Being a gamer during the Sr. Bush years was suffering. Chances are if you found a pretty awesome game for your Super Nintendo Entertainment System, in all probability- it faced some serious censorship. This was a problem for plenty of the classics on the console, but sometimes the changes didn’t make any sense at all.
Cybernator was a particular example of perplexing cuts. The entire story and characters were effectively removed. The censorship of a grisly suicide is to be expected, but the removal of all character portraits and about half of the text makes made Cybernator the inferior version to the genuine Japanese original.
Restored with its proper name and boasting supplemental materials, this Super Nintendo classic can finally be played without sailing the sloppy seas. What kind of extras are included? How does the gameplay hold up since 1992? Find out in this Assault Suits Valken Declassified review!
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review or read the full review of the below:
Assault Suits Valken Declassified
Developer: M2, NCS Corp, Rainmaker Productions
Publisher: Rainmaker Productions
Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (as Cybernator), PlayStation 2 (Japan only), Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: March 30, 2023
Price: $24.99 USD
This retranslated and restored version of Cybernator, or as it is now referred to Assault Suits Valken Declassified is the definitive heavy mecha action platformer. Several others like it, such as Metal Warriors, Gigantic Army, or Front Mission: Gunhazard, but none of them has the variety or finely tuned handling that the Assault Suit mech.
The sheer weight and momentum felt when moving around in this machine are palpable. It has a satisfying crunchiness when landing from a hefty leap. Boosting with such heavy armor comes with an appropriate delay, so gamers can feel every ton bearing down when slowing to a stop.
What makes Assault Suits Valken Declassified unique among action platformers is how aiming and shooting are handled. The armor can aim its guns in 30-degree increments and can fire while moving and lock the aiming position. The flexibility comes in handy when battling a fleet of enemy mecha, manned craft, and turrets.
Staying mobile is not always an option while operating machinery as heavy as the Assault Suits. Luckily, the mech has a shield that can block almost any bullet and has a very generous window. With careful timing, players can be unstoppable and keep the Assault Suit in mint condition.
On top of the impregnable defenses, the Assault Suit can acquire several weapons which can also be powered up by random drops.
These weapons vary from the wildly chaotic and bouncy vulcan machine guns to hefty laser beams, rockets, and more. Weapons aren’t lost after dying, so players are free to go nuts while blasting away without fear of losing them from a crushing death.
Gameplay is primarily action-platforming, but Assault Suits Valken Declassified manages to inject some variety with some stage gimmicks.
One level may be a scrolling shoot-em-up which diverges into a low-gravity platforming sequence. Stages are linear, but are wide-open and give enough freedom to explore and get immersed in the scenarios.
The story presentation is done very effectively with big and well-animation character portraits. There is a decent amount of text and the information is conveyed efficiently, but the only way to truly understand the stakes and the setting is to explore the supplemental content in the extras.
Assault Suits Valken Declassified comes with a lot of newly translated and recreated materials. The strategy guide included not only gives helpful advice on the best way to beat the game to get the best ending but it is stuffed with surprising detailed information surrounding the backstory.
There are beautiful shots of models, concept art, technical stats, and character sheets. These devs knew their mecha well and their influences from Armored Trooper Votoms couldn’t be more apparent. There is an industrial pragmatism to the designs of the robots and machinery throughout.
Nothing is sleek or looks like it was designed by a coastal elite. There is almost a working-class militarism to the design philosophy and the Earthy and subdued color palette is easy on the eyes. Explosions are especially awesome and the pixelation makes them look rougher and more violent.
Assault Suits Valken Declassified is a thrill ride with a lot of big action and with an impressive spectacle that holds up. The kinesthetics give the mech a suitably weighty feel when stomping around and being able to blow up almost anything- even the floor, makes it stand out from most 16-bit action games from its time.
For its price, gamers are only going to get one game in Assault Suits Valken Declassified. It is pretty steep, especially since Assault Suits Valken is about an hour long, and if Assault Suits Leynos (2015) or Assault Suits Leynos 2 (1997) were included, it could have made the package feel fairer.
The steepness of the price is almost worth it for the excellent game and wealth of extras. This is a no-brainer if it goes on sale, but if you are an elite mecha fan and demand only the definitive experience of Cybernator, then Assault Suits Valken Declassified is the main event at any price.
Assault Suits Valken Declassified was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by Rainmaker Productions. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Assault Suits Valken Declassified is now available for Nintendo Switch.