The first Valis
game, while lacking a whole hell of a lot of excitement and inspiration, certianly wasn't a horrible experience. Sure, my opinion of the game took a bit of a punch to the balls after having not played it in over 15 years or so, but I still had a bit of fun playing through it again and writing about it.
Syd of Valis
is a whole different beast. It's kind of the Valis
game I never knew existed until only a few months ago. I knew there was a Valis II
for the TurboGrafx 16, but I never owned that console growing up (though I really do wish I had). I never got to play Syd of Valis
in my youth because there wasn't a game rental or retail store near me that had it. The next Valis
game I got to play would be Valis III
, but we won't be hearing about that one until Friday.
I wanna talk about this one's boxart first...
...because I honestly don't understand it. The reason for that is that NONE OF THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOXART APPEAR IN THE GAME AT ALL! Wanna know why? Well, it took me a while to dig this little bit of info up, but it's because the characters are actually from another game entirely. Some may recognize the name Cosmic Fantasy
. Well for some fuckdumb reason, the characters from Cosmic Fantasy
are splayed all over the Syd of Valis
boxart. It makes no fucking sense to me. The Japanese cover of the game, as you can plainly see, has good enough boxart. They could have easily done SOMETHING with that, but nah, let's just use art from an entirely unrelated game... because... because... THERE IS NO FUCKING REASON!
This game... is a bit of an oddity. Yes, this game IS Valis II
, it was just given an entirely different type of release on the Genesis/MegaDrive. As you've probably already noticed from the boxart and the screenshots, this game takes on that whole "super-deformed" look that the Japanophiles of the world know and love. What's strange about it, is that the original versions of this game featured a more conventional art style similar to the first game. So, why Valis II
was ported to the Genesis and renamed Valis SD
(The SD is for, yes, "super deformed") is completely beyond me.
What's also completely beyond me is why this game is named Syd of Valis
in the first place. That's just some really fucking weird translation work there. Did they have to try and find SOME way to turn that "SD" into a word so that us Pig Disgusting Americans wouldn't get confused? Not only that, but in changing the game's name, they also changed the main heroine's name as well.
As you may remember from my first article, our mighty Valis Warrior's name is Yuko Ahso, but for some inexplicable reason, she got renamed to Syd in the process of translating the game for the American Pig Dogs. Now, I might not have had too much of a problem with the name change, if it hadn't been for this...
On the left we have the original Japanese HUD which CLEARLY indicates that the player character's name is "Yuko." On the right we have the North American release's HUD, which has been changed to "Syd." Why? FUCKING WHY? Why would you bother to change that? It doesn't make sense! We already know her name is Yuko! She was referred to as Yuko throughout the entirety of the first game! It doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.
I've heard explanations that Syd stands for "Super Yuko Deformed," but fuck that! I think it stands for, "S
icked the translation?"
Fuck! Even the title screen doesn't make sense!
HELLO, INCONSISTENCY! The game's box clearly says "Syd of Valis," but when I load the game the title screen simply says "Valis Syd." Now, you're probably smart enough to put two and two together and see what they did here with the Japanese title being Valis SD.
If you're going to make a change like that and at least hope for it to make sense, why not just make a whole new title screen with the Syd of Valis
brand? Here, watch. It's easy!
Now, that wasn't hard, was it?
Why waste time changing all of this? Because after their time spent at Renovation, the translators for this game would go on to do translations for Sega of America on Phantasy Star Universe
. Is it true? I don't fuckin' know, but given how badly both games are translated, it wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Alright, enough bitching over the strangely directed art style and ridiculous translation. What really matters in the end here, is the game itself and if it's fun or not.
I wanna bitch some more! I know, What else is new
, right? Well yeah, I wanna get some of the review-ey type junk out of the way first.
Going back to the HUD...GOD. What a fucking mess...
Can ANYONE explain to me WHY there's a big ol' ugly ass portrait of Yuk...errr... Syd...NO!.. Yuko right there on the HUD? God, could she have taken a more unflattering picture? All it serves to do is take up valuable screen space. It doesn't do anything other than change expressions for a split second depending on what happens to Yuko. It's useless, GET RID OF IT! It's all because of that stupid picture that the HUD is so GOD DAMN HUGE, and that's gonna be a BIG FUCKIN' PROBLEM!
