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Monday, September 11, 2017

Valis: The Fantasm Soldier(夢幻戦士 ヴァリス)

Valis is the first game till now that falls squarely in the action category with really no RPG elements whatsoever. If it's not obvious by now, action isn't really my forte due to my poor reflexes and lack of skills. However, as it features the first bikini armored warrior in video games (that I'm aware of), I had to check it out. I find it odd that the Japanese were the pioneers in this area. For some reason I can't fathom, nobody was making video games for Red Sonja back in the 80s.

Meh, forget Conan, I'd much prefer a Red Sonja game
The gameplay in the original 1986 version doesn't look so hot and generally I've not been terribly impressed with action games on the PC88 so I decided to check out the newbie PC Engine remake. The SUPER CD-ROM game features some really nice cut-scenes (albeit small) with that good ol' nostalgic voice acting. As a Jhipster, I do have to note that there are no subtitles for the dialogue so any English fan translation would I imagine have to replace the audio. To my knowledge, there is no fan translation at this time.

No English? Aww, that's a shame.
As I said, action is not really my genre so take my opinion with a grain of salt but man, replaying something over and over until you get "gewd" is not my idea of a fun time. But I just hated that you did get good over time and you have infinite continues so you can play a level as often as you need to. I have to admit, the controls were solid in this remake. Once you learn the enemy positions and the boss patterns, you can beat this game in probably under an hour. I did get stuck in the 4th level for a while because I expected sliding to follow the laws of physics. (Spoiler: it does not.)

Maybe her slide over air is a Valis power too? I dunno.
I didn't know the PC Engine archives on PSN even had a save state until I mistakenly happened to press L on my Vita (and yes, I did pay real money for the game). By the time I discovered save states, I had gotten good enough to easily beat the first 4 stages. This is the type of game (like some shooters) that get easier the better you get because you can hold onto your upgraded powers.

I have no idea what C stands for but it's in the digital manual (ugh)
Speaking of powers, there are a few different types of shots for your sword and they only increase in power if you get the same one consecutively. Since the B power is the most common, I typically just skip everything else until I get 3 Bs and then switch to H, since the homing shot takes away the need to actually aim. Yeah, I'm lazy that way. You also have spells you pick up as you beat the bosses but the only one I found really useful was the shield for boss fights.

I will confess on using save states near the end, as the last stage is a pain with enemies exactly positioned to come at you out of nowhere and tiny spiked platforms that require a specific jumping order. The last boss while fairly easy once you learn the patterns, takes SO MANY HITS that it's tricky to dodge for so long without making any mistakes.

Meh, fuck this section.
Score: 3 out of 5 (optional +1 bonus for enhanced skirt physics)

Stupid Vita wouldn't let me take screenshots for um... research.
Overall, I have to grudgingly admit it was kind of fun to get good at the game and while the story was as traditional as they come, the voice acting was great and really, I can't find any faults that would warrant a score less than a 3. The music while it did have a short pause before looping, was really good too.

Now, THAT'S how you do a title screen

In fact, I was pretty disappointed with Valis II's lack of skirt physics. Since the sequel actually came out several years earlier, it's a pretty big step back graphically but more on that when I finish the sequel.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely