Lost In Translation: Fighting Vipers
How the rest of the world experienced your favourite games
We reveal the regional differences between Sega’s quirky fighting game
We’re not quite sure why, but soft drink sponsorship deals were pretty big business for games in the Nineties. Cool Spot shilled 7-Up, Coca-cola Kid promoted – well, you can probably guess that one – and Virtua Fighter Kids got the Japanese brand Java Tea. But that wasn’t all for Sega’s fighting games, as Fighting Vipers received a big dose of Pepsi branding. Billboards advertised Pepsi and Picky’s skateboard bore the Pepsi logo, but the biggest inclusion was Pepsi’s mascot Pepsiman as a playable fighter.
In order to lure Pepsiman into action, all you needed to do was leave the controller alone in an arcade mode fight, and once you’d been pummelled enough, Pepsiman would intervene. Then, if you could defeat the metallic menace, he’d become available to select. He’s a pretty good fighter, too, combining some of the best striking moves in the game to devastating effect. The only problem is that the Pepsi sponsorship deal was only valid in Japan – and that meant Pepsiman had to stay at home, with no appearance in the localised versions.
There was also some concern about Honey, the ‘cute girl’ of the Fighting Vipers cast. In Japan, many of the game’s secrets revolve around her, mostly in the form of alternate costumes. Beating the game with Honey in normal mode earns you the ‘Hawaiian’ costume, complete with new ukulele attack. Conquering hard mode with Honey unlocks a schoolgirl costume, as is seemingly traditional in these sorts of games, and if you can achieve victory in very hard mode with Honey, her skirt will come off when her lower armour is destroyed. This was all considered to be rather unnecessary sexualisation for a girl whose age is stated as 16, so again, none of this left Japan – although Sega Europe’s advertising still featured Honey with the tag line “Storm in a D cup,” so you have to question the commitment to that particular cause.
The last cut was exclusive to the American version.
The portrait gallery option featuring CG renders of the characters has been axed completely, and although the images still appear in each character’s end sequence, some of those have been replaced. Again, the primary reason is that the game is too sexy, as Grace, Jane and Honey bear the brunt of the cuts, although hilariously Sanman gets a couple – one for a close-up of his ample rear end, and the other for depicting a church. Stills from the intro sequence are usually used in place of the offending images.