Ys II (NES) review
"Most of the time, it only takes a couple of levels to crush your enemies. Sure, you might be throwing grapes at elephants for how little damage you do, but you'll never get hurt – even head-on – as long as you constantly press forward. Eventually you'll be able to annihilate them with just a few choice blows."
When I picked up Ys for the first time on the Nintendo, I knew I was playing an inferior version. I'd been told many a time of how the Turbo CD did it better – from music, to graphics to smoother mechanics. But, I didn't care. The NES port was the best I could do at the time. Yet, despite all that, I still enjoyed the game immensely. Its unique style of combat combined with its own set of challenges really set it apart from other action-RPGs of the era. In fact, I loved it so much that I couldn't wait to play the second, thinking the experience would be just as fantastic as the first.
Needless to say, I came away from it somewhat disappointed.
Ys II picks up right where the first left off. Adol wakes up in Lance Village shortly after arriving in the magical land itself. The townsfolk don't really tell him much other than that they've seen a great number of demons prowling the ruins outside. Later you learn about the missing elder, a sickly child, some missing iron ore, and, most importantly, the six priest statues that will guide you to the source of evil plaguing the land.
To receive their aid, Adol must return each of the six books collected on his previous adventure to the priests' hallowed chambers. This stretch of the story will take him through dilapidated ruins, monster-choked caverns and a demon-infested sanctuary.
And through it all, I felt as though something were missing. Something more than just the expected weaknesses that the NES port brought with it. I could deal with the fact that Adol moves too quickly to make running through a dungeon full of tough enemies practical. Plowing through unknown territory without any hesitation could lead to painful head-on collisions, and attacking without pause could leave you hurting if Adol steps half a pixel too far in any direction due to unreasonably high speed. But these were mostly early game issues that I adapted to quickly.
Then I realized what it was. While fighting the second boss, I was met with such an underwhelming level of challenge that I found myself scratching my head and wondering if this shouldn't have been a separate game entirely after all.
Those who played the first Ys know that its greatest draw was its high-octane boss fights. Nearly all of them featured a key weakness unique to each confrontation. Furthermore, each enemy had rapid, highly unavoidable patterns of attack that made striking and dodging nearly impossible. However, Ys II took nearly all of that away from me.
Instead of fighting the infamous Dragon Worm, which could only be struck in the tail and moved nearly as quickly as you, I fought a giant bat, which fluttered around predictably and spat three fireballs that spread out like a shotgun. I killed it with fire magic.
Rather than fight the Great Mantis, which sliced me to ribbons every second and required all of my reflexes just to vanquish, I fought Dolga, a demonic falconer whose pet puffed fireballs. I killed him with fire magic.
In fact, I killed nearly every boss with fire magic, except the last two, though the first of these was still obnoxiously easy. What made it worse was the fact that I could leave the fight any time I wanted to go heal at one of the six priest statues I'd found earlier.
Featured community review by wolfqueen001 (March 16, 2012)
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