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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 6, '12, 8:45 pm 
Thoul wrote::eyebrow: Well, that's pretty backwards. It explains why I didn't know of it, though. Never thought to look for a later release!


Ah ha. Here's where I expound on THE VALIS RELEASE SCHEDULE!!!

Okay. So, the Valis series actually began sometime in 1986, along with all sorts of other franchises that got their start, like Contra, Metal Gear, Castlevania, and so on. valis I was first released for the MSX and the PC-8801, with a later port to the NES in 1987 (see NES Valis commercial here.) none of these made it to the US. Neither did any of the versions of Valis 2 that were released for home computers in 1989. In Japan in 1990, two more Valis games were released for the Turbo CD- Valis 2 and 3.

Now, once the Genesis started getting popular in the US, Telenet decided to actually start localizing its games for that system, and damn quick, too. The Genesis port of Valis 3 was localized and released in April of 1991, one month after the game had its Japanese release, and so the first Valis game released in the US was the third one. The Genesis port of Valis 1 ended up being released some months later, and ended up in the US in December of '91, the same month when Super Castlevania 4 was released. Oops. When the Turbo CD finally made it over here in '92, we did get the CD versions of Valis 2 and 3, as well as the Super NES version of Valis IV- but not the superior Turbo version.

So, the US release schedule went, III, I, II, then IV, and you had to own three separate consoles if you wanted to play all four installments- in Japan, all four games eventually got a version for the Turbo CD.

Funny how things work out, you know? :)


Last edited by R-90-2 on Tue Nov 6, '12, 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 8, '12, 12:42 am 
Wow, talk about a convoluted series of releases to follow. :lol: I can see how Castlevania would overshadow the release of Valis 1 in a big way.

So did any version of Valis 2 make it to the US outside of the Turbo CD? I remember reading some years ago that the versions on that system were generally superior, in cutscenes if nothing else. Kind of always wanted to try them, but getting a Turbo CD never happened for one reason or another.


Last edited by Thoul on Thu Nov 8, '12, 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 8, '12, 12:46 am 
Thoul wrote:
So did any version of Valis 2 make it to the US outside of the Turbo CD? I remember reading some years ago that the versions on that system were generally superior, in cutscenes if nothing else. Kind of always wanted to try them, but getting a Turbo CD never happened for one reason or another.


Well, yes, there was one other version of V2 that came over here- SD Valis for the Genesis, known as Syd of Valis over here. I don't think it's worth playing, and I'm generally not fond of it- in fact, i even made a video on the subject here.


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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 9, '12, 12:56 am 
What about Valis X? No one will talk about that game? :p


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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 9, '12, 5:37 pm 
tilinelson2 wrote:What about Valis X? No one will talk about that game? :p


I guess I will, since it was such a marvelous boondoggle. :)

So, basically, in about 2005 or so, Telenet Japan managed to spring to life again. Though bereft of its best subsidiary, Wolfteam, it made a rather surprising announcement- there would be a new Valis game for the series's 20th anniversary. There was a fair hunk of speculation about it- the Valis series has had quite a bit of a cult following in Japan, after all.

Once the details emerged, things went just a bit south. And by a bit, I mean, Antarctic.

Basically, the 20th anniversary game was to be a retelling of the first three games in the series- in the form of a hentai visual novel. And, apparently, a rather low-quality one at that. The Telenet forums exploded, two of the original creators of the franchise publicly denounced the game over the interwebs, and a huge boycott ensued. In 2007 Telenet Japan folded for good, and Valis X is largley considered to be the game that killed Telenet.

...I know an embarrassing amount about the series. It's kinda my nerd weakspot- It's the only franchise I've gotten into continuity/canonicity arguments about, and the only one I've written (terrible) fanfiction for.


Last edited by R-90-2 on Sun Nov 17, '13, 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, '12, 1:41 am 
Heh, that was a tragic way of killing what used to be a good series. I don't know how the decision of making a hentai game came up, but it was obviously a great mistake. Some art for the game looked very good, and they could have made a great game that would appeal both the longtime fans and newcomers.

However, making it a sexploitation game with some of the worst hentai clichés only to destroy the company's reputation with the longtime fans, who knew they shouldn't expect anything serious from Telenet anymore. And the rest would not care about another one bad hentai game.

Oh, I tried to write fanfiction for Valis too, but I never finished it and I think I will never will because I can't write anything anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, '12, 12:42 am 
Ah yes, I recall hearing of Syd of Valis. Didn't know it was a Valis 2 adaptation, but I've been told it was a game to avoid. Changing the style to an SD game seems like a bad fit for a platformer series anyway.

The sad thing about Valis X is that, from the few screens I've seen, the art looked rather good. If it had been a serious game instead of hentai outing, it might have kept the company and series alive for a good while. I can only hope that when Telenet died, the rights to the series were sold off to some company who might one day revive it with a good game.


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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, '12, 1:27 am 
Thoul wrote:The sad thing about Valis X is that, from the few screens I've seen, the art looked rather good. If it had been a serious game instead of hentai outing, it might have kept the company and series alive for a good while. I can only hope that when Telenet died, the rights to the series were sold off to some company who might one day revive it with a good game.


