The Sega Genesis Challenge – Valis III

So, Valis III. But where the heck are 1 and 2? Well, this is one of those situations where North America gets just a random entry in a series and is left with just that. Valis III does an excellent job through in-game dialogue, cut scenes, and the instruction manual with giving you plenty of background for what happened in the first two games. And believe me, it is pretty indepth. I lost track of who saved what, when, and how rather quickly. If you are curious there are several resources on the internet that will gladly lay it out for you. But basically it boils down to the player taking on the role of Yulo Ahso, a Japanese school girl who finds and wields the legendary sword Valis while attempting to defend the world of Dreamland. Along the way you meet up with two other characters who are helping you defeat the evil King of Dark World.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward with your standard jump and attack buttons. It is important to note that if you attack then the character pauses for a second. This makes jumping forward and attacking kind of tricky if you are jumping a crevice or water. The third button is used to perform a few special moves including a slide. While sliding the character is invulnerable and the manual stresses again and again how important it is to slide.

Item pickups are plentiful in game and consist of a pretty wide range of health and mp replenishment, special weapons (magic attacks), power ups, and more. The items can be found in floating six pointed star “boxes” that must be hit to be opened.

Enemies are a pretty varied affair and range from the familiar (wolves and “invisible” ninjas) to the bizarre (flying mouths?). Most can be dispatched with one hit but don’t let them hit you because we have the stereotypical bounce back in effect. It is not as severe as in some games but it will stop you mid-jump or knock you off a platform.

Honestly, this is really one of those games that you will either love or not want to be bothered with it. The storyline is almost as indepth and epic as any RPG complete with very detailed dialogue and cut scenes. Unfortunately you cannoy skip the cut scenes and so will probably have to sit through the same ones over and over again as you attempt to master a certain section of the game. The idea of 3 swappable characters is pretty cool, but I didn’t have a chance to experiment with that the first couple of levels.

If you enjoy a deep story with your action platformer then this is probably a game for you. If you want something quick to just pick up and play, then pass on this game. The gameplay, storyline, and levels are far too deep for casual gaming.