Title           Vyper
Game Type       Shoot-em-up
Company         TopDown Development, 1988
Players         1 or 2
Compatibility   Kick1.3, NoCache
HD Installable  No
Submission      Hidehiko Ogata Profiled Reviewer (hog@aqu.bekkoame.ne.jp)

Vyper [sic] (TopDown Development, '88) would have been just another
forgettable Galaga-wannabe, but for one advantage: it slithered smooth.
Arcade-smooth (*1).

This was a major breakthrough in '88 when, after 2-odd years since
the Amiga's sensational debut, enterprising programmers or "scene guys"
had finally made some sense out of the deeper innards of the complex
chipset, and the fruits of their hard labour, or "hardware banging", had
just started to show up in the commercial market. Vyper was, if I recall
correctly, one of the very first of that breed - predating well-known
milestones such as Menace or Hybris - so it made a lasting impression on
my Amiga timeline.

Perhaps it shouldn't have happened like that; C= should have renewed and
prolonged the days when using OS GEL's for games were "cool enough", by
aggressive hardware advancement. But they didn't (*2), we liked what we
saw, the practice caught on... and that was that.

But I digress. Vyper, as a game, was your simplest Galaga clone - or its
prequel Galaxian with the fly-by sequence, morelike. Yet it had those
little extra bits of polish to qualify as a snug sit-back-and-fire-away
shooting gallery: a seemingly inexhaustible variety of targets and their
attack patterns, a spot-on difficulty curve, a practical user interface
(you didn't have to reach for the keyboard for anything - including the
main menu and highscore initial entry), the top 80(!) scores were kept on

And the "formative dance" of alien ships, like fireworks in the night sky,
was a delight to behold... I dare say it's slicker than that of many
Amigans' true love, Deluxe Galaga (shareware), bordering on the frenzy of
the official arcade sequel, Gaplus. It made a perfect cooldown piece
after engrossing sessions with F/A-18 Interceptor, Carrier Command,
Starglider 2, Rocket Ranger and so on... such a fruitful year it was.

Today Vyper's spartan gameplay may not entertain everyone, yet I find
I keep coming back - to a genuine game of aim and dodge, carefree about
firepower escalation or cash/resource management ("Management?  I don't
WANT to manage a SEU"). Besides, there's something wickedly funny about
watching mutated, shimmering Xevious ships (*3) waltz over a
Galaxian/Galaga style multilayer starfield, to Defender sound bites,
between Robotron rainbow curtain calls. I grin geekishly as my mind
swiftly adapts to the 2-bullet-on-screen-at-a-time rule, defying the
"flow" of alien fires...

In short: a simplistic, pioneering Galaga clone that has aged rather well.
For retro-gamers when you don't even want to worry which power-pill does

*1 The manual boasts screen update of 60 times per second.

*2 C= had already gone for the robust yet conservative German A2000 over
   the Los Gatos next-generation "dream machine".

*3 I've heard from a reliable source that the designer of Xevious himself,
   Masanobu Endo, had witnessed Vyper's liberal rip... erm, references and
   gave it a terse dismissal: "Gehin" (= "tasteless"). I don't blame him.

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