As we all know, last week was the 25th anniversary for the Ys series. I wanted to be able to do a special article for the week, so… that’s what I’ve done for this. I should’ve had this posted earlier today, but things were busy.
Nevertheless, for this week, I’ve reached out to several people within the gaming community that have a love for the Ys series, and how it’s influenced them. I believed it would be great for people who have been more involved in the community and so forth. Each of these articles are written by the individuals I spoke with, as I thought it would be great to have them speak about how they got into it, and what the Ys series has done for them.
For today, I will be featuring Kurt Kalata, or DiscoAlucard, from HardcoreGaming 101.
Although I had read about the Sega Master System and Turbografx-16 versions of the original Ys, my first experience with the series wasn’t until I rented Ys III for the Genesis when I was about 11 or 12 years old. Now, Ys III is almost an objectively terrible game – the level designs are boring, the combat is fussy, the physics and hit detection are weird, it’s incredibly linear – but man, if it wasn’t just ridiculously fun. Despite basically being the black sheep of the series (Ys V notwithstanding), it still had the core elements of what makes them so fun, that being the thrill of running around, carving up bad guys, and listening to amazing music. Adol swung his sword like a buzzsaw in that game, it was just so incredibly satisfying, taking down all of those jerk spiders and bees or whatever and seeing my levels go up. And the soundtrack is still incredible, even on (ESPECIALLY on) the Genesis. Years later when the internet came about and I discovered MP3s, I found some of the Turbografx-16 CD music and was just blown away. Again.
Somewhere around that time was when Magic Engine was first introduced. At the behest of Deuce, who I’d known for creating a Ninja Gaiden site that was hosted along with The Castlevania Dungeon on Classicgaming.com, my first purchase off eBay was Ys Book I & II, which was fantastic. When it wasn’t in my computer, I had that CD in my Discman constantly. It’s still a comfort game for me. Every few years I’ll start it from scratch, just to relive the experience. Still, I have to confess that I hate Darm Tower. I must’ve played the beginning of Ys, all of the different versions and ports, at least a dozen times, but all but once I just give up there and skip onto Ys II. It’s just way too long.
I didn’t really revisit the series until Ys VI came for the PC, which I thought was amazing. Falcom has a real understanding about what makes action games fun, the kind that most RPG developers don’t. Ever since then I wanted to get the word out more on how fantastic the series was and hoped that it would succeed more overseas. Now that we have Ys Chronicles, Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin officially in English, it must be doing pretty okay for itsself now!
But yeah. Ever since my cellphone could play MP3s as ringtones, I’ve alternated between “First Step Towards Wars” from Ys I and “Be Careful” from Ys III. For a long time, Ys has been right up next to Castlevania for having my favorite soundtracks.