Review by InfernalLurker

"Frenetic, adrenaline induced gaming. Bring your manual dexterity please."

Reading professional reviews of GunValkyrie, I was somewhat puzzled at the mediocre scores given to this game. This is Smilebit (Jet Set Radio/Jet Set Radio Future) we are talking about!! Coursing through them is the bloodline of Team Andromeda (Panzer Dragoon) after all!! Something must give...and as so, I went off to purchase my X-box with the sole purpose of finding out.

This review won't be broken into sections such as graphics and sound, and so on. Most of you already know general ideas of it. I shall concentrate on what makes this game so... for the lack of more refined words, bad-ass.

In the game, you assume the role of one of two selectable characters. Kelly or Saburouta, dressed in land to air-based Gearskin power suits, armed with laser cannons out to rid the assigned planet of alien insect hordes.

Upon playing the game at initial trial, I was surprised to see how the game was not the way I imagined it to be. I'm running around! This definitely is not what I've seen in a myriad of mpgs and quicktimes. As I beat the first mission, I lay the controls down to make some nice iced latte, and came back to a surprise. The title screen game demo was running and I marveled at how the demo's Kelly is taking flight indefinitely zipping all over the air looking nothing like my pitiful attempts.

With this rush of interest, I take to the second mission, instead of proceeding with it's given goal, I mess around with the boosting techniques that gives birth to its mobility freedom. After nearly an hour of playing the game (advancing through some levels, of course), I was boosting with the same skill as the demo.

Then it hit me. Those reviewers just suck! I will assume that they have poor eye-hand coordination, or very little dexterity or just suffer from panic-control syndrome. This game requires precision and calm.

You see, from the outset, you have very little boost (flying) energy. By hitting and holding the L trigger, you are able to hover at most up to 4 seconds. That is it. The only way one can remain air born is to perform a series of boost combos which after some degree of practice, can give you indefinite air-time.

The boost combo is a quick thrust in 4 directions in mid-air (forward, left, right, or back achieved by clicking down the L analog stick plus the direction of choice) that must be done in succession to keep you in flight. You may also perform the same maneuver on ground albeit without the continuous combo successions. These air boosts take very little of your boost energy and will be a key-factor in your success later in the game.

All the while you are using your left analog button to do boost combos (and face the direction you want), you will be using your right analog to aim your weapon or quickly turn directions to face your target. Add the high threat of alien insects that swarm upon you like the plague, and you'll come to realize that there is no other game on the market that tests your manual dexterity as this one does.

In that, sadly lies the inaccessibility of the game for a good percentage of players, and thus, perhaps, why a majority of the press have reviewed the game unfavorably. You will find that there are a large number of players who can't get their hands to maneuver Kelly or Saburouta satisfactorily enough to enjoy the game.

If you are one of the few who are confident enough to master a high degree of left and right hand coordination without panic, then I highly recommend the purchase of this finely crafted game which lends you the inevitable rush of frenetically paced game play and adrenaline as you speedily boost high above the air raining down hell-fire on swarms of nasty alien insects. You will truly feel like a bad-ass Gearskined ace jockey.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/03/03, Updated 01/03/03

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