Virtua Striker is the first game in Sega's series of arcade football games. Similar to other football games of its time it is played from a side view but this one differs in being the first to use three dimensional texture mapped graphics. The game is played with a stick and three buttons: one for shooting, one for passing short and one for passing long. Holding down the shoot button accumulates power while pressing quickly leads to a direct shot. When in a wide position the long pass button is used to make crosses. While defending the short pass button is used to do sliding tackles.
The game contains eighteen national teams and can be played in single matches by two players or in a tournament against computer controlled opponents. The tournament is a cup that consists of four rounds and it's necessary to win each match to advance. By default draws lead to game over but an option exists to end games with a penalty shootout. None of the footballers have names in the game but some of them resembles real life international stars of the time such as Ruud Gullit and Carlos Valderrama.