Received: September 6th, 2018 / Written: August 12th-16th, 2019
Alternate Title: Mugen Senshi Valis [ ⬤ ]
Alternate Title: Mugen Senshi Valis [ ⬤ ]
Year: 1986, 1991 | Developed by: Riot
Published by: Renovation | Licensed by: Telenet Japan
To celebrate me getting a Sega Genesis console two weeks ago (no more solely relying on the RetroGen adapter cartridge to play physical Genesis cartridges anymore), let's talk about one of the games I own in my physical collection. 😃
December 1986 saw the debut of Mugen Senshi Valis (which roughly translates to "Dream Warrior Valis") on the NEC PC-8801, MSX, and Sharp X1 computers in Japan, all developed by Wolf Team and published by Telenet Japan, which would then see a conversion on the FM-77 and NEC PC-9801 computers in March and April 1987 respectively with a take by Tokuma Soft on the Famicom that August. Upon release it was very successful and popular enough to become a franchise, but despite the first two sequels seeing a release in America in one form the original never quite made it overseas.
Images from GameFAQs; well, no guess as to which cover is superior: the Japanese oneThat is, until Riot created a conversion of Mugen Senshi Valis for the Sega MegaDrive (planned by Eiji Kikuchi and Tomoko Miura, programmed by Atsushi Komiya and Yasuhisa Tanaka, and executive produced by Jirō Fukushima, Kazuyuki Fukushima, and Yūji Fukushima) which was released on December 1991 by Telenet Japan, which Renovation released for America on the Genesis that year as Valis: The Fantasm Soldier--only took five years after the debut of the original. Something to note is that this version in particular is based specifically on the NEC PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version which Riot also developed,
Image from GameFAQsthe only problem was that it had not yet come out as that version wouldn't be released in Japan until March 1992, months after the Sega edition's release. But since I only played the Genesis version of Valis, I will be covering this version exclusively.
During one school day in contemporary Japan there has been a strange weather shift between storm and rain,
which a schoolgirl named Yūko Asō couldn't help but notice. While waiting for the weather to fully improve she's met by fellow schoolmate Reiko Kirishima who's holding up an umbrella despite the rain having stopped. She tells Yūko that she's going to move out of town and has come to say "goodbye", but before she leaves she vaguely informs her that they may meet again very soon.
After Reiko walks out a monster suddenly emerges from the ground and corners Yūko at the spot. Trapped and defenseless, she shouts for help, and that is when a disembodied voice tells her to hold out her hand.
Suddenly a sword magically appears in her hand and drives the monster away with it.
Shortly after she finds herself in another realm, dazed and confused she wonders if it's all a dream as none of this can possibly be real. Yūko is then met by Lady Valia who welcomes her to Dream World (one that exists outside of time and space), who reveals to her to have been the source of the voice and explains to her that she's been searching for a brave soul to wield the magical Valis sword in this time of despair.
Valia tells her that the "Yin" and "Yang" has caused an imbalance with people's souls in the Earth, land of the spirits, and Vecanti and that "Yin" has been influencing these souls through a power called "Vecanta". The one responsible for this is Demon lord Rogles who has locked the source of power referred to as "Yang" in Phantasm Jewelry and broke it into several pieces, with five of his generals guarding it. The only way to restore the balance is to put all the pieces together which is the only way to defeat him.
Unable to fight Rogles alone, Valia begs Yūko to take up this task and become the Valis warrior which is her destiny. Yūko then accuses Lady Valia of being selfish telling her that it's none of Yūko's business what's happening and that she just wants to go home. The queen of the Dream World, sensing the "Vecanta" in her, uses her magic to transform Yūko into a Valis warrior striking the "Vecanta" influence away. Valia tells her to gather the pieces of the Phantasm Jewelry which will help her along the way. It is now up to Yūko to restore the balance of the three different realms and put an end to Rogles' reign of terror.
