Gunvalkyrie review
Too hard for it's own good

The good:

Excellent graphics. Decent gameplay. Decent replay value.

The bad:

Extremely high difficulty level. Not a ton of variety in gameplay.


Released back in 2002 and still a mainstay in bargain bins, Gun Yalkyrie is a slick-looking shooter that Sega put out early on in the Xbox cycle. The storyline revolves around two soldiers, Kelly & Saburouta, sent to find valuable artifacts on various bug-infdested worlds and uncover some long-lost secrets of a missing scientist.

The graphics are very good in this game-the game was developed using Japanese anime-style techniques, resulting in very sharp-looking environments, effects, and character models. The animation generally is very smooth and the 3D environments look realistic although up-close, some larger characters do have some rough edges and other graphic issues. Sounds are average, with good sound effects offset by boring, repetitive music and no voice acting with limited dialogue. Controls are rather sluggish, and although the dual thumbsticks allow for some unique movement options and cool tricks, getting your character to look around is way too difficult and performing the aerial moves requires clicking and holding the thumbstick while trying to move at the same time-extremely frustrating. The system of using different buttons to choose different weapons is very easy to learn and use. Gameplay is primarily 3rd-person flying and shooting, and while you have a lock-on system that does all the work for you, it would have been nice to be able to turn it off to add a little extra challenge. You can buy powerups & upgrades, but there aren't enough and they don't really add any playability or excitement to the game. There isn't much variety in the enemies either-bugs, more bugs, and even more bugs stacked around some of the toughest bosses you will ever see. You'll destroy your controllers in frustration before you beat these bosses and enemies-the extremely high difficulty level will get to even the best of players, and it is unadjustable. There also is little replay value outside of trying to improve your best time from a stage. Although there are 2 characters, you can only use 1 at a time and sometimes only one character can be chosen-a split-screen co-op mode or being able to swap players without leaving an area would've been great.

While it's tempting to give this one a try looking at the impressive graphics & the under-$15 price tag, only those who don't mind playing a game tougher than anthing you've probably ever played should think about trying this one out. Everyone else will probably give up on this game in less than 2 hours after not being able to proceed past the first boss. If you want decent bug-blasting action, dust off your old N64 and play Jet Force Gemini instead.

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