Whenever people talk about classic Sega fighting games they always bring up the Virtua Fighter series. This is understandable of course since without Virtua Fighter we wouldn’t have any 3d fighting games. However these same people always seem to overlook another great Sega fighter that was also revolutionary. This of course is Fighting Vipers, one of the best, yet underappreciated fighters ever released.
Fighting Vipers took the basics of Virtua Fighter, specifically Virtua Fighter 2 and built upon them to create its own identity. Although it has a lot of similarities to Virtua Fighter, Fighting Vipers has a lot of features that were unique to 3d fighters at the time. The most obvious thing is that matches take place in fenced in arenas. This makes it possible to use the walls, fences or whatever the barrier may be to your advantage. You can also smash opponents through walls, which is something that never gets old. When you’re fighting in a wrestling cage for example, it’s hilarious to see people bouncing off the ropes and into the horizon.
The fighters all wear breakable armor and when they lose armor they take more damage from opponents. There is an icon shaped like a human next to each fighter’s health bar and when armor is weakened, parts of it will blink. These parts can be broken with a single special attack. Breaking off an opponent’s armor will give you an obvious advantage in combat. Also, breaking off the women combatant’s armor will let you see some skin so you pervos out there have an extra incentive to destroy their armor.
The actual baseline fighting is just as tight and responsive as it is in Virtua Fighter 2. You can see that a lot of characters basically have reworked versions of moves from that series. However, Fighting Vipers isn’t meant to be a virtual martial arts game and the combat itself is pretty over the top. You’ll kick and punch opponents clear across arenas, destroy their armor or slam them through walls. Every character can also perform a counter which itself can be countered and if they are tossed into the air they have a way to quickly recover. Virtua Fighter 2 is a better fighting game but I would argue that Fighting Vipers is more fun because of all the insanity that can happen during any given match.
Although the game isn’t as deep as Virtua Fighter, that doesn’t mean that it’s shallow either. Each of the nine characters has an intimidating amount of moves that you can learn. The entire roster controls completely different from each other so like Virtua Fighter, you’ll need to practice a lot to get good at this game. Fighting Vipers is a bit easier to pick up and play but you’ll still need to devote serious time to it if you want to be a master.
This is another game that doesn’t really have much in the way of features. Arcade, versus and online are all that you’ll find here. The Sega Saturn version had a training mode so why this version doesn’t have one is beyond me. Online itself is about as basic as you can get. You can participate in ranked and player matches and watch other players in spectator mode. Everything works well and there are no issues playing online so I guess that’s something to be thankful for.
Fighting Vipers is a game that most gamers don’t talk about anymore and it’s a shame. It’s still a blast to play even after all of these years. It also introduced many features that are now common place in modern 3d fighting games. If you missed out on this game the first time around, here’s your chance to try it out. Fighting Vipers is most definitely NOT poisonous.
• Over the top combat
• Breakable walls and armor keep things dynamic
• Controls are super tight
• Entire roster is fun to use
• No training mode
• No special features
Fighting Vipers was developed and published by Sega. It is available now on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.