Viper (Apple II) review
"Honestly, the only reason to keep playing is for that next high score (which you can thankfully save to disc). There’s just nothing else to motivate you, since the best part of the graphical presentation is the title screen, and since sound is limited mostly to the ‘beeeoooooop!’ sound you’ll hear when you smash into yourself after a chain of mini-feasts."
The great thing about videogames is that we can use them to experience things we never will otherwise. Sometimes it’s fun to come home from work thinking about what you would’ve liked to do to the guy in blue who gave you the speeding ticket, then pop in Grand Theft Auto 3 and live it out. Or maybe you wish you could show some rogue mushrooms who’s boss. Enter Viper. Originally designed for the Apple II, this game suits my needs because it lets me do exactly what I’ve always wished I could in real life: scarf down a bunch of rats!
While I’m fairly certain that I’d be committed to an asylum if I dashed around munching on rodents here in the real world, that doesn’t matter thanks to this Apple II classic. Everything I need to live out my dream comes together in a simplistic little package that makes Anna Kournekova look fat in comparison.
The game plays out on a single screen, accessible at the mere click of a button. You’ll be treated to a rectangular arena and watch as an icon shaped like a mouse with huge ears flickers about like a butterfly searching frantically for an outhouse. Most likely, this is because our fuzzy pal has noticed you.
And who are you? The slivering scum of the universe, of course! You don’t have arms and you’re legless. Still, you kick butt and take names thanks to a razor-sharp set of fangs. Considering the opposition has no means of self defense, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, that and your own body.
As you slide around the arena, you’ll find that all you need to do is tell the viper when to turn left or right. It will do so instantly, so controls are as spotless as Martha Stewart’s criminal record a few years back. The challenge comes from the fact that you’re so darn fast. The more mice you eat, the longer your body grows. This is a pretty big inconvenience, like a boner during your sixth grade science presentation. The longer you play, the less space you have to work, and the inevitable end comes when you’re careening wildly around a corner and you suddenly realize you’re about to smack into your own tail.
Playing long at all obviously requires a strategy. Generally, this comes down to careful movement. Instead of zipping directly over to the mouse’s newest location (which changes the minute you’ve gobbled down one of his friends), you’ll soon find yourself looping back and forth on yourself and moving almost lazily toward your next meal. Which of course gives you less points, but at least you survive (perhaps even long enough to top 500 points and score an extra snake)!
And survival is key. Honestly, the only reason to keep playing is for that next high score (which you can thankfully save to disc). There’s just nothing else to motivate you, since the best part of the graphical presentation is the title screen, and since sound is limited mostly to the ‘beeeoooooop!’ sound you’ll hear when you smash into yourself after a chain of mini-feasts, or the ‘thunk’ sound that accompanies each such snack. Some of you probably already have sweat stains forming under your armpits at the thought of a title that offers this. If so, rush out and play this game. If not, well, there’s always Frogger.
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Staff review by Jason Venter (July 27, 2004)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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