"In my life, I've wandered everywhere... Around this world, hope would always be there."Ys
— Excerpt from the opening of the English translation of Ys: The Oath in Felghana
(typically pronounced "ees"note
, though "yees" was used instead in the English localization of Ys: The Ark of Napishtim
) is an action RPG series developed by Falcom
and published by its developer in Japan and currently published by XSEED Games
in North America and Europe, with a large
number of companies having localized licensed ports in the past (such as the TurboGrafx-CD
versions) that has spanned over twenty years and thirteen consoles. The games chronicle the adventures of Adol Christin, a wandering swordsman
with fiery red hair
who always seems to be in the right place at the wrong time as far as world-threatening disasters are concerned. The eponymous Ys
is a mythical island floating in the sky
, which is visited in some games and merely referenced in others.
The games have a few recurring characters (leaving aside Adol, who is the main playable character in every game except for the prequel Ys Origin
and Ys Strategy
) and take place in the same world and continuity, but otherwise keep things fresh by introducing a brand new cast, location, and scenario each game, not unlike fellow traveling swordsman-starring series The Legend of Zelda
. Games are generally played with a top-down perspective, with early games requiring Adol to "ram" into enemies in just the right spot to kill them and later installments having a Hack and Slash
style of gameplay (Hack and Slash
combat was present since Ys V
). (The Eternal/Complete remakes of I & II
still have ramming combat, which carried over to the PSP version of those games, Ys I & II Chronicles
.) The games themselves have gotten multiple remakes and "re-imaginings" in order to fit them better into the series' ever-expanding mythology.
The games are also famous for their power-rock soundtracks composed by various members of Falcom's JDK Sound Team, most famously by Yuzo Koshiro
(Ys I-II) and Mieko Ishikawa (Ys II-III) and performed by Ryo Yonemitsu (Music for the Turbo-Grafx 16
versions and the Perfect Collections) and more recently Yukihiro Jindo (Arrangments of Oath in Felghana and Ys I & II Chronicles). In addition to standalone soundtrack CDs, the Turbo-Grafx 16
games have much of their in-game soundtracks encoded in the same standardized Red Book format as a typical audio CD, allowing the game discs themselves
to double as soundtrack CDs when placed into a CD player or other optical media player. The Windows games store their audio files in the open, patent-free Ogg Vorbis format
and can be found and played by digging through the game's files and getting the .ogg files from the music folder. A few of the game re-releases also do special things with their soundtracks, and specifically their soundtrack history: note
The games long suffered from extensive No Export for You
syndrome after the series' lackluster initial release push in the very early 90s, which is the primary reason the series was practically unheard of outside of Japan for so long. Beginning with the release of Ys: The Ark of Napishtim
on the PlayStation 2
and PlayStation Portable
, Ys: Book I & II
on the Wii Virtual Console
, and Legacy of Ys: Books I & II
for the Nintendo DS
, the games started to reach a much wider audience, and the American video game publishing and localization company XSEED Games
announced an exclusive partnership with Falcom in 2010 that included the localization of Ys SEVEN
, Ys: The Oath in Felghana
, and Ys I & II Chronicles
for the PSP for the North American market, in that order. In March of 2012, XSEED and Falcom followed this up with a series of releases on Valve's Steam service, starting with the original Windows version of Oath
and the long-Japan-only Origin
, followed by a further-updated PC version of I&II Chroniclesnote
; they then capped it off with the release of Ys Memoriesof Celceta
, Falcom's definitive version of IV
, on the PS Vita, released in English in November of 2013.
Thanks to all this, the series' No Export for You
tendencies are well and truly over, as Ys
is now one of XSEED's most consistent sellers and the company has openly stated they'd love to work on any future releases, and between Steam and the Playstation market, virtually every single major Ys
title is now available in English, both at retail and as a download. Ys V
remains as the sole gap, and even that only extends to official localization; a fully playable fan translation patch is available courtesy of Aeon Genesis.
The main games in the series (excluding mobile phone games and compilations) are:
- Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen (1987, 1998)
- Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter (1988, 2000)
- Remakes of the first two games are generally packaged together (known as the Complete compilation), most recently with 2009's Ys I & II Chronicles for the PlayStation Portable, which was released in English in North America in February 2011 (and on Steam in February 2013).
- Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (1989, 1991, and a re-imagining in 2005 in Japan and in North America and Europe through Steam in 2012 as Ys: Oath in Felghana. A PSP version was released in Japan in 2010, and November the same year for North America.)
- Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (1993) & Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (1993, 2005)
- Interestingly, neither of these titles was developed by Falcom directly; Hudson Soft developed Dawn of Ys, while Tonkin House handled Mask of the Sun. Both followed a plot outline laid out by Falcom, but ultimately had multiple significant differences.
- Another version, Ys Memoriesof Celceta, was released for the PlayStation Vita, finally giving fans a Falcom-developed version of IV. Originally Mask of the Sun was the canon game (since Ys V ended up being a SFC game), but it was pushed into Canon Discontinuity with The Dawn of Ys with the newer, internally developed version.
- Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand (1995, 2006)
- Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim in Japan) (2003)
- Ys Origin (2006 (Japan), May 2012 (North America and Europe))
- Ys Strategy (2006)
- Ys SEVEN (2009 (Japan), 2010 (North America))
There are also manga adaptations of I-II and IV, though they diverge from the games considerably, and an eleven episode anime adaptation of I-II. There is also a series of novels based on the games including two side-stories with no game equivalents: 'Record of the Destroyed' set between II and IV and 'Crusade of Blood and Sand' set immediately after V. Of course, none of these are available in English, except for the OVA versions of Ys I & II.
And the last but not least, the music itself
Not to be confused with Joanna Newsom
's second album of the same name. Also quite different from the mythological
city of Ys (or Ker Ys), though the game takes its name from the myth.
This series contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Cain Fact.
- Action Girl: Karna in all versions of Ys IV, Yunica Tovah in Origin, Aisha, who fights with bows along with her teacher Sigroon, and later in the game the melee fighter Cruxie in Ys SEVEN, and Calilica and Frida in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Active Royalty: Aisha in Ys SEVEN
- Adaptation Distillation: The OVA version of II tightens things up considerably and adds a few interesting elements like a twist on the in-game reliance on magic.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original version of Wanderers From Ys, Elena & Chester had bright blond hair and blue eyes with maybe a hint of purple in the art (though generally not ingame due to palette restrictions of the era's hardware). In Oath in Felghana, they're now flaxen-haired, notably fairer in complexion than any other Redmont residents (or nearly anyone else in the franchise), and they now have prominent violet eyes, which were also basically unique to them note . This might be a bit of Foreshadowing on the artists' part to hint at the fact that they're originally from Genos Island. The new coloration has been carried forward into every appearance the Stoddart siblings have made since, most obviously Ys vs. Trails In The Sky.
- The "violet thing" has become so prominent that in the Ys Heroines Calendar◊ bonus for Celceta, violet is even Elena's signature color.
- Aerith and Bob: Lots of towns feature characters with a mishmash of European-sounding names with a couple oddballs thrown in. For example, Xandria in Ys V features Neina and Rije.
- Although Neina isn't from Xandria...
- Ys: The Oath in Felghana is better about this. Characters other than villains (aside from Count McGuire having a real last name) tend to have normal names such as the sibling duo of Elena and Chester, Mayor Edgar, and even a miner who has recently been mistaken to have died in a mining accident named Bob.
- Ys SEVEN gives us two sibling characters. The older one is a young man named Mustafa — a real Arabic name, so it is fitting for someone from a location based on part of North Africa. His younger sister, Cruxie, however, has a name that doesn't sound like something someone from North Africa would have.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The titular Ark of Napishitim in Ys VI goes insane and tries to destroy all civilization in Eresia once the control key Almarion is broken.
- All There in the Manual: Perfect Data of Ys contains a whole lot of interesting information about the world. The plotline for Ys SEVEN has been hinted at for at least a decade quite literally in manuals and the loading screen of Ys Eternal.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Several of the games have their main town occupied by the enemy at some point and/or the residents captured. The Oath in Felghana has the town of Redmont attacked instead of occupied with everyone getting close to losing hope, but things get better when Dogi's trainer Berhardt gets everyone's spirits up and has the women and children take shelter while the men heavily guard the town, complete with more upbeat music starting up.
- Aloof Big Brother: Toal to Hugo in Ys Origin. In Toal's route, it becomes obvious that Toal cares a lot about Hugo beneath that aloofness.)
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: This◊ is American box art for Ys III for Sega Genesis. Just compare Adol with the picture above. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System version just took Falcom's own appearance of Adol and slightly recolored it to have more of a Western art style and the Turbo-Grafx 16 version depicts Genos instead of Adol, so they avert this.
