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Golvellius: Valley of Doom

1988 Sega

Sega Master System



Back in the day the Legend of Zelda made a pretty big splash - that particular mix of action, exploration, and dungeon crawling gameplay was unique at the time on home consoles. Thus within a short period Zelda clones start popping up all over the place. This particular game actually started out on the MSX home computer and was licensed by Sega for the Master System.

The story follows the usual save the princess type story, you are Kelesis, a young kid with green hair who is on a quest to save the princess Rena from the evil wizard/demon Golvellius. This is accomplished by wandering through the overworld valley and seeking out hidden caves (ala Zelda.) The "overworld" is somewhat linear however. Instead of a Zelda type "sandbox" overworld here instead the overworld generally proceeds from the bottom up or side to side, without as much backtracking involved. Caves are found by slaying monsters or striking rocks or bushes with your sword.

Throughout the valley you run into various helper type people, the usual faries and nurses that restore your health, old women who give you special items, etc. Some of them (such as Dina the vampire) are kind of a rip off, others are essential in order to progress. It seems that nothing in the Valley of Doom is free however, nearly everything costs you gold - which wouldn't be a problem except you're limited to carrying small amounts at first until you obtain "Bibles." Why carrying a Bible lets you carry more gold is not explained. Other items include shields that let you deflect enemy shots, boots that allow you to walk on all types of terrain, and multiple swords of increasing power. However unlike in some other games of this type our little hero does not get access to any kind of secondary weapons - you get your sword, that's it. No arrows, no boomerangs, no bombs, no type of ranged weaponry whatsoever. The various special items do make you more powerful but don't do much to expand playability.

The problem with all this is that in the overworld the little monsters and such continuously regenerate, constantly, always, no matter how many you kill. This wouldn't be so bad except they tend to appear nearly on top of you, to the point where walking from one end of the screen to the other is a frustrating act of frustrating...umm...frustration. Seriously it is a pain in the ass, especially early in the game where it takes fifty hits to kill freakin' snake. Little common enemies tend to beeline right at you, surround you, cut you off, etc. Later on as you increase in power this isn't much of a problem, if you can put up with it to get to such a point that is.

Eventually you uncover dungeons and fight the usual boss of the level. These dungeons are automatically scroll vertically, so in addition to fighting off bats and monsters and such you have the added hazard of getting stuck behind walls - which happens more than you'd like it to. However the actual bosses aren't too tough, it's usually some kind of monster that shoots at you in a predictable pattern. Think vertical shump except you have no ranged weapons.

The game starts off pretty weak, as in your character is too weak to get very far, and those who are not born with the gene that grants resistance to Master System suckatude will give up rather early. If you can stick it out until your character actually gets a bit stronger the game may actually grow on you.

Good Stuff: Good graphics, not so annoying music, a large quest that's pretty easy, not much in the way of backtracking or endless hours of searching.

Bad Stuff: Enemies constantly generating right on top of you at any given time, pestering you every single step of the way, giving you absolutely zero time to rest, until you have to take the game cartridge out of the console and destroy it in a blender. The "overworld" is a bit simple. Lack of any secondary ranged weapons limits playability.


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