Getting our hands on a Vicious Circle cabinet!

GemuBaka readers likely know the website has become a bit of a source on Atari’s canceled arcade fighting game Vicious Circle, but I was recently able to take a big step forward on covering the game thanks to the game’s inclusion to the floor of Galloping Ghost Arcade. The game was introduced as the 850th arcade game to the Galloping Ghost collection, coming from the private collection of Chance, who has been instrumental in tracking down some of the information we have on the game.

While it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the game would remain in private collections, this is great as it allows more people the opportunity to check out what could have been an interesting game if it had the development time to iron out the wrinkles. The biggest benefit of getting my hands on a “legit” Vicious Circle cabinet, though, was in finally being able to identify what the game’s control panel layout was supposed to be.

This is important because the button mapping is a mess when you play the game via emulation in MAME. The game has three strengths of punches and kicks, marked solely as Button 1-6 in MAME, and the real kicker is in an error that maps the heavy kick button to whatever is mapped as your coin drop in MAME.

Vicious Circle also utilizes a seventh button, which activates the Berzerker mode – a sort of “custom combo” mechanic in the game. I didn’t know what to expect on how seven buttons would be configured, but, in straight-forward fashion, the game’s attack buttons are lined up three and three like Street Fighter with the seventh berzerker button floating above this configuration.

Getting time on the machine allowed me to realize the “Button X” setup in MAME snakes through the buttons, with the light punch and kick buttons designated as buttons one and two. This makes the left two buttons, 1 and 2, the middle two buttons, 3 and 4, and the right two buttons, 5 and 6. It took a moment to transfer the train of thought of MAME commands to the arcade layout, but I was able to quickly adapt and perform all of the moves that we originally sourced through emulation.

vccontrollayout

In my rough hour playing on the cabinet, I can’t discern any difference between this prototype cabinet’s software compared to what is playable via emulation. Outside of the satisfaction of playing on a real-deal cabinet and having the arcade atmosphere, I 100% got the exact same gameplay as I have these past couple of years through MAME. Not that this is a bad thing, but I would definitely have welcomed any surprises that surfaced through a potentially different version of the game.

The gameplay also resulted in nearly half an hour of video footage for the GemuBaka YouTube channel. I spliced together a lot of different material to make an essay-style video that whittles down a lot of information about the game in a 10-minute video, that should provide a lot of insight for those who stumble across the video with no knowledge of what Vicious Circle is.

I also did a recording to document an on-cabinet 1 Credit Clear (1CC) of the game. I have done that multiple times in the past through emulation on my stream, but this officially lays my claim on a 1CC on actual hardware/software.

Also, in the past year or so, we have come across a “new game mechanic” that has been pointed out in our main information on Vicious Circle, but it likely has been drowned out and gone under-hyped among the tons of info over there. While we have long known about the fatalities and mutilations, it was discovered there is even a third style of finishing move referred to as brutalities. It’s estimated, based on their presentation, that these may have been the more “cinematic” finishing moves, as they work both characters into the scene as opposed to the others only featuring a “first-person view” of one character.

This was originally discovered with Edge, and his brutality has the strange situation of always featuring Stiletta in the scene. However, it is by far the most fleshed-out finishing move in the game presentation-wise.

To add to this, we recently had a reader of the website submit a brutality command for Bolok. This move can be performed by pressing back, forward, back, forward, down, “Button 3” as Bolok. This finish is a little less cinematic, but it manages to work both characters into the scene.

In getting my hands on a real-deal cabinet, I think we’re beginning to run out of newer experiences with Vicious Circle, and a lot of the mystique has been cleared up surrounding the game, but I won’t give up on finding some of the other finishing moves and playing the game from time to time.

It just surprises me how we went from very little information being available online about the game to having a full-fledged portal of information on GemuBaka. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep this going, and, obviously, any new goodies we find out about Vicious Circle will be added to our pool of information!

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Categories: GemuBaka Feature

Author:djtatsujin

Arcade enthusiast and game collector. Affiliate Twitch retro streamer and games archive writer at Gemubaka (http://gemubaka.com). For business only: gemubaka at gmail

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