Super Valis IV Dissection and Review (Page 2)
by Polly

Hey...It's The Blue Stage...Yaaaaaay...

Is it crystal or is it ice? Ice crystals? I really can't tell. Sure there are a couple things in the stage that can freeze you, but other than that, nothing really indicates this is an ice stage. It's about as annoying as any ice stage though...

If ever a case had to be presented for this game to go suck a big fat dick that ejaculates buckshot, this stage would probably make one of the strongest arguments. From top to bottom it's nothing but fucking slop.

This is the point in the game where hit-detection seems to just give up and either never stop fucking hitting you (you don't even have to be anywhere NEAR some enemies) or the game slows down to the point where it won't register hits for either side of a confrontation. I've seen as many as five successive attacks come into contact with the enemy and never actually register.

If the game didn't begin to suck shit at this point, the set of enemies introduced in this stage might actually make for a well-rounded challenge. There are icecicles all over the ceiling that'll fall and freeze you in place leaving you open to attacks. No matter what you do, you can't break out of this ice shell, which can prove to be a huge pain. Stationary turret guys are back now and have two attacks: A freeze beam and a snowflake of doom. As you've probably already guessed it can be a nasty combo. The first area also contains new soldier dudes who throw their shields at you as opposed to spears or boomerangs... Lazy, lazy, lazy.

The second area introduces a new soldier dude who uses two different sword attacks and features what I can only describe as the game's shittiest hit detection. Attack-wise, he can simply swing his sword down on you and can fire a wave from his sword to push you away from him, much like the stage 2 boss. This attack can be absolutely frustrating since the area features tons of moving platforms and spikes fuckin' galore. Attacking and simply just trying to get around these guys can prove almost futile sometimes. Even jumping clean over their heads, the game will sometimes just knock you back and lop off a damn good chunk of health (an extra hit or two) while you regain your bearings. Sometimes their sword's wave beam will actually damage you as well as push you back, sometimes it won't. They're so stupidly inconsistent.

This entire area of the stage could likely be enough to make anyone quit. Fuck, I wanted to. The sword guys are bad enough, but the ridiculous amount of platforming over spiked pits onto platforms that quickly become spiked pits, while sword guys knock you off into more spiked pits can be downright fucking infuriating. There's really not a lot you can do here, unless you wanna waste a Valis Armor or two and use its nullification of knock-back effects to try and dash through the area as quickly as possible.

Yeaaaah, about time they got something right. Shoot the motherfuckin' core, right? Shouldn't things always be this simple?

Thankfully, the boss isn't too much to worry about. Check out that miniscule heatlh bar. Even if you waste a ton of time this one won't be so bad.

Once the battle begins the orb's pitchfork-weilding guardian appears, floats back and forth and occasionally shoots out little lasers that home in where you are when they're fired. They're not really all that hard to dodge. Your only real obstacle here is jumping and firing shots over his head to hit the orb when it rises up. Don't even bother wasting Specials here as most of them end up being too big to fit through anyway. Note the free Valis Armor hanging out in the boss room too. Neat.

A clean and easy win to an annoyingly frustrating stage. If your patience hasn't been tried to the point of putting a gamepad through the TV, you just earned yourself a ticket to the Reddish Moon!

Hey...This Isn't Very Red At All, But Purple's My Favorite Color!

Get yerself strapped in, folks, because we're goin' off the rails on a lazy train!

I guess at this point, the designers all got together and pretty much decided they were finished with the game and phoned in the last couple stages. There's really not much left to the game once you reach this point aside from the usual annoyance with everything that's sorta broken the game up to this point.

The Reddish Moon is just two screens of running down hills, jumping, dealing with various annoying obstacles. Both screens of the area have a high-road you can take, which can prove difficult, but they pack quite a ton of power-ups and usually have lighter enemy resistance.

The first screen introduces giant fireballs that float across the screen and occasionally lock onto you every now and then. Avoidance is the key. You do not want to destroy or so much as touch any of the damn things. The upside, is that when they're destroyed they'll take out fucking everything on the screen. The downside is that touching or destroying them takes a hideous chunk out of your health and may leave you scratching and clawing your way toward the couple of Heart power-ups that are in the stage.

The other enemy you'll deal with in the stage are Rena Clones that hatch from floating white orbs and just run and jump around randomly. They fall with one hit, but can easily overwhelm you because they hatch so often and they do far more damage than I'd think running into an enemy might do. Get too many on the screen at once and the game slows to a crawl and you can easily run through them because the hit detection is taking a nap.

