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I seriously don’t know how I keep getting myself to play more shmups on this console. It's just a weird habit. This won’t be a long review as I’ve already reviewed the Arcade and GB versions in the past. I think this originally was on that page but got moved to here.
R-Type really made a good transition to the PC Engine keeping a lot of the quality of the Arcade version. I’d argue it’s up to par with it especially for the time. Now if you didn’t like this game in the Arcades, just don’t bother with this. R-Type can be a grueling hard challenge for anyone especially the inexperienced shmup players. You’re gonna have to practice this one unless you have no shame like me and just use save states. I do wish this game didn’t do those go back to checkpoint deaths but I’ve always just been that way about this genre.
I should point out that this is a US only title, kind of. You see in Japan it was released in 2 parts in about a 2 month gap within each other. I don’t really know why they did it like that but they did. This just puts them both together making it exclusive here though a complete version was made for the CD add on.
The game still looks pretty good, it’s been a while since I’ve played the Arcade original so I can’t fully remember how accurate this is. It did feel like there was more sprite flicker but otherwise it looks pretty good to me considering the hardware. Even the music is quite good and fits the PC Engine sound pretty great compared to many other games on the system.
In the end R-type is pretty fun though it might feel outdated considering you can just play the Arcade version. Back then though this was still a fun package to own and should be in anyone’s PC Engine collection or I guess Turbografx 16 collection. I still think stage 6 is awful though, seriously does anyone else think that level is horrible? Anyway yeah good game give it a try like I said.
Angel_Arle Valis reviews
Part 1: Valis II for PC Engine CD
Part 1: Valis II for PC Engine CD
So it’s been a while since the 2nd game’s review. Sorry about that everyone if you were actually waiting for this. Now I had played this one also in 2022 and honestly I thought it was good but was not as good as others say it is. Like some people would say it was like 9/10 good and I didn’t really see it at the time. I’ll also be reviewing the Mega Drive port for a few paragraphs near the end so that might be exciting.
Valis III tries to redo the game engine while keeping it the same gameplay as the last game, a lot has changed. Well you can still attack and jump but you may notice the attack is different now. Yuko only has one attack similar to that one I used a lot in Valis II but it’s the only one she has in the game. You also now have a bar that determines your power and can be upgraded (along with the weapon itself) with the help of a specific item. The bar works a lot like Legendary Axe if you have ever played that game, just let it go all the way up for the most power. Yuko can also now slide which is vital because it can do some damage to enemies, help with platforming, give you a small bit of more speed, gives i-frames during the animation and can get you into short spaces you normally can’t go under. Though for some reason it’s mapped to down + RUN (that’s basically the start button). You do get used to it at least. Yuko can even now use magic of the Fire, Ice, and Light variety. You do up + attack for this and you’ll have to keep in mind your magic points when using it but don’t worry it’s always easy to get refills throughout levels. Oh also Yuko can do a higher jump by holding up which is neat but it’s a little finicky at times.
Now that may sound like an awesome upgrade from the sequel but it gets even better. Yuko now has two other characters joining her. You get Cham after beating level 2 and she uses a whip that is basically at full power all the time but lacks range. Thankfully the hitbox is skewed more into your favor. Her magic is also her weakest aspect as it’s not very impressive but it can still work well at times. Once you get to the end of stage 4 you’ll unlock Yuko’s sister Valna. Valna is the one with weaker normal attacks but has the best magic of the bunch. She’s also got the best range in terms of her attack as she shoots three projectiles with one going above her. You’ll press the RUN button to swap between them, the order goes Yuko > Cham > Valna and then loops back. Be warned you can’t swap during bosses and some moments will have you forced to be a character like Yuko having to always fight two of the bosses.
This game also has more of that story but tbh I know I might lose everyone’s interest in this review saying this but I forgot what the story was. I guess that’s what happens when the last time you watched these cutscenes is what felt like a year ago. I actually skipped them in my playthrough this time because I thought I’d remember and I didn’t. I do remember them looking nice and I like how they give you a recap of the previous 2 games if you weren’t aware of what happened in them. Since this game has multiple characters, there are different dialogue exchanges depending who you chose meaning bosses have different exchanges. Unfortunately they still haven’t made them skippable with a button which can be a bit annoying on multiple playthroughs. I will say I like seeing more of the story progression happening in the levels themselves as now NPCs show up in them. They also got rid of that awful green border meaning the cutscenes look better which is a blessing. Though if I have one nitpick. How does Yuko fly at the beginning of Stage 1 and why does she never do it again?
The level design is sadly the one thing that keeps it from being great. Now while it is pretty fun to play through, there can be some rough patches. There’s one part in stage 5 that has you freezing enemies that can be a pain in the ass and you basically need Valna to complete it or get really lucky. The 2nd to last stage also has some obnoxious enemy placement making hard areas almost infuriating, you will die a bunch on this stage because of it. Now with that said, when it’s not being flawed, it’s being really fun. I love the engagement I get with this game at times. It just hits a flow that Valis II never really gave. There’s also a few ways to tackle any level which I really like and it makes replayability all the more better for it. There can be some challenging stuff at times especially when something like lightning can take half your health, it’s insane. It’s just god if only that 2nd half was a little better. It would be great but I can’t lie and say it is. I also want to point out that in stage 3 you ride this boat and you can actually fall off once the dialogue for the boss starts but instead of killing you, it will be actually unable to kill you and you have to wait for a time out. I even had one time I died but the dialogue kept going and then the stage played in silence. For the record, this isn’t a negative towards the game but I’m just shocked it was left in.
