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