Welcome one and all to ResetEra's official community thread for Nihon Falcom's legendary Ys series, spanning over 25 years of demon-bumping, fireball-dodging, sword-whacking action. In this quaint little nook we will pore over the collected works of one of gaming history's most resilient (and quietest) heroes and accomplished adventurer, Adol Christin (a.k.a. 'Adol the Red'). Please, find a seat and reminisce with us as we turn the pages of the past, present and future.
For more detailed information, screenshots and testimonials on Ys and Adol's many adventures one may also visit Hardcore Gaming 101's excellent coverage of the entirety of the Ys franchise. For the trivia buffs in our audience, that site will be a gold mine.
Map of the Known World
Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished - Omens (1987)
Released on: Everything. It's on everything.
As the first Ys title, Ancient Ys Vanished: Omens introduced many of the themes and traditions that would permeate the franchise for years to come. It was also first to use the Bump system: a method of attack that requires no additional button presses, only the direction keys to ram enemies on the field. Do it right, and you score a hit and deplete enemy HP... do it wrong, and you yourself will take damage instead. It required nimble fingers to maneuver Adol in order to attack efficiently, and was a source of added tension during difficult boss fights. It was also fun as hell once you got used to it.
Ys I versions that were "localized" and brought over to the west include the Sega Master System port, versions for DOS and Apple IIGS; and as part of a compilation with its sequel for the TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM attachment and, later, as a pack-in for the TurboDuo.
Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter (1988)
Released on: Japanese PC, IBM PC, Famicom, Turbografx-16 CD, Saturn, Mobile, Wii Virtual Console
As the first sequel, Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter improved and added on things from its predecessor. The biggest addition was a magic system. You could collect 6 staves gifted with powers from the priests of Ys; the first giving you an alternative mode of attack: the Fireball. Which in turn changed how boss fights played out, now requiring even more active dodging coupled with long-distance attacks.
Ys I and II were ported to PC-Engine CD-ROM by Hudson Soft with improved graphics, musical score and voice acting. This version, considered the definitive versions of both before the Eternal remakes came out, were brought to the west as Ys Book I & II and was even included as a pack-in game for the TurboDuo due to its stunning use of the CD-ROM features. This version is also available on the Wii Virtual Console. If you want to go oldschool and try a non-Chronicles version of Ys I & II, the TG-16 CD ports would be the best way to go.
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (1989)
Released on: Japanese PC, Famicom, SNES, Genesis, Turbografx-16 CD, PS2, Mobile
Genesis OP | SNES OP | TG16-CD OP | PS2 OP
Wanderers From Ys abandoned the overhead view and bump system of Ys 1 and 2 and introduced side-scrolling, jumping and a sword-arm that might as well have been a buzzsaw. It at least continued the high difficulty from the previous games, so there's that. Despite going full Zelda II in concept, Ys III was rather enjoyable if flawed. The soundtrack in particular was inspired, introducing many tracks that would go on to be fan favorites. The Genesis, Super NES and TG-16 CD versions would all eventually be released in the west by different companies and become hotly debated as to which one was the best (or had the least failings).
More than a decade later, Taito would see fit to release their own update to Wanderers from Ys on the PS2. Character designs were altered, in some cases rather drastically, but gameplay was more or less the same: 2D side-scrolling, just with better visuals and music (that's up to debate). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you talk to), it never left Japan.
Ys: Mask of the Sun | Ys IV: Dawn of Ys (1993)
Released on: Super Famicom, PC-Engine CD-ROM
SFAM OP | PCE-CD OP | PS2 OP
Feedback from the 3rd game suggested that fans wanted the series to return to the traditional top-down, overhead perspective and bump system made famous by the first two games. And Falcom were obliged to heed their fans. It wouldn't be the first time.
