Ah, the long running anime series that is Macross...it's strange though. While I know of the anime and its historic roots, my first exposure to the series was in the form of a game, not the anime. A long time ago, I received a NES pirate cart called 52 Games (some call it "Supervision 52") and through this game, I played one of the first Macross games ever to grace a console. It was simply called Choujikuu Yousai Macross and it was a moderately fair game if you take into account that it was one of the earliest Famicom games back in 1985 (Screenshot to the lower left). The developer, Big West, have since went on to greener pastures and somewhere along the way, they decided to leave the SFC a gift in the form of Choujikuu Yousai Macross - Scrambled Valkyrie. If you watch the anime, the story should be no problem for you. Singing idols and divas whose melodies bring peace and war...that kind of stuff is what made Macross legendary. As far as the in-game story, not really anything present. No time for a real plot! Bring out the Valkyries and save the universe!
So how does the game fare graphically? The game has some excellent special effects and some of the environments are superb. You'll fly past space debris and deal with some detailed enemy ships along the way. The attention to detail to some particular enemies is nearly awe inspiring. The problem is that there is some slowdown so in the end, while the game is nice to look at, the slowdown brings the experience down a notch. The sound is decent for this kind of game. Some of the tunes echo the feel of the anime and the rest is pretty standard. The music should still satisfy even if you aren't a fan of the anime.
The gameplay has evolved since 1985 (good lord, one would only hope so) and now the game presents you with moderately standard shooting game mechanics. You have the very typical options that you can configure. However, you get to choose from three characters: Hikaru Ichijo, Maximilian Jenius, and Millia Fallyna. Your ship can transform into three states and each state fires its own weapon that has varying usefulness. It is the morphing Valkyries that made the Macross games somewhat unique from other shooters.
Besides weaponry, each state also has varying characteristics such as speed and mobility. The most powerful state (A tall mecha resembling a humanoid) are the slowest and dodging can be trickier in this state. There is a middle form and a full ship form too. The middle is balanced and the ship is the fastest form. Each weapon can level up three times and each pilot has different weapons. Thankfully, the different forms have more than cosmetic values whereas in the NES game, it just depended on how fast you wanted to reach the end of the level. For that reason, I almost always used the full ship form. The game has a more structured and traditional SHMUP environment, though the lack of a super bomb leaves me somewhat bitter.
To summarize, CYMSV is a decent game and a welcome addition to the SFC/SNES library of shooters. Sure, it isn't any Axelay, Parodius, or Space Megaforce (Super Aleste), but then again, few other shooters on SNES are.
- Written by Vyse the determined -