"In the world of gaming, there's always been one thing that I've noticed: nearly every series seems to have a black sheep of sorts, hated among the masses because of how different it is. Where would the gaming world be without Super Mario 2, Zelda II, and according to a large chunk of the HG userbase, the entire Metal Gear Solid series? Even my eternally-adored action RPG series Ys has been unable to escape such a fate. Where the first two Ys games featured swe..."
In the world of gaming, there's always been one thing that I've noticed: nearly every series seems to have a black sheep of sorts, hated among the masses because of how different it is. Where would the gaming world be without Super Mario 2, Zelda II, and according to a large chunk of the HG userbase, the entire Metal Gear Solid series? Even my eternally-adored action RPG series Ys has been unable to escape such a fate. Where the first two Ys games featured sweeping overworlds traversible in the 4 cardinal directions, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys features naught but a left-to right plane of movement, ala Zelda II.
Not that it's a bad thing: Adol is much more skilled with a blade than the green-clad hero of that other series. Simply holding down the attack button allows Adol the ability to swing his blade perpetually, turning him into a walking tank of death. If that's not enough, Adol can perform the dreaded death poke by lying flat on his stomach and thrusting his blade forward, making him an unstoppable menace from below the belt. Sadly, his extensive repertoire goes to waste; the foes he faces are all pushovers. Even the bosses require little more effort than equipping an attack-boosting magic ring and rushing headlong into the monster, blades buzzsawing until the monster is little more than a bloody pulp.
Even more distressing is that the sheer lack of difficulty is consistent through the entire game. Where other games in the series feaure large, mazelike dungeons that are packed with monsters which challenge you at every turn, Ys III features short, linear dungeons that lack any form of originality or danger. The few beasts you face along the way will all quickly fall to Adol's mad skillz and before you know it, you'll be facing up with an underpowered boss for a fight to the death. And yet, despite the TGCD's power, the areas look drab, and the monsters aren't much better. The sprites are dark and lack detail, and even the largest bosses seem to lack inspiration. Adol's succint adventure is marred by poor background scrolling of the worst possible kind. You won't have time to notice the lush waterfalls of the Tigray Quarry, the bubbling lava-filled underground that lies beneath an ancient temple, or the snow-capped peaks of the northwestern mountains, guarded by a fierce dragon of sapphire hue. They'll all look like crap, thanks to the jerky, disorenting scrolling of the backgrounds.
All of it adds up to what in most cases would be a ho-hum experience, until you hear the music. This game is for PC Engine CD after all, and it most certainly shows the second you hear the melodies through your speakers. The synth-rock soundtrack achieved what most gamers dare not say: that it had become the pinnacle of gaming music. The slow buildup of Tigray Quarry's theme, followed by the quick, adrenaline-pumping crescendo evokes a response in gamers that you rarely see in video game music. The soundtrack is powerful enough to stand the test of time, being remixed for Falcom's revisualization of Ys III, The Oath in Felghana. It's powerful stuff that helps to bring the characters and their world to life.
Be it the wall-smashing Dogi, the solemn (read: bitchy at first) love interest Elena, or the grim-faced asshole of a brother named Chester (read: bitchy for most of the game), Ys III has no lack of colourful characters to tell its cliche story. The tale takes Adol to Dogi's hometown of Redmont, where he meets a hot chick named Elena, who has brother problems, because he apparently follows a king around in the bid for godlike power from an evil demon. While you won't find any surprising plot twists in the story ahead, the story keeps a good pace and minimizes your time spend in the solitary town, your main hub for picking up healing items and upgrading your equipment.
Truth be told, I really shouldn't like the game, but upon playing it I can't seem to put it down. Despite the terrible graphics, the "been there, done that" feel to the story, and the complete lack of any difficulty, Ys III is short enough that it doesn't matter, and all the while, you'll be rockin' out to the kickass soundtrack. It briefly appears for a moment, tells its story and has fun with you, and is over before the flaws become too big of a problem or makes your thumbs fall off like mine are about to thanks to this cellphone's keyboard.
Community review by espiga (June 20, 2008)
Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.
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