How? Well, everything in this game is fairly large. Yuko, enemies, especially bosses, etc. Don't get me wrong, the sprite work is actually one of the game's strong points, but when you're trying to cram all these huge sprites and various other stage obstacles on screen at once, things tend to get a bit fucking cramped. Since enemies are so large and Yuko is as well... HIT DETECTION ISSUES ABOUND! MOTHERFUCKING HITS! EVERYWHERE FUCKING HITS AND THEY NEVER STOP!
Another huge issue I have with this game is how ridiculously close to the side of the screen you have to be in order for the stage to start scrolling. Yuko's practically gotta be humping through the side of your TV in order to get anywhere and when you can't see enemies coming... MOTHERFUCKING HITS! EVERYWHERE FUCKING HITS AND THEY NEVER STOP! A lot of time will be spent INCHING the screen forward or you're fucked. Simple as that.
For some reason, I see these issues becoming a bit of a pain in the ass throughout the duration of this game...
Tha fuck are you doing here? And what are you laughing about? Go away, I'm busy writing here!
Alright, then. Syd of Valis
is basically the same type of game as the original. Running, jumping, shooting fireballs and what have you from your Valis sword. This time we have a whole new sub-menu which seeks to add a little more variety to the gameplay.
In this menu, along with selecting which weapon we wish to use, we also get to play dress-up with Yuko! YAY! You gain new weapons and suits from defeating specific bosses. Each suit has its own set of unique stats, however the only stat I've seen make any difference at all is Speed. I can hardly notice any kind of difference with damage dealt and received, but even a +1 to the Speed stat sends Yuko flying off and out of control faster than Sonic The Fuck Hedgehog.
Not a bad implementation, I suppose, but once you gain the Guard Suit and Three-Way Shot, you've pretty much got your arsenal locked for a while.
They also went and nixed the near pointless magic system from the first game and replaced it with a Shinobi
-esque SUPER PRETTY BOMB system. They're simple enough. Fire one off and it clears the screen. They can prove INCREDIBLY useful, but are severely limited in availability and you don't get refills when you die, so you'll need to always think about whether or not to fire it off. Helping you in this decision is the fact that they can not be used against boss monsters. What a crock...
Like I said, very welcome additions, but both manage to fail a bit at adding just a bit more substance to the game.
And with some ground-work bitching taken care of, it's about time we tear into this beast. Join me, on my SUPER-DEFORMED ADVENTURE!
And just like that we're thrust into an all-new Magical Girl storyline, complete with ice cream swords! Mmmmm... Wonder if they come in chocolate...
Stage 1: This City Looks Great On Drugs
I'll start by saying that each stage is divided up into three "Acts," each being a typically short stage and most of the time each one ends with a boss fight. Act 3 of every stage is always a major boss fight.
That scrolling issue I mentioned earlier will immediately make itself present as you progress past the opening screen of this stage. All of the enemies approach you in this stage from the right and you don't have a whole lot of time to react. Luckily, you don't have to upgrade your Valis Sword to shoot fireballs in this game and it has rapid fire, so it should make short work of the enemies that populate this stage, as they can typically only take one or two hits before falling.
The only really annoying normal enemy you'll fight in the stage's three acts are the fucking green UFO bastards. They fly around overhead and fire so fucking fast that they can almost be considered cheap. You can easily waste them by running by and continuing to fire your shots up at them. Using this tactic you can typically avoid injury about 70% of the time.
At the end of Act 1, you'll encounter your first boss. If you thought "Hey, this game really doesn't seem that bad" up to this point, then get ready for a hard, hard lesson on bosses in this game.
Bosses typically come in two varieties: Retardedly fucking easy or retardedly fucking cheap. How lucky for you that the first boss of the game happens to be a proud member of the latter category.
This big flying yellow and blue retard doesn't even know the meaning of the word fair. At least most new players will probably think that. He zips around the screen in a manner that is nearly impossible to dodge (seriously, you have to get lucky with a double-jump) and hangs out on the opposite side of the screen that you're on firing a steady stream of bullets. If you're fast enough you can double jump the bullets, but a lot of the time he'll just zip to your side of the screen after firing if you do this and score a hit anyway. Trying to use any actual tactics against this guy can seem pointless. You may find those 8 HP you have diminished in less than 15 seconds if you do anything other than cheap him out. Beat him at his own cheaty game.
