A tournament where a girl will hit you with her g-string wearing butt?!
I wouldn't mind that at all! In fact, I'd be willing to get the crap knocked out of me just to play against her! That is but one of the strange moves in the oddly designed Fighting Vipers. In a nutshell, it is a Virtua Fighter type game with the addition of walls, armor, and a heck of a lot more moves. While Fighting Vipers intentions are good, in has some major flaws that detract from the game.
First off, there are an amazing number of moves for each character. Bahn, the character with the least number of moves in the rule book, has 62 documented moves. Multiply that by the nine characters (who all actually have more moves that 62 listed for each) , and you have a minimum of 558 listed moves in the manual (I'm not going to count them, you do it.) Unless Fighting Vipers breaks with tradition, there are also a lot more 'unlisted' moves that you discover as you play this game. According to Sega, there are over 700 moves in this game. That is more than any other fighting game on the market. Pretty impressive.
Now there are always those people who think, "Oh no! Another Virtua Fighter clone." Never fear, gentle reader, this is not the case. Fighting Vipers does not have the 'floating jumps' that are the source of so many arguments. In fact, while you are still in a ring, there is no 'ring out' any more. Sega has erected walls to surround the fighting arena to trap the fighters inside. You can even use the walls to your advantage by jumping off of them. Also, if you do the right move when you knock out an opponent, you can either destroy one of the walls, or have your opponent land on the top of the wall, breaking his or her back. Definitely a cool improvement.
The final improvement they made over other fighting games is the addition of armor. Each character has both upper and lower body armor. Certain moves are able to remove the body armor from an opponent, thereby making him or her more vulnerable to attacks. If you lose both pieces of armor, even the lightest punch takes a lot of your life away. For those gamers who lack girlfriends, you'll be happy to hear that the most of the female combatants are wearing next to nothing underneath their armor. Personally, we here at Game Revolution thought that while that addition is truly tastless, it'll probably increase sales.
After the good, must inevitably come the bad. The polygonal graphics of Fighting Vipers are rather grainy. We know that Sega has done better, we've seen amazing polygonal humans in both Virtua Fighter 2 and Decathlete. One wonders why a game that comes out significantly later than another doesn't have better graphics. The only explanation we could come up with is that they just didn't spend as much time on Fighting Vipers as they did on Virtua Fighter 2. This is especially odd considering the amazing job they did with the less marketed Decathlete. You would think that they would attempt to do a better job on a game that they are actually trying to market with TV commercials.
The character design was also pretty lame. All the characters are set to be in their late teens, so that the game's main audience can identify with it. One of the characters is a fourteen year-old skater who uses his board as a weapon. Two out of the three female characters are fashion models. We all know that models make the best fighters, right? One of the girls wears a little skirt with a g-string underneath. Her high kicks show more than any fighting game ever should. It gets worse, however, because one of her moves is the appropriately named "Bootie Bop." I let you use your imagination here. Finally, Sega couldn't decide what to name the final character in the game. When you play against him, his name is B.M., but when you release him as a playable character, his name changes to Mahler. Let's have some connections here, okay guys?
Speaking of the final character, this brings us to the worst aspect of the game, it's easy. No, it's not just easy, it's EASY! First time playing, we beat the game in eight minutes. Second time, with a different character, it took us four. While it is fun in the versus mode, it's just to simple to play against the computer.
All in all, Fighting Vipers was a good attempt at something truly revolutionary, but they just didn't take their time designing it. Players should enjoy it for it's wide variety of moves and the addition of armor and walls. Other than that, it's just your average fighting game.