bal family that appear in different stages. On land, it is the Bal-Bados (XBV-819-TR), with legs as the lower torso. In the sea, it is the Bal-Baros (XBV-819-TM), with a submarine-like lower torso. The variant at the space-like final stage is the Bal-Keros (XBV-819-TS), with yet another legless lower body. There are minor differences in attacks for all three forms.
Like its predecessor the Bal-Bas-Bow, Bal-Bados is marked by the variety of attacks and the floating bit arms. Because of the vast number of available attacks, it is one of the hardest virtuaroids to master. It could launch well over 500 projectiles in a single battle. In addition to the 2 original ERLs adapted into its arms, it has 2 additional ERLs mounted onto its thighs. The ERLs can now be stationed at parts of the stage to provide attack from different angles. The placement of ERLs plus special button combinations produce some of the most powerful special attacks in the game.
- Special Attack- Reflective laser, laser pyramid, black hold bomb.
- Bugs- "Rowing" bug on the ground, allows rapid movement. If over 60 mines are present on the field at any given time, the game freezes.
Named after the Japanese word for "thunder", the trademark of this virtuaroid are the two giant laser units folded onto its shoulders. They are the most powerful single-shot weapons among the VR cast. The lasers can now be cancelled and the player can also choose to fire just one of the two beams to trade damage and beam width for a quicker recharge. It is not the slowest VR anymore, and is quite agile.
- Special Transformation- Armor Break: removing all defense armaments to trade for extreme speed gain, making it the fastest Virtuaroid in the game.
The Dordray is a descendant of Dorkas, but bears little resemblance to the compact VR, now with a massive body marked with wide shoulders and a flat plateau top. It features the heaviest armor plating and the strongest V-armor, the amount of punishment it can take can seem intimidating to some opponents. The hammer of Dorkas has been replaced with a drill, which can drill past physical barriers. It retains the heavy-hitting and wide-ranged weaponry but its speed suffers as a result. This unit features the strongest V-armor in the game.
- Special Transformation- Giant Mode.
- Special Attack- Flame Charge. "CD" Charge. Whirlwind attack.
The crystal guardian appeared in response to the awakening of the Tangram. It is a pure V-crystal manipulating energy from the Reverse-Convert to craft a solid body. In its pure form, it is ludicrously powerful and should be regarded with intense caution.
Like the Jaguarandi in the first Virtual On, Ajim is meant to punish players who played over defensively, leading to long overall play time in the first half of the game. The AI Ajim is unfairly overpowered in nearly every aspect, compared to the playable version, featuring stronger weapons, speed and vastly improved V-armor. Ajim is also a time released character, being a very powerful character, and allows the user to set its speed-to-armor ratio. A long-range missile projectile is an important part of Ajim's attacks, but it does varying damage, and may even replenish enemy life by chance. The random nature of Ajim makes it a potentially powerful choice, but very hard to use. The playable version has the weakest V-armor in the entire game, whereas the AI-controlled has ludicrously strong V-armor.
Bradtos is the earth crystal restraint system built at the 4th Plant "TSC Dramen", and is invulnerable until it exposed the crystal inside.
Bradtos can be immediately recognized as two bottom halves of the final boss from Operation Moongate, the Z-gradt, stacked top-to-top on each other, encasing the giant crystal inside. It is powered by 8 man-made V-crystals.
Beyond the 8th Planet "Flesh Refoe" lies the "space time continuum mechanism" (時空因果律制御機構), the 9th planet "Tangram," and it is the last boss of the game. It is a giant sphere made up of small triangles suspended in a massive space with no ground. Tangram has a wide range of attacks, and can even duplicate the player's virtuaroid to obscure attacks. It has a nearly impenetrable surface with the weakness being a section that opens up, revealing a red eye, before it fires a giant laser. If the player is unable to defeat Tangram within the time limit, the game ends without the opportunity to continue.
Changes in relation to 5.4
- Both (yours & the opponent's) V-armor value are shown on screen.
- Rowing bugs are removed.
- Infinity bugs are removed.
- A minor glitch involving a transparent floor on the Public Port stage was fixed.
Changes in relation to 5.45
- New arenas added, including ports of a few Operation Moongate stages.
- A special FMV ending was added, only after completing the game with every mech without continuing.
- Ajim added as a hidden character.
New features and Differences
- Switched to NAOMI arcade board.
- 3 new VRs were added, although they were more variants than new models.
- VMS support for custom coloring and emblems.
- "Quick messages" are available for customization.
- The extra stages featured in the Dreamcast version 5.45 were included.
- The empty player side no longer has a live view of the battle taking place on the playing side.
- The freezing problem caused by 60 floating mines was fixed.
- Improved sound and music quality.
M.S.B.S. ver5.66 Virtuaroid Update
The "ten-eighty special" is a mass-produced version of the original MBV-04-G Temjin from Operation Moongate in the first Virtual On game. Compared to the old Temjin, it featured slightly sedated attacks, but comparatively better response. The pistol it holds is named as the C.G.S. type a1/c by the Hobby Japan novel installments.
Unfortunately, it suffers being modeled after a first generation Virtuariod, and lacks the full range of turbo attacks as well as the ability to air-dash. Its speed is marginally adequate for the combats of Oratorio Tangram. It is often seen as a handicap machine, akin to Dan in the Street Fighter Alpha series.
The 10/80 was first featured in the One Man Rescue and subsequently The Wall of Truth novel installments in the Hobby Japan magazine.
RVR-12 Apharmd C
A third Apharmd model released to accompany the split Battle and Striker models is the Commander model. It is more balanced between long and short range fights than the others, and is likened to a descendant of the original Apharmd. It has an arm-mounted removable machete instead of tongfers and a shotgun, similar to that used by the original Apharmd.
A variant of the Grys-Vok. The basic body frame design is exactly the same as the Grys-Vok. While the Grys-Vok featured a full armarment of missile weapons, the Stein-Vok replaces all the physical projectiles with high-density beam weapons. The beam weapons still feature the wide array of attacks, which is a trademark of the Grys-vok, but the beam weapons often face a disadvantage against virtuaroids with strong V-armor. The beam attacks generally travel faster, but deal less damage. The Stein-Vok is relatively less popular among the cast of virtuaroids.
M.S.B.S Ver.5.66 (Xbox Live Arcade Version)
New features and Differences
- Transparent floor version of Public Port re-added.
- 1-on-1 Network play added.
- Graphical improvements made to accommodate the 360's capabilities.
- Re-rating from Teen to Everyone 10+.
- Split-Screen play removed.