Tell me about Legend of Valkyrie!

In honor of Legend of Valkyrie now on Arcade Archives for Switch, let's have a thread about it!

https://youtu.be/dZztlERcs8c

(Sorry if I typo "valkyrie"; I guess I never knew how to spell it properly until today)

A sequel to Valkyrie no Bouken on the Famicom, Legend of Valkyrie is a Namco System 2 scrolling vertical shooter developed in 1989. It takes place in the kingdom of "Xandra Land", and features 2P co-op and a beautiful flat vibrant aesthetic.

I've never played any games in the series but I know stuff about it just from the Namco legacy IP gestalt. As for playing it in English, I know there was a PC Engine port that had an English localization:
https://youtu.be/baiOsF2cZFw

Along with an upgraded port on Namco Musuem Vol. 5 with an English loc:
https://youtu.be/pBqfV7_a-VQ?t=777

Besides that, I mainly know the franchise from the green lizard dude partner WHIRLO that gets his own spinoff game on the SNES
https://youtu.be/zcfNKNajqS0

Also his skin isn't even scales, but FUR?? As I only learned a few weeks ago from concept art revealed in a recent Namco Museum of Art video:
https://youtu.be/FKqvnnU6_gY
(Wait, Namco made the video private now?? Wonder why, it's the only one they took down)

Another great thing I learned from this video that's now taken down is that they didn't even figure out a standardized personality for Valkyrie until well after the game boomed in popularity, and it wasn't until the manga started before anything got set. So wild to think she was basically a carte blanche character for fans and developers to project whatever they wanted on and yet she was still so beloved. Truly a heroine that lived on the pure strength and appeal of her character design and charming animations alone.

Anyway, tell me what you know about it! Did you play it? Do you love it? What's your favorite part of the game? Favorite tune? Favorite reboot/remake/sequel/spinoff? What's the best way to experience this now in English? Is there a fan translation or patch to play the original arcade version in English? What's your favorite Valkyrie cameo in other Namco games? Why wasn't Valkyrie ever in Soul Calibur as a cameo character??? And is Whirlo the best localized name ever???

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[[4,26],[4]]

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They had to try, I suppose.

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@“Personasama”#p66435 Another great thing I learned from this video that’s now taken down is that they didn’t even figure out a standardized personality for Valkyrie until well after the game boomed in popularity, and it wasn’t until the manga started before anything got set. So wild to think she was basically a carte blanche character for fans and developers to project whatever they wanted on and yet she was still so beloved. Truly a heroine that lived on the pure strength and appeal of her character design and charming animations alone.

I forget whether they mention this in the video or not but the designer who came up with the classic Valkyrie design didn't even work directly on the original Famicom game—he was part of Namco's design department, back when that still existed, and they basically just gave him the sprite and told him to draw whatever he liked, and so the illustrations of the character used on the box and all the other media from then on don't really resemble the original sprites at all.

It‘s a heck of a thing. Credit fed through it for the first time last night and it’s got some hilarious jank.

https://twitter.com/tdmstg/status/1514807081609535491?t=jjzH0kqwDGRWSZlaFxJ1bw&s=19

https://twitter.com/tdmstg/status/1514819980147142656?t=oAl6AUa6fN1hd7qCYdboZg&s=19

But at the same time it honestly rules. It's got a ton of verticality for a top down action game. It's got wild mode 7 effects pre SNES launch. It's got rpg elements and shops and NPCs. It's got incredible boss design. Like look at this fucking thing.

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And then whatever the heck this is. It takes turns firing ball lightning at you and then....bishopping you?

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Oh which brings me to my next point, if you hold down the fire button, you get BIG. There's a dedicated Frank Cifaldi stance which lets you do crazy shit and melt bosses.

I had an absolute blast with it and I can't wait to learn the ropes and how to get past some of these sections where the screen is more full of bullets than your average Cave game gets without taking damage because it seems like it shouldn't be possible but then again the score seems incredibly optimized looking at the ACA leader boards where everyone is bunched within 100 points in the top 10 across both consoles.

I was looking into Legend of Valkyrie a few months ago as part of my search for a game with a similar playstyle and overall quality as Pocky & Rocky. I wouldn‘t say it’s quite as good (though for me, basically nothing is) but it‘s still incredibly charming! It’s been really exciting seeing it get so much attention lately, especially from a bunch of artists on twitter. Would definitely love to see this series (well, “series”) flourish into something more than just a handful of ports - maybe a whole new game?? It'd be great to get more Kiki Kaikai-styled games in the modern age.

https://youtu.be/VcP6WsPUoRQ

I put an hour into it last night and man, what a fun gorgeous game. I love all the little death animations they made for Valkyrie, they‘re so cartoony and cute like Darkstalkers. Also that Mode 7-style scaling is really nice and really blows me away. The most impressive one is in level 3(?) where you’re storming a castle then jump off a catapult and get flung all the way up to the heavens and see the tiny castle below before you come crashing back down.