- An Axe to Grind: Yunica Tovah wields a battleaxe in Origin.
- And Man Grew Proud
- And Then What?: Dogi asks this of Chester after learning his motivations for collecting the four statues in Oath. Dogi wonders what Chester's going to do after he's gotten his revenge, and if it'll be worth it. Chester briefly faulters, but announces that he's come too far to turn back and stabs Dogi.
- Anti-Grinding: Every time the player levels up in Ys I & II, the XP that monsters give out is cut in half, forcing the player to seek out tougher monsters if they want their XP gains to be worthwhile.
- Anti-Hero: Geis.
- Anti-Villain: Sister Nell Dularn in Oath. She follows Garland's orders out of gratitude for saving her life and genuinely feels remorse for her actions. When she is defeated by Adol for the last time, she even thanks him and asks him to save Elena before dying.
- Anti-Grinding: Early games decreased enemy EXP with each level you earned. Once you started getting 1 EXP per enemy, it was a good sign that the designers wanted you to get on with the plot. Later games just raise the amount needed to level up. Either way, Falcom is good at this trope.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Count McGuire in The Oath in Felghana, and Chester refers to him as Lord McGuire. Turns out he was being manipulated by Garland.
- Artifact of Doom: The Black Pearl, which was really the Sealed Evil in a Can Darm, who was formerly Cain Fact. The four statues that house the power of Galbalan in Oath count as well. The philosopher's stone in Ys V also is said to bring destruction to lands around it.
- Art Evolution: The series's art style varies between games, though one example of a change in art style is Ys SEVEN having Adol and Dogi looking older than in the first game (which they both debuted in), but since several years passed between those games, it actually makes more sense than a lot of examples of the trope and ends up being less noticeable. Notably, Ys I & II Chronicles introduces new in-game artwork different from the Eternal/Complete versions Chronicles is based on while also including an option to use the artwork from those versions. (However, unlike the soundtrack options, this has to be chosen when starting the game and cannot be changed on the fly in the options menu.)
- Artistic License – Engineering: Rado's Annex (A two story tower that is connected to the 16th floor of Darm Tower by a bridge that is only anchored to the ground on one side) is pretty much structurally impossible. Yunica actually points this out when she first sees it in Origin.
- Ascended Extra: Dogi, the Wall-Crusher! Witness how in Ys I, he's little more than a guy who busts Adol out of prison... and in Ys III (as well as its remake, The Oath in Felghana), he's Adol's best friend and travelling partner. This got to a point where he's playable in SEVEN (and the first member of Adol's party, for reasons made obvious in Ys III and The Oath in Felghana), in which he pilots a boat under the name of Dogi the Wave-Crusher.
- Each of the playable characters in Origin can be considered this from the perspective of the other routes.
- Also, in Oath in Felghana, Dularn and Garland. In the original Wanderers, both barely counted as characters (Dularn got one line, if that, depending the version). In Oath, both have vastly expanded roles. Specifically, as Sister Nell Dularn and Bishop Nikolas Garland. Nell's both a presence in town and stalks you as "Dularn" throughout most of the game, and Garland does a great job fooling everyone before showing his true colors.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The fate of the twin goddesses at the end of Ys II, Eldeel in Ys: Memories of Celceta, and Alma in Ys VI.
- A Taste of Power: In Dawn of Ys Adol starts with the best equipment from the (chronologically) previous game. With it he can one-hit kill everything and nothing can really hurt him. Naturally, he loses it very quickly and doesn't get it back until much later.
- Hugo in Origin, but that turns out very badly until he gets some unlikely help.
- Atlantis: The 'Atlas Continent' which is the home of the Eldeen civilization and the birthplace of Feena and Reah. To a lesser extent, the titular Ys.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: Not just for boss fights, either. The franchise's collective soundtracks as a whole have a rather disproportionate number of rock tracks for a medieval fantasy series.
- Awesome but Impractical: Magic in Mask of the Sun and V.
