Review: Assault Suits Valken DECLASSIFIED

'Nators gonna Nate? M2 Suits themselves.

It's called Cybernator, right? That's how I alway knew this game, anyway. Cybernator. One of the stupidest, most meaningless names in the history of the medium, and therefore one of the very best. A game I always associated with Konami, but was in fact only published and localised by the 16-but giants. The developer here is Masaya, who I initially thought was the Parappa the Rapper lot, but I was wrong and stupid. The package presents you with a newly re-localised version of the game that became Cybernator, one Assault Suits Valken; prequel to the Mega Drive title Target Earth, aka Assault Suits Leynos. Phew!

What is it, then? Oddly, it has been reviewed elsewhere with the description "run 'n gun", which it categorically isn't. I mean, you do gun, but you can't really run in an enormous, lumbering mecha armour. You wouldn't think agility was a factor when it came to these hulking frames, but these basts can move. They'll need to, as well, because this is one heck of a difficult game. Honestly, I'd come down on the side of it being slightly too difficult; the asteroid field in the second level is kind of brutal, and cost me a good number of lives. Thankfully Rainmaker (for it is they) offer a handful of pleasant quality of life changes, such as the expected save states and some unlockable cheats.

For the first time ever - ever - you've got the fully translated SNES original right here, replete with dialogue. That's a good thing, if you're a fan, but it rather reminded me of the Gunvolt series' propensity to layer text over the action, which makes it a little difficult to concentrate when you've already got shite flying all over the screen attempting to kill you dead. But, of course, this is a faithful presentation of the original, emulated beautifully by M2, so I cannot bring myself to complain about its accuracy.

It just occurs to me, as I play Assault Suits Valken DeClassified, that I may just not like it. And of course, that doesn't make it a bad game by any metric. It's just a very difficult one, which puts up one hell of a fight. It does so beautifully, with lovely coherent visuals that make its SNES origins really sing, and some grand music to boot. There's a fully-translated guidebook included along with a "super play" so you can be jealous of how much better whoever's responsible is, and there's a metric ton of concept art to goggle at. Rounding things off is the game's original manual, which is a basic inclusion but a welcome one.

It's an exemplary presentation of what is inaguably a classic game, though it's a game I find a touch too unbalanced difficulty-wise. Thankfully this version offers ways to mitigate that, though save states remain cheating. It's easy to get immersed in Assault Suits Valken's mission-based platform-shootery, though it's perhaps a shame that the PlayStation 2 remake of the game is a no-show, just for the sake of completeness. While it's one for the fans, there is appeal here for newcomers. Just don't expect the world - this is a presentation of a single game, and there's nothing wrong with that whatsoever.