Despite being the fourth in the series, Ys IV actually takes place one year prior or one year after Felghana. Why such a vast difference? In 1993, two different studios released a version of Ys IV for Falcom. Despite being based on the same basic concepts and story treatments, the two versions vary wildly in execution. NEC/Hudson Soft's version, Dawn of Ys, is widely considered the better game over Tonkin House's Mask of the Sun, despite taking more liberties with the source material. Due to those liberties and because Falcom wanted to follow their own story treatments in later installments, Dawn of Ys became the non-canonical Ys IV. Much later, Taito would release another version titled Mask of the Sun: A New Theory for PS2. None of these versions of Ys IV ever made it out of Japan, but fan translations exist for both the original Mask of the Sun and Dawn of Ys.
Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand (1995)
Released on: Super Famicom, PS2
SFC OP | PS2 OP
Ys V was Falcom's attempt to break away from developing on PC architecture and focus on consoles exclusively, but was met with middling success. Adol can now (once again) use his sword to attack via button press and could even raise his shield to defend. He also eventually learns a bit of Alchemy, the magic system for Ys V. However, the game was considered too easy prompting Falcom to release an update, Ys V Expert, aimed at appeasing those fans who had grown accustomed to the devastating difficulty of previous games. The new version didn't address any of the other problems, though. A fan translation was recently revealed for the original version of Ys V, as it was another title that never came to the west.
Taito was quick to continue their trilogy of ho-hum adaptations and released Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand for the PS2 in 2006. Among other alterations to the 16-bit version was the return of Dogi, who was mysteriously missing in Ys 5 standard.
Ys I Eternal (1998) | Ys II Eternal (2000) | Ys I & II Complete (2001) | Ys I & II Chronicles(+) (2009-2013)
Released: Windows PC, PSP, NDS, PS2, Steam, iOS/Android
Windows PC OP (Ys I Eternal) Steam OP (Ys II Complete/Chronicles)
After Ys V failed to make waves for Falcom, they decided to go back and revisit the one that started it all. Ys I Eternal was their first in-house attempt at a remake of their storied franchise (anything else prior was handled by other parties) and the result was a fantastic, updated and expanded version of the classic bump-action title. It appeared first on Windows PC in Japan and later was packed together with its sequel and released on PS2, PSP, and Steam... each new version adding more features and updates.
After a bit of a delay, the remake of Ys II was released on Japanese PCs. The game world received even more of a facelift, and some of those changes were backported to Ys I Eternal when both games were later repackaged as Ys I+II Complete for Windows. Afterwards another version. using Complete's assets called Ys I+II Eternal Story while throwing in some other changes that never carried over, was made for PS2 by Digicube. In turn, another version of both Eternals was made for Nintendo DS that replaced the lovely sprite tile artwork for the maps with low-res polygonal models and other odd changes. This version, titled Legacy of Ys: Books I & II was released in the west by Atlus bit wasn't well received from what I can gather. Much later, a PSP port of Complete was released by Falcom with updated character portraits, rearranged music and a new HUD to accommodate the smaller screen. It was retitled Ys I+II Chronicles and later brought to the west by Xseed in 2011. A version for Steam of both games was later compiled and released by Xseed in 2013 and is considered the definitive version of Chronicles (hence the '+' added to the title).
A port of Ys 1 Chronicles was released worldwide for smartphones by Dotemu on April 29th, 2015.
Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (2003)
Released: Windows PC, Mobile, PS2, PSP, Steam/GOG
Falcom comes back strong on PC with an all-new adventure for Adol the Red, now almost entirely in 3D and utilizing an addictive new combat engine that emphasizes quick sword combos and jumping mechanics. Napishtim is also the first game in the series to actively establish an all-encompassing background lore that connects many past and future Ys titles, dealing with the myserious Atlas continent, the lost Eldeen civilization, their ancient technology and a dark clan who coveted that power.
Konami had the honors of porting the game to PS2 and PSP and that included a few changes and also some added annoyances. The PS2 version had full 3D models for every character, voice acting and a new feature called Alma's Trials... but also a horrendous opening FMV that was laughably atrocious. PSP version kept the PC look (but at a lower IQ) and the original OP to boot, but introduced lag and load times and is generally considered a bad port. These versions actually made it across the sea to the west (and the PS2 version gained ungodly English voice acting) and were the first Ys games to be published in english since Ys III. There's also a fan translation of the PC version out there for the purists.
