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Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (SNES) artwork

Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (SNES) review

"But do not fail to take advantage of your craftís second capability. While you fly along idly, perhaps through a rare spot of peacefulness where no foes dwell and your guns lay resting silently, a gold, magnetic electricity will surround you on all sides. Should certain models of enemy spacecraft come in contact with your unique force field, they will be subject to your own purposes!"

I feel safe
I feel scared
I feel ready
and yet unprepared

Soaring on the muscle of a powerful, transforming device of justice -- through the black void that hosts endless nothingness, deep outer space -- the velocity of the strikingly lily-white stars, infinite in number, indicating your zooming pace, you fall upon catastrophe. A hulking space laboratory materializes before your eyes -- are you suffering from some sort of dementia? Ripples of blue, then red, orange, and green seem to yank the universe this way and that, twisting and distorting existence, forcing this massive spaceship under you. And just as quickly as it appeared, itís gone; another swelling undulation erupts -- this huge vessel has burst in another bath of pearl-white light. Itís been shred at the seams!

The force of this awful explosion from below pushes your ship upwards as if it were a mere toy. The remnants of the metallic mess -- now giant chunks of threatening shrapnel -- scatter about your course of travel.

Peak out the porthole and you're greeted with the blank stares of the dead: corpses eerily float about, suggesting the scope of this inexplicable disaster. As the lifeless bodies dance about yoru machine as it flies by, grimly reminding you of your own mortality, you fall upon the enemies. Or perhaps youíve been fighting off waves of relatively primitive opposing ships all along -- the sudden madness leaves you unclear of recent undertakings. Some of these swarming foes, brown in color, bring with them small spherical orbs that burst, leaving a waving purple haze with a subtle gravitational pull that beckons your ship into a lull, so itís sitting reluctantly in the middle of this purple. Sucked this way and that, unable to easily steer your fighter, you become that much more susceptible to sideswiping blows. If this is just the beginning, what lies ahead?

I know when to talk
And I know when to touch
No one ever died from wanting too much

All of these breathtaking, tragic, awe-inspiring occurrences unravel within the boundaries of just the first stage of Zamuseís atmospheric horizontal shooter, Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie. If the emotional rigors of this initial voyage had you gawking, then youíll soon see that this once stirring trip was a mere microcosm of a beautiful, glossy adventure. Your next exploits will be amidst enemy-laden canyons scattered about the peaceful ocean waters and below an angry, revengeful sky where the darkest, meanest clouds loom overhead. Pulsating lasers have already been mounted here and there, spewing forth yellow energy surges. Traversing these jagged formations with these guns firing from the safest nooks and crannies amongst the rocks could be difficult.

After these efforts youíll be anything but easing off; next is a full-force plunge into a living, breathing edifice of evil. Colossal missiles that could eat your craft for breakfast rush towards you from an out-of-sight source. This roomy base -- so vast that even the gentle but swift, fluting soundtrack that plays during your travels has an echoing, hollow feel to it -- should not be taken lightly; youíre in the Heart of Terror, and only on level three of seven.

But people like us know how to survive. Each of the three selectable characters (all from the widely-celebrated series Robotech) feature three weapons in one -- a fighter, guardian, and battloid, also faithful to the show. They all host different types of weapons with varying rates of fire and differing strengths, so selecting just the right weapon for a given situation can become important. By collecting power-ups that enemies relinquish, you can substantially upgrade each of the weapons threefold. And there is a certain balance here; be sure that a weapon at the third level of power will easily outpace the others at the first level, no matter what the circumstance. From scrambling whizzing discs of light to a forceful, unshakeable blue fireball and the humble, simple, but always effective tri-laser setup, each weapon has its place somewhere.

I know how to hurt
I know how to heal
I know what to show, and what to conceal

But do not fail to take advantage of your craftís second capability. While you fly along idly, perhaps through a rare spot of peacefulness where no foes dwell and your guns lay resting silently, a gold, magnetic electricity will surround you on all sides. Should certain models of enemy spacecraft come in contact with your unique force field, they will be subject to your own purposes! No longer attacking you, theyíll fly in varying patterns, firing rounds at their former comrades, helping you in your missions. Although these converted mercenaries wonít pack a thunderous punch, there is no doubt that they will at one time or another pick off a particularly tricky aggressor you fall upon.

But it is such a perfect place to start my love
And if youíre strong enough
Together we can take the world apart, my love

Your quest is all flavors of epic. From the pulsating, upbeat music tracks that will surely place you into a trance of intense concentration, to the wondrous but death-ridden environments you traverse, Macross has a way of making your battles feel noble in cause and splendidly important for the fate of mankind in scope. Fortunately or unfortunately, the evils at work here are not dreadfully difficult to obliterate. The seven levels as a whole are almost easy, and will probably be more than simple to those experienced in the shooter genre. Being struck by an enemy doesnít send your craft into fits of explosion, but merely depletes some energy from your life meter. Your weapons arenít completely confiscated by a striking enemy, either -- whichever you are currently using is simply reduced by one power level. With what should be vicious opposition, these penalties for error are just slaps on the hand.

No matter. It wonít detract significantly from your quest. There are still tight spots, and the epic is still awe-inspiring. Itís all so alive. Because full understanding of this Robotech escapes me due to a lack of familiarity with is a very appreciated series on several sides of the world, I can only appreciate Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie for what it is to me: a tremendous, vibrant shooter. Even with the lack of a storyline and cutscenes between missions, Iím sure one acquainted with Robotech could learn to appreciate such an adventure even more than I.

Enjoy the rings of Saturn.

We know when to kiss
And we know when to kill
If we canít have it all,
nobody will.

dogma's avatar
Staff review by K T (June 17, 2005)

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