Review by Aricin
"A strong first title for Gokuraku."
Viper Paradice is the first in Sogna's new "Viper Gokuraka" series of games. Viper Paradice is, in a nutshell, a board game. Yourself and up to 3 other players (either human or CPU controlled) battle it out to collect the most points and movie cards. The objective depends on which mode you choose to play, and can vary from earning all the movie cards, to earning a set amount of points.
In a larger sense, the objective of Viper Paradice is to earn all of the movies. This is done by collecting movie cards in-game, and then proceeding to win the game.
Like most board games, the gameplay in Viper Paradice is simple to pick up but more difficult to master. The basic principle of each turn is:
Step one: Roll the dice or use an item card.
Step two: Depending on where you land on the board, an event occurs (gain points, lose points, get a movie, get an item card).
Step three: If you share a space with another character, other things may happen.
It sounds pretty dry and tedious in writing, but the game's simplicity and strangely addictive nature is its key to success. Especially when first starting out, each game unveils new strategies and surprises, and the game is paced well enough that it ends before you grow tired of it.
The graphics in Viper Paradice are mostly 2D, with the occasional 3D effect thrown in. The map and characters are brightly coloured and nicely detailed. The map in particular is impressive, containing dozens of different throwbacks to earlier games and characters, and to anime culture in general.
Characters move smoothly around the board, and have several animations that play while the character is not moving. Cards are well illustrated and unique, and often one can easily distinguish their purpose without even reading the description.
The movies themselves are variable in quality, ranging from good to excellent. Sogna has a lot of experience with animation, and it shows. The new movies especially are fluently animated and of a superb quality.
There are only a handful of musical tracks that play during the game, but all are enjoyable to listen to and suit the feel of the game. I don't consider the music to be much of a detractment, given that it is only a board game, and that you can always mute it and play your own in its place.
Character voices in this game remain in Japanese. While I could not understand some of the things being said, the voices are expressive and suit the characters. There is a plethora of phone cards available in the game, each which contains a short voice message by a Viper character. These cards are based on actual phone cards released by Sogna.
Sound effects are relatively sparse. The usual beeps and boops for selecting or cancelling, some cute sound effects for using cards or rolling the dice and the like. Nothing to write home about, but they get the job done.
Play Time/Replayability: 8.5/10
Just to collect all the movies found in the game, you can easily expect to drop 20+ hours in to this game. As H-Games go, that's not too shabby. The game is fun to play in and of itself, so even once you've collected the movies you can still enjoy it.
This game is a very nice first addition to the Gokuraka family. While not perfect, it's a large step in the right direction, and an enjoyable way to kill 20 or so hours. If you have liked any of the previous Viper Games, grab it. If you're new to the series, but like anime or H-games in general, I'd still give it consideration.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 09/27/04
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