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SD Valis Review

A quick history of the Valis games before we begin:

The Valis games tell the story of Yuko Asou, a schoolgirl in late 1980s Japan who is fated to protect three different realms; Earth, the land of spirits, and Vecanti (otherwise known as the Dream World) by wielding a mystical sword known as Valis.

The original game was released for the MSX in 1986 and received a further 3 sequels. Telenet (the developer) later sold the rights to Eants who revived the series as Valis X; a series of 5 hentai games. How lovely.

SD Valis is the second game in the series. It was ported over from the MSX to the Mega Drive but instead of retaining its’ original visual style, all the characters have been ‘super-deformed’ making them look cute and stubby. Those crazy Japanese. The gameplay is kept the same with Yuko jumping and firing projectiles from her magic sword at the minions of Vecanti. She can also double-jump to reach higher platforms and weak spots on boss characters. Yuko is fairly responsive and easy to control, however the jump button doesn’t register on smaller platforms from time to time. This results in a lot of cheap, pitfall deaths that become a huge frustration.

Yuko can collect up to 4 different projectiles allowing for a different playing tactic to suit the enemies and terrain. However, most enemies can be destroyed (with the exception of the splitting enemy) by simply using the ‘wave’ attack, making the other projectiles quite pointless. She can also collect a variety of different outfits which appear to do nothing than change the character aesthetically. This inclusion could have been a big selling factor if it was implemented to change the character’s stats, powers etc.

Graphically the game is very poor. I could forgive it if it was an early Mega Drive title but the game was developed in 1992; the console’s heyday. To be honest, the game looks no better than a Master System game which is the ultimate insult to games released on SEGA’s 16 bit masterpiece.

Despite the decent colour palette, the game’s stages are repetitive an uninspired. Run, jump and shoot. Run, jump and shoot. Yawn. The gaming audience isn’t stupid. We need something more than this to keep our attention otherwise we’re trading it in and it’s going in the bargain bin.

By this point we haven’t even perked our ears to bother with what’s going on in the sound department. To be fair, any old rubbish could be playing in the background and we still wouldn’t care, but it does fit the action well. It’s just a shame that like everything else in the game, it’s forgettable.

SD Valis is not a rare, Japanese oddity; it’s just average in every sense of the word. With some decent variety in its’ stages and a better implementation of its’ weapons and costumes, this could have been something interesting. But it isn’t.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 1/3/09

Box Artwork



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