Valis II is a scrolling action game, in the vein of Castlevania. In its North American incarnation, it was one of the first batch of titles published in 1990 to exploit the CD-ROM attachment for the TurboGrafx-16 console. Where the scope of the game would not have been considered remarkable (especially given its six stage length), the inclusion of brief animated cut scenes, and recorded voices that played back in advance of boss encounters, proposed to display the benefits of CD-ROM for gaming. The releases on various home computer systems are markedly different: while most of the same characters are involved and the storyline is much the same, the stages, enemies, items, and general systems are quite different, and in many ways this earlier iteration is a superior game. The X68000 version is the best looking of the home computer versions, with the MSX version being the most inferior.
Yuko: The main character; an otherwise ordinary high school student chosen to wield the legendary sword of Valis on behalf of the world of Vecanti (the dream world).
Reiko: Yuko’s best friend –or, rather, former best friend, who now appears in this game as only a ghost to alert Yuko to events in the dream world. In the opening cut scene of the PC Engine version we are treated to a recreation of their encounter from the original Valis game, in which Yuko is forced to kill Reiko in a duel.
Queen Kristoval Valia: The good Queen of the light side of Vecanti, and the person who granted Yuko the sword. She has called on Yuko again to save Vecanti. She is terminally ill and dies in the PC Engine version; in the home computer version Megas cruelly murders her.
Emperor Daimon Megas : the antagonist of Valis II. He is currently involved in a civil war in Vecanti to solidify his power; Although King Rogures (the villain of Valis 1) is dead, there are a number of loyalists who refuse to submit to him (and who also attack Yuko in an effort to get the Valis sword to overthrow him!) He was also the rightful heir to the throne, but his own father conspired against him with Rogures, injuring him badly (resulting in his cybernetic aspects) and imprisoning him for a long period of time. As it turns out, he isn't really evil per se, but simply doesn't believe that the people of Vecanti can be united without a strong leader. He feels he and Yuko are the same, both abandoned by their parents. His motivations are much the same in the home computer version, although he is noticeably more cruel and sadistic. Like many of the villains of Valis 2, his full name is revealed in the end credits of the home computer version.
Baluf de Dalis: Emperor Megas' sycophantic majordomo. He resembles a mechanical chameleon. He is not present in the PC Engine version of the game. He dies when Magus' castle is destroyed in a catastrophic explosion.
Jordano Haizen: Megas' top general in the home computer version, and also one of three top generals in the PC Engine version. He is present in both games, albeit he has an expanded role in the home computer version, arriving to take the Valis jewelry Gaius gives Yuko after his defeat.
Gyome Gaius: A character named Gaius is present in both versions of the game, but otherwise they are essentially different characters. In the home computer version, he is the last of Rogures' loyalist generals, and upon defeat gives Yuko a piece of Valis jewelry and wishes that she will be able to destroy Megas. In the PC Engine version Gaius is a general of Megas' army who is occupying Queen Valia's castle, Vanity.
Tou: Megas' final general, he is rather whiny and is only in the PC Engine version. He desperately begs Megas for help in his battle against Yuko, only to be rebuffed.
Zaluga: The boss of the first stage in both versions of the game, he is one of the last surviving generals of the Rogures loyalist army. His appearance is only slightly different in the home computer version, but he is much larger than in the PC Engine version and has very different attacks.
Giran: The final General of the loyalist faction in the PC Engine version, he is unceremoniously cut in half by Megas.
The PC Engine Version
Moving primarily from left to right, Yuko must navigate the landscape while slashing oncoming enemies with her sword. Each stage features a mid-stage boss (or several!) and a final boss. At the end of each stage, the game will save its progress automatically.
Items and Power-Ups
There are a variety of items and power-ups in Valis 2 which fall in to several different categories.
- Normal: The basic shot type. Picking up additional power ups will increase its strength.
- Cutter: A strong, crescent shaped projectile. Picking up additional power ups will increase its strength.
- Homing: A simple homing missile-type shot. It is the weakest of the various projectile types.
- Dual: Allows Yuko to shoot two shots at once, one straight forward and one upwards at an angle.
- Speed Up: Resembling a boot, this increases Yuko's movement speed.
- Shield: This item increases Yuko's defense, resulting in her taking less damage from enemies.
- Power Up: Resembling a sword, this increases Yuko's attack power and the level of her special weapon.
- Vitality: Increases the length of Yuko's life bar permanently, so long as Yuko doesn't die.
- Crush: Resembling a lightning bold, this item deals damage to all enemies on the screen.
- Invisibility: Makes Yuko invulnerable for a short period of time.
- Time Stop: Temporarily stops enemy actions.
- Option Barrier: Two spheres which protect Yuko orbit around her.
