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— Jake, Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator
Assault Suits Valken (released in America as Cybernator) is a side-scrolling shooter game for the SNES developed by NCS Corp. and published by Masaya/Konami in 1993. This game is part of the "Assault Suit" series and a prequel to Assault Suit Lemnos. You play the role of Jake, an assault suit operator in a three-man squad following the exploits of the Versis through the war between the United Pacific States and an unnamed enemy Axis.
The American localization suffered intensely from bad translation, censorship and feature removal: For inexplicable reasons, the translation team removed character portraits and in some cases removed whole dialogs and destroyed the storyline in the process. One of the game designers went on to work on Front Mission Gun Hazard.
Some tropes featured in the game are:
- Ace Pilot: Jake becomes one, obviously.
- A Father to His Men: Beldark tried to help the enemy AS that malfunctioned during re-entry, and personally went to retrieve the pilot after you capture/save it. The men under him contrinue to fight after you capture the enemy congress, despite knowing the war was lost out of loyalty to Beldark.
- Final Battle: "Last Stand".
- Apocalypse Wow: "Last Stand" takes place in the besieged enemy capital. Cue burning buildings, smoke and general devastation in lavish detail for a game released in 1993. Most surfaces can be damaged by weapons fire, too.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Cut from the American release, in the Japanese version the enemy president refused to take responsability for the war and would rather shoot himself than be put on display at trial.
- Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; although all but one weapon have unlimited ammo, they need to recharge/reload after expending a magazine.
- Blood Knight: Major Beldark.
- Colony Drop: The enemy plans to do this once you breach the command deck and they realize they can't hold Arc Nova anymore.
- Coming in Hot: In the good ending, your AS barely manages to crash on the Versis and eject you before exploding.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: This game really pushed the limits of the SNES' sound chip.
- Decisive Battle: "Attack on Arc Nova". After capturing Arc Nova, the enemy lost their only constant resupply point for space troops and control of the lunar mining route.
- Dialogue During Gameplay: Jake talks to the rest of the squad ocassionally. Again, this was cut from the American localization.
- Destructible Projectiles
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The game's antiwar message, made clear in the bad ending, is almost imperceptible among the four to seven things exploding or flying through the screen at almost any given time.
- Drop Ship: The Versis is a mix between this and a spaceborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
- Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Like many other games of its time.
- Loading Screen: Your Valken AS going to the Versis top deck for launch as you're briefed.
- Mini-Mecha: The titular Valken assault suit.
- Multiple Endings: There are two endings, depending on whether you completed all mission objectives or not.
- Outrun the Fireball: The final cutscene
- Pacifist Run: Doing this in the first level, only shooting at the boss' main body, rewards you with the Napalm Gun.
- Reentry Scare: "Atmosphere Entry". Crea even points out that tipping the balance on the ship will cause them to reenter at a steeper angle and crash. Subverted in that they do crash and damage the Versis for the rest of the game.
- Video Game Remake: A team of amateur game programmers called "Robo Action Game VII@2ch" created a freeware PC remake of Valken entitled "Assault Suits Gunvalken". They didn't just do a vanilla remake, however; they added a spate of new Assault Suits for you to pilot (including Lemnos, a seafood-themed Joke Character AS, the Blodia mecha from Armored Warriors/Powered Gear, the title mecha from the game Veigues Tactical Gladiator, and the title mecha from the extremely early Squaresoft game Cruise Chaser Blassty), changed the weapon system (each AS has a set loadout of four weapons) and included a "practice" menu that lets you replay any stage in the game with a full loadout of fully-upgraded weapons.