Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ys (video game)
Ys (pronounced "eese", like saying "east" without a T at the end) (Japanese: イース) is a video game series, and Nihon Falcom's flagship franchise. It started on the NEC PC-88 in 1986. It was later ported to the MSX, NES, NEC TurboGrafx 16, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, SNES, PC, PlayStation 2, and cellular phone. It is the most popular PC role-playing game in Japan.
The Ys series chronicles the adventures of Adol Christin, a red-haired young man with a zest for adventure and an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. Gameplay always revolves around Adol, though his comrade, Dogi, is a frequent companion in the story. Adol is the only truly playable character in the series. Feena was a non-controllable companion in Ys Eternal, and Tarf was set up similarly in Ys II Eternal. The standard gameplay mechanisms only involve the control motion pad to fight, like pushing the enemy until dead. Those gameplay mechanisms were done away with by the game's fifth installment, Ys V: Ushinawareta Suna no Miyako Kefin (Kefin, The Lost City of Sand). Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim graphically departed from its predecessors, using three-dimensional graphics, but the gameplay is distinctly old-school in style. Ys: The Oath in Felghana is presented in the same graphical style as Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim.
List of Ys games
- Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - 1986, 1987, 1998: NEC PC-8801, Famicom, MSX, TurboGrafx 16 CDROM Version (together with Ys II), Sega Master System, PC (as Ys Eternal and later as Ys I Complete), PlayStation 2 (together with Ys II as Ys I & II Eternal Story)
- Ys II: The Final Chapter - 1987, 2000: NEC PC-8801, Famicom, MSX, TurboGrafx 16 CDROM Version (together with Ys I), PC (as Ys II Eternal), PlayStation 2 (together with Ys I as Ys Eternal Story)
- Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - 1991: NEC PC-88, Famicom, MSX, TurboGrafx 16, Sega Genesis, SNES, PlayStation 2
- Ys IV: Mask of the Sun: 1993: Super Famicom
- Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys: 1993: PC Engine
- Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand (Japanese: 失われた砂の都ケフィン Ushinawareta Sunano Miyako Kefin) - 1995: Super Famicom
- Ys V Expert - 1995 Super Famicom
- Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (Japanese: ナピシュテムの匣 Napishutemu no Hako) - 2003: PC
- Ys: The Ark of Napishtim - 2005: PlayStation 2
- Ys: The Ark of Napishtim - 2005: PSP
- Ys: The Oath in Felghana (Japanese: フェルガナの誓い Ferugana no Chikai) - 2005: PC (Slated for release 06/2005 in Japan. Technically the seventh game in the series, but appears to be a heavily "re-imagined" remake of Ys III, so Falcom decided not to give it a numeric designation.)
According to the chronology of the fictional universe that the Ys series is set in, the correct order is:
- Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished
- Ys II: The Final Chapter
- Ys IV: Mask of the Sun
- Ys III: Wanderers from Ys
- Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand
- Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
(Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys is not part of the official series' chronology, thus noncanonical, but the events described take place two years after the events of Ys II, and one year before Ys III.)
- Adol Christin: The red-haired swordsman who is the protagonist of the Ys series. He was born in a small village near Promalock. His first adventure begins when he departs for Esteria from that port town. He has an uncanny knack for being at or arriving to the right place at the right time. He also has the curious habit of falling into the sea, and washing up on beaches, being rescued and nursed back to health by each game's female lead in almost every game.
- Dogi: Adol's best friend. He is taller than Adol and has blue hair. A former thief who worked as part of Goban's band of Robin Hood-esque group. His most outstanding trait is his incredible strength (and a consequent penchant for knocking down walls with his bare hands), which is offset by his kind heart, deep loyalty, and frequently goofy demeanor.
- Feena: Appears in the first two installments of the Ys series.
- Chester Stoddart
- Elena Stoddart: Chester Stoddart's baby (or much younger) sister. She was raised by Chester.
- Lilia: A girl who finds Adol when he arrives at the lost land of Ys in Ys II. She plays a reasonably major role in the remainder of the game.
- Leeza: Appears in Ys IV, and lives in Celceta.
- Lord McGuire: Known in some versions as Lord McGaya. He is the lord of Valestine Castle in the land of Felghana in Ys III. His misguided actions play a major role in the events of that game.
- Terra: Appeared in Ys V as a child, showing up with the Ibur Gang to cause trouble, and later appeared in Ys VI as an adult.
Unlike most games of its kind, the world of Ys is actually a fictionalized version of Earth, with countries being given alternate names, listed as follows:
- Eresia: Europe.
- Europa: The name applied to the lands surrounding the game's equivalent of the Mediterranean Sea. This is referred to in Japanese as the Europe Region (Japanese: エウロペ).
- Ispani: Spain.
- Greek: Greece.
- Garman: Germany.
- Romun: Italy. The Japanese spelling is Romn. The Romun Empire in the game is a major factor in Ys IV and Ys VI.
- Gria: France. The Japanese spelling is Gllia.
- Afroca: Africa.
