Viper Phase 1
Release Date: May 1995
Hardware: Seibu SPI System
Display: Color Raster Vertical
Viper Phase 1: New Version
Release Date: August 1995
Hardware: Seibu SPI System
Display: Color Raster Vertical

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Judge Spear
Your ship, now known as the Judge Spear. Slick ship. Screenshot donated by ArcadiaBay.

In Stage 1, you get to destroy the enemy ships in port at the enemy spaceport before they get to use them! Screenshot donated by ArcadiaBay.

Viper Phase 1 seems to be a spin-off leading to the Raiden Fighters series (the two ships in this game reappear in some or all of the Raiden Fighters games).  It was made in 1995 and was picked up for USA distribution by Fabtek. There was a second version of Viper Phase 1, subtitled "New Version," which was released the same year with minor gameplay changes.  In the original version, some of the special weapons you pick up will only last for a certain amount of shots. You'll see a weapons meter on-screen when you collect a secondary weapon. Each weapon lasts for about 4-5 seconds. In the new version, the special weapons last until you die. Also, in the original version, there are no level ups for the secondary weapons (they are always in full power) and they are far more powerful than in the New Version. Also, the "medal egg pods" are extremely rare in the original version. They only start appearing in later stages, areound stage 5 or 6.

The setting of the game is exclusively in outer space. You battle through 8 stages of outer space action. Stage 5 takes place in an asteroid belt. You battle over a space colony in Stage 7. In that stage, you will encounter two huge mid bosses, each of which will emerge through from under a green force field that protects the space colony. In Stage 8, you have to destroy an enormous missile in 20 seconds! The Stage 8 Boss is too easy to be the final boss...

The graphics in Viper Phase 1 are impressive.  There is a great amount of detail. In stage 1, for example,  you can see personnel flagging ships for take off and many ships in port (which you can destroy!).  Destroying enemies creates shrapnel and residual explosions.  There are some impressive looking space battleships you encounter in Stage 2 and in Stage 6. They explode in a satisfying way, where flaming sections of the battleships break off from each other, and then finish off with a giant explosion. 

After defeating the Stage 8 Boss, you will have completed the first mission. (Each mission is referred to as a "Viper Phase" in this game. So, that means your first mission is called "Viper Phase 1," mission 2 is "Viper Phase 2," etc.) You receive a 1 million point mission clear bonus. In addition, you are given statistical information on your performance in the first mission. You are scored on the number of times you died, the number of bombs you used, and the number of enemies you killed. I have heard that you receive a huge bonus if you use no bombs at all in an entire mission, called the "No Bomb Bonus." When you begin Viper Phase 2, you will be sent back to Stage 2, the first Battleship Armada. This time around, enemies shoot faster and at a more rapid rate.

The sound is a step up from Raiden 1/2/DX. Viper Phase 1 uses the Seibu SPI System hardware. Sound and music is no longer exclusively Frequency Modulation Synth based, like those in Raiden 1/2/DX. Sound effects are largely sampled, with tons of pounding explosions. Viper Phase 1's music uses sampled instruments, and is composed in a different style than Raiden 1/2/DX and the Raiden Fighters games.  I'd describe the music style as Futuristic Industrial Rock, using tons of synthesized instruments and electronic synth percussion. The Viper Phase 1 soundtrack is even included as bonus material on the Raiden DX conversion for PSX (released in Japan only). In Raiden DX for the PSX, you can unlock and play the game using one of three soundtracks: the arcade original, a PSX-exclusive original soundtrack, and the Viper Phase 1 Soundtrack.

Viper Phase 1, in my opinion, is not as intense as the Raiden games, but it is just as fun to play.  The ships you control in Viper Phase 1 were not given names. They were given the names of Judge Spear and Blue Javelin in the Raiden Fighters series, where they became famous. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to these two ships by their Raiden Fighters names in this section.

--Some information provided by Alamone and Silvio Samadelli


Power-Up  - Powers up your main vulcan weapon, if you have no secondary weapon (Original Version only) or your secondary weapons (New Version).

This bomb is also known as
"Dimension Mine"
Bomb - Gives you an extra Bomb. You can carry up to seven Bombs at one time. The Judge Spear and the Blue Javelin use this Bomb in the Raiden Fighters Series. (The Blue Javelin appears in Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet.)

 The Laser is very effective
against bosses.
Laser - Shoots a powerful laser that is similar to Raiden's blue laser. This weapon offers no defensive spread, leaving you vulnerable to enemy attacks from the side. However, this deadly optical weapon can power through tough enemies and bosses rather easily. Module on ship flashes blue.

The Blue Javelin uses this weapon
in Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet.
Burst Missiles - Shoots bursts of dumb-fire missiles that spread out. The missiles' explosions cause damage as well. Its usefulness lies in the fact that the missiles accelerate from a stop. A good strategy is to sweep left and right while shooting this weapon. You can effectively attack enemies from every location. I personally do not use this weapon much. Module on ship flashes yellow.

The Judge Spear uses this weapon in the Raiden Fighters series.
Napalm Missiles - Shoots missiles that release secondary explosions, which cause great damage. Fully powered up, the Napalm Missile is extremely effective for all-purpose use. The only downside is that the secondary explosions can detract attention away from the enemy bullets. Module on ship flashes green.

Hmm. No homing weapons in this game. But the Wide Vulcan makes up for it.
Wide Vulcan - Secondary vulcan that spreads out in an arc. Damage is quite weak, however. This weapon is useful for getting high enemy destroyed percentages, as enemies in later stages appear from all sides. Module on ship flashes red.
Medals: There are two types of medals. One is worth 500 points. The other is worth 1000 points.

Scoring in Viper Phase 1 is similar to Raiden 1/2/DX.  You collect medals for points.  Your score tally at the end of each stage is calculated with this formula:

(Medals * 100 + Bombs * 300 + Kills * 10) * Kill-Ratio-Multiplier

The Kill-Ratio-Multiplier is determined by the percentage of enemies in a stage you kill:

% Kills Multiplier
100% 100x
99% 50x
95% - 98% 40x
91% - 94% 30x
81% - 90% 20x
0% - 80% 10x

For those of you who play as the Judge Spear in the Raiden Fighters games, there are some notable differences. The Judge Spear controls differently in VP1. Here are the differences in the performance of the Judge Spear in VP1 and the RF games:

Here are the stages you will play through in Viper Phase 1:  Raiden DX for the PSX also has the Viper Phase 1 soundtrack available as a bonus unlockable. The order is as follows:
Viper Phase 1 music track from... played in Raiden DX's...
Stage 1
Stage 1
Stage 2

Special Stage (Mission Charlie)

Stage 3
Stage 2
Stage 4
Stage 5
Stage 5
Stage 6
Stage 6
Stage 7
Stage 7
Stage 3

Stage 8

Stage 4/8




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