Title : Code Name: Viper
Publisher : Capcom
Developer : Arc System Works
Genre : Action Shooter
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1990
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $5-$8
Code Name: Viper is a like a lot of classic NES games mashed into one. You've got a little bit of Contra, a hint of Rolling Thunder, and a dash of Shinobi. When you're grabbing all of those games and throwing them into a blender, something delicious has to come out, right? Especially, when you're talking about Capcom.
Come on, when has Capcom failed you? Don't answer that question.....but you know your chances are at least somewhat good with this game. You play as Kenny Smith (what a generic, American name) aka. VIPER who has been tasked with taking out a drug syndicate in South America. That's not all - a lot of your fellow soldiers have been kidnapped, and it's up to you to rescue them.
I don't know. When you're talking about a gigantic drug ring, you would probably want to send more than one guy...but hey, this is a video game, and he looks like he can handle himself based on the box art.
Here's the question - is Code Name Viper DIFFERENT enough to be a hit action shooter? Or is it just another rehash of a game that's already been done? Let's find out.
One thing I will say about Code Name: Viper - the game is pretty. VERY pretty. It really is just taking Rolling Thunder and slapping on some jungle war paint for this game, but they do a good job of it. The people sort of remind me of the characters from Bayou Billy. I guess it's the way they walk with their fist clenched all the time, and the shoot their guns with a straight forward arm. Always was bizarre looking to me.
For the most part, you are controlling Viper and defeating the endlessly regenerating swarm of enemies that are coming at you. This is where the difficulty of the game truly lies. You only have two guns first of all, a pistol, and an automatic rifle so you don't have any screen clearing weapons. And the enemies, well, there are a lot. No matter how many times you kill 'em, they'll pop up again two seconds later.
I've found myself constantly surrounded and swinging around all over the place just trying to clear an area to no avail. The key is to just keep moving, and ignore enemies when you get the chance, otherwise you're going to slip up and you're just going to get shot.
There's always an opportunity to collect power ups like extra health, time boosts (WHY TIME!!) and extra lives, but I always felt it was too risky to back track to collect items. Although, they do help.
The main goal of the game however is NOT to kill the enemies, it's to rescue the hostages. You'll need to rescue as many hostages as you can because you have to rescue a commando which will allow you to blow up the obstacle blocking the end of the stage. So if you don't rescue anyone, you're screwed. Not to mention, if you take too long they turn into skeletons.
And you don't want to be responsible for that, now DO YOU!?
For the most part, the game is pretty normal and straight forward. However, it gets a bit weird when you hit the later levels. New enemies are introduced like mutants and zombies or something. There are even things that look like a cross between pigs and humans. I have no idea what they are, but apparently this drug ring has been experimenting in freaky crap.
Control wise - this game is smooth sailing. Shooting is easy. Maneuvering around platforms and running around is a cake walk, and you never find yourself lagging around. It's a fast paced bullet fest as you make your way through each stage.
The music....actually reminds me of some of the old Disney / Capcom games lol. Not sure why, but I hear hints of the Duck Tales game in Code Name: Viper. Capcom had a real knack for making catchy tunes for their games, I'll give 'em that much.
Code Name: Viper is one of those games that you always tend to revisit. It's good. No. It's really good. And it successfully takes the best parts of other games and molds it into a unique adventure. Sure, it's a lot like Rolling Thunder (I mean a lot), but it's different enough where you say to yourself "Hey, at least they knew what good parts to take."
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!