Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen (イースI 失われし古代王国 序章 Īsu 1: Ushinawareshi Kodai Ōkoku Jokyoku ) is an action role-playing game developed by Nihon Falcom Corporation in 1987. The name is commonly misspelt "Y's" due to an error on the packaging of an English-language release. This is the first installment of the Ys series.
Initially developed for the PC-8801 by Masaya Hashimoto (director, programmer, designer) and Tomoyoshi Miyazaki (scenario writer), the game was soon ported to the Sharp X1|X1, PC-9801, FM-7/FM-77, FM-7AV and MSX2 Japanese computer systems. Ys saw many subsequent releases, such as English-language versions for the Sega Master System, MS-DOS, Apple IIGS, and TurboGrafx-16, and enhanced remakes for the Sega Saturn and Microsoft Windows systems.
It is frequently rereleased alongside the immediate sequel, Ys II; they are even treated as a single game, referred to as Ancient Ys Vanished. Some of these releases: Ys Book I & II for the PC Engine CD; Ys I & II Eternal (Story)/Complete/Chronicle for Windows PCs, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable; and Legacy of Ys: Book I & II for the Nintendo DS.
The hero of Ys is an adventurous young swordsman named Adol Christin. As the story begins, he has just arrived at the Town of Minea, in the land of Esteria. He is called upon by Sara, a fortuneteller, who tells him of a great evil that is sweeping the land.
Adol is informed that he must seek out the six Books of Ys. These books contain the history of the ancient land of Ys, and will give him the knowledge he needs to defeat the evil forces. Sara gives Adol a crystal for identification and instructs him to find her aunt in Zepik Village, who holds the key to retrieving one of the Books. With that, his quest begins.
The player controls Adol on a game field viewed from a top-down perspective. As he travels on the main field and explores dungeons, he will encounter numerous roaming enemies, which he must battle in order to progress.
Combat in Ys is rather different from other RPGs at the time, which either had turn-based battles or a manually-activated sword. Ys instead features a battle system where Adol automatically attacks when walking into enemies off-center. When the protagonist moves toward his enemy, damage is sustained on both sides. Attacking straight on causes the attacker the most damage to himself, but clipping the edge of the defender yields a successful differential. This combat system was created with accessibility in mind. This 'bump attack' system has become one of the series' defining features. Falcom staff have compared this style of gameplay to the enjoyment of popping air bubble sheets, in the sense that it took the tedious task of level-grinding and turned it into something similar to a high-score-based arcade game.
Another feature that has been used in nearly every Ys title since the original is the recharging health mechanic, which had previously only been used in the Hydlide series.
Aside from graphical differences, the game layout remains essentially the same across the many ports of Ys; however, there are some versions where the details were changed. The Sega Master System version, for example, saw some of the game's dungeon areas flipped horizontally (including some other minor differences).
The most distinctive of the early ports was the Family Computer edition, which was published by Victor Musical Industries. This version was a vast departure from the original, featuring entirely new layouts for the towns, field, and dungeons, replacement of a number of the original musical tracks, and a new final battle sequence.
The version developed for the MSX contained a handful of new musical tracks which replaced part of the original game's soundtrack. Some of these tracks, along with a number of unused tracks first composed for the original, were later incorporated into the soundtracks of certain later releases such as Ys Eternal and Ys Complete.
The versions developed for the PC Engine CD-ROM, released as Ys I & II in 1989, and Sega Saturn included additional cutscenes, such as an opening detailing Adol's arrival in the town of Minea.
The Sharp X68000 enhanced remake released in 1991 was notable for its early use of 3D pre-rendering for the boss sprites. However, this ended up creating what is considered "a bizarre contrast" with the game's mostly 2D graphics.
The Microsoft Windows-based remakes, Ys Eternal and its various updates, Ys Complete and Ys Chronicle, is a full-fledged remake in every area. It introduced an entirely different look and feel, such as the ability to run and attack in eight directions instead of the original's four. It greatly expanded the setting with dialogue, cutscenes, and even additional gameplay areas. Complete features a different soundtrack from Eternal made to match the soundtrack of Ys II Eternal, while the much later Chronicle update features new soundtracks for both games.
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro along with Mieko Ishikawa, the soundtrack is notable for its rich melodies in an age when video game music was beginning to progress from monotonous bleeps. This soundtrack is considered to have some of the best video game music ever composed, and it is considered one of the finest and most influential role-playing video game scores of all time.
Several soundtrack albums dedicated to the music of Ys have been released by Falcom. These include:
- Music from Ys (1987): Contains the soundtrack to the original PC-8801 edition, along with a number of unused tracks and the replacement tracks used in the MSX edition, many of which were later incorporated into the Ys Eternal soundtrack. Also included are five arranged tracks from Ryo Yonemitsu, who arranged the soundtrack to the TurboGrafx-16 version of Ys I & II (1989).
- Perfect Collection Ys (1990): A two-disc release, the first disc of which is a new arrangement of the Ys soundtrack by Ryo Yonemitsu. The second disc contains assorted arrangements of tracks from both Ys and Ys II.
- Music from Ys Renewal (1995): The complete Ys soundtrack, including the bonus tracks, reproduced on upgraded synthesizer equipment.
- Ys & Ys II Eternal Original Sound Track (2001): A two-disc release consisting of the soundtracks to Ys Eternal (not Complete) and Ys II Eternal
I & II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter –
III: The Oath in Felghana –
IV: Memories of Celceta –