Ys III: Wanderers from Ys / Oath in Felghana

ysiii_cover

The Cover Art.. Where is Adol?

Where and when did you first play this game?

I got this game in 1991 when it was released for the Turbografx-16 CD.  It was my third CD game for the TG-16, after the Ys Books I & II and Fighting Street (aka Street Fighter I).  I was watching for the release of the game which I had heard about from my copies of Electronic Gaming Monthly.  I got the game as soon as it arrived at Toys R  Us out by the Genessee Valley Mall.  I made my mom drive me out there and get the game that same day.  Yay!  Here comes more Ys!

Perhaps being looked at one of the weakest games in the Ys library, Falcom had decided to create Ys Oath in Felghana as a remake of the original game.  This was about 2004 when the game was released in Japan, so I ordered the game and imported it from Japan to play on the PC.  The game was in Japanese, but having already played the game, I had some concept of where to go and how to complete the quest.  It was based on the Ys VI 3D graphics engine which had been released a couple years prior, but Falcom added some additional bells and whistles, just expanding the games story and playability.

How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?

I’ve played the original game one time all the way through, but the game just didn’t hold my interest like the original two games did.

I really only played the game once in the original CD version.  When Falcom released the Ys: The Oath in Felghana in 2004 the game was finally redeemed in my opinion.  This was a huge improvement over the original TG-16 CD version!  I’ve played the re-imagined version a couple times all the way through on both the PC import and the Steam version.

What is it about this game that you loved?

The music, very much like the first game, is really a rocking sound track.  The introduction includes more animation sequences in it which are really impressive, but the music again is really the standout in this game.

This game doesn’t take place in Esteria, but in Dogi’s homeland.  Given the fact Adol had already solved the riddle of the Ys, Falcom didn’t take you back to the same place for more of the same.  But, oddly, just like Ys II, you end up having a lava area, a snowy area, a mine, a temple, a castle,  and final the EVIL place, so while the area is different the hallmarks of the Falcom Ys games are still present!   I think one of the best areas in the game had to be the clock tower.  It was very impressive with all the different moving gears in the background the the multiple plain scrolling in the background.

The multiple scrolling plains in this game could have been a huge step forward for the TG-16, but unfortunately either it wasn’t implemented very well, or the system didn’t have the processing power to pull it off well.  The SNES and Genesis versions had perfectly smooth scrolling backgrounds and multi-plains, but the TG-16 version was really lacking in that regard.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

The opening sequence on this game is a little bit odd because it’s talking about Adol being the hero for the game, but the images are not Adol.  The cover art for the game doesn’t make sense because, again, it’s not Adol.  The final boss of the game only vaguely looks like this demon in the background.  I don’t know where the hell this burning temple is located in the game?  Maybe Valestine Castle or the Shrine?  Either way, it almost seems like the images in the open animation of the game were designed for another game, but they got used because it was already created and re-purposed for Ys III.  Lame!  

Like Zelda II, I get the impression Ys as a side scroller wasn’t well received because, the next game in the series, Ys 4, moved back to the 3/4 top-down perspective.  One additional change here from Ys I & II was the fact that you had to attack with your sword and could learn new moves, up and down attacks for example.  The “auto-attack” from the first 2 games was gone in this game.

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The Japanese Map screen

Another problem for Ys III was it’s extremely linear.  For example, you start in the Tigrary Quarry, move on to the shine (that some one built at the base of a huge volcano, which supplies the lava area) and then move on to the snowy mountain area, etc.

There’s some areas that you can explore going up and down on the side scrolling parts of the game, but over all, you run into a dead end and have to back track, head to the other fork in the road and, BOOM, you’re at the end of the level, fighting the boss monster and moving on to the next area of the game.  Overall, the game is hugely linear and that means it’s almost impossible to get lost or end up wasting time down a dead end.  Some of this has linear nature was corrected in Ys: Oath in Felghana, but overall you’re still pretty limited in the areas you can just randomly explore.

The voice acting in the CD version of the game is pretty bad too, not to mention the quality of the audio was bad.  The original CD game had great CD quality voice acting, written to the CD as a music track, but Ys III appears to have used digitized voice acting, which meant more voice acting, but it sounded like it was coming from a terrible phone connection.  The other ports of the game for SNES and Genesis didn’t have voice acting in the game, but, to me, this was a huge gap in the TG-16 version.

All the other Ys games I’ve played, Adol doesn’t talk.  For example, when someone would talk with Adol, maybe ask him a question, the dialog boxes would say “Adol explains the meaning of life is don’t use canned salmon in your salmon mousse” or something along those lines, but in this game, Adol talks.  I know this sounds like a very minor issue, but  it breaks one of the conventions of the Ys gaming world and it sticks out in the Ys library.

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

I got the game as soon as humanly possible from the local toy store in my hometown of Flint, Michigan.  Every day I was calling the store, asking them to check to see if the game was in stock.  One day, I called and yay, it was there.  I pestered my mom to get the game, making her take me to the store, purchase the game and taking me back home so I could lock myself into my bedroom.  I put the game into the system, started it up, and OHHH, the music was amazing as usual, but then this narrator starts into the dialog:

“Think Back to your worst nightmare… The feeling of darkness and isolation.”

Okay WTF?  This was a terrible opening credit scene.  OH REALLY?  There were images of this blond warrior standing in place looking all badass with his ripped muscles and shit, but who is he after all when the narrator is CLEARLY talking about Adol.  I should have known this was going to be an indication of the game style.

I start playing the game and about 5 hours later I came out of the bedroom walking into the living room where my mom was sitting watching television.  She said,  “You taking a break?” and I said, “no, I beat it already” with a big smile on my face thinking I was hella cool!   But her jaw dropped and she said, “What?!”  Opps, yeah, that was a $5o-$60 game at the time that I completed in about 5 hours.  I have to say, I agree with her that wasn’t a very good return on the time and effort for that game, but it was fun speed running through that game.

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