By Video_Game_King 34 Comments
Syd of Valis( Or don't, for I don't care.) You may be asking yourself why I set up a title that I'd shoot down in the first sentence of this blog. Here's the answer: look above the sentence. What do you see? Yes: Syd of Valis. So what's that got to do with anything? First, it's far more chibi than anime, and I don't want to piss off anime fans (do I really need another Halo 3 on my hands?). Second, Syd of Valis sucks, so I imagine there will be more comments about how I'm wrong about this game than there will be comments about the Valis anime.
Actually, that's probably due to the fact that there was no Valis anime. Kinda. From the looks of it, the series tried to establish this huge media empire, but it never panned out. I'm guessing it's the story. I should probably explain that Syd of Valis is probably what happens when somebody misreads "Valis SD" while they're translating a game. Wait, I meant "Syd of Valis is Valis II." It takes place some time after Valis 1, the story of a Japanese youth never shutting the hell up. This time, however, she's learned to shut up (oh, and how to make ice cream swords), although perhaps a bit too well. I've always viewed Valis games as being a bit story heavy, so it's a bit of a surprise to see the utterly small amount of story in this game. You don't get a lot of cutscenes in the game, and the only dialogue the major bosses spew amounts to "Here is my name, you are going to die." Obviously, this creates a lot of confusion, and not just the relation between identity and killing somebody. For example, what the fuck is a Syd? Why did Yuko's friend come back to life for all of one cutscene? Who's this other girl? What the hell is going on? All I know is that there are four generals and an Emperor Megas (I'd make a Megas XLR joke, but I don't know what that is) out to conquer the land of Valis, and that there's a Syd in it. I should probably mention that I've actually played the original Valis, meaning I'm going to understand a good deal of what they're talking about. Imagine what somebody who's never played any previous Valis games would think upon seeing this.
I think I know what they'd think: "What's this chibi bullshit? Also, what's a chibi?" It's just way too cute and simple. I could use that to describe the entire game, but then I'd remember the equipment system. Good news: you get to equip different weapons and armor that have immediately noticeable effects, and one of those effects is a different looking sprite for each outfit! Bad news: they get progressively more sexual. If the game was any longer, the hentai games would have arrived sooner. However, it's only five levels of simplicity. You jump through straight levels, shoot at enemies, encounter a boss, get some life, and repeat. I know that I'm making this sound a bit RPG-y, but it really isn't. The closest it gets is when your weapons level up in level 4, for no reason. You battle a mini-boss, Yuko chews out the words "level-up", and they just become more powerful versions of what you already have. So forget anything about this being a grand story about mystical dimensions and sexually exploited Japanese girls; this is a straight-up platformer. As I said before, it's just running right and jumping, but even then, it fucks up at least one of those things. It could be either one, but I only noticed the super-advanced Ice Physics Engine when I was jumping onto nearby platforms. You'd think that this would piss me off a helluva a lot, and while it logically should, there's a good reason why it doesn't.
That's because the game's so easy that Yuko from Valis 1 could beat it. Keep in mind that rain confused this stupid girl. Anyway, this game is totally easy. As I said earlier, your weapons become more powerful in level 4, but even before then, you're pretty much carrying a sword that releases nuclear explosions with each swing. Unfortunately, the bosses are pretty much immune to radiation, so you'll need much more strategy and finesse. Some of the time. OK, a few of the bosses are challenging, but most of them are total pushovers. Two reasons for this: easily spottable patterns and dead spots. Just find the perfect spot, crouch, switch to your three-way weapon, and wait ten years for the bastard to die. Even the final boss falls for this bullshit. It's like they just didn't give a shit about this game. Hell, go back to the ice cream sword link and just look at the game. Look at it. You don't even have to look at it to know that it sucks; close your eyes and just listen to the laziness. Why couldn't they just release Valis II in America without this crap? I'm sure it would have been a decent game. You know, not like this. Just to drive the point home further, I'm giving this game the I'd Totally Video Review This if I Could Shit Work Out Award. I just need to figure out some weird Hypercam/Audacity hook-up before I can tear into this game on video.
- Is it some type of achievement to have little story and make it confusing?
- Just ignore the RPG elements, because this is a platformer. A very basic platformer.
- Not even Magic Knight Rayearth was this maddeningly easy. It was just as maddeningly girly, but that's not enough.
OK, I wasted all my anime videos in my other anime blogs, so I'm just gonna post a Japanese video. Close enough, right?
