The final volume of the Valis story arc to feature Yuko as the main character, this action platformer was released in America in both its Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 CD incarnations. The PC Engine version was released first in Japan on September 7, 1990, with the Megandrive version following a little under a year later. Apart from improved graphics and level design, one additional tweak to the Valis series came in the form of additional player characters –in addition to Yuko, the player could switch to Cham and Valna (once acquired), each with their own weapon and magic sets.
STORY: Yuko has been living a normal life again since the events of Valis 2; however, a crisis is at hand in Vecanti! King Grames of the devil world has come and conquered, and he has his sights set on merging both of these worlds with reality! He is also somehow in possession of the Layzus sword, the twin and opposite of the Valis sword and long thought lost. Cham comes and attempts to steal the Valis sword as Yuko sleeps to avenge her murdered father... what will Yuko do?
Incorporating the familiar action platforming style found in Castlevania, as well as previous Valis games, the player must navigate each stage to find and defeat the boss of that level. In addition to the usual jump and attack, Valis III introduces a sliding maneuver for the characters as well. Characters can also "high jump" by holding up during a jump. Yuko, Valna and Cham can each be selected at will for their appropriate skills (some levels cannot be completed without using Valna’s magic, for example).
A weapon gauge displays the current power of the player’s weapons, and power up icons can be collected during play to increase that level. The weapon power bar refills over time, and the more full the bar is the stronger the attack; thusly, attacking rapidly is much weaker than allowing your attack to charge and then striking. Magical attack power ups take the form of Fire, Ice and Thunder, which are shared by all three characters, but each with different results. There is no longer a point score as in previous Valis games, so collected crystals will instead fill the player’s magic meter.
Several items are found throughout the game; they are contained in "item boxes". Break them open and see what's inside!
- Heal: Restores 4 points of life.
- Recover: Restores 16 points of life.
- S magic: Restores 2 magic points.
- B magic: Restores 8 magic points.
- Power up: Raises a character's weapon power level by 1.
- Energy speed: Increases the rate at which the weapon energy bar refills.
- 1up: Grants the player an extra life.
Yuko – a high school student in the human world, chosen by queen Valia in the original game to wield the sword of Valis.
- Fire Dagger: Causes several small fiery daggers to form and float behind Yuko; they home in and attack enemies.
- Ice Cutter: Yuko fires a shot straight forward which can freeze enemies solid.
- Thunder Sword: A burst of energy strikes all enemies on the screen.
Valna – the princess of Vecanti (the dream world), and Yuko’s twin sister. Her weapon is a staff which fires projectiles; she focuses mainly on magic. Heavy usage of her ice magic is necessary to complete some parts of the game. Her fire magic is heat spinner, her ice magic is death cube, and her thunder magic is thunder storm.
- Heat Spinner:
- Death Cube:
- Thunder Storm:
Cham (Char in the US Turbo CD version) – a refugee from the devil world whose father was executed by Grames. She enters reality in order to steal the sword of Valis and have her revenge on Grames, but ends up befriending Yuko. Her weapon of choice is a barbed whip. Her fire magic is fire dragon, her ice magic is ice arrow, and her thunder magic is lightning bolt.
- Fire Dragon: Cham creates a fire dragon that homes in on enemies and is active for a long period of time.
- Ice Arrow: Cham fires projectiles to her left and right which can freeze enemies.
- Lightning Bolt: Cham fires a spread of lightning bolts in multiple directions.
King Grames (King Ramses in the US Turbo CD version) – the new leader of the Vecanti, he is the leader of the Raffine clan and is originally from the world of devils. He is armed with the dreadful Layzus sword, a twin of the Valis sword and allegedly equal in power. He is attempting to merge all three worlds together, but in the end he has the more insane goal of combining the two sword's power so as to challenge the gods. He also happened to murder Cham's father as he was opposed to Grame's goals of invasion.
