Viper Phase 1
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|Viper Phase 1|
|Developer(s)||SEIBU KAIHATSU INC.|
Tuning Electronic (DE)
|Release||May 1995 (Old Version)|
August 1995 (New Version)
|Genre(s)||Vertically scrolling shooter|
|Mode(s)||1-2 player simultaneous|
|Arcade system||Seibu SPI System|
|Display||Raster, 240 x 320 pixels (Vertical), 6144 colors|
Viper Phase 1 runs on the Seibu SPI System hardware. The game software is stored on ROM daughterboards that are interchangeable on one SPI board. ROM daughterboards and Seibu SPI main boards are region-specific. For example, the Japanese daughterboards are not compatible with the European motherboard and vice versa. Also, the new fighters are Judge Spear and Blue Jay.
By the year 2050, mankind begins the colonization of multiple solar systems in search for habitable planets. However, while the colonists establish original cultures and scientific studies, many of them begin feuding with each other and battles break out among them and the Earth. One rebel faction in particular rises to great power and makes Earth their primary target. Earth's response is Operation Viper Phase 1: to combat the rebels using advanced space fighters built from downed enemy ships.
The game is set in outer space. Players pilot the Judge Spear, an advanced space fighter, through eight stages of enemy space fleets and bosses. Enemies include small space fighters, space cruisers, space frigates, and entire space installations.
Gameplay is similar to the Raiden series. A bonus is assessed at the end of each stage taking into account the number of medals collected, the number of enemies destroyed, the number of bombs in stock, and the total kill percentage. At the end of the game, a grand tally is assessed. Factors taken into account are the number of continues used and the number of lives lost.
Differences in the new version
A new version of Viper Phase 1 was released with gameplay changes. The new version is known as Viper Phase 1: USA in the United States. The known differences between the versions:
- Secondary Weapons Systems: The original version of Viper Phase 1 has an exhaustible secondary weapon system. The amount of ammunition remaining in a secondary weapon is indicated by a meter on the screen. All secondary weapons in the original version are fully powered up, and are more devastating than in the new version, which gives the secondary weapons levels of power in lieu of unlimited ammunition and reduced firepower.
- Bomb Deploy Times: The new version speeds up the deploy time of the bomb, which becomes the standard for when the ship appears in the Raiden Fighters series.
- Medals: In the new version, medals stop shimmering for a brief moment, during which their point values are higher than usual. This feature is also present in Raiden DX. Additionally, the egg-shaped medal carrier pods appear much more frequently in the new version.
There are 6 types of powerups in Viper Phase 1. They are released by destroying certain enemies. Players start with a primary vulcan cannon on each new life.
- P (Power Up) - Original version: Powers up the main vulcan gun only. New version: Powers up the vulcan (if the player is without secondary weapons) and the active secondary weapons (up to four levels).
- B (Bomb) - Adds one extra bomb. Players can carry up to seven bombs in stock. Extraneous pickups of the bomb icon awards the player 1,000 bonus points.
- L (Laser) - This weapon is similar to the blue laser weapon in the original Raiden series. The weapon has no defensive spread. However, the laser is the most damaging secondary weapon available. It can make short work of large enemies and bosses. Ship's weapon module flashes blue.
- M (Burst Missile) - Cruise missiles that are fired in a burst pattern. When the missiles hit their mark, the resulting explosion deals overlapping secondary damage. Ship's weapon module flashes yellow.
- N (Napalm Missile) - Upon impact with an enemy target, this secondary weapon releases green napalm explosions in various directions. These explosions deal overlapping secondary damage. When fully powered-up, the cluster of explosions cover a substantial part of the screen, and may obscure enemy firepower. This weapon was included in the Raiden Fighters series as a cameo along with the ship (later named Judge Spear). Ship's module flashes green.
- W (Wide Vulcan) - Grants the player a secondary widespread vulcan cannon. The spread of this weapon is useful in destroying enemies in many locations at once. The firepower, however, is the weakest of the four secondary weapons. Using this weapon at point-blank range on one enemy can deal moderate damage. Ship's module flashes red.
The soundtrack of Viper Phase 1 was composed by Go Sato. Its style is vastly different from the original Raiden series, incorporating many synthesized instruments. The soundtrack was released in 2005 as part of a superplay DVD set showing expert players playing through the game.
The official track listing:
- 01 Title
- 02 "Go Straight Ahead!!" (Stage 1 - Spaceport)
- 03 "Outer Space" (Stage 2 - Space Fleet 1)
- 04 "Mission Striker" (Stage 3 - Refueling Base)
- 05 "Forcing Breakthrough" (Stage 4 - Storage Facility)
- 06 "Invisible Enemy" (Stage 5 - Asteroid Belt)
- 07 "Counteroffensive" (Stage 6 - Space Fleet 2)
- 08 "Unknown Threat" (Stage 7 - Space Colony)
- 09 "Destiny" (Stage 8 - Missile Silo)
- 10 "Fear of Approaching" (Boss Theme)
- 11 Stage Clear
- 12 Ranking
The soundtrack is available as an unlockable in the Japanese-only release of Raiden DX for the PlayStation. When unlocked, players have the option of changing the default Raiden DX soundtrack to implement music from Viper Phase 1.
A critic for Next Generation praised the game's beautiful visuals and increasing level of difficulty, but added that "like all shooters, unless your hand-eye coordination is really solid, the fun will pass you right by." He gave it three out of five stars.