Genesis Reviews

Valis: The Fantasm Soldier

Genre: Action Developer: Telenet Publisher: Renovation Players: 1 Released: 1991

What could be more fun than a school girl with a sword? How about a school girl with a sword wearing skimpy bikini armor!? Yes, I am of course talking about Valis: the Fantasm Soldier, the classic 2D action game from Telenet Japan and Renovation Products. While it’s not a perfect conversion of the game, and there are a few issues to work out, Valis still delivers a powerful punch of action to Genesis owners everywhere!

The game stars high school senior Yuko. Fellow classmate Reiko seems to have run off to meet the evil Dark Lord Rogles, and so Yuko rushes off to find her. Unluckily for her, the city is now crawling with strange monsters. But Yuko would soon discover that because of her perfect heart, she is actually the greatest warrior in the universe, and with her trusty sword she will make sure that both the dream world and the real world remain intact! It’s a simple story that lets you get right into the action, and it has this great Japanese flair thanks to the main character starting off in the traditional schoolgirl outfit.

Yuko’s sword can do more than just slice and dice in this walk a long action game. She can find power ups to make it shoot bullets, or she can gather different weapons. There are arrows, lasers, and even grenades. Yuko can also jump very high or slide across the screen. After she beats a boss, she will be given a new magic attack, that when she has enough magic power can cause deadly results! The gameplay is very straight forward, and there’s not really much in the way of puzzles. Basically if it moves, kill it.

But sadly Valis takes a fall here on the Genesis. The main character moves at a snail’s pace. It is unfortunately very slow, and this prevents it from being otherwise an awesome game. Yuko’s slide technique does allow her to go faster, but one shouldn’t have to slide across entire levels because the normal running speed is so terribly slow. Add this to the slowdown that occurs when there are too many enemies on the screen, and sometimes it seems like the game just freezes for a second.

Gameplay aside, it does look very nice for an earlier Genesis game. The graphics are nice and colorful, and the seven levels are all varied and interesting looking. The first level in particular is a huge town, and Yuko can jump across various roofs and go different ways to get to the end. Other levels include a forest, a volcano, and an ice stage. Each level is colorful and full of different monsters to blast through.

One really great touch as far as the graphics go are the wonderful cut scenes. The Japanese anime artwork looks amazing, and there are even some small amounts of animation in these scenes. The artwork is fantastic, but there is still one major flaw: the accompanying text for these cut scenes scrolls way too slow. Sometimes it seems like they will never end because the characters take so long to talk. If you want you can skip these scenes, but then you are missing out on the great anime artwork.

Not only does the game have pretty graphics, but the soundtrack is rocking as well! I really found myself enjoying the tunes in Valis, as each level had its own distinct music. Plus, if Yuko’s life bar goes down too far, the music will change to this awesome upbeat track that totally pumps you up and makes you feel like you are really right in the middle of all of the action. I was very pleased with the sound in this game!

Valis isn’t that hard. Some of the bosses can be tricky, but there are power ups and magic refills scattered throughout the levels. There’s also an easy button code you can put in to refill your life and magic to maximum. One thing that is annoying, is that when Yuko loses a life, her health is restored but not her magic. Also, the weapon she was using is downgraded a level, so if you got your sword to the highest level (which is level three), then on your next life it won’t be as powerful. Still for such a semi-short game, there is a good enough level of difficulty to keep you playing. There is also a sound test mode which is activated by a simple button code at the title screen of the game.

Valis is a fun, colorful, and action-packed game. It looks great, and it sounds great, but it’s just far too slow. If it was a little faster, and the text in the stories also got sped up a few notches, then it would have benefited so much from such simple improvements. As it stands, Valis is still a fun and powerful action game. So what are you waiting for? Pick up your sword and get going!

SCORE: 6 out of 10


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