- Shala Desert: The Sahara Desert.
- Atlas Ocean: Atlantic Ocean.
- Britai: The United Kingdom.
- Orietta: Saudi Arabia.
There are some places without direct geographical counterparts, but their equivalent locations are as follows:
- Altago: A city on the northernmost tip of what would be Tunisia (most likely Carthage).
- Canaan: An archipelago of three islands out to the west, which serves as an analogue to the Bermuda Triangle. It is where Ys VI takes place.
- Celceta: A land at the northern border between Ispani and Gria. Its map location places it most likely close to San Sebastian in Spain. This is where both iterations of Ys IV take place.
- Xandria: A city in what would be Egypt (most likely Alexandria). It and its surroundings are the location of the events in Ys V.
- Promalock: A port town on the northern coast of Gria. The maps are not identical, but it is probably meant to be geographically close to where La Rochelle is.
- Esteria: A small island out to the northwest of Promalock. The Japanese spelling is Esterior. It is the location of Ys itself, and is where the first two games take place.
- Ediz: A city on the southernmost tip of Ispani (most likely Cadiz). It has not been mentioned in a game, but is on the world map.
- Barecia: Most likely the equivalent of Barcelona, but it is in Gria rather than Ispani, since the border between the two is not the same as the real-world borders. Like Ediz, it has not been mentioned in a game, but is on the world map.
- Steldum: A city on the north coast of Garman. Geographically, it is probably the equivalent of Hamburg. It has also not yet been mentioned in-game.
The Ys series has its roots in the Japanese computer system, the PC-8801 . Each of the first three games was released on that platform first, and that is still considered the "official" form of each. Ports of the games to other platforms have almost been handled by various other licensee companies, such as Hudson Soft, Tonkinhouse and Konami, to name a few.
When it came time for the fourth game in the series, there were only two versions released, and Falcom licensed both versions out, the Super Famicom version to Tonkinhouse (who had handled the port for Ys III), and the PC Engine CD-ROM version to Hudson (who had ported all three previous games to that platform). They allowed Hudson to take considerable liberties with the game, though, and as a result, the two games are very different. They share the same setting, cast and much of the basic plot, but the actual structure of the story plays out in a completely different manner, as do the game's levels themselves.
The Super Famicom version, titled Mask of the Sun, is the official continuation of the series. The PC Engine CD-ROM version is called The Dawn of Ys and takes several different turns, plot-wise, including some significant inconsistencies with the canonical storyline. For this reason, The Dawn of Ys is essentially an "alternate universe" take on the events in Celceta. In spite of this, it is widely considered to be a much better game than Mask of the Sun, and is still held in high regard as one of the best titles available for the PC Engine CD-ROM platform.
When Falcom released Ys V, it came out on only a single platform: the Super Famicom. As a late-generation 16-bit title, it made impressive use of color and the console's sound chip, but it received a lukewarm reception from critics and fans alike, partially due to the liberties it took with the gameplay (namely, giving Adol a jump and making him swing his sword, a la The Legend of Zelda) and the music having a more orchestral and subdued style. It was also extremely easy. In response to this, Falcom soon put out Ys V Expert, which was exactly what it claimed: a much harder version of the game.
After this, the series sat dormant for eight years, during which time, Falcom abandoned console development altogether, choosing instead to focus on the Microsoft Windows platform. Out of nowhere, they announced a new game in the series, entitled Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, which was released on September 27th, 2003. It took what Ys V had done and refined it, turning it into a very fast-paced action-RPG, which was generally well-received.
In early 2005, a seventh title in the series was announced, this one titled Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which is a top-to-bottom "re-imagining" of Ys III, covering the same plot as the original, but expanding on it greatly.
For a very long time, only the first three Ys games were ever released in North America. The Sega Genesis, SNES, and Turbografx-16 CD-ROM versions of Ys III: Wanderers from Ys were released in North America, but the original PC-88, MSX, and NES versions were released exclusively in Japan. The series has garnered a feverishly loyal English fan base, however, and all but one of the games can be played in English in some form, thanks to unofficial translations.
- Ys I Complete and Ys II Complete for Windows PCs have been translated by RIGG. The first game is 100% complete, and the second patch is due out soon.
- Ys IV: Mask of the Sun for the Super Famicom has been fully translated by the Aeon Genesis Translation Project.
- Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys for the PC Engine (Japanese form of the TurboGrafx 16) has a 100% text translation patch over at RIGG, and a dub for the voices is being actively worked on.
- Ys V: Ushinawareta Suna no Miyako Kefin is also being worked on by Aeon Genesis, but there is no release date set.
Konami purchased the rights to bring the Ys VI: Ark of Napishtim to the PS2 in the global market (and dropped the "VI" from the title in the process), and the US version was released on February 22, 2005, with the Japanese version following on March 10th, 2005. This marked the first official English release of a game in the series in over twelve years. A PSP version is also forthcoming. NEC Interchannel had plans to release DigiCube's Ys I & II: Eternal Story, but Sony rejected the idea.
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