|The beginning of Valis warrior Yūko's legacy|
|Fighting off monsters in the subway|
|What could be behind here?|
Yeah, that's an appropriate attire for this
cold and snowy environment
|Narwhal protruding from the ice|
|Running through the icy cavern|
|Deep in the scorching lava cave|
|Look at that volcano in the background|
|Conjuring magic attack|
Yes, it is possible to change Rena Bland's palette in the former game to match Yūko's, though it might cause a strain on your Super Famicontroller: hold down both shoulder buttons, turn the game on, and don't let go of either button until it's time to take control of RenaNear the end of October 2016 I would get my first taste of the Valis franchise by importing Telenet Japan's Super Valis: Akaki Tsuki no Otome in CIB condition on the Super Famicom, and then the following October I would purchase Valis III on the Genesis (at the time relying on a RetroGen to play physical Genesis cartridges, but now that I own a Sega Genesis that is no longer the case) which cost slightly more. I've liked and enjoyed both of these games in their own right,
|Fighting beside drainage|
|Keep an eye out for those loose bricks|
About to enter into the deeper confines of
the ancient ruins
|Keep firing magic arrows at the two dragon heads|
most notably Affect's 1993 kendo-based Nintendo 16-bit exclusive Makeruna! Makendō/Kendo Rage which was essentially a Valis knockoff but with a lighthearted and more upbeat tone with an unapologetically silly and comedic edge to it that made it pleasantly solid feel-good fun. 😄 That combined with the story told between stages (albeit briefly) makes it the closest the console got to having a proper Valis game, more than the arcade-like and largely story-free game that does inhabit the Valis moniker Super Valis: Akaki Tsuki no Otome/Super Valis IV. But whereas Makeruna! Makendō's sequels each had different genres than the last, the Valis franchise consistently remained an action-platforming genre from the get go.
|Wilderness, the point of no return|
|That fateful battle between Yūko and Reiko|
🎵 I'm headed straight for the castle
They've got the kingdom locked up 🎵
|That detailed backdrop|
You can't help but feel bad for Reiko. True, she served under Demon lord Rogles but when she gives Yūko her backstory and true reason for doing so after being defeated, it's a sad revelation: she was never happy with her life and always wanted to feel like she was above others, which in turn made her feel friendless. That Reiko didn't realize that Yūko was always her friend until she succumbed to her wounds and died is tragic but is bittersweet as Reiko is finally happy in her final moments,
and after being challenged to face Rogles in his castle, when Yūko takes one of Reiko's straps and ties it around her wrist to fight in memory of her it's a heartwarming and inspiring moment as it shows how much she cared for her and how loyal she was as a friend.
With 2020 marking the 30th anniversary of Valis III I've considered reviewing it next year, if I'm still alive and/or still reviewing video games by then; in all seriousness, I'm alive now at 28 and might still be alive then, it's just that time makes me (and the world) grow olderValis III is cited as among the best, if not the best, games in the series. I do enjoy Yūko's third venture a little more than this game, the gameplay and story is good, it's got a great soundtrack, it's got a sense of challenge and replay value, and you could switch between Yūko, her twin sister Valna, and Cham at the spot during most of the game. 😃 It also serves as an excellent starting point for those new to the series as it recaps events from the first two games if you haven't played them, and as a sendoff for the blue haired heroine I think it's a good game.
Another thing that's great about Valis III is that Yūko has really grown and matured in her role as the Valis warrior that when it was over her duty was complete and became a goddess, but when the three realms got threatened again fifteen years later by Prince Galgear she couldn't fight these battles anymore so she entrusted and bestowed the Valis sword to the next in line that was worthy of wielding it, Rena Bland.
A shame that Nintendo and NEC were staunch rivals at the time, otherwise a Nintendo 16-bit port of Valis IV would've been a possibility rather than something reassembled to be a thirty-minute arcade game with the sprites, backgrounds, and cutscene stills from that gameAnd while Valis III is my favorite of the story-driven Valis games I played, I do find myself gravitating towards and coming back to Super Valis more. As short as it is and not really story-heavy like the official canon entries in the series, I do enjoy playing this game for what it is, I like the swifter pacing thanks to the ability to run via double tapping the side button, there's a sense of polish, and it's got lots of replay value in regards to the ranking you're given after beating it based on your item and time bonus. 😃
|The final battle against Demon lord Rogles|
My Personal Score: 7.0/10
d(^-^)bTO EACH THEIR OWNd(^-^)b
● I should've gotten a Sega Genesis years ago! Had I known it had cable A/V cable support I would've gotten it, the image quality is clearer and crisper than when a Genesis cart is on a RetroGen, and the screen doesn't spaz out whenever there's a good chunk of white present. Hindsight has once again made a fool of me... 😔
● The "Special Thanks" segment of the credits pretty much comprise of the rest of the people involved in the NEC PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version of Mugen Senshi Valis that the Sega 16-bit take is based on.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think (neither spam nor NSFW allowed); hope you have a great day, take care! 🙂
Man, it's quite the RIOT out there, huh?? ...no? …… Okay... 😔