Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Assault Suits Valken

Go To

"I fight not for honor or for patriotism. I fight because I am a soldier."
Jake, Assault Suits Valken / Cybernator

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 Target Earth (known as Assault Suit Leynos in Japan). 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 the Eurasian Union (which is unnamed in the game proper, but whose name is mentioned in additional materials). The English localization in Cybernator is known for scrapping character portraits in dialogue entirely, making it hard to understand the storyline, in addition to removing some scenes (like a character commiting suicide). A PlayStation 2 remake was released in Japan in August 2004 in Japan and then in PAL territories in June 2005.

Two programmers of this game, Hideo Suzuki and Yukihiro Higuchi, went on to work on Front Mission: Gun Hazard, a spin-off of the Front Mission series that features similar gameplay, making that game a spiritual successor of some sort. The character design was supplied by Satoshi Urushihara of Langrisser fame.

For side-scrolling mecha games similar to Assault Suits Valken, compare and contrast to LucasArts' Metal Warriors, Astroport's Gigantic Army and Dracue Software's Armored Hunter GUNHOUND. In an unexpected appearance, Jake and Crea along with the titular Valken join the pilots and Rounders of Senko no Ronde 2 as DLC characters.

On March 30, 2023, the game was rereleased for the Nintendo Switch internationally as Assault Suits Valken: Declassified, giving overseas players the first time to experience the game in its original form with the cut content included with a new English translation, and other extras including interviews with the developers, a translated artbook, and a sound test.

Tropes featured in the game are:

