Viper Paradice Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Viper Paradice

This game is a boardgame that uses super-deformed Viper-girls as the moving pieces on the board. It combines elements of sheer luck (the movement on the board is determined by rolling dice and there are a lot of cards that are also distributed ar random) with strategy (many of the cards could be used instead of rolling the dice at the players turn and have a certain function, that could change a lot to that players advantage, depending on the current situation).

This game has no real story, but is a kind of fan-service for players of the "real" Viper-games, because they again feature girls that were characters in those games and also some animation from previous games were reused here. (So, this game is also a kind of advertisement for the others...)

Up to four players move in turns their piece around on a map, that contains a lot of visual references to other older Viper games and try to achieve the goal, that was selected at the start of the game:
- Either: finishing the round on the map first
- or: collecting a certain amount of score-points
- or: collecting 25 different Viper-Animations

Almost any place on the board has a certain function, that either: adds some score points, or removes some score points or allows to buy or sell cards or animations for score points or simply allows to draw a card (there are also some other, very special places on the board, for example a dungeon, where at most places three cards face down could be found and the player has to decide to take one out of those three before they are all turned face up). Some of the cards could even have a negative effect on the player, that owns that card (those cards usually disappear after some time, but to get rid of them before is preferable by using another card, that allows to exchange any card from the own hand with a card from an opponents hand). Because each hand is limited to eight cards, sometimes the players even have to discard valuable cards, because their hands are full of those cards that could not be discarded.

However, regardless which ending-condition has been selected at the start of the game, at the end do only the points collected in the game count as the condition for winning the game. After a player has finished the game (and gotten some extra-points for it) there would be also some points awarded to all players for:
- relative position of the piece on the board
- values of remaining cards on the hand
- collection of movies

So, meeting the finishing conditions does not always mean winning the game (For example: yesterday, after I finished the first version of this review, I accidentally finished a game after losing 50% of all my collected points in the wheel of luck. My complete collection saved the day in the end, but at first it looked like I had lost the game.)

While the background music is not something special, it at least is a nice entertainment that fits the comic-style of the board and the sd-characters/pieces as well. There are two or more differnt themes. (This time, I could not determine their amount because I was ditracted by playing the game, but I recall very well the short stop when the current theme is finished and the next starts.)

Additional sound effects (rolling dice, spinning of the wheel of luck, footsteps on the board...) are played, if the according situation arises.

The usually used pieces in this game are super-deformed variations of Mika (Viper M1, both appearances: the girlie-look as well as the power-suit), Carrera (Viper GTS), Asuka (Viper CTR), Akira (Viper V16) and Raika (Viper F40), that all look quite cute (the Mika-pieces remind a lot of Mika's appearance on the city-Map in Viper M1:"My Mothers"). There are also other appearances for the pieces selectable. They look like cookie-men that only have different colors, but who needs them, if cute sd-girls are available?

A lot of animations from earlier Viper games were reused in this game. They are the trophies, that should be hunted in this game and (if a human player plays alone against 3 computer-opponents and wins) are collected in a gallery, that is accessible from the game's main menu.

All animations are at an resolution of 300x200. There are 19 movies in total to be collected and each movie is divided into 5 animations that have to be collected in the game against the computer opponents.

User Interface:
There is a menu, that could be used by the player whose turn it currently is. This menu allows to throw the dice, to use a card on the hand, to take a look at all hands and animations-collections, to look at the map and plot the move and to watch the own collected animations. However, throwing the dice or using a card are mutually exclusive because each of those two actions ends the players turn with moving the piece and taking the actions depnding on the place where the pice stops or the other actions, the played card causes.

There is only one extra in this game: the gallery of viper-animations that is only extended after each game, the human player wins against 3 computer-players with the animations, the human player has at the end of the game. However, there is also an edit-mode announced in the movie-player, that becomes available after all movies have been collected, but because I have not yet 100% collected, I don't know what this "edit-mode" means.

My personal opinion:
This game almost made up for the disappointment, "Viper Limited" was for me. While this game has still no story, it is a lot more fun to play then the shooter from "Limited":

- The very different, but always quite popwerful cards (and the high probability to have not the needed card at tthe right time because of the limited hands) add an mix of luck and strategy to this game, that is quite unique

- the mini-game "Duel" that could be triggered by a card could particularly at the beginning of a game a double-edged sword, that could ruin a well-made strategy

- The pieces that move around on the board are really cute designed and animated (the grass-green-haired Carrera from "Limited" pales in comparison)

- There is a whole lot of animations (most of them H, I have to admit) at the usual high animation quality of the Viper Series (this is no big surprise, because many of them are taken from other already existing Viper games)

- Because all hands are open, there are a lot of different strategies possible and evenmore neccessary, depending on the different hands, the computer-players collect.

- It is usually possible to use the computer-players hands to the own advantage, while the computer-player on the other hand are a bit more "lucky" regarding the results from the dice and the drawn cards.

While "Limited" was a real flop (I had no urge to restart it, after I used up all lives the first time), this one is the "Viper"-game that made up to now the best impression on me (even though, it is a simple fun-boardgame and has no involving story). Only one thing could be really improved: The rule-description of the game of the game is far from complete. It explains very detailed how the game could be started, but it does not tell anything about the points awarded at the end and that they are the real condition that determines who has won the game. Also the description of the cards in the rulebook lacks one detail: most cards that attack "another player" pick that "other player" at random and no possibility to play that card against one particular opponent exists ("Line Change", "Duel", "Copy"). Only the "Change"-card allows the player to pick the hand to exchange one card with. Another missing thing were the consequences, if the players account goes into the red: The player has to sell the cards on his hand (and, if he has no more cards, the animations in his collection) at half price. So, once again there is a nice game with a decription that makes it a bit more difficult to play than necessary (in fact, the player is bound to lose until he figures these points out). Because this game at least has a small manual better, it is better than "Love Love Show", where the whole decription was missing. However, a missing or insufficient users manual seems to become a typical problem in new releases of Hobibox-Europe... This would be no problem in standard choose-your-path-adventures, but in a completely new concept of a game (like "Love Love Show" and "Viper Paradice") it really arises as one.

Last but not least: because of the lacking story, there are only the animations and the nice SD-girls on the board that would justify to call this game "bishoujo". If it weren't for their graphic appeal (and their connection to the stories in the other Viper-games, where they appeared the first time), this game would have to be called a funny boardgame with manga-style graphics and no bishoujo-game at all.