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Page 1:
Ys Book I & II

Page 2:
Ys I & II Screenshots

Page 3:
Ys I & II Shop Artwork

Page 4:
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

Page 5:
Ys III Screenshots

Page 6:
Ys IV

Page 7:
Ys IV Screenshots

Page 8:
Ys V

Page 9:
Ys VI

Page 10:
Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Page 11:
Ys Origin

Page 12:
Ys Seven

Page 13:
Ys: Memories of Celceta

Page 14:
Miscellanea

Interviews:
Ys History Interviews

Total Conversion:
Ys III vs Oath in Felghana


Ys Strategy (イース・ストラテジー) - NDS (March 23, 2006)

Japanese Cover

No one really asked for this, but here it is - a real time strategy game in the Ys universe. It sort of makes sense - the genre isn't exactly popular in Japan, so what better way to hook gamers than with a semi-popular franchise? The story focuses on a young, red haired swordsman named Abel Renford, who allies himself with the Esteria kingdom. Joining forces with Princess Rione, it's up to your army to defend the neighboring lands from the invading Romun Empire. The world of Ys always had a rich storyline, so seeing it expanded is interesting. You'll meet characters from Xandria and Afroca from Ys V as well.

For the most part, the game is exactly like Warcraft. You command peasants to harvest three resources (food, wood, and Cleria, Ys's fancy word for ore), build up your town, start producing soldiers, and then eventually move in for attack. There's actually a reasonable amount of depth, including three primary food soldiers (swordsmen, archers and spearmen), magicians, monsters and hero characters, as well as the ability to upgrade structures and abilities. The bottom screen is where the action takes place, and the entire game is controlled with the stylus. The upper screen shows a map and various unit information. There are multiplayer options for up to four players, although each person needs their own copy of the game, and there isn't much in the way of customization options.

The only problem is that it's slow - really slow. Peasants shuffle about their chores. Soldiers meander across the battlefield. Scrolling is painful - the only way to move the viewpoint efficiently is by clicking L to bring the map to the lower screen, touching the destination, then switching back to command the characters. The action grows even choppier when lots of characters are on the screen. Additionally, trying to give out orders in the chaos of battle is a nightmare, as it's extremely difficult to pick out individual units. There's also an option to manually take control of hero characters and move them around with the d-pad, but it's terribly clunky. On the other hand, directly controlling a hero results in a major strengths and speed boost, which completely breaks the difficulty balance. The storyline unfolds with incredibly long, boring, and unskippable cutscenes. There's nothing about this game that isn't extraordinarily sluggish.

The visuals are pretty awful, with tiny, undetailed characters and boring landscapes. The new art style isn't too bad, but outside of the small character portraits and tiny art gallery, they don't add much. The music is closer to Fire Emblem than traditional Ys, and relies mostly on the same few orchestral and electric guitar samples for practically all of the songs. There are a few good tracks, but they're stretched way too thin (there are over seventy songs listed on the sound test.) Overall, Ys Strategy isn't entirely unplayable, and it's nice to see a real time strategy game on the DS. But prepare to have a lot of patience if you expect to get anything out of it. An English version was released in Europe, but it never made it to North America, for good reason.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Future Creates

Publisher:

  • Marvelous (JP)
  • Rising Star Games (EU)

Genre:

Themes:


Ys Strategy (NDS)

Ys Strategy (NDS)

Ys Strategy (NDS)



Ys: The Call of Solum / Ys Online - Windows (July 2007)

Artwork

Artwork

It seems like taking various Japanese properties and turning them into MMORPGs has become popular. Other than the obvious Final Fantasy XI, it happened with Shin Megami Tensei, Kunio-kun, and even Falcom's Sorcerian, so it makes sense that Ys would be next up in line. Developed by CJ Internet, a Korean development studio, Ys Online, or as it's officially known as, Ys: The Call of Solum, brings Falcom's world to life for fans around the world to enjoy, although it didn't last for very long.

The thing is, there are so many MMORPGs out there - how was Call to Solum different, and how does it link in with the regular series? It's always been about fast paced action, and especially in the later installments, arcade-like reflexes. Like most of its genre, fighting just involved on click, click, clicking away. Similarly, Ys is usually known for its high intensity music - here, there were a couple of familiar themes in the background, but most of the game was silent, or at least atmospheric.

Instead, Call of Solum brought in a lot of the world and lore from the previous games. There were three playable races - Eresians, or humans; Afrocans, beast warriors from the land in Ys V; and the diminutive Kimo, which look more like an elvish evolution of the Tarutaru from Final Fantasy XI. Naturally, the default setting for Eresian males gave them have red hair, making them look much like Adol. In the game, players fought against enemies and creatures inhabiting the Romun empire. The European beta only showed a handful of locations loosely related to the Ys world.

There are tons of skills to use in combat, even though there aren't many races, and the opening tutorial takes at least twenty minutes, before you're given the freedom to explore the land, roam dungeons, and hunt from treasure. This isn't a shallow knockoff game - The game's director Ju Pyeongguk has stated that he actually had applied for a job at Mantra after Ys II Special was released in 1994, to try and work on any Ys games himself, but backed out after he learned that it was mostly a localization studio. In the end, Call of Solum was not vastly different from any other MMORPG, but for fans looking for an expanded view on the Ys universe, it wasn't too bad.

