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Valis II The Fantasm Soldier

version: jp - year: 1989 - developer: telenet japan - publisher: telenet japan - format: msx2, 4 disks - condition: good - rarity: very

Valis II for MSX2 comes with a similar packaging to the X68000 version and has the same beautiful booklet.

 

Way better than the first game on MSX

 

You start out your quest in your pyjama, literally!!

 

Cut-scenes are well done considering it's a 1989 game and they do get kinkier towards level 5 and 6.

 

Level 2. It often pays to jump over eenemies instead of fighting each one of them because they respawn indefinitely...

 

You can equip different armors and spells which even look different on Yuko.

 

This level seems to be a big dead-end, until you start using "explode" to carve yourself a path through walls and floors.

 

The first flying level feels a bit like a shooter, Androgynus style.

 

The last level is divided into 3 sections with a boss for each section. It can be very unforgiving and some glitches will be very punishing and make you curse in aramaic!

 

The ending sequence is pretty nice and then, this screen pops up. Super Deformed Valis? SD Valis would come out a few years later on Mega Drive :)

 

The soundtrack CD is both rare and enjoyable. Was worth looking for!

Review - Valis II for the MSX2 is a huge step forward compared to the first game that appeared on MSX and it could be considered as being the game that popularized the series in Japan.

In particular, it introduced lengthy cut-scenes which were made possible by the use of four 3,5” disks instead of the cartridge format.

Valis II for MSX2 obviously screams old school from each and every angle you look at it. I initially just wanted to try out the disks to see if they worked and I sincerely wasn’t thinking about going through the game, since I still remember with utter horror the few minutes I spent with the previous chapter on MSX.

To my surprise, loading the game proved to be quick and painless, with no extra-long loading time like I was expecting. Of course, this is not Amiga territory and when it comes to optimizing loading time, my experience tells me so far that Japanese were much better at it than Europeans.

After a pleasant, but letter-boxed intro I picked up the pad and tried a couple of times to go through the first level. Valis II still has a somewhat jerky scrolling and a sometimes approximate collision detection but unlike the first Valis, this one is playable! Not only it is playable, but it also looks much better.

Backgrounds are much more detailed and diverse than MSX Valis, while enemies are fairly varied and bosses can be pretty big and intimidating.

The music is also very inspired and the FM capabilities of the MSX2 are used to great effect to give it justice. The music is so good that I actually felt compelled to buy the soundtrack CD...

When I realized somebody wrote a walkthrough for the game, I realized Valis II could really be special if I could get past the obsolete visuals and the hardcore gameplay. And guess what, it did!

Getting past the first level opened up a series of other levels which included side-scrolling shooting sections (when you gain the ability to fly) and a level in which you literally have to carve yourself a path to get to the exit, by using a weapon that can blow up walls and floors (Exploder).

What I am trying to say is that Valis II gameplay is varied and it also has some mild RPG elements since you’ll be able to switch armors, weapons and magic at any time during the game. Choosing the right equipment will often make the difference between success and failure , so make sure to experiment a bit to see what works best against bosses or to get passed certain obstacles.

To perform magic spells (called Special), you will need to use magic points which are also used for flying and can be collected by killing minor enemies.

This will force you to make some tough choices especially in the last level since flying sections will be very long and if you cast magic too often, you’ll end up not having enough magic points to fly over the lava.

The only real magic spell I found useful was “Diff”, which basically uses only 5 magic points and freezes enemies for a certain amount of time. When enemies are attacking you from all sides, you’ll find it very useful, believe me!

A special mention should go to the cut-scenes, which are generously included after each level and which are letter-boxed most of the time, but which sometimes include “high-definition” still images.

Moreover, further into the game, the quality of the animation will become much better up to the ending where Yuko’s hair are masterfully animated, and you can really tell the programmers tried their best on the MSX2.

Also, after beating level 5, you’ll be treated to some mild-hentai scenes with plenty of top-less action for you to enjoy. So it’s clear the roots of the dreaded Valis-X (or Valis Cross) go as far back as 1989 at least!

In the end, Valis II for the MSX2 is a much better game than the prequel, and it’s the chapter that really established the franchise as a serious contender in the 2D action-platforming arena. Just a final word on the difficulty level though: it can drive you insane!

Bottom line: Impressive action - platformer with good but tough gameplay. Don't let the jerky scrolling shy you away from one of the better MSX2 games. 8,5/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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