The rights to all of Telenet's properties are currently in the hands of Sunsoft, so I wouldn't hold your breath. The most that has come out are PC-ready collections of the Turbo CD games.


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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, '12, 11:47 pm 
------------
El Viento
Developer: Wolfteam
Release date: 1991
Platform: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action-Platformer
------------

Telenet Japan had a small number of subsidiary studios, and the finest of these was Wolfteam, which was part of Telenet throughout the '80s and '90s on an on/off basis. Known mainly to me as the arm of Telenet that actually possessed some notable degree of design competence, Wolfteam would eventually splinter as a result of Telenet's collaboration with Namco to create the first game in the Tales series, Tales of Phantasia. Half of Wolfteam stayed on with namco and became the core of Namco's Tales team, the other half left and founded Tri-Ace studios, and Telenet was left holding the bag. While Wolfteam was still in one piece, however, it did produce some fine games for the Sega Genesis, such as Sol-Deace. What I'm looking at however, is their entry into the action-platformer lineup on the SG, El Viento.

El Viento is the second game in the Earnest Evans universe, and the only good one of the three- the first was ambitious but heavily flawed, and the third was released in a state one could generously describe as "beta". Thankfully, El Viento requires no familiarity with the first game. It's 1928, and bad things are afoot in the good ol' US of A. The cult of Hastur has finally got enough of its act together to try to actually summon The Unspeakable One into the world. After getting a genuine sorceress on their side for the ritual, and hiring on Al Capone's (yes, I know they call him Vincente DeMarco in the English version) organization as muscle to keep curious folks from getting too curious, the stage is being set for the end. Annet Myer, Peruvian sorceress who has gone from damsel-in-distress to full-on action heroine, however, is more than rarin' and ready to go to fight all of them at once, however, even if they have already gotten a hold of some monstrous allies.

One thing that players will immediately notice if they've been playing any action game but Sonic is how mobile Annet is. She jumps high, moves fairly quickly normally, and even has a sustained dash that makes her in all likelihood the second-speediest character on the Sega Genesis. Using Annet's enormous speed is absolutely required in some sections of the game, so it is, thankfully, non-awkward to use. Annet's primary attacks are a set of razor boomerangs, and she can only have a certain number on-screen at a time, though this can be upgraded with powerups. She can also acquire items that temporarily give them homing. Her secondary attacks, however, are where things get most interesting. Annet's magic relies on a regenerating MP bar- so while she has theoretically unlimited special attacks, she is still restricted in some ways. Annet will pick up six kinds of magic throughout the game, and activating the later magics requires Annet to charge up first. Whenever she picks up a new magic, however, her MP bar increases, so she may use her lesser magics more often than before. Most importantly, however, is that her magics are not all about extra damage, but rather about expanding her attack options, as each magic is basically a new, though limited shot type. Exploiting the properties of her magics is also necessary for completing the game- the fact that there are no attacks you can gain that are or feel superfluous is always a sign of good design.

Score has an actual function- while Annet only has one fairly durable life, score milestones still serve an important purpose, in that they extend her life meter permanently. There is every reason to score hunt- there are some sections of the game where every ounce of life you can muster is important. While the game's bosses are generally challenging, it is often the levels that will have the most negative effect on one's life- Annet has practically no invincibility frames on hits, so being swarmed, as it often the case in the last level, can quickly drain Annet's reserves. While the game is not easy, there are some segments that can be absolutely obnoxious unless executed nearly perfectly, such as most of the final level. Generally, however, the game does not go out of its way to be frustrating to the player- the controls are top-notch.

While the game is hampered in a few ways by its palette choices, there is little to complain about as far as the art direction goes, though a couple of sprites do end up rather pixellated by necessity. The animations are very smooth, most especially Annet's, who manages to outdo pretty much all of her contemporaries in that regard. The story itself is told in Ninja Gaiden-style intermissions, and maintains a consistent art quality throughout, and Annet's character design itself does manage to stand out as something distinct. Of special note, however, is the soundtrack, another fine set of work put together by Motoi Sakuraba, who would later go on to do the soundtracks for the Star Ocean series, the Tales series, Golden Sun, and the Valkyrie Profile games.

Of special note, however, are the game's enemy choices. While Hastur is mentioned, there also are a fair number of enemies and bosses drawn from the works of H.P. Lovecraft- among other things, one of the bosses is a mi-go, and one will encounter Deep Ones, Byakhee, and even a cameo by Cthulu roaming around.

El Viento is ultimately a game worth playing, though its rough spots can be really rough at times.

Screenshots:

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 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, '12, 10:13 am 
Just for the record, chronologically, El Viento is the second game of the series, but it was released before Earnest Evans (Sept 91 against Dec 91 for Earnest Evans).

That being so, the game is really good for a Genesis platformer, and works much like Valis. It is a very fast game and can be somewhat hard sometimes, but worthy playing.

Earnest Evans ended being very flawed in mechanics. And Annet Futatabi was not bad, though it is fairly unpolished. The voice acting and beautiful cut-scenes for the later compensate a bit. But that may be just the biased opinion of someone who holds somewhat of a crush on Annette :p (as if it was not expected from Tili:p)


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