Unfortunately, the European version by Key to Play did never leave beta status, and was eventually shut down, never officially reaching North America. By now Ys Online has been discontinued everywhere, including Korea and Japan. The last country to have the servers shut off was Taiwan, on October 1, 2012.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • CJ Internet

Publisher:

  • CJ Internet (KR)
  • Falcom (JP)
    Key to Play (EU)

Director:

  • Ju Pyeongguk

Genre:

Themes:


Ys Online (Windows)

Ys Online (Windows)


Additional Screenshots


Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga (イースvs.空の軌跡 オルタナティブ・サーガ) - PSP (July 29, 2010)

Cover

This is an odd one - Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki is like the Super Smash Bros. of Falcom. It's a multiplayer fighting game bringing in main characters from its two most popular series, along with cameos from numerous others. Practically everyone from the Ys side is from Ys Seven - Adol, Dogi, Aisha, Geis, Elk, Mishera and Cruxie. The only one from an earlier game is Chester, the villain from Ys III / The Oath in Felghana. On the Sora no Kiseki side, there's Joshua, Estelle, Tita, Klose, Agate, Olivier, Lowe and Renne. There are numerous sub-characters, though, and from Ys the game includes Jue, Sera and Xisa (the three fairies from Ys VI and Seven), Feena and Reah, Sigaroon, Mustafa, Ernst, Lilia, Olha, Tia and Maya, Yunica and Hugo, and Dark Fact. Lloyd, the hero of Zero no Kiseki, also makes an appearance, as well as characters from several other franchises, including Pippiro and Pokkle from Zwei!, Dela from Brandish, and the cast from Gurumin.

The fighting utilizes the Ys Seven engine, and is very similar to the action in that game, and it feels more like Capcom's Power Stone than Super Smash Bros. It also adds a jump button, which makes the action and controls slightly more confusing. It allows four players at once with ad-hoc multiplayer. The storyline is a gigantic conglomeration of Falcom stuff, as the story begins in the realm of Xanadu, and the soundtracks consists of both original and arranged versions of various Falcom tracks. There's no real exploration, as you just pick events and battles from a map screen.

From a fan service perspective, there's a lot to love about Ys. vs Sora no Kiseki, but that's also the reason why we'll never see it in English, because so much of it references Japanese-only games. Plus, since it's primarily an action game with some level building elements, anyone looking for an actual adventure or a story that just isn't a mish mash of crossover fan fiction, will also likely be disappointed.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Toshihiro Kondō

Genre:

Themes:


Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki (PSP)

Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki (PSP)

Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki (PSP)


Mini Games - Windows, Mobile

In 2001, Falcom released Zwei!!, an absurdly cute dungeon crawler which contained several mini games. One of them was an Ys typing game, where you help Adol destroy monsters by typing phrases quickly and accurately. The graphics and sound effects are lifted from Ys Eternal, although the music is a rendition of "The Theme of Adol" done in the style of the Zwei!! soundtrack (very similar to Yasunori Mitsuda, composer for Chrono Cross). Thanks to the efforts of Nightwolve, Wyrdwad and Deuce, Ys Typing Tutor has been separated and fan translated into English.

Besides porting most of the regular Ys games to cell phones, Falcom and Taito also put out a number of minor spin-offs for mobile devices. Those include several Solitaire variants, a puzzle game called Ys Fortune, the Qix-clone Ys Heroines, and an Ark of Napishtim-themed pinball simulation.

Several characters and enemies from the Ys games also appeared in Namco Bandai's social RPG DragonSlayer: Michi Kareshi Houkan no Senshi tachi.

Ys Typing Tutor (Windows)



Ys Book I & II - Anime (1989-1993)

American DVD Cover

Japanese Ys I DVD Cover

Like many of the more popular video games in the era, Ys was honored with two anime OVA series. The first one is seven episodes long and covers the first game. This might sound a bit off, because the total running time is about as long as it takes to play through the game. While it follows the basic events, a lot of the characters and their relationships are fleshed out quite a bit more. There are certain nuances that affected later games - the character Slaff first appeared in this OVA, and eventually ended up in Ys Eternal. The first town Adol ventures into, Promarock, is eventually visited in Ys IV. The music is good, but one song - "First Step Towards War," the field theme - is used far too often. As this is an early '90s anime, the character designs and animations are rather lame.

The second OVA covers the story of Ys II, but it is titled Ys: Tenkū no Shinden - Adol Christin no Bōken (イース 天空の神殿 アドル=クリスティンの冒険, meaning "Ys: Heaven's Sanctuary - Adol Christin's Adventure"), and only four episodes long. The storyline is much altered and condensed (Lilia gets captured as a sacrifice in the first episode and nothing is mentioned of her illness, for example) and the narrative works much better for it. Approximately half of the story is spent convincing the people of Ys that Adol is not a heretic, as they are still ignorant that anything exists beyond their floating continent. Eventually, the story picks up. The art is also much better, and there's a greater music selection, all of which is excellent.

