Video Game / The Legend of Valkyrie
aka: Legend Of The Valkyrie

The Legend of Valkyrie (Valkyrie no Densetsu) is a series of Japan-only games developed by Namco. The first game in the series, Valkyrie no Bōken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu (The Adventure of Valkyrie: The Legend of the Time Key), was released for the Famicom in 1986. It was an ambitious, but poorly-executed, top-down adventure game in the vein of The Legend of Zelda. However, it did establish the precedence for future games in the series. The sequel, Valkyrie no Densetsu, was released in arcades in 1989 and converted to the PC Engine in 1990. It was a major advancement over its prequel; besides integrating dynamic scaling and rotating sprite effects, it also included co-op multiplayer and a system of currency obtained by defeating monsters.

The eponymous heroine of the game is Valkyrie, a sword-wielding warrior maiden born to a goddess. After hearing about a conflict involving the wish-granting Golden Seed, Valkyrie descends from the heavens to return the Seed to its rightful place in the North Spring. With her partner Kurino Sandra, a lizard creature who fights with a spear, the two of them discover that the demon Kamuz wants to use the Golden Seed to control the planet. The heroes travel across the world to confront Kamuz at the North Spring, and defeat his minions along the way. They also come across helpful characters: the wise magician Babasama teaches them spells, and the shifty-looking salesman Zoul sells powerups.

Valkyrie no Densetsu was much more successful than its prequel, and spawned sequels, spinoffs, a visual novel, and a manga. Even so, the game wasn't exported in its original arcade form, likely due to its high level of difficulty and the moderate amount of Japanese text. A spinoff starring Sandra was given a European release, but it was renamed "Whirlo" and any ties to the Valkyrie series were cut. It wouldn't be until the 1997 release of Namco Museum Volume 5 that The Legend of Valkyrie was given an official English translation. Valkyrie herself continues to make appearances in Namco games, including crossovers such as Namco Capcom and Project X Zone.

As part of Namco-Bandai's Shifty Look project, the game also received a web comic called Legend of the Valkyrie; examples applying to it can be found on that page.

The Legend of Valkyrie contains examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Item prices will get higher as you get further through the game and collect more money.
  • Anachronism Stew: Although the time period is left ambiguous, the game seems to take place some time in the distant past. That doesn't excuse the laser-shooting knights and electric fences in the ice cave...
  • Antepiece: There's a pretty neat example in the first level. A little ways in, the game introduces lily pads that the player needs to leap from to reach the other side of a pond. The pond doesn't damage you, but it slows you down; since there are enemies nearby, it's not desirable to fall into the water. This is training for the second half of the level, which has platforms floating over an abyss. If you fall off here, you'll lose some health before respawning over a safe platform.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: When selecting a spell, you won't be harmed by enemy attacks.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: In official artwork, Valkyrie holds her shield in her left hand and her sword in her right. In-game, it can flip depending on which direction she's facing.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the spells you can learn lets your character grow to enormous size, which makes it a breeze to take out monsters.
  • Book Ends: The game starts with Valkyrie jumping off of a cloud and descending to earth. After defeating the final boss, Valkyrie ascends again, leading into the ending.
  • Cartoon Bomb: One powerup replaces your Sword Beams with these, which can hit multiple enemies at once.
  • Cultural Translation: The original Japanese version of the game has a puzzle that require a basic understanding of Hiragana and Katakana. The English version included with Namco Museum Volume 5 replaces it with a simple math puzzle: how many legs between Valkyrie, Sandra, and a bull?
  • Essence Drop: Certain enemies can drop magic spheres, which allow you to use spells.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: As the game goes on, you can find characters who give you stronger weapons, in addition to purchasing powerups from Zaul.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are few characters who aren't trying to kill Valkyrie and Sandra.
  • Evil Counterpart: The PC Engine port of the original game introduces Black Valkyrie, who is fought before the final boss.
  • Funny Animal: Sandra is a big green lizard... of some sort.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Valkyrie's and Sandra's in-game appearances are significantly more compact than how they look in artwork and during cutscenes.
  • Grimy Water: Dark-colored deep water won't cause any damage, but you'll flail around instead of wading through like you would through shallow water.
  • Hit Points: The game eschews lives in favor of a health meter. You start out with three hearts of health, and one heart is two hits. It can be upgraded up to a max of six hearts. If you run out, the game ends.
  • His Name Really is "Barkeep": Yes, the heroine's name is actually Valkyrie.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Subverted. Zaul, the recurring salesman, looks like one, but his goods are the real deal (if a bit pricey).
  • Human Cannonball: In the castle stage, Valkyrie and Sandra need to fling themselves with catapults to get from one place to another.
  • Instant Gravestone: When you die, a gravestone appears for your character before they even touch the ground.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Each character can only hold up to six powerups, meaning you have to juggle the ones you want.
  • Lady of War: Valkyrie fills the role nicely.
  • Level Up Fill Up: After clearing a stage, your health and magic go up by two points.
  • Magic Knight: Valkyrie and Sandra are both experienced with melee weapons, and can also learn spells with varying effects.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Considering how many monsters can swarm you, this is a blessing.
  • Me's a Crowd: A spell allows you to summon mini versions of your character to protect you.
  • Money Spider: Everything drops money in this game, even inanimate objects like rolling logs.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Falling down a pit just gets you knocked back a few hit points before respawning.
  • Ratchet Scrolling: Zig-zagged a bit. Some areas allow the characters to backtrack, mostly areas with branching paths. When the path is linear, the characters usually aren't able to go back.
  • Recurring Riff: The soundtrack has a little melody that appears in most of its songs.
  • Scoring Points: You can score points, and the high scores are displayed in the attract screen, but it's not the main goal of the game.
  • Spread Shot: As your weapon is upgraded, it gains the ability to fire multiple shots in a set range.
  • Squashed Flat: Happens if you're crushed by something, such as a rolling log or boulder.
  • Sword Beam: Valkyrie's main form of attack. Sandra shoots beams from his trident instead. The attack can be upgraded to deal more damage and cover more distance.
  • 3/4 View: The game uses this type of perspective.
  • Timed Mission: A variation. There's an hourglass ticking down on the HUD, and it begins to chime as it runs down. When it empties, both players will lose two units of health, and then the timer resets. If you're on your last hit point, then it's Game Over.
  • Valkyries: Valkyrie resembles one, but it's never explicitly said if she actually is one.
  • X-Ray Sparks: If your character is electrocuted by an attack, you'll see their skeleton briefly.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: This happens to both Valkyrie and Sandra.
  • A Winner Is You: Once the final boss is defeated, the game recaps its cutscenes in reverse order, then ends on a nice little "The End" screen with Valkyrie and her friends as the credits roll.

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of The Valkyrie

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