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Fighting Vipers Review

Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega
Release Date: November 30, 1996 Also On: None

As most anyone that knows me is aware, I’m not a fan of fighters. I’m not thrilled even by the most casual of fighting games like Super Smash Bros. Melee. To my surprise, Fighting Vipers has bucked my trend of dislike towards fighting games with its ahead-of-its-time graphics, easy-to-learn controls, and fun two player experience.

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Let’s start with the graphics. You have a number of different fighting arenas, including an old west town, a diner parking lot, an airport, a climbing elevator on a tower, and several more. What I like most about these locations is the enclosed area can be smashed by a flying player. In other words, you can kick people out of the ring.

For 1996, these were good-looking locations and character models, no matter how silly the characters themselves may look. The Final Boss that you fight is dressed in tights, is a dark orangeish color with a cape. There’s also a female Asian dressed like a schoolgirl, a guy that looks awfully like Mega Man (without the gun), a black lady dressed like she were an American Gladiator try-out, and a rock star with a guitar. Yes, it’s all rather bizarre, but it works.

The game modes consist of your single-player Arcade Mode, Vs Mode, Training Mode, Team Battle Mode, and Playback Mode. The Arcade Mode has you select one of the 8 fighters (not including unlockables like the Final Boss). From here you’ll fight against all the fighters, including yourself, in the various arenas outlined in paragraph two. You of course should first try Training mode, at least for a few minutes, but even button-mashers might complete the Arcade Mode.

Basically a fight, any fight in any mode, consists of this. Two players, 30 seconds, one winner. Health meters are displayed in the upper left and right. A punch, a kick, block, and various combos are available, including a combination of punch/kick, jump-kick, upper-cut, etc. There are some weird moves, like spinning a character and throwing him. I’ve even seen characters use their rump to smash their opponent. At the end of the 30 seconds, the person with the highest health left is the winner. If a health meter runs out before that time, the winner is the one left standing. Two wins are required to move on.

Multi-player is the biggest draw, in terms of replay value. The single-player alone won’t last you more than a couple hours, even playing as all the characters. Playing your friend, however, or your brother, is always a worthy endeavor. As far as difficulty goes, it’s easy to discern between a human and computer opponent. It’s rare for a computer to block or lash out. So as far as replay value goes, if you don’t expect to be playing with a friend, Fighting Vipers’ appeal will wear off quickly.

In conclusion, Fighting Vipers is one of the best fighting games that I’ve played. I say that probably just because I find it accessible – and I’ve actually beaten a few people in it – but if a game can win the respect of a genre cynic, I’m all for that game. Fighting Vipers might be nearly 10 years old, but it’s still worth looking into. If you can find it for a cheap price, it might not be a bad idea to buy it.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide