In this week’s Retro Wednesdays episode we take a look at Codename Viper.
I think the best way to describe Codename Viper is to label it as “interesting.” Interesting doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad, it’s just very interesting. You have a game that is a clone of another game, Rolling Thunder, with sounds from every Capcom game I can remember (Strider, Megaman, and Bionic Commando), but from my experience it is much harder than Rolling Thunder.
Looking at the character the way he moves and looks, it is easy to start to believe my conspiracy theory that this is actually a prequel to Bionic Commando. I mean just compare the main characters:
Green clothes, check, same developer, check both run and shoot platformers, check, even the level select screen is you in a helicopter moving from place to place! The only difference is the jump vs. the bionic claw which you can speculate the main character in Codename Viper might have gotten later on and stopped working out so much on leg days. Perhaps this is what he was doing while Super Joe was off on his mission which prompted Bionic Commando.
Yeah my tinfoil hat is on too tight.
Anyway, the game does offer some interesting mechanics in that as you move through each level you have to go through swivel doors to rescue prisoners, pickup ammo and hide from enemies. Each level you have to find a POW who will give you a grenade that will get you through a barricade at the end of each level. I do have a problem with this story wise since int he beginning of the game you appear to be part of some government organization. Now being part of something like that you have to wonder why they don’t just equip you properly for the mission, and yes you could say the character has to get through customs/into the country so it might be hard to smuggle in, but you start with a gun, so how did you get that.
My tinfoil hat is going full blast at this point.
The only other critique I have about this game is you do end up with a lot of cheap deaths along the way. Your reaction time has to be at its highest, and taking your eyes off your character for just a few seconds will result in your death. I can tolerate some of the annoyances of the AI, how they tend to be very good at jumping into you (which can kill you), and how there are only two guns in the game with limited ammo, but sometimes you are just setup to die with no real way of getting out of it, and that can be frustrating.
Codename Viper is definitely a game I think is worth owning. You get a really interesting mashup of existing Capcom games which is morphed into an OK game on its own. It’s not my favorite and it’s not the easiest but is is pretty fun.