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The stages are nicely detailed. The game opens in front of a school before heading through a city and descending into the subway. Along the way you'll battle worms, insect men, flying plants, and rotating face blocks. There are some very well-designed creatures, my favorite being the skeleton pirates that shatter when struck down. Enemies occasionally fall from above, which is bogus. When you die, the fluid animation of your Yuko collapsing to the ground is terrific.
The gameplay is fairly vanilla but you can experiment with various weapons to spice things up. Floating icons can imbue you with excellent firepower, but don't accidentally grab a weaker weapon! Weapons are identified by letters, and I came to associate B (double shot) with "bad". Even worse is "A" which lets you unload slow, bouncy green slime balls. The jumping controls tend to be erratic, especially during boss encounters.
Stages aren't particularly long but it's still painful to be sent back to the start after dying at the hands of a boss. Your score is only visible when you pause, along with the high score. I enjoyed the Japanese manual with its colorful illustrations and glossy screenshots. Overall I'd rate this Valis remake as very good, combining the raw gameplay of an early platformer with the sophisticated charm of a CD title. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
The projectile-based combat is moderately fun, but while moving forward you're a little too close to the edge of the screen, making it hard to react in time. You'll find yourself taking a stop-and-go approach, which is kind of annoying. Yuko squeals like a puppy when hit, but not to worry because she has a huge life bar. I find it strange how the life bar of the next boss remains permanently displayed below yours.
Weapon upgrades appear early and often, and you'll soon find yourself nearly invincible, firing deadly waves of energy while being protected by rotating orbs. You don't even lose your weapon when you die. Valis II is so easy I worried I might beat it on my first try! You get tons of extra lives and there's even a save function. The challenge finally kicks in during stage four, where you battle floating brains and dudes dashing around on fire.
I have to admit there are some very cool-looking creatures like slithering snake-men. The CD-quality music is fair but the cutscenes fall flat with long, awkward silences between lines of dialog. Scary demonic bosses sound more like college professors and the dialog is dreadful. But don't attempt to skip the dialog - I did and accidentally reset the entire game. Valis II probably didn't need a CD, but it does deliver old-school fun with a low frustration factor. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Valis 3's gameplay is pretty standard. By switching control between various female characters, you slash your way through scenic lands filled with mythological creatures. The graphics are sharper than the Genesis version, but not as attractive. The city lights in particular look like crap. The pace of the game is faster, but the controls are far less forgiving. Whenever an enemy strikes you, you automatically roll back, often off the edge of a cliff! In the poorly designed second stage, I couldn't determine how to leap between a series of well-spaced ledges.
After a bit of research, I discovered you actually have to slide between the ledges! Yes, slide across a chasm in mid-air. Idiotic stuff like that makes me want to slap an F on the game and be done with it. Valis 3 is also plagued by cheap and mandatory hits, making the game far more difficult than it should be. The soundtrack is of high quality, but the voice acting is vomit-inducing. Check out this dramatic exchange. Boss: "My intro was a bit flashy, but do you like it?" Yuko: "Why do you do something like that?" Boss: "Hey, ask your sword, Yuko." This game is a mess. If you have a choice, stick with the Genesis version. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
The stage designs are simple yet clean and attractive. You'll walk through temple ruins under a red sunset, float on platforms over rushing water, and cross perilous bridges. Enemies include flying crabs, floating phantoms, some green guy with a mace, and fire-breathing dragon statues. I like how you can slash repeatedly, but you can only aim sideways so it's hard to deal with enemies approaching from overhead.
If you press up while attacking you'll unleash your magic which envelops the screen. The controls are crisp but the double jump is tricky. You need to initiate the second jump right away; if you hesitate it will not register. Before jumping onto a platform near the edge of the screen you'll want to pause a moment to make sure it's not being patrolled by a monster. Some platforms are hard to reach but I noticed you can jump a little higher if you do so while running.
Later stages introduce additional playable characters like a tall knight who hurls ghostly wolf heads. Enemies exhibit predictable behavior, but I hate those big white swirls that follow you around like heat-seeking missiles. Valis IV has no score but several continues are available. The orchestrated soundtrack is CD quality and has an appealing old school vibe. The game isn't spectacular but it might remind you how much fun an old-school side-scroller can be. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
The smooth scaling of oncoming cars and the rolling hills reminded me of Road Rash on the Genesis, but why are all of the vehicles so huge? My car looks like a toy compared to these other cars! Heck, even the motorcycles tower over me. And what's up with all the garbage trucks?