Jumping is pretty hard to judge though and the hit detection seems to be real rough especially on moving platforms. Like on the part @"TracyDMcGrath"#p66444 showed where you're jumping on those stone faces to get across the cliffs in level 2(?), I must've inserted like 5 credits because I kept mistiming the jump or thinking I made it only to clip and fall straight through the stones.

Beautiful, charming little game! I can totally feel how it was influenced by the other cute 'em ups of the era like Twinbee (1985), Kiki Kaikai (1986), and Fantasy Zone (1986) but with a western fantasy twist. I feel like if I encountered this game when I was a kid, I would've been a huge fan and it would've been pretty influential to me.

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@“gsk”#p66442 </s><e>

lol why one pant leg? Is that her sliding leg?

What's the story behind this baseball crossover anyway? Does Namco have a popular baseball series like Konami does?

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@“Syzygy”#p66439 Valkyrie has been one of Cassandra’s usual alternate costumes in Soulcalibur since the latter’s introduction, with parts of the outfit also making recurring appearances in Create-a-Soul.

> https://youtu.be/2BfeqHO2t2w

Oh neat! I think I saw this when playing SC2 back in the day but had no idea about the reference so it flew over my head!

Also I just now realized they must've recorded an entirely separate mocap session just to make these unique Exhibition Theaters. I don't even remember this being in the game lol

As @tokucowboy warned me though Jeeeeeeesus the last boss of this game is the bullet sponge to end all bullet sponges. I have no idea how or even if it's possible to kill it with the base weapon without credit feeding.

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@“gsk”#p66442 they basically just gave him the sprite and told him to draw whatever he liked, and so the illustrations of the character used on the box and all the other media from then on don’t really resemble the original sprites at all.

Man, if I was part of the original development team and my game got usurped and consequentially erased from memory by amazing cover art and character design... I'd probably cry but also I'd be so mad that they didn't make that amazing cover art way earlier so I could've changed the ingame art to reflect it
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Ingame art to compare:
https://youtu.be/idtWBNr45vU

Me as the original game's developers crying when their version of the character is eliminated from canon:
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@“TracyDMcGrath”#p66476 Yeah, I'd really love to see a speedrun or score attack playthrough just to see how a pro handles it!

Wait, is that a feature in the Arcade Archives? Can I download a playthrough??

@“Personasama”#p66480 not that I know of. M2 does that alot but not Hamster afaik.

There's a marathon 1cc with commentary here though:

https://youtu.be/emSngIbtub4

@“TracyDMcGrath”#p66492 Wait, this Protip:

https://youtu.be/emSngIbtub4?t=734

If you hold down to select a spell, you're invincible??? This is so broken lol

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@“Personasama”#p66473 What’s the story behind this baseball crossover anyway? Does Namco have a popular baseball series like Konami does?

Yes, Family Stadium a.k.a. Famista was the first huge baseball game series in Japan.

https://youtu.be/YzVPWZ3oJLM

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@“Personasama”#p66435 What’s your favorite Valkyrie cameo in other Namco games?

I bought Namco Super Wars because of her!

https://youtu.be/ntit3MPMMSA

I discovered the IP via the excellent PC Engine port which came out right about when Sodipeng/Ubisoft began importing the console semi-officially in my country. So probably in late 1990 or early 1991. Valkyrie was one of its first tantalizing exclusives and the cover definitely conveyed something more sophisticated than average NES games of the time. It played like a cross between Zelda and Xevious which was a pretty mindblowing and very timely proposition for ’90〜’91 @chazumaru (I had just discovered and fell in love with both games on NES circa 1989).

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But I remember the biggest impression it left on me was not the illustration or even Valkyrie’s sprite, but rather the game’s logo. That’s really the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this game. The font design and coloring were so striking, even if I did not know how to decipher the text, compared to NES or Atari ST games (my two reference points back then). [Burning Force on the Mega Drive](https://www.mobygames.com/game/burning-force/cover-art/gameCoverId,119004/) left a similar big impression on me around the same time (although Hiromi’s best profile perking up from that bike probably helped too). [Dragon Spirit](https://www.mobygames.com/game/turbo-grafx/dragon-spirit/cover-art/gameCoverId,113899/) also had a very powerful logo. I am a fan of Namco’s visual identity for its game titles during that era.

