Vist Genki!

Format: Super Famicom
From: Zamuse
Year of Release: 1993
Onscreen Language: Japanese

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Scrambled Valkyrie

A scrolling shoot-em-up with the difficulty pitched some where between challenging and rock hard!

You have the choice of three characters, Hikaru, Max and Miria. Each has their own attack methods in Valkyrie, Gerwalk and Battroid mode. While Miria's Valkyrie has the most powerful rapid fire Max has a very handy homing cannon as in Battroid mode while in Gerwalk Hikaru has a wide-area-covering grenade attack.

The controls are simple enough - X is fire B is change mode. When you are not attacking a firey glow surrounds your valkyrie which allows you to capture enemy ships by passing close to them. As with other shooters like 'Darius Gaiden' this captured ship will now fight along side you, by repeating it's set attack pattern, and is not only completely indestructable but will also stay with you for as long as you survive -even between stages! This means if you pick a particularly strong enemy early on you'll have a distinct advantage on later levels. Unfortunatley not all enemies can be captured so you'll need to do some careful trial and error.

The gameplay is simple to pick up. Rather than the 'one hit per life' scenario of most shoot-em-ups Scrambled Valkyrie gives you an energy bar but don't get too comfortable as if it reaches zero it's game over and power-ups that replenish lost shield are few and far between. The power-ups for your weapons though are much more frequent. Collecting them increases the strength of your current mode's attack by one, up to a maxium of three, but beware as taking a hit not only looses you sheild but also reduces the current mode's weapon level.

Scrambled Valkyrie is made up of seven stages. Each one is very long (upwards of 5 minutes), tough and contains a middle level as well as end-of-level boss. The mid level bosses can be pretty tricky to defeat but successfully destroying one yealds possibly the only sheild energy power-ups in the entire stage.

The graphics are really impressive. Developers Zamuse make good use of the Super Famicom's numerous special effects with huge rotating bosses, Zentradi battleships warping into attack and plenty of sprites filling the screen with fairly little slowdown. On the downside after the opening stage fewer and fewer of the enemies are modelled after the anime with some very strange mid-level and end-level bosses.

The stereo sound rounds the package of nicely with strong, punchy sound effects and enjoyable tunes running through the stages.

As mentioned at the start this game is very, very hard. It's fortunate that it's also so much fun as getting through even the first stage takes a lot of practise. The levels do seem to get a little easier after the initial stage but I still wouldn't expect to see the end of this game even with the five continues and some heavy exploiting of Max's homing laser.

Macross Scrambled Valkyrie takes the basic gameplay of the earlier spin-offs and develops it into the first truly enjoyable Macross title and it still stands as one of the best to be based on the series. Just beware the difficulty!

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