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Old school gameplay meets next-gen technology. One of the few truly challenging games to come along in a while (in a very good way).

After playing through GunValkyrie the first time, the game reminded me of the classic Sega arcade game Space Harrier. And in some ways, there are some similarities. For one, both games take place in a third person perspective, which gives you a chance to see and shoot enemies in the distance. Another similarity is that your character can hover and reach new levels.

GunValkyrie also incorporates some of the classic gaming elements of Bionic Commando as well as Nintendo's Metroid (such as the grappling hook that can be used to reach some of the higher levels). That's really one of GunValkyrie's strong points is that it rewards players for finding innovative ways to get through the levels. I remember spending hours playing Metroid back in the day trying to bomb every part of the wall to find a hidden level. Now keep in mind folks that this was before the time of strategy guides. It took me months to beat Metroid. GunValkyrie does an admirable job of capturing and paying homage to some of the great game play innovations from the past while bringing it to the year 2002. Basically what they did was take Space Harrier and give the player complete freedom on how to play and beat the level. Isn't technology grand?

A hard game is good to find.

GunValkyrie is not a easy game by any stretch of the imagination. There are some parts that can get rather frustrating. That's one of the problems I find with video games these days is that developers sugar coat and dumb the game play down way too much. I think that a challenging game is more rewarding overall and basically more satisfying when you know you finally beat it and got past that impossible level. Most gamers, probably wont give GunValkyrie the time and attention a game like this deserves. Besides Halo, GunValkyrie ranks right up there as one of the most satisfying game experiences I have had on the Xbox so far. And that goes a long way when it comes to reviewing game after game.

The story may remind some people of the movie Starship Troopers. In fact at the very end of the first level when the aliens start to fall from the sides and you find your self surrounded and your finger begins to hurt from squeezing the trigger button too many times, it may give you a idea what it was like for those marines who were bunkered down while the bugs were attacking.

The graphics are very good, and I did not notice any detectable slow down considering amount of characters on the screen at once. The weapons effects are also nice, and the Xbox does another great job when it comes to textures. Each successive level is very different and you really see a nice variety. Draw in, or the games ability to show distances with out the annoying pop up is also very impressive. You can see quite a long distance with out the use of the obvious fog or other visual distractions. The game levels are very colorful, which is very pleasant to the eye.

Sound-wise, GunValkyrie is a mixed bag. There are some instances that are very strong -for example; the techno like music in some of the levels really fits with the onscreen action. Overall, the music does not detract from the game experience and does a nice job of setting the ambience and tempo of the gameplay. The sound effects are somewhat comical in certain instances. When a creature takes a bite out of you it sounds like "Chomp!", like something out of a cartoon.

The controls do take some getting used to. [Remember, the controls in Halo took a little getting used to as well. - Ed.] If you are a gamer that gets frustrated easily you might want to take a rain check when it comes to this game. While at time frustrating, given time, you can get used to the controls, and be rewarded with some really cool gameplay. You can pull off some very cool evasive maneuvers as you try to dodge the enemies.

The controls are rock solid, and there is no delay between a button press and the action happening on the screen. The nice thing about GunValkyrie is the way the levels progress and allows you to learn the more demanding techniques. There is a learning curve and for those players who master it will be awarded with a great playing game that is nearly impossible to put down once you start. The game is recommended for anyone who enjoys a challenge.

The way the game rewards players with weapons upgrades is very cool and does add some replayability. Basically after every level you have a chance to power up some of your weapons or purchase new weapons and techniques which you then can use with the next level.

Mike Regan
Used to spend all of his quarters playing Space Harrier at the arcade.

GunValkyrie: The Scores













The Final Word:  Over all, Smilebit did a great and I hope to see a sequel soon because games this good (requiring this much skill) do not come around often. Gamers with enough patience to get past the steep learning curve owe it to themselves to try this game out. GunValkyrie is an experience that you owe to your self to face and enjoy.

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GunValkyrie Screenshots

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