On April 28th 2015 Xseed released the PC version of Ys VI for Steam/GOG gaming services with a new localized script, widescreen/high resolution support and a slew of new features including Catastrophe Mode.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana (2005)
Released on: Windows PC, PSP, Mobile, Steam
Windows PC OP | PSP exclusive "Prologue Novella"
Falcom goes back in time once again and remakes Ys III using the Napishtim engine, completely updating and improving the game remarkably and raising the title from black sheep status to quite possibly the greatest Ys game of all time. Falcom themselves also ported the game to PSP with a few extras like an extended prologue and voice acting, and was released in the west by Xseed. Xseed later released the PC version on Steam in 2012.
Ys Origin (2006)
Released on: Windows PC, Mobile, Steam
Ys Origins is the first Ys title to not feature Adol the Red. Instead, you play as three different characters with varying movesets as you scale Darm's Tower floor-by-floor in pursuit of the Goddesses of Ys: Yunica Tovah, descendant of House Tovah and quite handy with an axe; Hugo Fact, descendant of House Fact and a magic prodigy; and "The Claw", a mysterious man aligned with the demons. Each character will journey up the tower alone, but only one will realize the truth hidden in the darkness.
Ys Seven (2009)
For the first time in the series, Adol isn't alone when dealing with his enemies: Ys Seven employs a new party system that incorporates up to 3 active characters out of a pool of 7 (clever), customizable skills, quick dodges and manual guarding for a new twist on an old formula. A crafting system has also been implemented: by collecting drops and loot from defeated foes you can make new equipment and items that aren't available in shops.
Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta\Memories of Celceta (2012)
Released on: PSVITA, Windows PC (China)
Falcom once again reaches back into history to correct the mistakes of their past. CELCETA is released on VITA and formally replaces all previous versions of Ys IV as the official account of Adol's journey in the land of Celceta. You once again star as Adol Christin, who finds himself amnesiac and lost in a Romn-occuppied town of Casnan on the outskirts of the Great Forest. Thanks to Duren, a man who claims to know Adol from before he ventured into the Great Forest alone days before, Adol's immediately sent back into the forest in search of his lost memories and the reason behind his amnesia.
Celceta uses the party system first seen in Seven, as well as the return of the crafting system. Except now instead of learning new skills from weapons equipped, you earn them by fighting tough monsters seemingly at random. The guarding and dodging systems have also been refined.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Developed for: PS4, PSVITA[/URL]
Teaser Trailer (subbed)
To celebrate Falcom's 35th anniversary, they released their biggest Ys adventure yet, substantially richer in content and story than even Memories of Celceta.
Adol and Dogi, having finished their adventure in Xandria, board the Lombardia en route back to the Eresian continent. However, the ship suffers ambush from a large sea monster and wrecks ashore on the Isle of Seiren, a treacherous and secluded place off the shores of Greek, trapping even the hardiest of survivors in a land without relief or refuge from monsters and an elusive past. Now Adol must reunite with a capable team of fighters and craftspeople to rescue the other survivor and find a way off the Isle. Meanwhile, Adol dreams of a woman, Dana, who lives in an altogether different time and place yet has important connections to what happened on the Isle ages ago.
Ys VIII fixes or refines many criticized aspects from the previous two entries. Players have a more meaningful economy based entirely on materials (no gold at all!), harder and more complex enemies to fight, substantial mini-games and side-quests which reveal interesting characters and world-building, and a greater emphasis on exploring the overworld to discover landmarks and delve into intricate dungeons. The game also has more New Game+ options than usual, like the ability to reduce your party to 1 fighter and equip multiple attack types on Adol.
Remember: this is a place where everyone can share their love for Ys. Post fanart, your favorite music, your most hated bosses, what you want to see in a future Ys title... anything and everything is on-topic here. So get posting, or you'll make Feena sad:
Ys Music Archive:
Thanks go to jdkluv for providing a link to his personal Youtube music collection.