Vic Viper is the name given for the protagonist starfighter in the Gradius Series of games by Konami. It is playable in nearly (if not) all the major titles for the series making it the series' flagship craft and mascot. The ship has an unusual appearance compared to most spacecrafts, as it sports a twin-pronged fuselage. A sentient version of the ship later went on to star in the Parodius Series.
The Vic Viper was created by the Gradius Empire as a means to counter the Bacterian Empire from invading their home planet (and solar system). The starfighter is built in with an array of weapons ranging from a standard cannon, to guided missiles and a laser. The space craft is also capable of producing up to four energy orbs called Phantoms that follow behind Vic Viper as the craft navigates space. In later installments, the starfighter can have its weapon setup modified with preset weapon setups or even ones created by the player's choice.
Weapon Technology Edit
Thought the majority of the Gradius Series, the Vic Viper demonstrates the ability to use a variety of different primary weapons. By default, the starfighter has a single, straightforward cannon, which can be fired at semi-rapid succession. By upgrading the craft, the Vic Viper can boast the ability to fire an extra cannon shot that is adjusted to aim 45 degrees upwards, providing extra firepower. As an alternative to the double cannon, the Vic Viper can choose to fire an enemy-penetrating laser to eliminate only bacteria's that are aligned in a row.
For its secondary weapon, the Vic Viper fires a single missile downwards that travels along terrain until it hits an enemy. This weapon can be used to destroy spawners in a single hit.
In addition to weapons, the Vic Viper can also spawn up to four phantoms, balls of light that manipulate the lead craft's weapons and follow alongside the tail of it. It can also create a shield made of two disks, which are used to absorb enemy fire from the front end of the ship, but leaving the back still vulnerable to attacks.
In later games, the Vic Viper is capable of using Ripple (or Pulse) lasers to hit a wider spread of enemies in turn for the sacrifice of not being able to penetrate through multiple enemies, fire twin laser shots, or even a powerful energy laser, which can be charged to fire a large, penetrating laser orb that can penetrate through thick layers of bosses.In Gradius V it is revealed that the OPTION units aren't actually orbs, but rather small gray tubes when they are inactive. After being deployed from the Vic Viper, the tubes unfurl side fairings and begin to rotate rapidly with orange energy, appearing as the familiar elliptical objects.
An omnicidal force known as the Bacterian Empire attacks the Gradius Empire for destructive ambitions. In order to counter these forces, a starfighter is built by the Gradians in order to counter the evil forces. Their result is a small, but nimble fighter called the Vic Viper that is tasked to track down and destroy the main source of the Bacterians.
After visiting several different planets including one filled with volcanos and one containing a sentient, hostile version of Moai statues. The Vic Viper locates the aircraft carrier where the Bacterians are originating from. It manages to get through tight security before it finally reaches the power source, a large, manipulative brain. The starfighter manages to destroy the brain and in turn defeat the Bacterian forces, before it finally returns to Gradius, as its mission is accomplished.
The Bacterians return once more, bringing the same destruction as they caused in the former game, but this time under leadership of a entity known as Gofer. The Vic Viper, now a more modified version of it, is tasked again to track down and destroy the head of the hostile empire, but also having to go through several new environments and enemies, whilst revisiting old environments as well.
Eventually, the Vic Viper locates the Bacterian cruiser and after defeating a menagerie of old foes and infiltrating through tight security, the starfighter locates and battles Gofer, to which it destroys and beats a hasty retreat when the large cruiser begins to self-destruct. With the hope that the Bacterians are done for once more, Vic Viper returns back to its home planet.
Once more, the Bacterians return, and this time much more prepared than before, and under leadership of a massive being known as Bacterion. A new version of the Vic Viper is created to help counter the Bacterian Empire's new tactics of defense. This craft is now capable of using a custom load out of weapons unlike its predecessors, as well as a variety of new weapons.
After visiting 9 different planets (both new and old in the series), the Vic Viper locates the location of the Bacterian leader and battles through a menagerie of enemies, including several bosses from the previous titles and a giant mechanical spider. It eventually makes its way to Bacterion but is sent into a paradox where it must replay one of two levels from previous titles, it is then returned to the base where it confronts Bacterion once more, and manages to defeat the Bacterian leader and escape from the mechanical base before it self-destructs, it then heads back to Gradius to celebrate its third victor against the Bacterian Empire.
After enjoying a period of peace, the Gradius Empire is attacked once more by the Bacterians, this time under command of a dependent of Gofer. As usual, the Vic Viper travels across different planets with new and familiar landscapes defeating several Bacterian bosses along the way, eventually making it's way into the Bacterian's battleship and destroying the mastermind behind the attacks.
Once more, the Bacterian Empire attacks Gradius for the fifth time, Vic Viper is tasked to enter the battleship and destroy the commanding source (a brain entity similar to the one from the first game). Seeming to have taken a much shorter time then usual, it is instructed by a future version of the pilot to carefully navigate and destroy the main core simultaneously once they reach the source.
Afterwards, the fighters sent to seek out more Bacterian forces and bosses before coming to a dead end when it seems that the true source is now impenetrable, seeing the opportunity with the ship's new ability to travel back in time, the pilot willingly does so and travels back to the beginning to instruct their past-self to navigate through the interior of the cruiser and destroy the source simultaneously once they both reach it.
Upon confronting the source for a second time, the Vic Viper destroys the source fast and easily, but is warn by the entity that even if they destroyed them, the Bacterians would eventually return.