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Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 57%
Valis: The Fantasm Soldier
Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Valis: The Fantasm Soldier Valis: The Fantasm Soldier
  • Review Score:

  • C+
By the late 1980s, developers wanted their games to be about more than just running from left to right. They wanted to tell stories and develop real characters. You saw a company like Tecmo do this with Ninja Gaiden, turning what could have been a tedious
action game into a cinematic experience still being released on new platforms. Suddenly big, explosive action games didn't seem as mindless.

Telenet took a similar approach with Valis: The Fantasm Soldier, a cinema-heavy adventure that spawned a whole series of girl-powered sequels (and porn). Originally released on the MSX computer, Valis took its sweet time before hitting the Sega Genesis. This port dramatically improves the graphics and sound, but fails to improve the outdated gameplay. The result is a fairly pedestrian experience with a better than average story thrown in.

Valis: The Fantasm Soldier (Genesis)

You play Yuko, your typical Japanese teenage school girl. One day her whole world is turned upside-down when monsters from another dimension invade her hometown. After an intense fight through the subway station, Yuko discovers that she's been brought to a fantasy world that is under attack. A mysterious woman named Valia seems to believe that Yuko is the Valis warrior, the one person who can bring peace to this world. It's up to you to prove her right.

You do this by fighting through all sorts of treacherous areas. Yuko fights through ice, fire, a destroyed city, a castle and a haunted house. Like so many games before it, each stage ends with a boss fight. Here you'll battle a series of human bosses with bizarre abilities. Some will fly around, others can throw flame dragons and the ice queen has wings. Most of these battles are easily won through memorization and quick reflexes.

Yuko can improve her sword by picking up items, though the power-up system isn't as deep as I would like. The same could be said about the levels, which suffer from boring designs. There's little to the stages and everything is straight-forward to a fault. This might be fine if the gameplay was stronger, but nothing about the combat could hold my interest.

Valis: The Fantasm Soldier (Genesis)

Occasionally, Valis gets bogged down by slow-moving cinemas. Here you'll watch still images talk back and forth for what feels like three hours straight. These cinema scenes are mandatory and give the player no way to skip forward. This is not my first experience with the Valis series and I knew going in that Yuko has a lot to say. And yet, despite going in prepared, I found myself bored to tears by the slow text.

On the TurboGrafx-CD, the charm of Valis was the voice acting and cinematic cut scenes. Here we get the cinemas, but there's something missing without the poorly acted audio. The simplistic gameplay doesn't hold up and the graphics aren't very impressive. The story is fine, but it's not enough of a reason to play through Valis: The Fantasm Soldier on the Sega Genesis!
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