It’s funny but I also remember being irrationally mad at the existence of the Famicom game when I first learned about it, probably in the late Nineties. It kinda sullied the perfection of Densetsu to have to share a lineage with some older, ugly and average game – which is a really [unfair and stupid assessment](https://youtu.be/z56rittugr4?t=44m41s) in retrospect but oh well!

Also @“Personasama”#p66435 you mentioned the Namco Museum release but there was also that awesome sequel disguised as a re-imagining of the first Valkyrie no Bōken which could be found in Namco Anthology vol.2.

https://youtu.be/34Ht-S-C46U

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@“chazumaru”#p66498 But I remember the biggest impression it left on me was not the illustration or even Valkyrie’s sprite, but rather the game’s logo. That’s really the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this game. The font design and coloring were so striking, even if I did not know how to decipher the text, compared to NES or Atari ST games (my two reference points back then). Burning Force on the Mega Drive left a similar big impression on me around the same time (although Hiromi’s best profile perking up from that bike probably helped too). Dragon Spirit also had a very powerful logo. I am a fan of Namco’s visual identity for its game titles during that era.

Yesssssssss that's one of the striking things I noticed when looking through Hiroshi "Mr. Dotman" Ono's artbook, and seeing that he not only made amazing pixel art, industrial design, and concept art, but also helped design so many of these classic logos. Truly a powerhouse of logo design, that era of Namco. Also love seeing the logo concepts in all these Namco Museum of Art videos too. I'd buy an artbook of just Namco logos and concept logos 🤔

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@“chazumaru”#p66502 Also Personasama you mentioned the Namco Museum release but there was also that awesome sequel disguised as a re-imagining of the first Valkyrie no Bōken which could be found in Namco Anthology vol.2.

I did see this! I also need to play this! Was it ever in English?
Speaking of which, someone told me that Project X Zone 2's special edition came with a download code for a 3ds port of this + with an additional character. I wonder if it has any extra features though.

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@“Personasama”#p66527 I’d buy an artbook of just Namco logos and concept logos

Such a thing exists in the form of [IDEA’s issue #352, dated May 2012](http://www.idea-mag.com/idea_magazine/352/). (So released pretty much exactly ten years ago!)

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Unsurprisfortunately, this issue seems to be going for pretty steep prices (between [¥10000](https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B007HA8VNY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_BRPCCB9PX62G1H21J835) and [¥19000](https://jp.mercari.com/item/m65890405991) at first glance) on the second hand market.

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@“Personasama”#p66527 Was it ever in English?

Search your heart, you already know the answer… You may just as well have asked if you could unlock Patrako with a secret code.

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@“Personasama”#p66479 Man, if I was part of the original development team and my game got usurped and consequentially erased from memory by amazing cover art and character design… I’d probably cry but also I’d be so mad that they didn’t make that amazing cover art way earlier so I could’ve changed the ingame art to reflect it

My understanding is that the person behind what little lore existed for the original game was very happy to have someone like the illustrator (Hiroshi Fujii) around to flesh out and elaborate upon his ideas, and Fujii was brought on board to work directly on Densetsu from the beginning so as to properly unify the setting and create something in tandem with the now-canonized look of Valkyrie and her world.

There's a ton of Valkyrie and non-Valkyrie-related media out there from the illustrator, Hiroshi Fujii—some of it's translated/excerpted on shmuplations, icymi: https://shmuplations.com/legendofvalkyrie/ That said, there's not nearly as much info out there about the earliest days of Valkyrie, and the true identity and current whereabouts of Densetsu's leader/co-designer "Koakuman" is still a mystery.

Hamster's also been interviewing old Namco folk with all their ACA drops, so there's a fresh interview with Fujii, composer Kawada and project manager Okamoto that I'll have to sit down with sometime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HznLW1oiLcs

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@“Personasama”#p66527 Speaking of which, someone told me that Project X Zone 2’s special edition came with a download code for a 3ds port of this + with an additional character. I wonder if it has any extra features though.

Aside from adding Xiamou as an alternate player-character and X Zone-compliant VA, it's pretty much the same IIRC.

oh and anyone who owns the Ken Sugimori Works has probably at least flicked past some of this material, but for the unaware, Game Freak‘s Ken Sugimori drew this particular Valkyrie manga—it’s an isekai with a girl who gets hit by a motorbike, wakes up in Marvel Land and ends up assuming the role of Valkyrie:

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@“gsk”#p66564 Game Freak’s Ken Sugimori drew this particular Valkyrie manga—it’s an isekai with a girl who gets hit by a motorbike, wakes up in Marvel Land and ends up assuming the role of Valkyrie:

Wait wait waith

I don't remember this in the Sugimori Works book! I need to see this mango