For every famous title in the fighting genre like Dead or Alive and Street Fighter and the women who inhabit them, there’s always others that get lost in the shuffle to be only known among a few dedicated gamers if not known at all. If there’s one thing proven true in time, the only way those forgotten titles can regain fame is to have a sequel or re-release on modern day consoles so that those games break out from being a mere trivia question to cult favorites, and new characters rise to fame. This much is especially true for today’s subject, who is on the precipice of regaining popularity that was about long lost. She had minimum exposure on one of the more lesser-appreciated systems and is literally fighting her way back into the waiting eyes of willing fans. Sweet as sugar but fierce as a snake, this is a special look into a girl aptly named Honey and/or Candy.
In the mid-90’s when the underwhelmed console Sega Saturn came out, there were a few titles within SEGA’s library that used a specific system called “Model 2,” a graphical upgrade for texture mapping within games. It was mainly used for arcade stand-up titles for a while and included famous names to carry this graphic enhancement like The House of the Dead and Daytona USA to name a few. Amongst them was the vaguely recognized game “Fighting Vipers,” where Honey (otherwise known as Candy in the USA port) made her debut. What made the game unique was the armor all the combatants, including Honey, wore on themselves in battle that could be broken off to expose weaknesses that were prime to attack. As one would imagine, breaking Honey’s armor off would expose her body to both her embarrassment and delight to her male admirers. Indeed, if nothing else, it was one of the reasons she is possibly the only one hardcore fans remember the most and retained some popularity even though modern day fans or new gamers don’t recognize her.
What also makes Honey a unique character was the fact that she was meant to have an anthropomorphic version of herself to be involved with the infamous “Sonic the Fighters,” a spinoff title in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that would see the influential characters of the Sonic universe (and a few unknown ones) pitted against each other. Unfortunately when the game did come out, limited as it was, Honey was ultimately scrapped from the final roster and hidden within the programming that could only be playable if the game was hacked. But it showed that Honey had enough charm over both the higher-ups at SEGA to even consider having her in the first place, and even more for the fans who would illegally hack the game just to get a look at her planned cat form.
So how can Honey possibly get her name back on the marquee when gaming continues to evolve even to this day? The answer came recently, as SEGA announced the “Model 2 Collection” to be released in Japan for the Playstation Network and X-Box Marketplace, reviving several of the arcade/Saturn games that used the Model 2 mode, including Fighting Vipers and Sonic the Fighters, as well as choice titles like Virtua Fighters and Virtual On. Not only will Honey be playable again in her home title, but her neglected form that was meant to be in Sonic the Fighters will finally be made official for the first time ever. So Honey will reclaim her fame to those that remember her or get introduced to gamers that are new to picking up a controller. However, this special collection is at the moment available to Japan only, so it’s unknown if US audiences will have the same experience with Honey. But seeing how all other SEGA remakes have come stateside, it’s safe to assume we will play Model 2 games once more.
But even if the Model 2 Collection comes to the Americas, will it ultimately mean Honey (or Candy) will become a household name, perhaps even revive Fighting Vipers? Or will her comeback special just be a momentary phase and doom her back to obscurity to be shuffled into guest appearances among the likes of Ulala from Space Channel 5 or Nights? As always, it will depend on the fans and possibly even the SEGA offices to determine that for sure. Whatever the case may be, Honey stands on her own for being incredibly tough and obscenely attractive when it was the 90’s and still is to this day. If there’s ever a video game babe that deserves to have her time to shine and be considered an idol among the starlets of fighting, it’s definitely Honey.
This is Greg P., examining video game babes for you and me.