Playing the bit of Saturn there the last few nights. I usually play Daytona USA or Sega Rally and a bit of shmup action, but for whatever reason I found myself playing Fighting Vipers instead. I'm not a huge fan of 3D Saturn beat 'em-ups normally. I don't know if its the pad or the fact I think the DC efforts are so much better... but I have to say I did enjoy this for a while. Dodgy graphics, but the gameplay is enjoyable.
I did get Battle Garegga out afterwards - can't turn the Saturn on and not have a blast at something! This was one of the last "big" games I bought before deciding to slow down the buying and spending a couple of years back. Its an interesting game - its not as shooty fun as DoDonPachi, its not as easy going as Shienryu, its not as epic as Radiant Silvergun, and its not as good
as the awesome Soukyugurentai.... what it is though is very gritty, extremely challenging, and a slow burner.... ultimately, a very satisfying video gaming experience all told.
Shmups.com named it the best blaster ever last year iirc. I think its got a lot of depth, and long term playability. Its not as charming or visually appealing as a lot of the Saturn's best shooters. It does not look disimilar to a slightly tarted-up Strikers 1945. It does have some very interesting ideas and design features however. First, your guns don't do much damage, which makes it quite "realistic" for this type of game. The better equiped you are and the better you play, the harder it gets - this is a major component of the gameplay. You are encouraged to use smart bombs on scenery to collect bonus items therein. And my favourite bit is the almost chaining-like feature where you collect gold bars of increasing value as you play - miss one and the next bar starts off at the lowest value all over again - this is a super risk/reward mechanic that helps the brave increase their score.
Talking of score, you can play through the game in the regular arcade more for points, but there is also a mode where you can play each level on its own for score too. This adds variety and helps you get to grips with the latter levels a little easier.
To get the most out of Garegga you will need to put the hours in - but its well worth it. Its expensive, but offers good value in the long term in my view