The amount of times the human race builds a mega machine only for it to go berserk and become a threat to its creators you'd think we would have learned our lesson by now. But, oh no, here we go again...
GAR was built to carry out all those tedious deep-space tasks that Man couldn't be bothered with: mining, piloting cargo ships and so on. A cross between human and machine, GAR's brilliant bio-technoid mind eventually blew a fuse (probably through boredom) and it's currently busy creating mega-weapons so it can destroy all biological life (it even surrounds itself with a protective force: a GAR-field). GAR is planning his extinction of human life from the relative safety of cold, lifeless planets at the edge of our galaxy.
While cruising through deep space in your attack frigate a distress signal interrupts your ponderings. Earth's defence base has been attacked and GAR is suspect number one. An all-out strike is considered futile (wouldn't ya know?) and it's decided that one ship - yours - may just be able to enter GAR's defences-undetected. It's times like this you wish you'd left your communications switched off.
You're told that back-up disks of Earth's defence system are stored at the besieged base and as your ship comes equipped with a Viper Droid (a remote-controlled attack unit), you're volunteered to go and sort the situation out. The idea is for your Viper to beam down to the base and, controlled by you from the safety of your ship, find the disks and reboot the defence system. Unfortunately your Viper sustains damage during transportation; making your ride all the more difficult.
The screen very neatly displays your view of the base (as seen though Viper's unfeeling eyes) plus its various systems. These include a scanner, direction indicator, computerised jotter for making notes on your surroundings, laser, shields and inventory. All of which are accepted using the old point 'n' click routine.
You have five buildings consisting of five floors featuring up to fifty rooms each to search for five disks. Number five is definitely alive in this game!
Not only do you have to find the disks but also keep your droid in good repair and maintain energy levels (made all the more difficult by the base's defence systems and GAR's security mechanoids). All functions - such as scanning, using shields and firing weapons - uses energy but, fortunately, energy-giving crystals are to be found in the corridors. Also to be found 'lying around' are colour-coded pass keys for access to equivalently colour-coded rooms, and various spare parts for maintaining Viper.
All in all, Day Of The Viper seems quite state-of-the-art. However, early in 1988 a game called Slaygon was released for another 16-bit machine beginning with an A. Reviewed in our sister mag, The Games Machine, it was reported to have been created with a utility called GFA Basic. The authors of Slaygon, John Conely and James Oxley, are credited for Day Of The Viper and, if memory serves (and looking at the screenshots of Slaygon), this is an incredibly similar game. Charging £19.95 for a game that's two years old (and doesn't seem to have been updated) is a bit suspect.
Nonetheless, Day Of The Viper is very enjoyable to play, it looks good, works well, and provides the urge to turn just one more corner and blast another enemy mechanoid.