Dissecting the Valis-like

@chazumaru yeah, I totally agree on the SFC quality thing - it really feels like the “dedicated” staff went to other platforms and the porting, or newer staff went to the SFC? Something like that. It always felt to me like, nintendo aside, konami took their time and did the best job possible on other consoles, whereas with SFC it was kind of business as usual… or something like that.

@James- there are a few.
Psychic world (admittedly more like the PC Valises):

Mamono hunter yohko (mostly)

makeruna makendo aka kendo rage

other than having a male protagonist, chippoke ralph no daibouken

probably some others!

@exodus#1704 I‘m not sure I’d count Little Ralph as a Valis-like. I can sort of see it in the continuous environments, but between the stiffer, more mechanical movement and the occasional genre-switching (the thumbnail is from one of the fighting game boss fights, of which there are several), Little Ralph is too different from Valis to really count as a Valis-like.

@exodus#1704 oh my, Psychic World is on game gear, you say? And another one on mega drive? Adding those to the list to play.

Both look really excellent - I wish I had gotten into this series ages ago. My MD and GG experiences as a kid were pretty focused, though, so I‘m not shocked I haven’t heard of them.

@Video_Game_King#1730 yeah, I reckon you're right about that, I was reaching!

@James- it's Game Gear and SMS, but yeah!! Two different versions with different vibes.

What about Telenet's own Psycho Dream? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlKH1_estpw

I always forget about that game - somehow the attack style is the only thing that holds me back from calling it a valis-like. you either have short range attacks, making it more of a castlevania-like, or long range ones, more run and gun style. valis needs those mid-range attacks! though it is otherwise quite similar.

Considering that we are broadening the scope of games which could be linked to Valis, I think another title worth mentioning in this conversation (definitely moreso than Chippoke Ralph no Daibōken in my opinion) is Chōkōsoku GranDoll from Emotion Digital, released on the PlayStation in 1997. This game kind of ties together the influences of Valis and Rockman X / Mega Man X. The story setting of GranDoll takes, quite logically, inspiration from more recently brodcast animated series such as Sailor Moon to update the trope of the chosen heroine from everyday Japan facing evil foes from a different dimension. Chōkōsoku 超高速 in the title means “super lightspeed”.


I think the story setting and character tropes, the way the heroine moves, the intersection of animated scenes between stages all share a direct or indirect lineage with Valis. True to its period of release, the game is more forgiving than Valis and provides infinite continues, but the awkward jump arc and grappling hook animation definitely give a Valis-ish vibe to the controls (this is not entirely a compliment) and you are also required to remember and estimate enemy patterns pretty accurately if you want to avoid being punished on every awkward jump.

The Rockman inspiration comes in the form of the buster-type weapon she wields, and the mechanic of different armor upgrades which you acquire after beating each boss. There is no stage selection but you are meant to swap armors to properly progress through the levels, which could also be likened to character swapping in later Valis games. There is some backtracking involved with card keys and blocked doors; not enough to label it a *metroidvania* but it contrasts with the more straightforward style of the standard Valis experience. The power gauge at the bottom is more or less a smart bomb which you charge with pick-up items.

One rather interesting decision, rarely seen in 2D action games then and now, is allowing the main character to move and shoot while crouching. The entire description above is going off impressions I wrote back in 2007, as I would not remember such details so clearly otherwise, but according to my young self this "ducking walk" (sorry I am not sure about the proper English term for this) is a pretty important move in her arsenal to progress in later levels.

As you might have known or guessed already, this game publisher is the same "Emotion" better known as the famous subsidiary of Bandai in the original video animation business, Moai head and all. They released GranDoll OVA video cassettes and laser discs as well.

Ah yeah, I forgot about this one!! I'm inclined to call it the successor to fausette amour, but it does have some valis-y elements, trading the stilted slide control for a stilted swing control, and sort of using it for the same reason (traversing horizontal space).

I think at one point I confused this with Rapid Angel and then never un-confused it. I'll track this down!

[edit] also, what's on the 2nd "premium" disc!?

Oh man I was gonna post about Grandoll but I got beaten to it, which is cool. And Psycho Dream as well, which is less exciting.

For me a "Valis-like" is a 2D action adventure side scroller with a heavy emphasis on mood. Usually there's an anime vibe and a lanky character. I feel like this is subjective and over defining it becomes unfun, but I'm not a taxonomist, just a person who idiosyncratically loves video games.

A bunch of Telenet games more-less fit the bill to a greater or lesser extent (Cyborg 009 looks and feels similar, and Devastator has some similarities in mood and setting, both for Mega CD.)

A modern game that gave me Valis vibes at a glance was Icey (it's on Steam, Switch, presumably other platforms.) I haven't tried it because it doesn't look that appealing to me even still. There's a degree to which I don't want a modern Valis that much... Or if I did, I'd want it to be ... Better.

One SFC game I need to put more time into that might appeal to a Valis fan is Majuuou:


Another weird-ass PS1 game worth considering in terms of this conversation is The Rapid Angel:


I haven't really been able to figure this one out but I should really try harder and report back.

It's funny that the lankiness of the protagonist matters to me. Little Ralph doesn't fit in for me, and perhaps that's why, or a part of why.

Oh right, Majuu Ou! I don't totally buy it as a valis-like but I do want to play it.

I think talking about valis is almost like talking about Contra - there's so little to it that's unique, aside from being first, that it becomes really hard to define. And yet I have very strong feelings about what's a valis-like and what isn't!!

Yeah I don't think Majuuou really is a Valis-like but I do think that most who like (console) Valis would want to give it a try!

One thing this thread uncovered is how different the PC Valis games are. I should give them a try.

The Famicom Valis is so hard to deal with I got rid of my copy. It's pure nonlinear nonsense. I get the vibe it would be harder to figure out than Goonies II. But if you were motivated to map it or find a guide, possible!

So I got a chance to play a little Rapid Angel last night and it‘s definitely worth discussing in a conversation about Valis-like games. In a superficial way it has a lot of Telenet vibes, including somehow reminding me of Earnest Evans. But in the end I think that it’s is it‘s weird own thing I don’t quite get yet. Anybody else play this?

I have the PSN version on my… PSP I think!? I've got to get it out and try the thing again.

Pretty sure that would be a Vita.

that's probably correct!!

p.s. @chazumaru do you know what's on the premium version of grandoll? is the 2nd disc just like a compressed version of the OVA or something?

Hmm the back of the box describes the Premium CD as a PlayStation CD-ROM that contains special interviews of the voice actresses, an exclusive “radio drama” with said actresses, a promotion video for the OVA “and more…” I can boot it up if you need to confirm something inside.

Really just wondering if it's worth spending the extra bucks for or if I should go for standard edition. souuuuuunds like standard is fine

Maybe the « and more… » is a functioning BA-X Playdia emulator with all commercial ROMs included but, like, they’re super shy about it.