You've got the power of programming errors on your side and this will not be the only time you'll HAVE to utilize this technique to win. There's a slight bug in the game that'll let you fire your Valis Sword at 2x its normal rate of fire if you simply hold the fire button and continually kneel, stand up, kneel, stand up, kneel... To properly utilize this technique against this boss, double-jump up onto the high platform just before his chamber and slowly inch the screen forward. Once the dialgue exchange has finished, just fire and keep kneeling. If he gets lucky and lives long enough to zip around the screen, you're going to take a couple hits getting back up there, but double-jump back to the ledge and continue the process if he hasn't died by the time you fall. Like so:
Yep! Over, just like that.
Once the flying cheapie is finished off you're rewarded with The China Dress, the Wide Beam attack and gain two extra hit points to your life meter plus a full recharge. Hey! HP levelling up! One of my recommendations for the first game. Unlike that game though, you're going to fucking need them.
The China Dress is just...a pink China Dress. It supposedly offers 5 more Defensive Power than the Schoolgirl Uniform, but everything's still doing 1 bar of damage soooo...yeah. It also supposedly lowers your attack by 2 points buuuuuuuuut... yeah. If you like pretty pink dresses, I guess I see no reason to not use this upgrade for now.
The Wide Beam should now become your standard equipment, because it's better than the dinky peashooter you start with. Bigger = better chance of hitting target. Equip it.
Funny thing with this game, by the way. I can go backward through this stage and die, but still retain the items and upgrades I just received, and will still have to fight the boss again. He'll cough up another China Dress and Wide Beam, but it's pointless. Just stupid shit I found out you can do.
Here we have the boss of Act 2 and this is where you'll begin to feel the sting of not having a lot of screen room move around with. The dope simply walks toward Yuko spitting out fireballs at fixed intervals. The premise here is simple, just jump to shoot him in the face. His size is what makes him difficult because he takes up so fucking much of Yuko's breathing space and you pretty much HAVE to take hits if he's lucky enough to survive long enough to reach your side of the screen. When you jump over him, you'll land on the green wall which lets you easily lay into him. Avoid trying to use the cheap-out kneel trick here because pressing down drops you to the ground, as opposed to most NORMAL platformers where pressing down+jump usually does this.
Not really hard, just kinda pointless and stupid.
And the final boss of the stage comes calling in Act 3 and fortunately for you, he comes in the retardedly easy variety. Despite his enormous size, movement won't be much of a problem for Yuko here as all she really needs to concentrate on doing is double-jumping up and firing at his head. He has a simple pattern of taking a few steps forward and extending his arm out to grab you which you can see coming a mile away. Just duck it. His second attack is when he takes a few steps back and fires a scatter of three fireballs, which you can easily destroy with the wide beam. The only real annoyance here is that he's got SO MUCH FUCKING HEALTH. All that double-jumping and firing gave my hand a bit of a cramp. Easy win that nets you two more to your maximum Hit Points, but you'll soon see that this shit won't stay easy for long.
Alright! I was wondering when she was gonna finally bust out the Valis Warrior Suit! Kinda surprised she didn't do that to begin with, but what the hell do I know about being a magical girl? I only learned all I know from My HiME/Otome
. It supposedly has a Defensive Power of 20, but I still can't tell a fuck difference. Attack power is the same, but the one thing you will notice is THE BITCH NOW FUCKING JETS with this shit on. With only a Speed rating of 15, you'll notice movement feels way too fucking out of control. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT FOR THE STAGE WE'RE ENTERING!
Stage 2: Underground and Underdeveloped
I wanna just jump right into this one and start bitching, because I fucking hate me some Stage 2-1.
Oh, god...Fuck Stage 2, Act 1 so hard. Absolutely fucking terrible. I hate it with a passion. First, a video... then, I will rant some more about my grievences with this ATROCIOUS stage, but I think many of you will be able to gather up one or two things from the video that'll explain my hatred...
