Fighting Vipers Logo - We Know Gamers

The Sega Saturn classic makes a triumphant return to Xbox Live Arcade but is it worth playing? Or is this digital title only meant to please the hardcore fans?

Gameplay
Fighting Vipers is a classic for anyone who was lucky enough to own a Sega Saturn, myself included. The game features nine different characters each with unique fighting styles and special moves. Unfortunately “Pepsi man” doesn't make an appearance, which will likely put off some hardcore players, as he was a firm fan favourite. Being one of the few fighting games available on the console it had to stand out from its competition. The game did this by introducing a health system for clothes and armour which was separate from the player’s health. This meant that you couldn't just continuously block your opponent’s onslaught of attacks and get away with it. This feature is seen in many games nowadays but when it appeared in Fighting Vipers it was a revolutionary idea. Another feature that was added into Fighting Vipers that was new at the time was the ability to knock your opponents into, as well as through walls and continue your combo from that. This is widely known as juggling now and features heavily in games such as Dead or Alive and Tekken. Considering the game is almost 18 years old it stands up quite well. The characters each have unique but more importantly well balanced fighting styles, which make no two fights the same. The game also features quite a basic combo system which allows you to chain together attacks. Granted its nothing compared to today's fighting games but it does allow you to be a little more technical with your attacks.
We crouch... because that's what we do.
Another interesting factor is the difficulty of the opponents. Aged six I seemed to stand up pretty well against the AI controlled enemies. Now an adult, I can just about manage to finish Arcade Mode on easy. Though the AI is tough the characters are well balanced. Smaller characters are quicker and do less damage, whereas bigger characters are more powerful, yet slower. But don’t worry as you won’t find yourself coming up against any overpowered characters. Fighting Vipers is a challenging game and it really shows how game developers would just throw you in the deep end in the 90’s. If you’re feeling retro and want a challenge this is definitely the game for you, granted however if you compare it to the more modern fighting games it doesn't really stand out. The controls sometimes feel a tad stiff, as all games did back then but for the sake of nostalgia, it really is quite impressive. Fans of the original will feel right at home the moment you pick up the controller.

Multiplayer
The game features both Online and Offline Multiplayer modes, meaning you can fight your friends when you have company but also take the fight online if you feel the need to beat up strangers. The Multiplayer itself doesn't feature any new modes separate from the single player, so you'll find yourself fighting opponents in best of three matches online and offline. Fighting Vipers Online Multiplayer is lag free and other than a few random disconnects it also plays pretty well. It’s quite hard to find a match to start with but I think that’s more down to the fact that only the true fans have actually bought the game. But don’t let that put you off; once you get into it you could easily mistake it for a recent XBLA game as opposed to a Sega Saturn port of an 18 year old title.

Graphics/Sound
Fighting Vipers has retained its classic, blocky Sega Saturn graphics and soundtrack. It makes starting up the game for the first time really nostalgic, though the nostalgia may wear thin after playing the game for a few hours. The games menus are ultra simplistic and won’t be winning any design awards in the foreseeable future. The colours are bright and vibrant; unfortunately in some cases, it’s a little bit straining on the eyes however it appears that everything was kept in place for the hardcore fans of the series. The levels you fight in are themed, so you'll find yourself fighting in a variety of locations from the Wild West to an industrial dock area. You can expect a lot of different and diverse levels to brawl in.
Don't use your butt to catch me!
The soundtrack to the game has definitely felt the effects of aging. All the music for each of the levels seems very "90's" though that should be expected of a game made in that era. Thought it is fitting for each level and they definitely fit the fighting game genre. The sound effects however do stand the test of time. Though obviously not the greatest quality sound effects they do their job and are probably on par with some Nintendo DS or 3DS games. I also encountered some issues with sound in which the music would just stop playing completely and leave me sitting in silence whilst I beat down my opponents.

Final Verdict
Fighting Vipers was a solid beat ‘em up in the days of the Sega Saturn and remains so to this day. The fighting is fast as well as tactical and most of all fun, though at 800msp this may be a download for only the hardcore and those who wish to be nostalgic.

Gameplay = 8/10
Multiplayer = 7/10
Graphics/Sound = 4/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 6.3/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Fighting Vipers HD Review
Reviewed by Citizen Cyanide
on Feb 03 2012

Rating: 6.3/10