Armstone City, year unknown. The Mayor
decided to hold a fighting tournament with the grand finale being held on the
top of the city tower, and the Vipers, young urban warriors decide to compete,
each with their own goal on mind. REVIEW: Lead
by Yu Suzuki, the AM2 development team has been creating games for Sega since
1985. Virtua Fighter 2 became a "genre defining" 3D fighting game in
arcades just a few years before AM2 decided to introduce Fighting Vipers, a completely new
3D fighter with a brand new cast. The arcade version of Fighting Vipers
uses the Sega Model 2 hardware. The game was later ported to the Sega Saturn,
featured much lower quality graphics than the arcade version.
Fighting Vipers has 9 original
characters, each with their own unique fighting style and abilities. Fighting Vipers
borrows quite a few core animations from Virtua Fighter 2, making it
visually resemble its older brother quite a bit. I always considered that a good
thing, because it gives Fighting Vipers a "recognizable" look
and feel for returning fighting game players. It's not a total clone, however, as Fighting Vipers
features unique visual elements like particle and stage effects, which greatly differentiate
it from VF
and other 3D fighters.
typical fighting game roster... but more fleshed out than you may think.
Perhaps the most immediately
recognizable gameplay element of Fighting Vipers, one that makes it stand
out from Virtua Fighter, is the collision detectionis
highly exaggerated. Certain attacks will send opponents flying ridiculously
high into the air, while others will knock characters straight across the stage like a
Visually, it's more extreme and arguably more exciting than Virtua
Fighter. On that note, the "ouch factor" of Fighting Vipers is pretty much off the
charts. Attacks definitely hurt when they connect. The sharp, and (for
lack of a better word) "crunchy" sound effects also add to the
Each of the fighters also wear their own unique combat armor, which can be broken off during the
fight by certain powerful attacks. High and low parts of a character's armor can
be broken off. If both parts of armor are broken, a character's life bar with
turn red. If a character is hit when their armor is broken, they will be susceptible to
greater damage than usual. Like in other 3D fighting games of the early/mid
90's, there is no actual sidestepping in Fighting Vipers. However, after
being knocked down, characters can "roll" into the foreground or
While the characters of Fighting Vipers share
a few basic techniques from the VF cast, they also have a variety of unique
(and powerful) attacks that define their designs. Some of them fight noticeably
"sloppier" than their VF counterparts, with "street
fighting" seemingly taking prominence over properly executed martial arts.
Characters also have surprisingly deep movesets. How many moves each character
has may surprise you. That said, the characters of Fighting Vipers were
very ahead of their time in 1995.
Watch out... Candy is jail
All of the game's 3D arenas are closed in by walls, caging the fighters
inside... another element that the fighting genre hasn't seen thus far. Players can
jump off of walls, knock each other into walls, and even grab & throw their
opponents into the wall. Furthermore, if a powerful strike connects to K.O. the opponent, players can even knock their
opponents cleanthrough the wall to finish a fight. (I have to
say... sending an opponent through a wall is quite a satisfying and hilarious experience.)
effect was also considerably cool-looking in 1995, definitely adding bonus points to that "ouch factor" rating.
The basic control layout is essentially the same to the Virtua Fighter
series, with one button for Guard, Punch, and Kick. This allows players familiar
with VF to jump right in. Along with a respectable variety of attacks,
throws, and combo-strings, the Fighting Vipers also have a few unique universal
attacks. Each character
can perform and launch attack that sends their opponent flying high into the air
- enabling a follow-up attack or air combo. (On a side note, if you K.O. your opponent
with a launch attack and they land perfectly on the top of the wall, they will
hilariously be stuck up there.
It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a fighting game, and
rather impressive attention to detail for back then.)
Bahn... A Jotaro Kujo
cosplayer. He's awesome.
All fighters can also execute powerful knock-back attacks, which auto-block for
a brief period of time and sends the opponent flying backward if it connects.
(These moves could actually be called "early Street Fighter IV Focus
ground attacks and jumping attacks to a grounded opponent also return from VF
(and are a bit overpowered if you ask me). The combo system fairly intuitive, and
it isn't difficult send someone
through a wall after a launching move (which is just too fun). Some stages even
have "springboard" walls, which humorously sends the opponent flying
Fighting Vipers' gameplay
is considerably faster than VF2, and has more of an
"arcade" feel rather than feeling like a fighting simulation. Quick air recoveries are possible, allowing characters to backflip onto their feet after getting hit. This opens up
the door for
a quick counter attack, but also may leave them vulnerable to their opponent's
follow-up attack if they're not careful. Any player who likes Virtua Fighter but
thought it was a bit too "slow-paced" might end up liking Fighting Vipers
The Sega Saturn port of Fighting Vipers was graphically inferior to the arcade version,
but offered new console-only mode like Training and VS Playback mode. The cast of Fighting Vipers later appeared in Fighters
Megamix (1996-1997), where VF characters are selectable as well. The sequel, Fighting
Vipers 2 was released in 1998 but was rare to see outside of Japan arcades.
The console version of Fighting Vipers 2 was ported to Dreamcast only in
Japan & Europe (and was cancelled in the U.S, sadly).
Sega Saturn, Playstation 2, PS3
(PSN), Xbox 360
Fighting Vipers doesn't take itself
nearly as seriously as Virtua Fighter, which in retrospect, actually ended up being a
good thing.Fighting Vipers was ahead of its time. The exaggerated collision detection and "arcade" feel
definitely made Fighting Vipers stand out in 3D fighting game genre. Vipers offers an
"edgier" cast and very different 3D gameplay experience from Virtua
After picking up the HD re-release of Fighting Vipers on PS3 (PSN) in 2012,
I developed a new appreciation for the game... and was
reminded how fun (and hilarious) Fighting Vipers actually is. I also
didn't realize how deep the character movesets were... these guys were early TEKKEN
characters in terms of interesting and deep moveset designs!
Fighting Vipers never came close to the popularity or success of Virtua
Fighter (or the other big 3D fighter at the time, Tekken 2).
In my opinion, the cast of Fighting Vipers isn't as likeable or diverse as other
fighting game rosters, which is probably why the series never caught much mainstream
However, I think Fighting Vipers characters actually have more personality than those from VF.
In closing, I think Fighting Vipers a very underrated, fun, and downright hilarious
3D fightinggame if you give it a chance. Play
it with fellow fighting game players for guaranteed good times and many laughs.