Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Bargain Bin Laden #6: Gunvalkyrie

9:59 PM on 02.04.2007 // Aaron Linde

I'd like to think that our usual audiences would be present and accounted for today, but let's face it: most of you are watching the game, drunk and awash in nacho cheese. I could phone this one in and nobody'd be the wiser! This week's Bargain Bin Laden features everyone's favorite bargain bin purchase: ramen noodles!

Forget it. I'll behave, I swear. 

You might notice that our selection for this week, Gunvalkyrie, has something in common with both past and future BBL features; it was developed by Smilebit, just as Jet Set Radio Future and Panzer Dragoon Orta (coming soon!) were. Three of the Xbox's finest titles, all spewed forth from the gaping maw of the same developer -- that's quite a pedigree.

Gunvalkyrie might be the hardest game you'll play on the Xbox. It'll chew you up, spit you out, and crap on your corpse, and you'll love every minute of it, given enough time to surmount the game's nigh-insurmountable learning curve. But don't be afraid, lad. Take my hand and hit the jump to read why you must own this game.


Gunvalkyrie (XBOX)
Original Release: March 30, 2002
Developed by: Smilebit
Bargain Binned: $5.99 at GameStop/EBGames, as cheap or cheaper elsewhere. 

I won't lie to you; for the first half-hour or so of gameplay, you'll hate this game and you'll curse me for suggesting that you even think about buying it. The controls will feel clunky, slow, wretched. You'll wonder how developers get away with creating characters that turn like Sherman tanks. But believe me when I say that Gunvalkyrie is a deep game with similarly deep controls, and once you get the hang of them, you'll be zipping through the air like the player in the above video and having a blast doing it.

I'll take a moment to give the story a once-over, because it's batshit insane. Gunvalkyrie takes place in the early 20th century -- 1903, to be exact. You might wonder why the protagonists in this particular game are fighting in jetpacks on some unknown planet on the frontier of space in 1903, because I certainly was. Let's let Wikipedia do the talking:
[Gunvalkyrie] takes place in 1906 when the British Empire rules all of Earth and several extrasolar colony worlds, powered by technology brought to the planet by Halley's Comet.

The divergence between the storyline and the Real World is sometime in the 19th century. A scientist, referred to as "The Great Genius", discovers a wide range of scientific breakthroughs, including fusion and nuclear power, genetic engineering, computers, space travel and countless others. With these technologies the British Empire quickly conquers the Earth, and he is regarded as god by everyone on Earth, even to the point where when he speaks out against Queen Victoria she is overthrown and he is chosen to lead. He institutes a variety of radical reforms, bringing humanity up to modern societal standards (eg. multiculturalism, sexual freedom, equality). He dies shortly before the game begins.
So there you go. The player takes control of one of two members of the elite Gun Valkyrie military unit (est. 1887) to defend a colony planet called Tir na Nog from hostile alien insects.

But let's be frank, here: stories in games like these, especially a story such as this, is more or less unnecessary. What matters is aerial-based combat at high speeds -- how you go about doing that is the beauty of this game.

Basic third-person action controls are tweaked slightly in the creation of Gunvalkyrie's unique control scheme. Left analog controls movement, right analog controls your aim reticle, but in a much slower fashion -- mostly for precision aiming. Your jetpack-esque exoskeleton is more or less the foundation for all aerial acrobatics and combat; pressing the left trigger button when on the ground prompts a leap into the air, and pressing it again engages a jet-boost. This is where it gets tricky: to perform directional boosts, likesay, a quick shot forward through the air, you have to lean the left analog stick forward and click down. This directional boost can be made in any direction, and it's something you need to get used to quick -- you'll be doing a lot of it.

Your ability to boost is dependent upon a finite meter in the lower-left portion of your screen; your boost meter is depleted while, naturally, boosting in any given direction, and is replenished once you hit the ground or stop using your boost. The key to keeping aerial is to use your boost for maneuvering while destroying enemies versus strictly traveling -- the more you play the game, the more you'll understand, I promise.

And man, you'll be getting a lot of playtime in -- mostly on levels you'll be trying to beat for quite awhile. Gunvalkyrie is ruthless, unforgiving, and a cast-iron bitch in almost every respect, but it's one of those games that isn't unfair in its difficulty. If you die, you'll know what you did wrong. Smilebit did a hell of a job polishing the game and balancing the difficulty, and it shows in just how often Gunvalkyrie will rope you in after a particularly difficult level that killed you within mere minutes. Once you get hooked, you'll keep coming back for more.

