The Free Cheese Episode 445: Valis III
This week on The Free Cheese, banana on the floor.
We’re playing and ranking a classic PC Engine title that just recently came to Nintendo Switch. We also imagine how to revive the Valis series today, carry forward our bracket of sidekick showdowns, and spend other people’s money.
7:07 – Valis III
36:40 – How would you revive Valis today?
46:54 – Who Would Win in a Fight?
01:07:23 – PC Engine Game or Sailor Moon Episode?
01:18:40 – Shopping for Somebody Else
01:29:09 – The Ranking
I become increasingly more enamored with Valis III each time I revisit it. There are not many games that are like the games in the Valis series. Sure, other games have shared similar aesthetics and it’s coupled with unforgiving, arcade-style action. Yet, nothing quite feels like Valis. Valis III brings the story of the first trilogy to an epic conclusion, perfectly recapitulating the first two games’ stories for first-time players. Throughout the beats of action, you watch the events of Yuko’s journey and those who oppose her play out in hand drawn anime cutscenes. I love the small moments that show the extra care and detail from the developers, like a full animation for Yuko leaping from the rooftops to grab the Valis, transform, and fly away.
Valis brought so many great ideas that may have been a little ahead of its due time due to the limitations of the hardware. Switching between 3 characters was welcoming and being able to super jump in an action platformer I feel should be a staple in the genre. The anime-styled visuals and in-game cinematic-like moments (ex: Valis falling down a building and transforming) are what hold this together pretty well. I can see why this IP spawned a series. I just wish it could be revived today with a nice polish.
I had a weird childhood growing up. Besides being homeschooled, I was the kid that would rather watch ESPN instead of cartoons in the morning. Valis III may let me have that early morning cartoon experience I missed as a kid if I played with some chocolate milk. The anime cutscenes in Valis III are what makes this game stand out. They aren’t long or any more than about six scenes of it but they are so impressive for that era of video game. The action-platforming gameplay is another tough-as-nails old school game, but it can be conquered with enough practice. Valis III was fun to play through (with a rewind button) but I’d rather go to another franchise for gameplay if given the option. However, I’m most likely diving into the rest of this collection to watch some cartoons.