Syvalion is a trackball shooter originally released in 1988 for Arcades in Japan only. An international version was made and scheduled for release in the subsequent year but ultimately scrapped, though a prototype ROM can be found. It was also released for the Sharp X68000 and later ported to the Super Nintendo in Japan and Europe. It was also re-released for PC, PS2 and Xbox as a part of Taito Legends 2 in 2006.
The game was designed by Fukio "MTJ" Mitsuji, who is also responsible for the Bubble Bobble series, and Hisayoshi Ogura from Zuntata. It is a spin-off of the Darius series, with it's story being connected with both Darius and Raimais, another Taito game.
Upon starting the game, the player can choose between three different gameplay modes.
- Basic Series: A training/tutorial mode, featuring fixed stages and bosses. Before each stage, the player is given various tips on the gameplay.
- Real Combat Series: The game's main story mode (more on that later).
- Time Attack (SNES only): A survival mode where you play for score. It has only a single stage, where you must get as much points as possible before the timer runs out.
Syvalion is unique in that it features a non-linear story, played in the form of "scenarios": each time you boot the game, a different scenario is chosen at random. The story is told from the perspective of the unnamed hero, in the form of diary entries. Before each chapter, a small text appears detailing the plot so far. Depending on your performance in the stage, the story will change in various manners. It is said that Syvalion has more than 100 different endings.
The general plot deals with an alien race (apparently called Varia) which is invading Earth and kidnapping humans to turn them into robotic slaves. Depending on the scenario, the unnamed hero will either steal the Syvalion from them or receive a distress call and then fight them. Along his journey, he meets with various characters (again depending on the scenario), like an old scientist, a mysterious woman, a injured survivor, a clone of himself and even Proco from the first Darius. Each of these characters may give various temporary upgrades to the Syvalion.
Content Related to Darius Series
- Glodloid, one of the bosses in the Arcade/Sharp X68000 versions of the game looks a lot like Mystic Power, both of which are based on an ammonite. Interestingly, the ad flyer for the original Darius arcade game has a boss snail, however there was no boss snail in the game, as Mystic Power doesn't show up til Darius Plus released in 1990.
- In one of the random scenarios Proco tags along firing also, his ship looks like a orange Silver-Hawk.
Syvalion Cameos in Darius Series
- In Darius Force the Zandic returns as Zandick II.
- In Darius Force Zone N has frequent showers of blue diamond shaped projectiles, which are occasionally used by some bosses in Syvalion (namely, Galdvalion/Megavalion)
- One of the final bosses in Darius Force, Galst Vic, is based on Galst, an invincible enemy from Syvalion which appears if the player stays too long in one spot.
- In Dariusburst, when Dark Helios takes enough damage, its outer oarfish-like body explodes, revealing none other than the Syvalion itself.