Back in the glory days of the fifth generation of home video game consoles, gamers found The Sega Saturn to be a great place for arcade-style games. Specially, the 2D fighting genre of video games on The Saturn was unprecedented at the time. However, there were many games in the 3D fighting realm that also took players by storm. The Sega Saturn boasted many 3D fighting games. Some of these fighting games were straight ports of Sega’s arcade titles while some of them were Saturn specific games. One game found its way onto the Sega Saturn, from the arcades, and gave fans of the Virtua Fighter series a nice surprise. Yep… it’s about time. We are talking about Fighting Vipers.
History and Concept of Fighting Vipers (Saturn Version)
Developed and released originally for the Sega Model 2 Arcade Hardware in November of 1995 by Legendary Studio Sega AM2 under Yu Suzuki (MCPanion’s favorite developer!), Fighting Vipers became a success as one of the highest grossing arcade games of 1996. This made it a no-brainer for Sega to port the hit arcade game to the home console market in late 1996. In August of 1996, Fighting Vipers hit the Sega Saturn in Japan and was generally considered to be a near perfect port of the arcade version with some additional features. The game was later localized to Europe and North American regions later in the same year.
The concept of Fighting Vipers is straightforward. Fighting Vipers is a one on one 3D fighting game that resembles the gameplay of the vastly popular game Virtua Fighter 2. Players can choose from 11 unique characters and duel it out in a generous amount of stages to memorable music tracks. Fighting Vipers also utilizes an armor system which allows players to destroy parts of armor or clothing to induce even more damage to their opponent. Fighting Vipers also does not include ring outs unlike other fighting games at the time.
Fighting Vipers Key Features:
- Over 10 total unique characters
- Including PepsiMan in the Japanese Release
- Unique Armor System allowing for more dynamic fights
- Training and Playback modes
A Look from a Modern Perspective:
Feeling and Music:
Fighting Vipers conveys a great sense of that good ol’ 90s Sega Arcade fighting. It combines a unique mix of music, stylized characters, fast fighting, and an interesting personality. In the modern day, I feel that this concoction still holds strong. Going back to Fighting Vipers, I can still see just how refreshing this game is when compared to other games in the genre. The music as well still holds up. Some tracks sound a bit goofy but that just adds to the overall experience in my opinion. In my spare time, I find myself turning on the Saturn version of the soundtrack and still enjoying it.
The fighting system in the game still serves as a good way to beat up your friends (or enemies). The fast-paced fighting combined with the dynamics of armor destruction still add a sense of strategy to the game. Each character in the game have enough differences to still feel unique thus still maintaining a balance of skill and sometimes button mashing. Till this day, I still get those breakout moments when beating my friends with only one hit of health remaining. The gameplay still feels fun and intense.
Fighting Vipers is very close to my heart. Going back and reliving the game brings a nostalgic tear to my eye but also reminds me of how great fighting games were in the glory days of arcades. Even if you do not have the experience of arcade fighting games, Fighting Vipers is still a great game to pick up and play. Even though it was a bit overshadowed by Virtua Fighter 2, it still shows the world that it is the little game that could. It makes me very happy to know it got a sequel as well as an HD upgrade on Playstation Network and Xbox Live, although I would recommend playing it on the Saturn instead. A final note I would add is that Fighting Vipers was produced by Yu Suzuki. That alone is more than enough reason to try this game out as Yu Suzuki is well known for creating some of the greatest video games ever conceived.
Fighting Vipers on the Sega Saturn is a very inexpensive game to collect. I would suggest everyone to get the Japanese Version, as it includes PepsiMan as a character. I highly recommend Fighting Vipers and I would say it is a must own for the Sega Saturn.