Genre: Action/RPG Developer: Riot Publisher: Renovation Players: 1 Released: 1992
It’s a sad thing that nobody in America knows what Ys is. They were fun little overhead RPGs with awesome music starring a short red-haired chap named Adol who decided to do good and save the world from evil. The original Ys games were doomed to come out on platforms the majority of the gaming public didn’t care about (the Sega Master System and TurboGrafx-16 CD) so it’s rather odd that Ys 3: Wanderers from Ys, was actually released in America on all three major platforms around the same time.
Considered the bastard of the Ys series primarily due to the side-scrolling perspective, Wanderers from Ys begins with Adol traveling to his friend Dogi’s hometown of Redmond. Naturally, since Adol is the hero that killed some major wrongdoers (whose names nobody in America knows, even though everyone in Japan worshipped the series – hell, they have a yearly holiday for this series) the townspeople naturally assume that he will help them with any little thing that’s going wrong in town. “We hate to bother you, but would it be terrible inconvenience to go to the local Tiger mines and rescue the people trapped into? And while you’re at it, save the world from destruction from a creepy sinister guy named Chester who probably wants to destroy/rule all using a bunch of statues? And perhaps marry one of our fine young women to bring some fresh blood into the batch? We’d really appreciate it!”
“Bring it on, bitch.” Adol responds, with red hair that probably would be waving in the wind were it not cut like a helmet.
Thus begins your adventure. For someone who previously destroyed massive amounts of evil, Adol is actually a pretty weak guy. Walk into the mine and one prolonged encounter with a single bee will cause Adol to mysteriously disintegrate forcing the villagers of Redmond to wait for some other gullible adventurer to pass along. Thus you’ll have to spend plenty of time beating up on the massive amounts of bees and trolls, or any other enemies you find in the game, in order to make yourself even remotely powerful. And also spending plenty of time running back to the entrance of whatever area you’re in to heal yourself. The good thing is, Adol is really quick with swinging a sword, he possessing incredible arm strength through rigorous workouts (I could make some juvenile jokes here, but I’ll control myself.)
So, a good amount of the game is having Adol charge through whatever territory he may be in (the aforementioned mines, the obligatory foreboding castle, mountains, the local volcano, etc.) and swinging his sword like a buzzsaw, blazing through enemies, gaining experience points and gold. Which is easy since the game is fairly linear. See that door? Well, it’s locked now, but you’ll find the key at the end of area, so as long as you remember where that door is… well, that’s the extent of exploration.
You don’t get any other fancy weaponry, but you do get rings that can be used to power yourself up, increase defense and slow down time. The unfortunate side effect to this rather loose combat system is that the boss enemies are all rather unfair. Since you’re restricted with your stumpy sword, the only thing you can really do to fight the enemies is get close, slash away, occasionally try to get out of the way and hope that you killed enough spiders so you’re strong enough to take any damage that might be inflicted. In other words, many of these battles seem based strictly on luck. Good thing you can save the game practically anywhere.
While Wanderers from Ys doesn’t sound like much, it’s actually quite of a bit of fun. Running rampantly through the various locations, sword slashing a mile a minute while admiring the nice multi-plane scrolling backgrounds and listening to the game’s awesome soundtrack (yes, even out of the Genesis, there comes some fabulous music — Ys has always been known for great soundtracks). It may be a simplistic pleasure, but the game as a whole is enjoyable, nonetheless.
SCORE: 8 out of 10