Bosses are actually pretty decent here having way more of a challenge here then in the last game. It helps that you also have to try now due to the game now making you redo the whole fight if you die. They can seem a little tough especially the 2nd to last one but it’s good to experiment if you can but again just make sure you choose who you want before going in unless you’re forced into that character. I do wish the final boss was harder, it basically becomes a battle of hoping you can dodge his dumb screen flash move and just living with barely any health. Thankfully none of them are frustrating which is a relief.
Graphically Valis III really is an improvement from before but still nothing mindblowing. I will say the game excels in environments at times. I really love the environment in stage 6 which can look moody and scary especially with all the dead stuff. A lot of the sprites feel pretty much like the previous game to me but are improved in spots and still have that iconic not giving the face any features whatsoever! The bosses are nice and big and the enemies still have their various themes and stuff going for them. Like I said earlier, the cutscenes were also improved a lot thanks to the removal of that awful border and just better sprite work and animation in general. The music is also pretty good too, with some like the 1st stage and 8th stage having my favorite songs in the game. They aren’t all winners because I really don’t like this song just because the bass synth sounds atrocious to me. Still it is mostly good and the voice acting sounds nice too from what I remember of it that is.
Now let’s sidetrack a bit before the end and talk about that Mega Drive port. This one tries to take a CD game and put it on a cart and I’ll be honest with you all, I expected this to be the same game with worse music and cutscenes but hoooooo boy this one was hard to be positive on. You might be surprised by my opinion on this port but I think it’s bad! In fact let’s just get to it and say the port has a lot of what the original did in stage design and story but there is problems to discuss.
When you start the game you’ll notice one thing immediately. The walk speed is slow like Belmont strut slow. This is something I don’t get, they ran at a good speed in the original, why nerf that? Then we get to the slide, omg they made it so bad in this game! You can’t attack with it anymore which completely ruins some of its utility because now it also doesn’t give you any i-frames during it, it’s depressing. At least it’s on the A button for this game. Valna is also a lot worse in this port at least from my experience. I never felt like she was useful in many situations. Same goes for the magic, it feels nerfed in a lot of ways but maybe I didn’t experiment with it enough. Also what the hell did they do with the player order, now it’s Yuko > Valna > Cham. Did they even look at their screen!? They aren’t even positioned in that order on the UI! What’s also screwed up is now they don’t signify you can’t use the other characters in bosses but then they do it for other things like when you’re on the boat for one character. But let’s talk about the one thing, THE ONE THING that completely hurts the game. They cut the stage count badly!
Do you wanna guess how many stages they cut out of this port? Well too bad I’m not giving you time to guess-IT’S 3! 3 STAGES WHY!? Not only that but it also cuts some of the already existing level design like most of the 5th level. Stages 2, 6, and 7 are now just gone. There is a new stage in this game for the 5th stage but it feels really uninspired and now for some reason the boss of stage 7 is here. Oh yeah remember when Rogles AKA an important character from Valis 1 was the stage 6 boss? Not in this game, why would we do that? Like what is wrong with this port, it gets so many things wrong. Even the music sounds kind of bad, at least compared to the CD stuff. Then again I was never big on most of Telenet’s Mega Drive game OSTs, I know it’s probably criminal to say. Not even all of the story is here which is a shame but I guess expected. Even some of the bosses suck now, remember that 2nd to last boss? Well you can now just spam Cham’s whip and you win weeee I’m having fun such good design! But you know what made me yell what when I first experienced it? In the final room of the game on PC Engine, there was a drop of water that falls off the ceiling which is a minor little detail to put in. Too bad the team for this port was like screw you! YOU TAKE DAMAGE FROM IT NOW! WHY?? WHYYYY!? Is this some kind of cruel joke!?! I honestly think this port is bad, maybe I’m overreacting and tbf it does fix a few things like now you can’t fall off the boat meaning that weird glitch can’t happen, that one thing I mentioned in stage 5 I wasn’t a fan of isn’t in this port which was nice kind of idk and the ice stage is way better now the enemy placement isn’t so bs at times but that level also made the ice physics worse so really Angel_Arle is just gonna complain for this whole paragraph guys! Let’s just wrap up with the PC Engine CD version now.