- 1up: Grants Yuko an extra life.
- Crystal: Picking these up results in a 1000 point bonus.
- Big Life: A red heart that restores a substantial amount of Yuko's depleted life energy.
- Small Life: A blue heart which restores a small amount of Yuko's life energy.
Stage 1: Yuko is suddenly attacked by monsters after having a nightmare. She has no choice but to fight back against their onslaught, taking the fight to first the streets of Tokyo and then the subway system! This stage features both Stinger and Gadel as mini-bosses. At the end of the stage a Rogures loyalist general, Zaluga, demands the Valis sword and attempts to kill Yuko to take it from her.
Stage 2: Yuko enters the world of Vecanti and fights across its bleak and foreboding landscape, encountering many strange creatures and more of the Rogures loyalist forces. The last of the loyalist generals, Giran, attempts yet again to take the sword from Yuko in a cavernous hall of bone. Unfortunately for Giran, his ambitions are cut short as Emperor Megas himself makes an appearance and brutally kills him before challenging Yuko to come to his palace.
Stage 3: Queen Valia's castle, Vanity, has been occupied by Emperor Megas' forces. Yuko must liberate it by defeating them! The leader of the occupying forces is General Gaius, the first of Megas' top three generals. Valia is unfortunately terminally ill and passes on, revealing that Yuko is Valna's sister who had been sent to the human world.
Stage 4: Yuko heads to Megas' castle to stop his forces from conquering all of Vecanti. The environment in this area is increasingly hostile, with flaming men and strange bubble creatures harassing Yuko at every turn. Skeletal dragons also stalk the land. The boss is the second of Megas' top generals, Strange White Haizen. Here, all Haizen does is spin rapidly at Yuko while burrowing in to the ground and re-emerging elsewhere.
Stage 5: Megas' castle at last! Unlike Rogures' castle, it is heavily mechanized and factory-like; it is also full of conveyors, gears, and sparking electrodes! Face-hugger like creatures are being grown in tubes in the background, and some that have gotten lose aren't above attacking Yuko. Several terrifying swordsmen called Alfes patrol the area as well. Waiting at the end for Yuko is Tou, the third and final of Megas' generals.
Stage 6: The approach to Megas' throneroom! Yuko rides through a Giger-esque elevator shaft while being assaulted by the various strange defenders of Megas' inner sanctum. Upon reaching the summit, Yuko fights Magus himself, first in his bio-mechanical life support system and then against a star field. Upon defeat, Yuko observes that Megas wasn't genuinely trying to hurt her, and the whole truth is revealed.
The Home Computer Version
The home computer version of the game is decidedly different from the PC Engine version; however, the differences between the various home computer versions (MSX, PS-9800, X68000, etc.) are mostly graphical in nature.
As previously mentioned, the systems of the home computer version are rather different than the PC Engine version. Yuko is capable of getting multiple outfits and weapons and retaining them; she can switch between them at will on a menu screen. Each weapon and several suits have multiple levels. In addition, Yuko is also capable of picking up and learning several different magic spells.
The various weapons found throughout the game. All weapons have four levels of power.
- Bullet: The first special weapon Yuko finds in the game, this allows her to fire simple projectiles whenever she attacks. It is relatively weak, and a square hit from the sword is still considerably stronger. As Yuko levels it up, she fires multiple bullets that spread simultaneously.
- Laser: A stronger weapon than the bullet. However,does not spread, even after leveling. At level 4, it also shoots out of Yuko's back.
- Cluster: Yuko creates spheres which move in an arc back and forth slightly in front of and above her which eventually fly towards the enemy. Rather strong and quite useful in a variety of situations. It can even block some enemy shots!
- Exploder: This weapon is necessary to complete the game. Yuko fires shots which explode. It is needed to break through some walls. At higher levels, the explosion gets larger and more powerful.
- Hunter: A weak homing type weapon that resembles boomerangs. Yuko fires additional shots when it is leveled.
There are several kinds of magic for Yuko to collect throughout the course of the game. All magic uses Valis jewels.
- Diff: The first spell Yuko finds in the game. It temporarily freezes enemies. However, note that not all enemies are vulnerable to it, and enemy bullets will not stop moving even if this spell is cast! Cost: 5 jewels per cast.
- Evade: Reduces the damage taken by Yuko from enemy shots for a short period. Cost: 10 jewels per cast.
- Integral: Renders Yuko invulnerable for a very short period of time. Cost: 15 jewels per cast.
- Crash: Destroys all basic enemies on the screen. Cost: 20 jewels per cast.
Yuko gets a wide variety of outfits! Both the defense and offense suit have 3 levels of power.
- Pajamas: Yuko's starting outfit. Worthless.
