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Ys: A Retrospective (continued)

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So what about Ys IV??? Dawn of Ys was supposed to be released domestically but the sad state of the Turbo all but killed that possibility. Importing was the way to go for those hoping to extend the life of their system, and although in Japanese, the game was still playable. After making the rounds in the town of Minea (where the series actually began), Adol is told that the distant land of Serseta is in danger. Always the hero, he quickly sets off, leaving his friends behind once again. The Duo version happily went back to its roots, returning to the top-down, bump-n-grind style of the first two games, and while the soundtrack was nowhere near the godly level of its predecessors, it was still quite good.

An interesting fact is that a separate version of part IV was also released for the Super Famicom. Out to save the land of Selceta, Adol's first SNES game also adopted the game play perspective of the original trilogy. This seems to be the rarest of the bunch, as I've hardly seen it for sale anywhere.

The last game released in the series, Ys V: Kefin, Lost Kingdom of Sand tells the tale of a lost city in the desert that seeks to escape a magical limbo, at the cost of the other cities that now inhabit its former location. Adol must save Kefin, while preserving the other cities at the same time. Released not too long ago, Ys fans should have no trouble diving into the classic action and game play of this Japan-only gem.

Feel like tracking down the games and giving them a whirl? That may not be so easy for those who are not emu-minded, and while you may have a harder time finding a Duo or Turbo CD than any of the games; it's more than worth the trouble. Moreover, modding a SNES to play Super Famicom games takes little effort and both of its sequels can usually be had via import shops or ebay. I cannot recommend these games enough, as they are among the best the action/RPG genre has to offer (I said it, so there!).

The rich heritage of the Ys games is something that deserves to be preserved for today's gamers. With practically the entire series being released (where are Books I & II?) and a new title in the works, it looks like the franchise is back in a big way. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a renewed interest for it in America. If not, my importing woes shall continue.

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