Ys - The Vanished Omens

a game by Nihon Falcom

Platform: Sega Master SystemSega Master System

Genre: Adventure/RPG

See also:Ys Games

  • Manufacturer: Sega
  • Machine: Sega Master System

Washed ashore in the one-time kingdom of Y's, now called Esteria, Aron Christian finds a land fallen on hard times. Its people, once prosperous, now offer meager but willing generosity. To make things worse, an evil sorcerer seeks a way to bring even greater darkness down upon this hapless land.

As Aron, a swordsman of skill and daring, you can change the course of history by finding the six lost books of Y's and unleashing the power of the quiescent goddesses. To do so you'll have to explore the land above, the mines below and a temple full of secrets. And that's just the beginning. Once you have completed those tasks, you'll have to enter the deadly Tower of The Doomed, from which there is no escape short of complete success. In the Tower, the last of the books awaits.

Aron is extremely simple to control. You use the control pad to move him in the four major directions. Press Button 1 to manipulate certain objects (a process rarely undertaken) and press Button 2 to open a selection of commands in a window on the screen. You can choose to load or save one of five saved games from this window - this cartridge contains a battery save, the most convenient kind. Also, you can check Aron's status or use the Equipment command to select what weapons and other objects to wield. Finally, you can read a book of Y's, if you have one and have learned how to read it.

This is a fine fantasy role-playing game. The story unfolds as you acquire clues, but the puzzles are usually pretty easy to solve. Mapping, though not absolutely mandatory, is helpful, especially in the Temple and in the Tower of The Doomed, which is a vast maze of floors and rooms.

Aron interacts with people in two ways: talk or fight. If a person is friendly, a window opens and the person tells Aron something. This may be something important or a fairly uninteresting clue. Most people continue to harp on the same subject over and over. However, some key figures will provide new information as Aron completes various quests.

But fighting is what Aron was born and bred for. He does it automatically when confronted with an enemy. All you have to do is maneuver Aron so that his sword touches an enemy and Aron does his damage. However, you have to be careful: come too close and the enemy may get in a few licks, too. The skill of this game is in moving Aron around an enemy to touch without being hit. It is fairly easy in theory, but not always in execution.

There are lots of objects in the game that can help Aron. For instance, you'll find several rings to perform special purposes. One adds power to Aron's blows while another shields him. Still another slows down his enemies. There are also objects like the mirror that can freeze enemies in place and a mask that shows hidden doors. There's a lot of gathering and discarding of equipment throughout the game, as you change the ring or other objects you wear. Usually you use the best sword, armor and shield that your money can buy, but other equipment is used according to the situation.

As in many RPGs, money is hard to come by early in the game and becomes meaningless toward the end. However, you will start out killing creatures and enemies to gain cash at first. Fortunately, the world is full of unfriendlies of various strengths.

Y's: The Vanished Omens is fun to play. It's compelling and just challenging enough to keep your interest, without being so hard that you lose heart. I particularly enjoyed the final encounter with Dark Dekt - the evil sorcerer who is at the bottom of the whole plot. This final challenge was very imaginative and difficult. I won't spoil the secret for you, however. You'll just have to get there on your own.

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