Ys: A Retrospective
An expose on the Ys legacy.
Article by Ken Horowitz (Email)
August 3rd 2004, 05:00AM
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: There's more than plain nostalgia at work here. The charm and ambiance the Ys games had was something that was eagerly embraced by gamers all over. Each of the titles in the series has something that makes it stand out from the rest and it is the sum of those qualities that has always kept young Adol from taking a premature retirement.
Books I & II was such an awesome deal at the time due to both games being packaged together on a single disc. Better yet, they melded almost seamlessly into one another, giving the impression that you were actually playing a single, long adventure. As Adol, you had to find the six fabled books of Ys and return them to the statues of the six priests, thereby reestablishing the land of Ys to its former state of glory and prosperity. However, Dark Fact, owner of the sixth and final book, was determined to make sure you didn't succeed.
By today's standards, Books I & II look very primitive. Granted, the graphics haven't aged all too well, but the core gameplay that made them so much fun is intact. You kill enemies by more or less bumping into them with your sword. No combos, charge attacks, or power gauges here! While it may appear a bit simple and silly, there is a certain degree of strategy required, especially against bosses. With a myriad of armament and items at your disposal, defeating Dark Fact and destroying the Black Pearl may not be so hard after all.
In Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, you set out to free the land of Kenai from Demanicus, Lord of Destruction. The story was better developed than previous installments through the periodic use of cut scenes and voice-overs. At a time when no other system had such features, it added greatly to the well-written storylines the series had become famous for.
The whole style of the game was changed for this sequel, featuring a more traditional side-scrolling perspective. Although the change made combat more practical and accurate, fans let their voices be heard about what they felt to be unnecessary tinkering with a successful formula (Adventures of Link, anyone?). The game eventually came out on the Genesis and SNES and to this day, the fan boys argue as to which version is better. **cough** Genesis ** cough**