Mega Man Zero 2( Only now do I realize that I should have titled this blog "Eerie Similarities.") I'd make that a Renegade Ego spin-off, but given that I stumble upon this shit by accident, there's no chance in hell of this happening. Just look at these two games: they're both story heavy Japanese platformers that are sequels to other story heavy Japanese platformers, and I had to look up the stories to both in order to understand them. They also feature some light RPG elements that never really develop as far as they should. However, I did notice one big difference between these two games; Mega Man Zero 2 is actually pretty good.
Hey, remember when I said that I had to look up the story? I'm not kidding about that; I had to go to the Mega Man Zero article on Wikipedia to fill myself in on the story, because the game does not help you with it at all. Oh, and in case you try to yell at me for being unfair about this, keep in mind that I last touched Mega Man Zero in about the same amount of time it took this game to come out. So what's the story, again? Well, it's been 100 years since Mega Man X whatever, and every Reploid is assumed to be a Maverick, leading to their ultra-oppression under an evil M...wait, that's the story behind Mega Man Zero 1. Let's start over: it's been 101 years since Mega Man X whatever, and Zero's wandering through the desert, for some reason. Eventually, this wandering through the desert leads him to join a resistance force led by a guy (yes, he's a guy) who loves to stroke his hair before saying anything. I'd make a Family Guy joke, but I'm not the Nostalgia Critic, so it doesn't work. If you're looking for more story than that, then go to Mega Man X4 or something, because the story in this game is pretty bare. Some Nazi stuff, something about Baby Elves and a Dark Elf, a cliffhanger ending, and that's about it. It's really surprising, given just how much work Capcom put into so little story (you have a ton of characters that don't do anything, a villain who forgets his motivation, some cool pics, etc.), and it's really obvious how disappointing that is.
You know, just like the two equipment system thingies. First up is the Elf system, which makes a bit more sense when you realize that Elves aren't your traditional food-making magical midgets, but computer program fairy things. I said "a bit", OK? You equip them before going into battle, and each one has a unique effect that you'll only find on about half the other Elves. But still, disregarding that, they have a variety of uses, like upgrading health, making your platforming easier, and whatever the shit this is. It sounds innocent enough, but there's one major problem: the game doesn't want you using this cool feature. At all. Use it once, even in the useless pre-level base, and the game deducts it from your score. I've seen negative scores because of shit like this. I feel like I've seen this before, but for whatever reason, I can't name a single case of this happening. Fortunately, I can do just that for the second equipment system: forms. It's like Syd of Valis's armor thing, and it's just as useless. All I did was turn Zero purple. He should never be purple. Just like the chips, it's pretty much a useless visual add-on.
I can sense some confusion among you; looking at both my score for this game and this blog, your head has exploded in an attempt to calculate these numbers. I've exposed you, you fucking robots. No more will you go unnoticed. Now that the fucking robots are gone, let me give you the real reason I find this game to be awesome: really solid platforming. There are also some mission objectives to spice things up, but really, it's all about the platforming. You'll slide and jump through all the levels, and you'll die a few times, but damn it, you'll enjoy it. Part of the reason for this is the introduction of a grapple hook, and while it doesn't go all out Bionic Commando with it, it does get a decent amount of use. Hell, I was able to use it from some tricky wall jump chicanery in some levels, where it looked like Capcom didn't want me getting where I wanted to go. Awesome. At this point, I should mention the other weapons, but the only one worth mentioning is the sword. I know that it's impractical as hell when you're a robot with a gun, but killing things with your sword is actually really oddly satisfying. I'd explain it, but The Joker already did. It's even satisfying to use in the least useful situations. You know, like bosses. Remember how in Syd of Valis, you could find a blind spot and just plug away at a boss? Try that shit here, and you'll get your ass handed to you just so it can fling shit in your face. You need some actual skill to beat these guys, and part of that is because they've adopted the Kingdom Hearts boss strategy of piling health bar upon health bar. Then again, there is an Elf that reduces this to normal levels, so it all balances out. The only major flaw I noticed with them was that most of the time, they didn't have the Mega Man weaknesses. Obviously, this leads me to give the game the How Can You Call Yourself a Mega Man Game Award, and this blog the Most Abrupt Ending Award. Honestly, it came out of nowhere faster than it did in The Violinist of Hameln.
- For such a focus on the story, there isn't a lot to it.
- You know, if you're gonna put in RPG-esque features, at least make them useful.
- The platforming just plain rocks. Not much more to say about it, really.