Like most video game anime, the Ys OVA is bound to be pretty dull unless you're a fan of the series. Still, there are far worse out there. Astonishingly, Anime Works brought the series to America in 2002, perhaps anticipating that Ys Eternal would be released for the PC in English, which it wasn't. The menus are clearly designed by someone with a passion for older computer games, as they feature graphics that would've looked at home on a PC-88. One does have to question putting simulated load times into DVD menus when there are plenty of real pauses to sit through. You can buy the three discs seperately, or, far more economical, get the Ys Legacy set, which includes all 11 episodes. Also included is a trailer of an Ys IV: Dawn of Ys anime. It was meant to be a pilot for the creators to shop around to different animation studios to see if they wanted to make a full length version, but there were no takers, so nothing really came of it.

Of course, Japanese fans have always had access to much more other media Ys material that we cannot cover here, namely a ton of mangas and novels and drama CDs.

DVD Menu

Ys Anime

Ys Anime

Ys II Anime

Ys II Anime



Soundtracks

Ys IV Perfect Collection Volume 1

Provincialism Ys

The Very Best of Ys

Ys music is hard to describe other than synth rock, but it's by far some of the best of its kind. Part of the advantages of the Ys games being relatively short is that each area can have its own specific theme, which fleshes out the identity of every dungeon and town. The initial computer music chip tunes were written by Mieko Ishikawa and the ever famous Yuzo Koshiro. However, the most famous arrangements - on the Turbografx-16 CDs and Perfect Collection albums - were done by Ryo Yonemitsu, who sadly does not compose video game music anymore. Many of the songs have been arranged time and time again by Falcom's in-house musicians, the JDK Band. Scores of CDs have been released, other than just CDs with the normal soundtracks. These are some of them, although you'll find even more tracks arranged on various Falcom compilations, including the 12 minutes long "Ys Disco Mix" on the Falcom Special Box '89 album - which, unfortunately, isn't nearly as cool as the title suggests. Another annoying factor is that a vast majority of the series music is from the first two games - while Ys III has seen a healthy number of variations, most of the rest have been ignored.

Perfect Collections:

The Perfect Collections are synth arrangements by Ryo Yonemitsu, sometimes similar to the TG-16 games, sometimes a little different. They usually contain the complete soundtracks, as opposed to just the selected parts that fit on the game CD. The first two are excellent, with one CD having the arranged music, and another titled Super Arrange, with more drastic versions, sometimes with vocals. These were re-released under the Falcom Millenial label, although the packs are separated differently - instead of each set having a regular CD and a Super Arrange CD, they bundled Ys I and II together, and the Super Arranges together. The third game has some rather bizarre takes on the songs, and the Super Arrange album, while decent, doesn't pick the best selection of songs. The fourth game's Perfect Collection is split up into three separate CDs, so tracking them all down can get expensive. There is no Perfect Collection or Super Arrange for Ys V, although there is an image album.

Perfect Collections Ys Heaven's Sanctuary

Actually four different CDs, these includes arrangements from both Ys I and II, as used in the second OVA.

Provincialism Ys

It's an Ys dance album, with most of the tracks containing a weird English voice rambling about something or other. Some of the tracks are fairly good, others aren't.

Ys Healing and Preprimer

Two new age versions with very laid back versions of the songs, with Preprimer having arrangements from other Falcom games. Sometimes the melodies are very thin, but it's meant to be relaxing.

Symphony Ys

There are actually four of these - Symphony Ys, Symphony Ys 95 (slightly different arrangements, and more songs) and Symphony Ys 21st Century (unavailable for sale separately). It's Ys music on an orchestra, naturally. There was also an orchestra album released for Ys V, which fits the tone of the music pretty well.

Very Best of Ys

If you don't feel like randomly grabbing Ys albums without knowing what you're getting into, this is a good choice, with a variety of songs from different CDs. It's a good sampler, but it's hardly the "Very Best," as there's only songs from the first two games on here.

Ys Perfect Collection

Ys Piano Collection

Ys Seven Musical Selections


A hearty thanks goes to Deuce for not only getting me started on the series, but also vastly contributing to the community, having translated the PC Ys Eternal games, as well as writing a Dawn of Ys FAQ. Also thanks goes to Kouryuu, for the Ys Eternal and Mask of the Sun FAQs, MP83 and everyone at the Ancient Land of Ys forum, CrossSlasher for the Ys VI FAQ, Seldane for digging up Ys 2 Special, and Ethrin for help on Ys Origin.


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Ys Book I & II

Page 2:
Ys I & II Screenshots

Page 3:
Ys I & II Shop Artwork

Page 4:
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

Page 5:
Ys III Screenshots

Page 6:
Ys IV

Page 7:
Ys IV Screenshots

Page 8:
Ys V

Page 9:
Ys VI

Page 10:
Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Page 11:
Ys Origin

Page 12:
Ys Seven

Page 13:
Ys: Memories of Celceta

Page 14:
Miscellanea

Interviews:
Ys History Interviews

Total Conversion:
Ys III vs Oath in Felghana