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Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished

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Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished (イースI Īsu Wan?) (also Ys: The Vanished Omens) 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.

Initially developed for the PC-8801, X1, PC-9801, FM-7/FM-77, FM-77AV, and MSX2 Japanese systems, Ancient Ys Vanished saw many subsequent releases, such as English-language versions for the Master System, DOS, IIGS, and TurboGrafx-16, and enhanced remakes for the Saturn and Windows systems. It has also been released for the Nintendo DS.


The hero of Ys I 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 I is rather different from other console RPGs of the time, where battles were often turn-based and menu-oriented. Ys I instead features a battle system quite similar to that of typical roguelike games. The protagonist simply moves toward his enemy and 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.

Version differences

Aside from graphical differences, the game layout remains essentially the same across the many ports of Ys I; 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 Famicom 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 soundtrack of Ys Eternal and Ys Complete.

The versions developed for the PC Engine CD-ROM² and Sega Saturn included additional cutscenes, such as an opening detailing Adol's arrival in the town of Minea. The Microsoft Windows-based remakes, Ys Eternal and Ys Complete, expand further on this and many other story elements, through both cutscenes and additional gameplay.


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.

Several soundtrack albums dedicated to the music of Ys I 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.
  • Perfect Collection Ys (1990): A two-disc release, the first disc of which is a new arrangement of the Ys I soundtrack by Ryo Yonemitsu. The second disc contains assorted arrangements of tracks from both Ys I and Ys II.
  • Music from Ys Renewal (1995): The complete Ys I 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 the Windows-PC remakes of Ys and Ys II.


The game was reviewed in 1991 in Dragon #172 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.[1]


  1. Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (August 1991). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (172): 55–64. 

External links

fr:Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished



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