Assault Suits Valken
is a side-scrolling shooter game for the SNES
developed by NCS
in 1993; the American release by Konami
was retitled Cybernator
. This game is part of the "Assault Suit" series and a prequel to Assault Suit Leynos
. You play the role of Jake
, an assault suit operator in a three-man squad following the exploits of the Versis
through the war between the United Pacific States
and an unnamed enemy Axis.
The American localization suffered intensely from bad translation
and feature removal: For inexplicable reasons
, the translation team removed character portraits and in some cases removed whole dialogs and destroyed the storyline in the process. One of the game designers went on to work on Front Mission: Gun Hazard
The character design was supplied by Satoshi Urushihara of Langrisser
Some tropes featured in the game are:
- Ace Pilot: Jake becomes one, obviously.
- Apocalypse Wow: "Last Stand" takes place in the besieged enemy capital. Cue burning buildings, smoke and general devastation in lavish detail for a game released in 1993. Most surfaces can be damaged by weapons fire, too.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Cut from the American release, in the Japanese version the enemy president refused to take responsibility for the war and would rather shoot himself than be put on display at trial.
- Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; although all but one weapon (the missiles) have unlimited ammo, they need to recharge/reload after expending a magazine.
- Blood Knight: Major Beldark.
- Colony Drop: The enemy plans to do this once you breach the command deck and they realize they can't hold Arc Nova anymore.
- And if you fail to destroy it's thrusters, you get to see the results in the next mission.
- Coming In Hot: In the good ending, your AS barely manages to crash on the Versis and eject you before exploding.
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: The last section of Arc Nova has you pass through the rocket tubes, hiding in alcoves when a large missile comes down the tubes.
- Death Throws: Amusingly enough, this is how the little human enemies die when you shoot them.
- Decisive Battle: "Attack on Arc Nova". After capturing Arc Nova, the enemy lost their only constant resupply point for space troops and control of the lunar mining route.
- The attack on the spaceport is one to a lesser degree: The enemy is trying to consolidate its position using shuttles to pick up the slack Arc Nova left; by taking the spaceport and downing its shuttles, the enemy loses any real chance of fighting back.
- Dialogue During Gameplay: Jake talks to the rest of the squad occasionally. Again, this was cut from the American localization.
- Destructible Projectiles
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The game's antiwar message, made clear in the bad ending, is almost imperceptible among the four to seven things exploding or flying through the screen at almost any given time.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Beldark to the enemy president.
- Driven to Suicide: The Japanese version of the game contained a cutscene that was deleted in the NTSC and PAL versions. The scene shows the enemy President shooting himself in the head.
- Drop Ship: The Versis is a mix between this and a spaceborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
- Dub Name Change: The official English version changed Herman's name to Apollo for some reason.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Once you enter the enemy's congressional capital in the final level, the jetpack on your AS which can ordinarily only keep you hovering for about two seconds, suddenly has unlimited fuel and can keep you in the air indefinitely for the final duels against Beldark. And no, you are not using the rocket booster either, apparently your suit magically conjured up an infinite jetpack for the finale.
- Every Bullet is a Tracer: Like many other games of its time.
- Everyone Dies: In the bad ending; the inference is that Jake ultimately kills himself too.
- A Father to His Men: Beldark tried to help the enemy AS that malfunctioned during re-entry, and personally went to retrieve the pilot after you capture/save it. The men under him continue to fight after you capture the enemy congress, despite knowing the war was lost out of loyalty to Beldark.
- Final Battle: "Last Stand".
- Fixed Scrolling Level: Happens quite a number of times.
- Grey and Gray Morality: The entire game concerns an ultimately pointless war which neither side actually seems to want to be part of, only fighting because it's required of them and the only way to bring an end to it.
- Homing Lasers: A very annoying turret enemy on the Arc Nova uses these.
- Homing Projectile: Upgrade the Missiles and they become these.
- Humongous Mecha: You face off against several of these. The Final Boss takes the cake.
- Loading Screen: Your Valken AS going to the Versis top deck for launch as you're briefed.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: You shield can deflect almost all enemy attacks. Vital for the final stage, where the Mooks fire lots of heavily damaging shots.
- Mission Control
- Mini Mecha: The titular Valken assault suit.
- More Dakka: The Vulcan weapon. Upgrade it and it even bounces off surfaces!
- Multiple Endings: There are two endings, depending on whether you completed all mission objectives or not (missions 3 (Arc Nova) and 5 (spaceport) are the deciders; fail them both to get the bad ending. Please note these are the only missions you can fail; you have to continue for all the rest, sans level one which results in Game Over.
- Outrun the Fireball: The final cutscene
- Pacifist Run: Doing this in the first level, only shooting at the boss' main body, rewards you with the Napalm Gun.
- Power Fist: The Punch weapon; they actually do a lot of damage when fully powered up, good for blowing Arc Nova's engines if you aren't using the Napalm (4 punches vs 3 napalm shots).
- Reentry Scare: "Atmosphere Entry". Crea even points out that tipping the balance on the ship will cause them to reenter at a steeper angle and crash. Subverted in that they do crash and damage the Versis for the rest of the game. You even take damage for a few second once you've reentered if you leave the deck.
- Rocket Punch: Beldark's mech in the final battle uses this on you.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Apollo, just as a way of introducing Beldark as a complete badass.
- Segmented Serpent: The drilling worm that you face in stage 6
- Sequential Boss: The shuttle; you have to destroy its thrusters before you can destroy the body proper.
- The last boss. You have to destroy various bits before the next becomes available; destroy the chest gun and arm to target the chin, destroy that and the head is your target, kill that and you're done.
- Spell My Name with an S: Crea or Claire?
- Video Game Remake: A team of amateur game programmers called "Robo Action Game VII@2ch" created a freeware PC remake of Valken entitled "Assault Suits Gunvalken". They didn't just do a vanilla remake, however; they added a spate of new Assault Suits for you to pilot (including Lemnos, a seafood-themed Joke Character AS, the Blodia mecha from Armored Warriors/Powered Gear, the title mecha from the game Veigues Tactical Gladiator, and the title mecha from the extremely early Squaresoft game Cruise Chaser Blassty), changed the weapon system (each AS has a set loadout of four weapons) and included a "practice" menu that lets you replay any stage in the game with a full loadout of fully-upgraded weapons.
- Villainous Valor: Major Beldark tries to save Rick in Mission 4 when they start burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. The other enemy AS pilot has to convince Beldark to break off, which he reluctantly does. When the Versis more or less captures Rick and crashes on Earth, Beldark immediately leads a rescue mission to get Rick back, which also ends up with your Mauve Shirt ally Herman getting killed by them.
- Wave Motion Gun: The laser weapon at maximum level.
- Weak Turret Gun: Loads of them abound in the first level. They can't take much damage and they only fire a single shot after a very long interval.