Black Viper

Title		Black Viper
Game Type	Driving
Players		1
Compatibility	ECS and AGA versions included
HD Installable	Yes
Submission	Kristian Hesketh Profiled Reviewer

Black Viper was released only relatively recently, (it's currently August
2000) which is strange considering that it was written years ago. It is a
3D bike racing game definitely in the action, rather than simulation
catergory with elements from shoot 'em ups thrown into the mix. Reasonable
graphics and sound complement the game, which is played from a third
person perspective like the Lotus games.

The game comes complete with a useless intro that takes too long without
being interesting and versions of the game for both ECS and AGA Amigas.
Loading the actual game and you are greeted with a fine piano tune and a
nice title screen. It is, infact, very similar to Blade in this respect;
the title screen and music are more enjoyable than the game itself.

The options allow you to select between around 10 different methods of
controlling your bike although they are all pretty similar. Selecting
"Start Game" sends you to the map. Click again and you are given the
choice of what music you wish to hear during your race. All a bit
pointless really, although if the game was good I might appreciate it more

The race starts and you accelerate away. The bike looks cool and sleek in
shades of black and blue, but the rest of the scenery looks very drab
indeed. The game is set in the future, but it's a bad excuse. Brown and
grey cars and bushes pass by as you progress, but avoiding them is harder
than you might think.

The handling of the bike is responsive and adequete, but either the
horizon is too close or the bike simply moves too fast, as the vehicles
leap out at you, hit you and slow you down. Loads of racing games suffer
from this flaw and in Black Viper there is the excuse that you are on a
bike and if you do hit a car, you will come off worse for it. It still
isn't fun though.

You are provided with a gun mounted on your bike, but hitting something is
a matter of holding the button down and hoping. You simply do not have
enough time to spot an oncoming car, adjust your bike and fire your weapon
for long enough to destroy the car.

Spraying bullets in a stream in front of you is effective, but very dull.
Occasionally a truck with "Agima", or something hilariously similar,
written on it will arrive and destroying these loses you health. This
makes it more exciting, but also more annoying. You have to avoid the
trucks and usually end up hitting another car.

The track design is bad. The roads seem to twist at just the wrong angle,
meaning you cannot continuously turn or you could hit the scenery, costing
you your energy. The rises and falls in the game mean the game is far
easier going downhill and downright evil going uphill. Sadly there always
seem to be more uphill parts :(

If you lose enough energy by clattering into everything, your gun stops
working. This makes progress very hard, so you are even less likely to
finish in one piece.

There are a few icons scattered around, increasing your health and cash
levels, but also between races there is a small shop in which you can
purchase a few items. No originality here including, speedups, gun
powerups, health powerups and even the info stolen from Xenon2. Incredibly
they have messed this up too. Say you lost a lot of health in the last
race, but collected a few coins. Now you can replenish your lost health,
right? Wrong. The shop only stocks one of each item!!

It is a real shame. The game is competent and some people will no doubt
enjoy it, but there are some hideous flaws in the game which make me hate
it. Why have a decent game engine with nice handling and then ruin it?

Black Viper is not a terrible game. The intro music is nice and you can
enjoy playing it for a short while. If you like racing games you probably
won't like this and sadly if you enjoy shoot 'em ups you probably won't
enjoy this. It's sad, but true.

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