Replaying this game was a surprise for me because I like it more than I used to and now It’ll make my 2022 rankings age poorly which is unfortunate. But hey I like that I enjoyed it more. This is a really fun action game with some rough moments but I just think it’s an enjoyable romp that isn’t even like just from ironic or guilty pleasure feels. I didn’t hate Valis II but I could admit it was sort of bad especially in today’s viewpoint. I do think Valis III can stand on its two legs and is one of the more enjoyable games on the console. There’s a reason this game is well praised by PC Engine fans and personally it has me excited to try out Valis IV as while it has a new cast of characters, it still features the multiple characters style of game. Just don’t play that Mega Drive port, it sucks. I’d say it’s worth at least trying the PC Engine version if you haven’t yet. Just don’t buy it on Switch just please don’t because it's like $15, that's stupid. Oh wait here’s one more thing before I go! Did you know the sign at the end of Stage 1 changes a lot. In the original it says NEC, on the Mega Drive it says RENO, and on the Switch it says EDIA. Weird it just keeps changing, must be a copyright thing. Hope you enjoyed reading this and thank you for reading if you did, bye bye for now!
Last night I was watching this long Wario Land retrospective video, you can watch it here if you want. I enjoyed it but one thing that I was thinking after watching it was him talking about how Virtual Boy Wario Land doesn’t get too much attention especially compared to something like Wario Land 4. So I played it and as I expected, it’s quite good!
This is basically a sequel to the first game where you travel through levels finding as much money and treasure as you can. There are 10 levels in the entire game with 4 bosses to go through. That may seem like a very awful amount considering the first game’s 40 levels but this was the Virtual Boy so I assume this was to make it more suitable for the hardware it was on. This game really wants you to go at a fast speed to get the best time while also getting coins and lives to benefit yourself but also still keeping the pace going which I think benefits the short level count.
Wario can still do stuff like his shoulder tackle which has really good speed especially with the bull power. You can still ground pound but you seem to not be able to do it as normal Wario anymore unless I’m missing something. The only thing missing now is the high jump which I guess makes sense but still an odd omission. The jet power is also missing in this one and is now replaced with an eagle ability that does pretty much the same thing. You can even combine it with the sea dragon ability to get the king dragon ability combining both and improving the power of fire making it the best ability in the game.
The level design is really good here and there are not too many issues with it. Even something like the water level is all that bad thanks to Wario’s excellent controls. You can really tell the team put in their all with the few amount of levels they could make out of these. I really liked that one level with the watermelon where you have to time hitting it into the background to unlock a treasure or going further into the level itself. Oh yeah this game also uses a background for you to move around by jumping on these arrow platform thingies. This adds a unique feel to the gameplay that the GB would never be able to replicate.
Bosses are the game’s weak area unfortunately. There’s only four of them and the difficulty for all of them is weird. The first one is pretty fun with some easy dodging but then makes you jump on his head with somewhat strict timing. The second one is a piece of cake but pretty creative where you have to get behind him as he attacks. The third one is just awful with how easy it is, I really don’t know why he’s the easiest one to get three hits on. The final boss is pretty hard but I do wish the hitbox on his nose wasn’t kind of strict. The way some of them are in the background reminds me of Kirby Triple Deluxe but unlike that game, the first three die in three hits so you won’t be snoozing at these bosses.
I do have a couple of issues with the game despite the fun to be had here. I wish getting the treasures wasn’t just you get them all or you get nothing. There’s 10 treasures in the game but since I missed 2 of them, I just get nothing for it. This game has an ending system like the first game but because of this it really feels not as well designed like the first game. I liked how even if you didn’t have all the treasures, you could still get some money from the ones you had for a possible better ending. For those wondering, I got the A rank and didn’t get all treasures ending which I guess I can’t complain. I also don’t think this game does the background walking around as well as it could. There are exceptions but a lot of it just feels the same and is something I would have liked to see sequels improve on but this mechanic never came back sadly. One problem people also might have is its difficulty, it’s really easy, so easy in fact you’ll probably have the King Dragon ability for so much of the game. Personally it doesn’t bother me but I still felt like addressing it. Maybe I’m just good at the game, I'm not sure.
The game graphically looks really nice. I love the sprite art in this game. I’m not really aware of what the virtual boy can do but this is easily one of the best Wario has ever looked. I like the scaling for many things going into the background as well. Also because I was using an emulator I made the color scheme yellow and black which I feel really fits. The environments also look good despite the limitations, they really did a good job of having every area stand out though I wasn't a fan of level 13 (or 10 if you don’t count bosses) because it’s all just too much. The music is pretty weak if you ask me. The only song I really cared about was the 4th level’s theme which seems to be the one I hear a lot when others talk about the game. It tries to have the same weird energy the other game’s have for their OSTs but it just doesn’t feel the same here. Also can I just say the title theme and getting a key theme are loud!
This was a fun time. A nice improvement from the 1st game and while it’s not perfect, it doesn’t stop any of its positives. This would be the last one they would make in this gameplay style as Wario Land II would try to change it up by being more puzzle-like. I personally like that game more along with the 4th game but they are all pretty close to each other. I would love to see another game done like this and it’s easily one of the VB’s highlights. Sadly it’s never been officially ported probably because Nintendo thinks all of its library should be shunned and to never return which is a shame. Give it a try if you haven’t. It’s a nice playthrough that’ll take you a couple of hours.