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Valis III

And now we come to the penultimate chapter in the Valis saga (at least until Telenet fell on hard times and whored out Yuko in porn games.  True story).  The Valis series were sort of bastions of merging cinematics with side scrolling action and part 3 ups the ante in that regard.  Far better than the first game releases on the Genesis Valis 3 is a decent action game that misses an opportunity to do more with its character switching mechanic.

Glames, ruler of the Dark World has decided to let his demons loose on both the Dream World and Earth.  One lone warrior from the Dark World, Cham, travels to Earth to find the sword of Valis in order to beat Glames’ Leethus sword.  Valis warrior Yuko teams up with Cham and along the way picks up twin sister Valna for some triple team action.  Released for both the Genesis and Turbo Grafx-16 CD both versions are worth your time and feature many levels of sword swinging fun.

The game changer this time around is the ability to swap between Cham and Valna.  Both characters have their own weapons, be it Cham’s whip or Valna’s fireballs.  The range and power of these attacks are the deciding factor in who you’ll choose to tackle each individual segment.  Yuko remains relatively unchanged and is the most balanced of the 3 in power and range.  Cham’s whip travels the farthest while Valna packs a punch but needs to get in close.  There are only a few portions of the game that force you to use a specific character otherwise you can pick at your leisure.  Regardless of who you select you’re still in for a tough ride as the game is relentless.

The individual enemies themselves aren’t really much of an issue but the increased platforming focus will come as a shock.  The under used slide mechanic definitely gets a work out this time around.  The few seconds of air time you have when sliding is put to use in many of the stages, especially the ice caves.  It’s very unforgiving in this regard; one wrong maneuver can lead to death.  The bosses as well are basically “bullet sponges”, so to speak.  Those sons of bitches just refuse to die!  While items to replenish magic are in great supply life is not, necessitating caution.

While the basic action has been spiced up it is disappointing that more wasn’t done to distinguish each character.  Their attack ranges are only slightly different in the long run and the power behind them falls in the same range.  It would have been nice if for instance Cham took less damage or Valna’s spells were slower but packed more punch, just as an example.  As it stands its more cosmetic.  There’s nothing wrong with that but you kind of wonder why bother since they play nearly the same.

Genesis on the left, TG- CD on the right.

Sometimes I miss that era of CD gaming.  This shit was so mind blowing back in the early 90s.

Between the two games the Turbo CD version is superior.  Aside from the colors appearing more vibrant it has a few more levels but most importantly, fully voiced and animated cutscenes.  Well, as animated as they were back then.  While the voice acting is nothing to write home about the frequent cut scenes are a treat and do a good job of moving the plot forward.  The soundtrack as well benefits from CD audio.  Definitely go for this version of the game if you have the means to play it.

Renovation provided a steady stream of Genesis games and this is one of their best.  It doesn’t hold a candle to either console’s finest but is definitely worth a look once you’ve beaten those classics.

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