First off, FUCK THE BLIMPS. Secondly, FUCK THE GOD DAMN CONTROLS. Come the fuck on, can you see how often I have to pull back my jumps to actually land on anything? If I don't she'll slide off the ledge even if she lands on it for crying out loud. The game is so fucking wonky with how it handles the player falling down holes. Sometimes it'll give you enough height to get back up on a platform, sometimes it'll just say "FUCK YOU, I'M TAKIN' ALL THEM HP!" I LOVE IT! Thirdly, FUCK THE BLIMPS AGAIN! I hate those fucking things. They're a combination of the two worst types of enemies ever. A splitter and a homer. I love how the fuckers are placed to spawn at the worst possible times forcing me to retreat like halfway back through a stage to deal with the little homing splitter fucks. FUCK YOU, GOODYEAR! I know the video probably makes it look easy, but I practiced this shit for about twenty minutes before doing the real thing and getting it "as good as it's fucking going to get."
The real kicker with this stage is that it has TWO bosses. This means if the first one doesn't get you, the other one probably will and you'll have to not only fight the two bosses again, but RUN THE ENTIRE STAGE ALL OVER. Oh FUCK YOU!
What the.. You again? The fuck are you laughing about, you little slut? I will... ohh... nevermind...
Alright, since we're here I guess I'll explain the two annoying bosses real quick.
On the left we have Necrodipshit. He's actually pretty easy, but once again the stupid limited play area can lead to cheapo hits here. He typically just walks around slowly shooting fireballs, but once you land a hit, his speed increases and he jumps straight toward Yuko's location. You'll probably just have to slug it out with him and hope for the best. The other dipshit is quite annoying too and can easily yank a life or two from you if you're not lucky enough to get him into the straightforward jumping pattern I managed to pull off in the video. He's so spazzy that I'm not even sure there's a pattern, you just have to get lucky.
For winning the fight against dipshit #2, we snag two more upgrades!
The most important of the two is the Guard Suit. With this one, I do notice that some things in later stages of the game will do a hell of a lot less damage to Yuko. When going into boss fights or stages with a lot of bullshit hits, this is the suit to wear. With that, we also snagged the Homing Beam. It's a rapid fire stream of fireballs that are generally pretty weak and it's really only useful in a few areas. Stick with the Wide Beam for now.
Stage 2, Act 2. Now, here's a stage I can get into. We need more stages like this! Why? Because I don't even have to fucking fight anything. Right at the start, you'll find a star power-up. Grab that son of a bitch and you're invincible. All you have to do from here is continue double-jumping up the platforms and you won't have to fight a single fucking enemy. If you're faster than me, you may even have 2-3 seconds to spare should you fuck up. Great stage! Would buy from again. A++++
I apologize that this article is so video heavy, but there's just so many things I've come across that I feel are much better demonstrated with them.
In Stage 2-3, we have this guy... He's.. a bit of a putz and falls into the retardedly easy category, much like our first major boss. This guy actually does something pretty sneaky before the battle starts, as you can see on the screenshot there to the right. His greatest attack is that he fools me into thinking that the game is nearly over. "Last General," I thought, "IT'S ALMOST OVER!" But it's not... It's not... There are some things you just don't do to the player... making them think they're almost finished with a shitty game when they're not is one of them..
Since he's so easy, I went ahead and let his header images be ones that involved me taking damage. In all actuality, you don't even have to move from the right side of the screen for this fight. Start the fight by jumping to shoot him in the face, then fire up continuously as the sword edges come raining down and then jump to hit him in the face once again as he ends the attack and he'll endlessly repeat the pattern of firing upward. How'd this guy get to be a general anyway...
For winning this fight we gain another +2 to our Max HP! Yay!
Stage 3: Pink Plastic Castle
Such pretty surroundings. This place looks like it was made with pastel colored Legos or it's just a giant and elaborately decorated cake palace. I kinda like the second one much better. A game with cake and ice cream? Fuck to the yes!
The first act of this stage is rather short and fairly straightforward. Some simple enemies that patrol back and forth and are easily dispatched at range and some really annoying flying green shits that seem to spawn from out of nowhere and snag more of the game's signature cheapshots. And...
BIG FAT FLYING FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER SAD TURTLE! What else do I have to say about that? That's right. I ain't gotta say Nothin'.
