Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished (also known as Ys: The Vanished Omens or The Ancient Land of Ys) is the first installment of Ys, an action role-playing video game series developed by Falcom in 1987. The name is commonly misspelt Y's due to an error on the packaging of an English-language release.
Ys was a precursor to RPGs that emphasize storytelling. 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 encounters 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. According to GamesTM and John Szczepaniak (of Retro Gamer and The Escapist), 'Repetition of the act was pleasurable as you developed a psychological rhythm and, even in the event of backtracking, progress was always swift since the player never needed to stop moving.'
Another feature that has been used in nearly every Ys title since the original is the recharging health mechanism, which had previously been used in the Dragon Slayer (to which Ys is the official successor) clone Hydlide series, although Hydlide itself borrowed the feature from the 1980 game Rogue (video game) in the first place. Recharging health has since become a common mechanism used in many video games today.
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You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller in Amazon or in some of your favorite online stores.