You are Adol (Aron in Sega Master System version) Christian, a red-haired adventurer and expert swordsman. One day you encounter a fortuneteller who sends you on a quest to find information about the six books of Ys. It appears that there was once an ancient land called Ys, whose secret was sealed in those six books. Before long you learn that the six books were all stolen by the evil wizard Dark Fact (Dulk Dekt in Sega Master System version, Malificus in PC version). It is your task to defeat the villain and to discover the secret of Ys!
Ys is an action RPG with original combat: instead of pressing the "attack" button, you simply run into the enemies you encounter. You do more damage if you run into them from the back or from the sides - a head-to-head collision might result in Adol's death if the monster is stronger than him. You gain gold and experience points for defeating your foes; once you have gained enough experience, you level up and become stronger. You can buy and equip swords, armor, shields, and other accessories.
Ancient Land of Ys by Falcom Nihon was released in 1989, and is the first in a series of seven video games, the most recent of which was released in 2003.
Ancient Land of Ys is set in a region known as Ys. The people of Ys were of average wealth and lived in peace. A long time ago, a farmer discovered a precious metal later known as kureria while farming, and he shared the wealth with his fellow people. They became rich and prosperous, but this ended when natural disasters ravaged the land of Ys. A prophet told the people that the cause of the disasters was the kureria, and so the people took all of the kureria they had mined and sealed it in a cave using magic, protected by two stone statues of the goddesses of Ys.
Time passed, and life in Ys returned to normal. However, the evil wizard Malificus stole the Six Books of Ys, books that contained the secrets of the kureria. Malificus conjured evil creatures to terrorize Ys, and gave five of the six books to his most powerful servants. In order to restore peace to Ys, you must defeat Malificus and his 5 servants and retrieve the books.
Ancient Land of Ys is a 3rd person overhead real-time action RPG. Your character is a swordsman who is charged with returning Ys to peace, and so you must find a way to stop Malificus. Along the way, you'll meet many people who may give you quests to fulfill as you journey through Ys.
Combat is relatively simple in Ancient Land of Ys. Once you get equipped with a sword, you merely walk into an enemy to attack it. Depending on how you approach your enemies determines whether you take damage while fighting. Therefore, it is best to walk into your enemies from behind or alongside. In order to reduce the damage you take from enemy attacks, you can equip shields and armor. Although equipment can be purchased in town, the residents of Ys often speak of better weapons and armor elsewhere. If you take damage, you can slowly recover HP by standing still. This will work in the wilderness, towns, and in some dungeon levels, and requires special means to work in other places.
As you fight monsters and complete quests, you gain gold and experience. After reaching a set amount of experience, your character will have more HP, deal more damage in combat, and resist more damage. Each kill you make automatically adds to your gold.
Aside from weapons, shields, and armor, you may find or purchase special items to aid in your quest. For example, the wing allows you to return to town from almost anywhere in Ys, while the mirror stops enemies temporarily, but can break after some use. You can also purchase healing potions which will instantly restore your HP, but you may only carry one at a time.
Dungeons are fun to navigate and present a fair amount of challenge. False walls, hidden doors, and teleportation statues are a few of the dungeon features found in the game. The challenge lies not only in overcoming the monsters in the dungeons, but also finding one's way through the mazes. The graphics and music are pretty good given the age of the game. The monsters, NPCs, and landscapes are well-detailed, and the simple yet catchy music does a lot to convey the mood of the game.
One of the best PC translation of hit console RPGs ever is one of the first. Ancient Land of Ys is a "light" RPG that features vibrant graphics, fun story, and a plethora of imaginative magical items to find and use, and monsters to kill. The plot is somewhat cliche, but at least it's coherent and well-written: Malificus, the fiendish wizard, has stolen the six Books of Ys and is using them to imprison the people. Your task is to find and collect the six books to restore order to the land.
The game is played from an overhead perspective, and fans of console RPGs will be right at home with the graphics style and interface. RPG fans who are only familiar with the likes of SSI's Gold Box games or Wizardry will have to adjust their expectations a bit. In Ys, you only control one character, and the only statistics he has is hit points, which are increased when he accumulates enough experience to gain a level. Your hero bumps into people or monsters to talk to them or fight them, as the case may be. Despite this simplicity, though, charming anime (i.e. Japanese cartoon) graphics, and a well-written plot make the game very enjoyable. There are some quirks in the game, such as a supposedly "secret" door that you can go through without wearing the special mask to see it. But such quirks are so few and far between that you will hardly notice them. Overall, Ancient Land of Ys is a charming RPG that nicely introduces console-style RPGs to PC gamers. RPG die-hards may scoff at the game's simplicity, but everyone else will definitely enjoy it. Also, in a pleasant contrast to most games that are translated from Japanese, Ancient Land of Ys is very well-written and even eloquent at times. This game would bode well for Kyodai's subsequent collaboration with Broderbund that would continue with Psychic War.
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American Tail, An: Fievel Goes West, Armaeth: The Lost Kingdom, Bureau 13, Adventures of Willy Beamish, Apprentice, Cadaver, Apprentice II: The Knight's Move, Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment
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