Originally released for the arcades in 1995, the 3D fighting game/beat ‘em up Fighting Vipers was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1996. It was there that it found proper success (as much as anything could be successful on the Saturn).
Taking its fighting style cues from the much loved Virtua Fighter 2 (which was also on the Saturn), Fight Vipers focuses on combo moves. Players can punch, kick, block and string together combos from these.
The style of combat will be familiar to most but what makes Fighting Vipers stand out from the pack are the arenas and amour breaking element. The former is often where the game is at its most thrilling as the walls within the arenas can be used for extra damage. Also if you hit hard enough on your knockout blow you can send the opponent crashing through them. Kind of like a fatality but with far less gore.
The latter has each of the characters, of which there is a decent amount of variety, start with some form of armour. The more damage you to do it, the more likely you will be to destroy it.
Destroy an opponent’s armour and they will be more vulnerable to taking damage. It’s a nice wrinkle and add some tension to fights when you find yourself lacking that extra layer of protection.
The moments when you destroy armour or send an opponent through a wall are wonderfully stylised with an instant replay. Something the Saturn version would utilise with ‘playback mode’, a standard in most fighting games these days.
These are just nice touches to a fighting game that was adapted well from the arcade to the home console. It looks great and controls really well, with smooth attacks and that lovely rush when you fend off an assault only to batter away with a decent string of combos.
The single player is lacking some form of story but against a friend or family member, it never stops being fun.
The Final Score - 7/10