I didn't mind this stage too much at first until I ran into the first boss...
JUST. STOP. TOUCHING. ME. YOU. FUCKING. PIECE. OF. SHIT! Molestation Snake is such bullshit! There is no way to beat this boss consistently, I don't care what anyone says. You HAVE to get lucky and hope the little fucker doesn't just home in on and stay deeply wedged up Yuko's ass. There's no movement pattern, there's no special trick, you just have to fucking get lucky. Stupid asshole boss. Fuck yourself, not me.
At least scoring the pure luck victory is worth it right? Well, it's half-worth it I suppose...
We score the last of the new beams for Yuko, this being the 3-Way Beam. It'll be very instrumental in finishing this stage, as it's probably the only fucking way to beat the end boss. It's generally pretty handy at taking care of other threats that you don't want to fucking deal with up close (not like you can anyway lol!) The Speed Suit... All I can ask is WHY? In a game where default movement speed borders on out of control already, WHY do I need to move 2x faster?
The last part of the first act is kind of stupid. In it, you'll ride a platform up a vertical passageway and in it enemies continue attacking you. Of course, this is yet another tried and true platform game convention, but here it doesn't work due to how fucking close to an edge of the screen you need to be for scrolling to initiate. So basically, if you do this part of the stage with anything other than rapidly firing the 3-Way Beam upward, all you're going to see are enemies literally spawning on top of you and doing damage. Don't forget to grab the 1-up off to the right hand side, because if you're serious about beating this game, you're gonna need all the fucking 1-ups you can possibly get.
Act 2 starts off with a bang. Four enemies closing in on you at breakneck speed. Have fun not taking damage. You can score another 1-up before you ride the platform up by dropping down into the pit and running right. The second act doesn't really change up the formula present in the first act much. You'll go up another vertical shaft which is dealt with in the same manner and cross some more moving platforms across green ooze and weird fishes, weird fishes, weird fishes.... If the trip proves to be too much for our daring heroine, there's a full life heart ready once you reach the other side in preparation for the stage's 2nd boss.
Another "bitchslap each other till someone falls" no strategy boss fight. Again, minimal movement room = lots of cheap hits, so you can basically just stand in one place and slug it out with both phases of this guy until he falls because you're given a full heart power-up before you fight him. Somehow, it seems so planned. Both phases act the same and simply react to being hit by jumping into the air and firing a burst of bullets which usually can't be avoided followed by the boss charging at you. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid...
I take it back. THIS guy is STUPID. STUPID. STUPID. FUCK. STUPID. Why? Because the only fucking way I've found I can actually beat the fucker is by CHEATING. Such a big fella and only one vulnerable spot. Yep, his head. And with most of my arsenal, I'll have to jump to hit it. Oh, hey, I got that nifty Homing shot now right? Well, good news! IT DOES DICK HERE! The shots will simply fly toward the boss and just kinda... hover around his knees. Fucking awesome. I'm pissed that it took me about five minutes to realize that I could hit him with the god damn 3-Way Beam easily, but my stupidity is not the worst part of it.
During the first part of his pattern, takes a few steps toward Yuko (remember to stay back a fucking decent distance, because Yuko's big retarded hair is part of her big retarded hitbox) and launches a series of 4 missiles into the air which quickly rain down upon her. The bullshit part is that you HAVE to take a hit here. None of your weapons seem to be able to do enough damage to stop even one of the damn things and they rain down so fast that you couldn't hit them all even if you tried. The only way to not take maximum damage from these things (2 hits = 4 points of life) is to take the first hit, wait for a moment, then run out of the way as the last one is falling.
This fucker can only be beaten by using the kneel glitch I showed you for the first boss of the game while using the 3-Way Beam. If you try and do it with normal rapid fire, you'll just run out of health before he does from the MANDATORY HITS you have to take. Here's a video of this nonsense and I even cut it pretty fucking close here. You'll also notice in this video that the music glitches out for some reason and is absent from the fight. Not that that's a bad thing, because the music in this game fucking SUCKS!
Had that last lucky ass shot I got off not connected, there's no way I'd have survived. What a load of shit.
I got two more max HP. Whoopie.
Bitch.... I am fucking warning you...