Review by TheSAMMIES

Reviewed: 08/12/13 | Updated: 10/01/13

This is how I want to remember you

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Valis fan. I’ve played every game in the series, even the bad ones. I love everything about these games. The story, the graphical art style, the music, the gameplay, I love everything. The Turbo CD games are by far the best version of the Valis games. This is one of the best ones. It takes everything that Valis III did right and streamlines it. It plays a lot cleaner and is generally more polished, making for one of the best experiences the series has to offer. If you are a fan of Valis, Turbo CD game, or just action/platformers, you should give this game a try. It’s an unforgettable end to an unforgettable game series.

Story- Valis IV picks up 15 years after Valis III ended. The opening has huge spoilers from the ending of Valis III, so I’ll do the best I can to describe it without ruining anything. After Vecanti is finally free from the oppression of Glames, a new evil comes in. Its name is Galgear. There’s a reason he hadn’t appeared until now in the series, and it’s explained a bit. He’s the most powerful evil that Vecanti had ever seen, and no one can turn to Yuko for help anymore. Everything seems lost. There is seemingly no more hope.

The Goddess still has one last thing that she can do to save both worlds, Earth and Vecanti. She can call upon a new hero and have someone else take up the Valis sword. This marks the appearance Lena Brande, the final Valis soldier. She’s a complete newcomer and has problems adjusting to being a fighter, but she adapts and is aided by her sister, Amu, and Galgear’s repentant father, Asfal. Together, the three will stop at nothing to free Vecanti once and for all, finally bringing peace to the world.

Chronologically, this is the very last Valis game. It can be seen as a sort of grand finale to the series. The core mechanics of the series have been changed, the threat level of the villain is greater than it’s ever been, and every character that’s still alive appears in some form or another. There are plenty of subtle nods and shout-outs to pervious events in the series, if anything, just to remind you how far you’ve come and that everything is going to come to a close soon. By the time everything’s been said and done, you’ll have taken in a lot. After this, the story’s over. Everything’s all wrapped up in such a beautiful and melancholy way that it’s hard not to feel a little bit sad. This is it. This is the end of Valis.

Presentation- This is the best looking Valis game in the series. As always, sprites are huge, detailed, and brightly colored. There’s a good amount of enemy variety too, enough that you’ll never get bored with fighting minor baddies. Valis IV has a lot of animation including full-on anime cutscenes that have high quality voice acting. The soundtrack is great too, featuring some level themes that will really get your blood pumping.

Gameplay- You get three characters that you can switch from at any time, Lena, Amu, and Asfal. Lena is basically the new Yuko. She’s strong, has the most powerful attacks, and is genrally the best character for fighting bosses. Amu is faster, has a double jump, and is better for platforming segments. Asfal is big and slow, but he isn’t hurt by lasers or spikes, making him ideal for some situations. He’s also the only playable male character in any Valis game, making him unique in that respect. All characters have different magic that slowly recharges over time. You need to know when to use each character’s spells too, as it also plays a crucial role.

A large part of the game is knowing which character is best for each given situation. Theoretically, you could go through the whole game with very little switching, but it’s much easier to try to think things through and be smart about it. Levels were designed with this in mind, making this game much more cerebral than its predecessors.

Valis IV may not be the best game in the series, but it’s a great way to end it. Sometimes the best games come out at the end of a system’s lifespans when everybody’s looking more to the future and at what the next generation of video games could hold. Valis IV was one of the last games released for the Turbo CD. It serves as a swan song to the system and to a greater extent, the original series. Valis would later be brought back from the dead as Valis X, but this is how I want to remember Valis. It was fun, beautiful, engaging, and emotional. It’s an unforgettable end to an unforgettable game series.

Cool Fact- The story and characters of Valis IV were never mutated into hardcore anime porn by Valis X. Even if they were, it wouldn’t mean anything. No matter what kind of perverse future Valis holds, the series will always be beautiful to me. No amount of tentacle rape will ever take that away.

Also Try- The early Castlevania games play a lot like Valis, but they don’t have the same amount of heart and soul that Valis always had. The horror themes do go a long way, though. Dracula X: Chi No Rondo and Castlevania IV are probably the two best, so be sure to look into those. Strider is also pretty similar and it remains as one of the greatest action/platformers of all time. Play the X68000 version, it’s the best one.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Valis IV (JP, 08/23/91)

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