  • 11th-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.
  • Ace Pilot: Jake began his training to becomes one, but the war began before he could complete it. Regardless, he was suitable for deployment, and he accepted due to his ideals as a soldier, leading to him being the protagonist of the game.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: The Japanese name (Assault Suits Valken), like most games in the Assault Suits series. The Western version averts this, being only known as Cybernator.
  • The Alleged Car: By the end, the Versis is barely airworthy. This may be a contributing factor to it getting shot down, with the loss of everyone on board, in the bad ending.
  • All There in the Manual: Some details of the backstory of the game are explained in additional materials and not explained in the game itself, including, egregiously enough, the name of the enemy force Jake and the members of the United Pacific States are facing against: The United Pacific States is a union between all the North American countries (U.S., Canada and Mexico), plus Australia and Japan, while the enemy, the Eurasian Union, is basically The European Union, plus Africa, the former Soviet Union and some other Asian countries. Likewise, the full names of all the characters are also given as well, including their nationalities.
  • 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.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Jake has to destroy an enemy source of energy located in an asteroid cluster in the second mission. The smaller rocks can be destroyed, but the bigger ones can only be passed by.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: 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. And he proceeds to just do that.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If you get the bad ending, the war is still over, but almost everyone on the Versis is dead and Jake is completely devastated.
  • Blackout Basement: The anti-aircraft base in Gunfire Mountains is very dark, thus requiring Jake's assault suit to illuminate the path forward while he's infiltrating. Also, the lamp cannot be used while Jake is blocking with his shield.
  • Blood Knight: Major Beldark. The final battle in particular; he's knows his side has just lost, and is doing it just For the Lulz.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; although all but one weapon (the missiles) have unlimited ammo, they need to recharge/reload after expending a magazine.
  • Bowdlerise: In the Japanese version, the final stage features a scene where the president of the nation that controls the enemy forces, upon realizing that he has been overthrown, commits suicide by shooting himself in the head with a pistol. The English version circumvents showing this by not only truncating the final stage so that the game ends before this cutscene takes place, but also writing the president out of the game's story entirely.
  • Char Clone: Major Beldark. An Ace Pilot in a fast red suit who plays The Rival to your protagonist and pilots a souped up super-sized robot with remote control arms and no legs as his final boss form. There's no portrait of him, but from what we see of Assault Suit pilots it probably wouldn't be too out of place to imagine him looking like Char in his pilot suit. This is confirmed by the art book's concept art for the characters; Beldark (or Berdach, as the book gives his name) seems to draw inspiration from Char circa Char's Counterattack.
  • Colony Drop: The enemy plans to do this once you breach the command deck and they realize they can't hold Arc Nova anymore. 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.
  • Continuing is Painful: Dying and continuing will reset your score back to zero.
  • 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.
  • Crossover: Jake and his mecha are featured in Senko no Ronde 2 as DLC characters with Crea as support.
  • 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.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: The game stops the action in cutscenes for most time, but it doesn't pause the game whenever Jake talks to the rest of the squad from time to 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 where the enemy President shooting himself in the head after refusing to accept a trial.
  • 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.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Like many other games of its time.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: In the bad ending; the implication 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.
  • Fan 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 Leynos, Exzas the near game-breaking experimental successor unit to the Valken from the PS1 Tactical RPG sequel, a seafood-themed Joke Character "Marine Blue", the Blodia mecha from Armored Warriors/Powered Gear, the title mecha from the game Veigues Tactical Gladiator, the Tracer Type-2, the title mecha from the extremely early Squaresoft game Cruise Chaser Blassty, fellow doujin mecha Gunhound, the Zenith, various mecha with the Thexder homing laser, and more), 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.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: The opening cinematic features the player character, Jake, being launched in his Mecha, from the battlecraft Versis.
  • Final Battle: The aptly-named final mission "Last Stand", which takes place in the enemy capital. It is here where the war ends; whether the price for it is high or low will depend on the previous missions' outcomes, but Jake will invariably face strong opposition and aggressiveness from the still-living enemies, who by this point know that they're in the brink of defeat.
  • Fixed Scrolling Level: Happens quite a number of times.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Punching is always an option, and some players go out of their way to make sure that they kill bosses by punching.
  • 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.
  • Homage: To Mobile Suit Gundam in the fall-to-Earth level, recalling Crown's fate when his Zaku burns up in atmosphere after his red-suited commander Char has to retreat back to a carrier ship.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Over the course of the game, there will be three: a dogfight during atmospheric reentry, a side-scrolling segment at the beginning of the fourth level, and a shuttle chase at the end of the same level.
  • Homing Laser: 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.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Allowing the asteroid colony to strike the Earth in a Colony Drop scenario or failing to destroy the enemy's reinforcement shuttle gets you a Downer Ending where the main character returns to find everyone on his ship dead and the war having degenerated into a bloody stalemate.
  • 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.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: There are three shooter levels where the player's mecha is outfitted with a rocket pack.
  • Mission Control: Crea provides Jake with intel during missions.
  • 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; failing just one of them will 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).
  • Punch-Clock Hero:
  • Ramming Always Works: Starting with the very first mission.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Seven: The game is divided into seven missions. The first two focus on Jake weakening the enemy forces, the next two focusing on the destruction of Arc Nova and its aftermath, and the final three deciding the end of the war.
  • 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?
  • The Stinger: After the credits, someone from the space expedition sends an SOS transmission to Earth, not knowing that nobody is able to respond to them because of the war. This is a Call-Forward to the events of Target Earth. This message was cut out of the western localizations.
  • Timed Mission: Certain levels must be completed under a time limit, or else you will fail (or die, depending on the mission's subject and its outcome); no countdown is shown, but Claire will periodically communicate Jake how much time remains or how close the mission is to fail. One of these missions, upon failure, will let you continue, but with the caveat of making the game lead to a very somber ending after its completion:
    • Colony Attack: If you don't destroy the power source before it's connected to the enemy ship, Versis will be destroyed with a powerful beam and you'll have to restart.
    • Attack On Arc Nova: You have two minutes to destroy the eponymous vessel's propellers so it no longer impacts Earth and is eventually rerouted beyond the planet's orbit.
    • Twilight Pursuit: You must destroy the enemy's spacecraft before it moves beyond your reach; if that happens, the enemies boarding it will act as reinforcements for the ones you're fighting against in the space fleet.
    • Gunfire Mountains: If you do not destroy the enemy artillery in time, it will be used to destroy all of Versis and its crew, including Jake's Mission Control and Love Interest Claire, leaving him alone against the enemy faction. This is by far the outcome you must avoid the most if you wish to clear the game with the Golden Ending.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The secret Napalm Gun upgrade fires a flaming ball of death across the screen. Both the rate of fire and rate of travel might be low compared to the usual standbys of the Vulcan cannon or Laser cannon, but it basically annihilates most non-boss enemies in a single shot. Even a near miss can wipe out smaller units.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Cybernator