Victory Run's gameplay just didn't do it for me. Driving down the road dodging cars gets old after a while. Between track segments you can upgrade your tires, gears, engine, suspension, and brakes, but I could never tell which ones I needed. Even worse, you can damage your engine by running it too high! That goes against my natural instinct to go fast, and it really hurts this game's overall score. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Through five action-packed stages, your kung-fu hero faces the same thugs over and over until you reach the end-of-level boss. The moves are limited to the standard punch, kick, jump, and crouch, but occasionally you'll come across a pair of devastating nun-chucks which kick the action into high gear. If you want to be really cheap, use the turbo with these things for some rapid-fire attacks. It's especially effective against bosses, who normally take forever to kill.
The graphics in Vigilante are better than average, and the New York skyline looks fantastic. In terms of sound, the music isn't bad, and there's a satisfying "thud" whenever you whack somebody. Vigilante is fun while it lasts, but it's definitely a shallow experience. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics don't look bad and I like the game's festive vibe. The brisk pacing is matched by upbeat music that plays throughout the contest. The pitcher/batter screen is nicely animated. The batter doesn't just slide around the batter's box; he shuffles his feet when you move him. Likewise the pitcher windup is fluid and the catcher will reach for wide pitches.
Once the ball is put into play the game goes into an overhead mode a la Reggie Jackson Baseball (Sega Master System, 1988). It's kind of underwhelming for a 16-bit machine. Fly balls scale out to immense proportions, often obscuring the fielder you're trying to catch the ball with! Even so, I like the suspense of home runs and it's wild to watch a ball curl around the foul pole.
The main problem with World Class Baseball is the hitting - or lack thereof. The pitches come in fast and can change direction in flight. You're forced to commit your swing early, so whether the ball will be hitable or not turns into one big guessing game. When playing against another human you'll strike out at least every other time up.
Playing the computer is a different story. The CPU tends to throw balls over the plate and when batting he'll never go after a wide pitch. As a result a lot more balls are put into play. Unfortunately few of these make it past the pitcher's mound! What's the deal with all these weak dribblers and pop-ups? I was rooting for World Class Baseball, but I'm afraid this game lacks the talent to reach the postseason. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
During serves, one button is an aggressive serve and the other is a safe serve. Likewise during volleys one button is a normal return and the other is a lob. Your player stops in his tracks when you execute your swing, so proper positioning is critical. It takes a while to get a feel for the game but it plays great. After each point the camera pans up to the crowd, and I think I spotted Colonel Sanders in the first row.
World Court Tennis supports the multitap (for doubles action) but it's the RPG mode that steals the show. You did not misread that last sentence! It sounds like an awful idea but it's awesome! The totally believable premise has you trying to restore peace in a kingdom taken over by an evil tennis king. As you roam the wilderness you are confronted by preppy-looking people who challenge you to tennis matches. You use your winnings to upgrade your equipment. It's fun and addictive. World Court Tennis is no doubt one of the silliest tennis games you'll ever play but it's also one of the most fun. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Unfortunately learning how to play each one requires reading the manual's tiny font. Not only do these instructions fail to provide adequate descriptions of the controls, they refer to some events by the wrong name! Did the author even play this game? The competition is divided into three-event "days", each concluding with a lady at a sports news announcing "It's dog-eat-dog at the Hudson Stadium Championships!"
The trap shooting, archery, and rapid-fire pistol (is that even a thing?) events are probably the best of the bunch. The track and field events are a somewhat exhausting combination of button mashing and timing. But man, Hudson Soft really beat the swimming contests into the [expletive] ground! There are no less than five of these boring events. I can't tell one from the next, and they take forever.
But the worst flaw would have to be the outrageous difficulty. You practically have to set a world record just to qualify! Hell, in the long jump you pretty much have to clear the [expletive] sandbox! Adding insult to injury, failure in any event means you'll have to start the entire day over! Was Hudson Soft too cheap to hire one lousy play-tester?! The qualifying score is flashed briefly before each event; is it asking too much to keep that thing on the screen?
After finding themselves stuck in track-and-field limbo, my friends resorted to two people sharing one same controller - one to run and the other to time the jump. Next time we'll stick to the training mode, which at least returns you to the event selection screen. World Sports Championship is a botched olympic title that feels like it was rushed out the door in world record time. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
First off, it's really hard to navigate the streets on your skateboard. Lining up for a shot is difficult enough, but your momentum usually sends you drifting right into your target! That's a serious problem when enemies like man-eating plants require about 15 shots to kill! Be sure to enable the rapid-fire setting on your controller.
Advanced stages pit you against bee swarms, dinosaurs, and aliens, but the action always feels the same. The maze-like town is boring and the non-stop Beach Boys music will have you lunging for the mute button. Yo Bro drags on and on, so by the time you're prompted to "continue?" the decision is a no-brainer. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Racket Boy, Moby Games, The PC Engine Software Bible