Rogures (Rogles in the US games): The villain of the original Valis game, he has been returned to life. He agrees to work for Grames in an opportunity to get revenge on Yuko.
Zalude: One of Grames' generals. He makes a bizarre appearance in Valis IV as well.
Asura: An icy General of Grames, he is very vain and a narcissist. His pre-battle dialogue with Valna is an obnoxious "laugh-off".
Nizetti: After testing Yuko with a harrowing trial, he unlocks her true power.
Stage 1: Cham attempts to make off with the Valis sword, but unfortunately minions of Grames have followed her and attempt to take the sword themselves. Yuko has to rescue Cham from a ball-and-chain wielding devil. After rescuing Cham, she becomes playable!
Stage 2: Yuko and Cham travel to the dream-world of Vecanti; Grames' forces have already arrived and conquered! Yuko and Cham must traverse a mountain pass, fighting past scorpion men and other bizarre creatures on the way. On the path several wounded soldiers inform them Vanity Castle has been taken and Valna has been imprisoned. A devilish winged soldier of Grames awaits at the top of a waterfall for our heroines.
Stage 3: A spooky forest on the way to the tower were Valna is held! Our heroines are immediately assaulted by invisible soldiers and chomping jaws. A mysterious ferryman offers to take the girls across the lake, but he can only take one at a time...fishmen assault whoever was chosen on the way, but wait! It was all a trap, and the ferryman is the boss. He transforms in to a rather weak serpent.
Stage 4: The tower where Valna is held! Yuko (or Cham, as you're still seperated) must scale the tower and fight off the various guards. Valna is imprisoned in a crystal at the top! After freeing her, Valna must fight the stage boss, the fire devil Koriranba, on her own.
Stage 5: Yuko and co. head to the sacred place called Sazarland to meet with Nizetti, who (according to Valna) can unlock the true power of the Valis sword. Probably the most infamous stage in the game, heavy usage of Valna's death cube magic is vital to pass the stage. At the end, a bell must be rung a number of times to prove you are worthy to enter Sazarland!
Stage 6: After proving themselves worthy, our heroines must test their resolve by climbing Nirvan Road, a path which leads to the heavens. Along the way, Yuko encounters the spirits of some of her departed comrades (I.E., Reiko and Valia) Yuko must face an onslaught of soldiers to test her bravery!
Stage 7: King Grames dispatches his generals to dispose of Yuko! Arriving in the Grames' devil world, our heroines traverse a frightful graveyard, populated by typically graveyard-esque denizens. Flying bloody crosses attempt to impale our protagonists, and huge mounds of bones are a testament to the terrible rule of Grames. Rogures awaits Yuko at the end, eager for revenge! He's not afraid to use some of his same old tricks, but he also has a newfound fondness for knives!
Stage 8: Continuing on their way, Yuko and co. pass through a desert full of the remains of long-dead giant creatures. Of course, no video game desert is complete with giant ant lions and sand dwelling fish! Zalude awaits at the end to attack our heroines with an array of saw blades and a mighty shoulder tackle!
Stage 9: Next stop, an icy cave! Flying ammonites float casually though the air, and ice-men hurl themselves suicidally at our ladies in an all-out effort to stop their advances. Asura waits at the end of the caves, eager to prove his beauty and strength. He teleports and leaps about, hurling a variety of projectiles as he does so.
Stage 10: Grames hasn't been sitting idly by during all this; he's invaded the human world! His foreboding tower has sprung up in the middle of Tokyo; it's time for Yuko and friends to make a final stand, scale his tower and take him down! Grames will be the toughest opponent Yuko has ever faced; she'd better be ready! He's capable of everything Yuko can do, and more!
Nevertheless, Grames falls before Yuko's sword; for her long and hard work, Yuko ascends to Godhood in the ending. Thusly a new path opens for the people of the devil world and the people of the dreamworld Vecanti to co-exist peacefully.
When released Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the scores of 8,8,7,8 stating, "...this is the best of the Valis trilogy yet!"