- Some interesting mechanics
- Solid online
- Lack of content
- Frustratingly difficult
- Lack of replay value
Beat ‘em up addicts and achievement hunters rejoice – another obscure SEGA remake is here! Fighting Vipers is the latest in SEGA’s recent bizarre campaign to resurrect niche 90‘s fighting games for XBLA and PSN, following in the footsteps of the recently released Virtua Fighter 2 and Sonic The Fighters.
With its low price point and easily attainable 400G it’s a cheevo hunters wet dream, but behind the achievements is there actually a game worth playing?
With Tekken and Virtua Fighter paving the way for 3D fighters, any new fighting games in the 90’s had to bring something different to the table.
Aside from the more cartoony visual style ( and the laughably cliché skater and punk influenced character design) Fighting Vipers has two main gameplay mechanics that distinguish itself from its peers.
Instead of the usual closed off arenas and ring outs that define Virtua Fighter, Fighting Vipers has destructible walled stages. On top of this, each character ‘s upper and lower body is covered in destructible armour.
As well as catering to the sexually frustrated Japanese market ( theres actually an achievement here for consistently knocking off a characters skirt) this armour mechanic adds a refreshing layer of depth to the games otherwise simplistic fighting mechanics. Pulling off a combo that knocks off your opponents armour and sends them flying through the wall behind them is pretty satisfying and adds a layer of unpredictability to each fight. In addition to the standard punch, kick, throw and guard move set, Fighting Vipers also adds a new charged attack move called power blows.
The combination of these mechanics makes the game feel slightly less simplistic than other early 3D fighters but unfortunately none of this adds much to the single player experience.
Fighting Vipers’AI is mercilessly difficult – don’t be expecting to walk through arcade mode on anything other than the easiest difficulty. This coupled with the complete lack of story or progression of any kind make the arcade mode a grim slog through stages of increasingly difficult and cheap AI – don’t be expecting to be able to use any kind of strategy here.
Mode wise this game is just as barren as the previous XBLA SEGA re releases. Containing just the minimum of expected modes, Arcade, Online and local VS the content that is expected from a decent fighter just isn’t here.
As with Virtua Fighter 2 the online is surprisingly competent and the games I played were lag free and quick to connect. Props to SEGA for implementing VF5’s solid netcode into this game.
Fighting Vipers definitely had some decent and original ideas for its day -the interesting destructible mechanics, zany characters and cartoony visuals make the game more ‘fun’ and unpredictable than its peers. It may have been a decent alternative to the big two back in the 90’s but this game just hasn’t stood the test of time. From the incredibly dated stage backgrounds, to the clumsy controls and lack of content there just isn’t enough here to warrant replaying this game in 2012.
Nostalgia and gamerscore aside, Fighting Vipers is sadly hard to recommend to anyone. With the same bare bones content seen in the recent Virtua Fighters 2 remake there just isn’t a lot to enjoy here. For 400 Microsoft points its hardly an expensive proposition, and arguably you get what you pay for but personally I still find it hard to imagine many people getting a lot of fun out of this as it’s just simply not a particularly accessible or enjoyable game.
Unless you’re looking for a Nostalgia trip or an easy boost to your gamerscore this game is probably best left in the 90s.