The second area of the stage features a relentless assault of the fireballs as you make your way forward, coupled with new stationary turrets that don't attack you directly, they just blow you back with invisible wind gusts. You have to carefully take them out from a distance while trying to avoid hitting the fireballs as well. It's really more of an annoyance than frustration, so you shouldn't have too much to worry about. If you got plenty of Wolf-Head Ground Thingies this should be fairly easy provided you just watch yourself.

And after that almost nothing of a stage, we end up face-to-face with Gallagher's final General, Luzard. This guy's a pud. Nothing much you have to worry about once you've figured out all his tricks.

First of all, don't bother wasting any Special Weapons on the guy. They all bounce right off. If you try and fight him from a distance he fires easy-to-dodge slow-ass laser beams down at you. No sweat at all. Stick close to him and he'll stay in a pattern of standing in front of you, flying to the other side of the screen, and then using his patented Jet Stream Crush, which, if you stay in the middle of the screen and jump over four or five times, won't be any kind of problem.

It's really only an endurance match. No matter how fast you get to him, he'll have a ton of health, and he'll be flying around the screen so much you won't have many opportunities to attack him. But as I said, all his shit is so easy to dodge it's nothing much to worry about at all.

And as you fell the final General, it's off to take on the final big-bad, but you've still got a little annoying work to do...

Hey...It's The Climax! what I'd like to say, but as it turns out, the final stage of Super Valis IV is fairly boring and offers no real surprises. The only notable thing is that in every way, the stage's background resembles something I'd expect to see at the end of a Contra game.

Hmmm... Something looks... Oddly familiar... Oh, son of a fuck me, it's one of those. Fucking boss gauntlets in the final stage. The fucking lamest way to cop-out on a final stage, and it was so damn common back in the day. Thankfully, Super Valis IV's rehash stage is just a meeting with each of the three Generals again, none of them are all that difficult. All the same tactics apply, including hiding in the corner and just firing off pot-shots at Dahlgen.

Between each fight you'll come to a room stocked with various power-ups. My advice is to not really worry about Special Weapons and focus on having a steady stock of nothing but a few Heart power-ups and some Valis Armors. You're gonna need to extend your life by as much as you possibly can in order to survive the final fight with the evil Gallagher...

Not lazy, it's just not worth Flash animating. Interesting to note though, that during this brief 4 screen scene, Gallagher's cape flaps in the wind and Rena's mouth moves when she speaks her lines. The final showdown begins with an oh so cheesy and predictable war of words, until finally the real show begins...

Get ready for one son of a fuckhat fight. Gallagher brings every annoying trick in the book with him to this fight and he ain't a damn bit shy about using any of them. Unlike many of the previous fights, Gallagher doesn't seem to fall into any sort of patterns, he just uses his attacks at random, which can lead to some real "fuck you over" situations.

As mentioned, you'll want a full-stock of nothing but Valis Armors and Hearts, because this guy has some incredibly nasty tricks. On top of this, you don't even begin to dent his full-ass health bar until you've landed around fifty or so hits. You're in this one for the long haul, so play defensive.

Gallagher himself strikes a defensive posture most of the time, meaning he'll block about 60% of your attacks while on the ground. General rule of thumb is if he's standing straight and his axe handle is in front of him, you can't hurt him. You can hurt him while he's in the air and landing from axe strikes and other attacks.

One of the worst attacks in his arsenal is his slow-moving freeze beam, which you HAVE to run and jump over. When you see his chest flashing blue get as far away as you can to give yourself some room and jump over it as best as you can. Trying to hit him after you land is usually hit or miss, because this attack puts the game's hit detection to sleep. You'll wanna avoid corners as much as possible because of this attack. It's almost impossible to dodge with no room.

The true DICK MOVE of Gallagher's arsenal, however, is his HP syphoning ability. Once he hits 75% health and lower, Gallagher begins firing off one of three types of HP draining attacks on a near constant basis. Even in Valis Armor, these attacks still steal your HP and give them to him. You do NOT want these attacking landing more than once or twice or you simply may not have the stamina to outlast him.

And after all of that... (again, no Valis Theatre, because it wasn't worth the time to Flash it.)

Hey... It's finally The End

After all is said and done, Super Valis IV is a game that has a lot of really nice and fresh ideas for the series, but lacks any kind of substantive gameplay to back it all up. Even though I said I wouldn't compare this port to the original game, having played it in full now, it does feel gutted of something. The little storyline bits and character switching from Valis III are sorely missed here. The SNES was a damn powerhouse, so I can't see technical issues being the reason they were nixed. It all just smacks of incredible laziness. Like the final paragraph of this write-up.

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