- Sailor Fuku: Classic school uniform. Offers slightly higher HP than the pajamas.
- Blazer: A more mature school uniform. Offers an HP max of 12 rather than the sailor fuku's 10.
- Valis Suit: The original Valis suit offers yet more HP.
- Offense Suit: This suit is the first suit Yuko obtains with multiple levels. It significantly increases her maximum HP, by an amount which increases at each level! An all-around good suit.
- Defense Suit: The second suit found with multiple levels. Does not offer the same HP max as the offense suit (24 instead of 30 at level 1) However, it also reduces the damage received by Yuko by a percentage, starting at 25%. However, it also reduces the level of Yuko's weapons!
- Reiko Suit: This suit is in essence "cursed"; it reduces Yuko's HP and weapon level compared to what they should be by the time Yuko finds it, and it can't be removed without the help of a special item.
- Hyper Suit: The best suit in the game. It is automatically obtained in the final stage.
Items which don't quite fall in to any other category!
- Red Valis Jewel: This gives Yuko one jewel point.
- Blue Valis Jewel: This gives Yuko 10 jewel points.
- Recovery: An item found near the end of every stage, it fully restores Yuko's life.
- Jump power: First found in stage 2, where it permanently boosts Yuko's jumping ability. It is later found in stages 4 and 6, where it grants her the power of flight. However, it constantly drains Yuko's jewel stock in these two stages, and if it runs out, she's doomed!
- Curse breaker: Allows Yuko to remove the Reiko suit if she put it on.
Stage 1: Yuko has a dream where Reiko's spirit tells her to prepare and that her power is needed again; she awakes in the middle of the night only to be attacked by a monster! Yuko takes the fights to the streets as she is assaulted by Rogures loyalists who are desperate to get the valis sword in an effort to turn around their floundering campaign against Megas. The boss is Zaluga, a loyalist general. The player is greeted with the message "Zaluga is making arumbling of the earth!" upon arriving at his location, and indeed he begins the battle by causing an earthquake and erupting from the ground. He is quite large and after bursting from the ground attacks Yuko with a barrage of shots from his mouth, all while blocking many of her attacks with his mighty hand. His face is his weak point.
Stage 2: Yuko enters the world of Vecanti again, only to have what Reiko said in her dream confirmed: Vecanti is being dominated by a fierce new ruler, Emperor Megas. The jump power is found near the beginning of this stage and is needed to progress. After fighting through oceans of snails, Yuko encounters the vile beast Sondern, a huge creature with many regenerating "soreheads". Yuko must defeat all of its heads in one pass, otherwise they will all regenerate endlessly! After defeating all the regenerating heads, Sondern's body collapses and its true head bursts forth.
Stage 3: Yuko passes through a cave on her journey, encountering even more snails, strange drill-like animals and other nasties. The exploder is first found in this stage, and is necessary to complete it, as many walls block Yuko's progress. At the end, Gaius, the last of the loyalist generals to Rogures (in a role very different to the one he has in the PC Engine version!) first attacks Yuko with a gigantic effigy of Rogures, then attacks her himself.
Stage 4: Megas explodes on to the scene in a cloud of thunder and a gigantic bio-mechanical battleship! Yuko must fight (and fly) her way through this auto-scrolling stage or fall victim to the numerous turrets and strange bio-mechanical creatures swarming inside. The battleship's commander is Strange White Haizen, Megas' top commander. After the bizarre message "Heizen was manipulated by his occiput!" flashes across the screen, Yuko does battle with him while flying. Armed with a variety of lasers and a rocket punch, Haizen is more bluster than anything else. After his primary body is destroyed, he continues the fight as a spider which consists of his head and part of his back.
Stage 5: With Valia having been captured by Megas, Yuko storms his castle in an effort to rescue her. Yuko must avoid spikes and fight through various types of guards on her way, some more conventional and others more of the spinning, laser-shooting bug variety. The boss is a rather phallic beast called Bazoon that produces huge numbers of larva. Queen Valia is murdered by Megas, and Megas is about to kill Yuko when the spirit of Reiko arrives to rescue her. Equipping the Valis jewelry, Yuko is finally granted the hyper suit!
Stage 6: The final stage. With Megas' castle destroyed, Yuko battles her way to Megas through a blazing cave full of fireballs and prominences. With a shout of "You will be driven from Pillar to Post!" from Megas, Yuko is forced to fight Megas himself! He begins the battle by throwing off his cape which transforms in to a number of small dragons. He then attacks Yuko himself directly. Upon suffering serious injury, he transforms in to a bigger and stronger form capable of flight and firing large projectiles at Yuko. Enjoy the ending after his defeat!
After the end credits, a special extra scene is displayed!