Viper Limited Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Viper Limited

This is a compilation, consisting of:
- a shoot-em-up, called "Viper STG"
- six screensavers featuring Viper-characters
- a fair-sized original Viper artwork-collection
- a small demosaiced Viper artwork-collection

Simple this time: no story at all.

Because, I wouldn't call the screensavers or the Graphics collections games, this category applies only to the included Viper STG:
It's only flying with an anime-chara, that was meant to, but doesn't really look like Carrera from Viper GTS and shooting on anything that moves.

A song (that obviously was recorded mono) is repeated all the time during gameplay and doesn't even change, if a battle with a level-boss begins. Outside the game, there is another theme (shorter and also mono-sounding) that is played in the menus.

The only recognizable character in the game-part is Carrera, but even she has new colors for her hair and horns (no, it's not Mercedes either, because the color of the hair is a grass-green). At least on the "Now loading"-screen, it is a recognizable Carrera in super-deformed cuteness...

The graphics in the galleries are at the usual standard of Viper graphics. Some of them are sketches and the finished graphics, showing a bit of the development process of an in-game-graphic (but only in two steps).

Viper is called the "Hyper animation series", but here the moving shapes in the game are the only animated part. Even the galleries contain only standing graphics and no animated gifs.

User Interface:
The game can only be played using the keyboard: The character is moved around using the cursor keys, normal shooting with Key "Z", throwing bombs (that are limited but could be collected in game) with key "X" and switching between game-mode and pause-mode with key "C".
The window, where the action takes place is displayed within a kind of "WinAmp" (exchangeable skins, but only the one SKin, that is displayed after start is on the CD) and is very small. Switching the screens resolution down helps a bit in this matter: obviously, the graphics were sized to be played on a resolution of 800x600 (at that resolution, the outer border of the skin reaches a little bit below the bottom line but the playing area becomes recognizable).

Oooops. Perhaps, the galleries and screensavers were meant as extras?

My personal opinion:
Ouch. This game really hurt. If Sogna/Hobibox-Europe hadn't released "Viper Paradice" short after that, I would have thought, they would commit suicide regarding their reputation by releasing this CD. I still think, it would be better they call back the released copies and either destroy them or hide them in a big vault.

In fact it would be even better, if they simply removed the game and sold the CD as a "Viper Graphics collection", perhaps also adding some animations from previous games as animated gifs instead of the ridiculous shooting game ( of cause, the SD-Carrera from the "Now loading"-screen should be added to the galleries ;) ).

Not only does the game not support a game-controller, it also does not contain a configuration option to adjust the used keys to the users preferences (I have a german keyboard, that has in comparison to an american keyboard "Z" and "Y" exchanged. Guess how convenient it is to play with the main shooting buttons 2 rows and 4 positions apart!).

Also, the game simply requires an installed Java-Engine. If there is no Java-Engine, it tries to download one from the web. I made this observation, when I first tried to start the game on my XP (I never knew before that XP does not install a Java-Engine by default, so I learned another thing by this) and my PC has no connection to the web. So, I think at least an optional installable Java-Engine had to be added to the CD to make it a complete product that could be used on it's own.

If the galleries and screensavers were meant as extras, the extras surpass this time the original product, because I really liked to see how the scetches and the colored graphics looked alike.

On the other hand: The demosaiced graphics reminded me of a discussion, I had some months ago on the PeaPri-board about mosaicing and demosaicing: I had the opinion, the graphics usually are drawn without mosaics in the first place and only mosaiced after being completed in full detail, while another one had the opinion that because of the fact, that mosaicing is legally neccesary, the artist wouldn't even bother to learn drawing the private parts in detail and the graphics were before using the mosaic-filter on them only roughly drawn in that area. Well, the demosaiced graphics-galleries were very convincing that the other one had a good point...

At least, after I got this one, I learned one important thing: If something is dirt-cheap, it has either to be a big bargain, or it simply is dirt and thus could be traded at that price...

Well, if Hobibox continues the way, they went on after this with "Viper Paradice", this should be regarded as a mistake that perhaps simply should be forgotten. Let's hope, it does not happen again...