Artistically, Gunvalkyrie's a winner. The graphics are excellent, especially for a game that came along relatively early in the Xbox's lifespan, and the music sets a powerful if not unusual tone for the game's progression. The menus are slick, polished, and reflect Smilebit's attention to the finest details; this game has remarkably high production value, which more people would know were they not spooked by the unrelenting difficulty. 

But here's what I love about this game, when you get right down to the heart of it: last week, I spouted off for a page or two over Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and any of you who have gotten around to playing that game knows that the first time you play is vastly different than, say, the last time you picked it up. Games with unusual or unconventional control schemes have that way of surprising you, especially if you revisit the first level and absolutely slay it with your thoroughly developed play style. Gunvalkyrie is no different. It'll beat you like a bitch for a few hours, but the better you get at it, the more you enjoy it, the more that the game itself becomes different by virtue of your play. Make sure to revisit that first canyon level after giving the game a few days, and you'll see exactly what I mean; you'll be dealing the hurt back upon your oppressors fiftyfold. 

It's extremely rewarding gameplay, an amazing Xbox experience that nobody should miss, and absolutely and utterly dirt cheap. Five bucks for a game that might take you two weeks to best? What are you waiting for? Buy this game! 


Photo Gallery: (1 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Aaron Linde,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
R steepled her fingers and smiled as she looked over at S and Z. "We have stopped two shipments of breasts from making it to America as well as Europe, meaning those will be added to our boob coffer. In time, all the breasts shall be mi... I mean, ours.."
siddartha85 avatarsiddartha85
I finally backed Indivisible. After hearing about Red from Transistor, I played the demo again. That platforming is solid and I'm used to the combat now.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Man, I completely forgot how awesome Pokemon Black and White's soundtrack is. The Vs. Trainers theme is probably one of the best I ever heard, if not the best in the entire series: [youtube][/youtube]
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Indivisible's campaign is over $1.4 million! just a little more!
Dum, dum, dum! Another blog bites the dust! And another done, and another done! Another blog bites the dust! #RIPtumblrbecausefuckit
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Ugh, I've been sick for what feels like 3 weeks. If I die I leave all my games casket because they're mine. Stay away! *hiss, hiss*
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Apparently the upcoming Tri-Force heroes update makes the local-play only items possible to get for everyone. That's pretty great!
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What youtubers y'all watch? I need more.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing For Glory earlier today, some guy beat me and changed his name to "ifukdu_up". I won next round and he changed it to "ILETUWIN". I then 2-0ed the little sucker, and he left the lobby. I took great pride from this incident.
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Henshin into a person with a larger disposable income.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Why the hell are we suddenly accepting micro transactions in fully priced games? It used to be only acceptable in free-to-play games but its sickening that even AAA developers like microsoft are on the bandwagon.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
If you're ever writing about something from the heart, and you stop and think "I don't know how people will react to me if I write this" then you absolutely should go ahead. Passionate conviction is often the only voice you'll have.
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Wait a second...has the blog editor been changed with the idea being that the formatting be done in Word or something and then pasted in? Have I been using it wrong these last few posts?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
guys I'm standing in a Target looking at a Xenoblade X special edition what do I do
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Dear Dortmund Zoo: how's it possible for people to steal 3 monkeys, 3 squirrels and 2 penguins while killing a manatee and another penguin since April and you still have no clue how to stop this?
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! [img][/img]
Flegma avatarFlegma
Two more reasons not to preorder: the game might appear in stores before release day (Hello, Xenoblade Chronicles X for 60EUR at my local mall) or the mail workers may be on strike (well, they were until Monday).
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
ModDb's MOTY (Mod of the Year) votes are up, there's quite a TON of interesting mods this year, give it a look and vote for your favorite! ---
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Hey, US Pokemon fans! Apparently if you just rename your SSID to Mcdonalds Free Wifi, you don't even need to go anywhere to get your Hoopas. Seems like they could've just made this one a normal download.
Archelon avatarArchelon
It may have been a war of attrition, but I just took out a Snowspeeder on foot in Battlefront. Aww, yeah.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -