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     " Don't you all want to play a kind of Norse Pokemon? 'I choose you THOR!' "

      Title: Valkyrie Profile by Enix

      Format: Playstation RPG

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Action and RPG elements combine in this exciting adventure set in Norse Mythology...

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Other than a few nice cut scenes, the graphics in this piece are quite retro. Nothing terribly complicated here. Don't expect to be blown away by a constant stream of stunning graphics. Everything looks very nice, just nothing spectacular. The figures have the same kind of aspect that you find in most RPG games today (including the buff guy with the huge sword). The status screen pictures are probably some of the best pictures in the game. Still, the visual style is appropriate to the medium, and very rarely will the graphics interrupt the flow of the game. 3.5 out of 5

      Sound: The music for this game is excellent...Nicely evoking all the feelings that it should. I just wish I could say the same for the voice work. The voice work ranges from okay right on down to wince inducing. The actress who played Valkyrie (the main character) did a good job, and thank the gods because you'll be hearing it for the entire game. They even have a voice sample menu so you can listen to all the voice work of combat characters in the game... Jury's still out on whether that's good or bad. Combat sounds are appropriate, and even well done. 3.5 out of 5

      Game Play: Well, for those of you hoping to strap on Mjolnir and step out riding Sleipner, my apologies. For those of you who can't even pronounce Mjolnir, you're in luck. This game has only a casual relationship with Norse mythology, at best. The game follows Lenneth Valkyrie, the chooser of the slain (there's only one in this game), as she goes about choosing Einherjar to fight Ragnarok (the Norse apocalypse). The RPG part comes from building up the stats of your warriors, as you train them to go to Valhalla. Most of the game though plays like a side scroller, as you fight your way through dungeons of undead and other "Bad Things". The game play is a lot of fun, especially combat. The system used is a nice one. Although it is turn based (in so far as your side goes, then their side), it is also real time within your turn. Pressing the buttons in proper succession allows for combination moves, which then lead to special moves. Some of the spell effects on the special magic moves are awesome to watch. The only real problem I had with game play was the tendency to discourage exploration. The game is split up into Chapters and Periods, and you have a finite amount of them (after every time consuming action, it tells you how long till the end of the world). Though you can go where you want during this time, there is a definite feeling that you should be using your time more effectively. 4.5 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: Even though all of the dungeons are side scrollers, that doesn't mean that the levels are all utterly simplistic. Some of the dungeons feature twists and turns you'll spend ten minutes trying to follow on the handy dandy auto map. The levels are all well thought out, even when they are that confusing. The environments are mostly nice and appropriate for the medieval feel of the game. A few more... modern implements are scattered, but they are still in appropriate places (i.e. scientific labs. Now how many scientific labs there were in Norse mythology is a completely different question). 3.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: Unfortunately, no multiplayer for this game. Come on folks, don't you all want to play a kind of Norse Pokemon? "I choose you THOR!" Although it might actually be fun to test your Einherjar against someone else's (I mean, by Norse mythology all the guys do is go to heaven and fight all the time), but since all the same characters are available I guess that might not work after all. N/A

      Replayability: There are eight chapters of 24 periods to play through, but there are also multiple endings to get (well, there're three, but that's multiple right?). Plus hidden characters and cool items make this game definitely worth at least one replay (You'll probably need it to get the good ending). To be honest the length of play actually makes it a little more appealing, just because you know exactly how long it's all going to take. 5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: The story line is rather blasť. The whole of the storyline seems to revolve around trying to discover something that the game sets up as completely obvious from the outset. Still, since most of your time will be spent gathering dead warriors and making them fight stuff, the story kind of takes a back seat. It's not particularly interesting, but it is easily ignored. When it is paid attention to, it's not entirely bad. The plot, though rather than twisting, has to play a kind of exposition game, explaining the how to's behind what we pretty much already know before it can move on. All this could have been avoided by a slightly more discreet prologue, but what're ya gonna do. 2 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: The basics of game play are pretty easy to figure out, as is most of the game. The only thing that might give trouble is the combat combo system, which may give some of you less twitch inclined monkeys a little trouble. Otherwise, everything is quite simple and pretty self-explanatory. This is a good thing, because the instructions tend to only give support but little more. Kind of like a back up system if you forget what something does. 4 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: Most of this game could easily have been put into a Super Nes game. In fact it has a lot of the same feel as some of those old SNES games. As such though, it really doesn't push the boundaries of what the Playstation can do. The in game graphics are nice, but not extraordinary. Still, there're almost no-load times for the game, even between cut scenes, so everything plays out nice and fast. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Okay, if you actually know who Hugin and Munin are, you may be a little disappointed with the games loose treatment of Norse mythology. Otherwise, this game is a lot of fun. It has a nice kind of retro feel, with a great combat system and good incentive to play again. An uninspiring storyline and some bad voice work don't really drag the game down either. Overall, a very fun game.

      The Good: A fun RPG/Action romp, great combat system

      The Bad: Very loose interpretation of Norse mythology, some very bad voice work.

      The Overall Ugly: Tons of fun, combat is a blast. Highly recommended.

      What it's Worth: 39.99 (or thereabouts)

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