- Back from the Dead: Chester in Alternative Saga
- Bad Future: Inverted — Origin shows Esteria's bad past. The surface below Ys has craggy rocks, lava flows, and noxious gas everywhere, except near the Roda Trees, which is essentially an oasis of lushness in the ruined land. Contrast how it looks 700 years later when Adol arrives, when the surface had recovered and become a small country called Esteria whose fields are lush and near the ocean is a port town, and some descendants of the priests of Ys live there, with Goban (a Tovah descendant) assisting with Adol's raid on Darm Tower and Luta Gemma assisting with the same thing within the tower. In addition, after Adol visits Ys and finishes his journey there in the second game, Ys returns to the surface, reuniting Ys with Esteria.
- Badass: Adol. He's gone toe-to-toe with ancient monsters numerous times, and won.
- Badass Normal: Adol again. There's nothing obviously supernatural about him, he's just a dude who decided to wander a bit, and yet he pretty much eats gods for breakfast as a living. And even though he can use magic in some games, it's always for plot-related reasons (such as the bracelets in The Oath in Felghana) and not innate ability (as we said, there's nothing obviously supernatural about him), and he loses it after the journey's over. His best friend, Dogi, is pretty much a Badass Normal as well.
- In Origin, Yunica Tovah also has no innate magical abilities and requires her axe to fight until, like Adol, she gains magical artifacts that make up for it.
- Badass Family: The Fact family is this and Big Screwed-Up Family.
- Badass Grandpa: Raba in Ys I & II and Ys VI.
- Bag of Spilling: Adol tends to lose pretty much all his equipment and level in between adventures; somewhat justified in that he tends to get in massive shipwrecks to start each adventure.
- Baleful Polymorph: Bammy's favorite hobby is to transform humans into monsters. This includes Adol. Dalles did it at least once himself.
- Ball of Light Transformation: Ys II:
- At the beginning, Adol assumes this form during his flight from Darm Tower to Ys.
- The goddesses do this when they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence at the end, leaving their physical forms behind as statues.
- Beard of Evil: Cain Fact in Origin.
- Beef Gate: The Abandoned Mine in Ys I, the area beyond the barricade on Quatera in Ys VI, etc, as well as many bosses. When they tell you "don't go there until you're strong enough", they ain't kidding.
- BFS: Almarion, the Black Key, and The Tovah family's Crimson Lotusblade.
- Big Bad
- Ys I: Dark Fact
- Ys II: The Black Pearl / Darm
- Ys III/ Ys: Oath in Felghana: Galbalan
- Ys IV: Mask of the Sun: Eldeel
- Ys IV: the Dawn of Ys: Arem
- Ys: Memories of Celceta: Gruder
- Ys V: Jabir
- Ys VI: Ernst
- Ys Origin: Darm / Cain Fact
- Ys SEVEN: Tialuna
- Big Damn Heroes: The NPCs of the search party, in the final section of Darm Tower in Origin, unless you play as Toal, in which case they show up for three previous bosses but are conspicuously absent when Toal confronts Dalles and Cain.
- Big "NO!": Toal, when goddesses go to sleep.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Look no further than the Fact family. The Stoddart family in 3/Oath isn't much better.
- Bifauxnen: Karna in Dawn of Ys. Subverted in Memories of Celceta where she looks decidedly feminine.
- Bishonen Line
- Black Sheep: Among the games, a few have been or are considered major stumbling blocks for the franchise:
- The first is the original Ys III, Wanderers From Ys. This one generated a fairly significant Broken Base; the music was awesome and people liked the story and art, but the sudden shift to Zelda II-ish side scrolling was deeply unpopular. Oath in Felghana more or less fixed all the problems people had with the game, though, and Oath is considered a contender for "best Ys game ever". The merits of the original Wanderers remains a point of contention, though.
- Interestingly, Ys III was also chosen to essentially "headline" the series' original Western push in the early 90s, once Falcom was interested in that market and since it was at that point the newest game. The game ended up being just as divisive in the West as in Japan, and so the original Ys push fizzled, leading to us missing Ys IV and V. On that note...
- The much more obvious dark-colored ewe of the family is Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand. On the surface it sounded great, elaborating on a relatively unexplored portion of the world and backstory. But it was only released for the Super Famicom in its first release (taking the series completely away from its PC roots and even from its Turbo-Grafx 16 following), was hugely limited graphically as a result of being cartridge-based (with many complaining that "it looks like every other Super Famicom RPG ever, but blander", which is particularly impressive given the intended exoticism of the game's particular setting), and worst by far, the music was all synth and pseudo-orchestral rather than the Red Book audio rock tracks the series had become famous for!
- Although Ys V did establish some things that would later become standard procedure in later games (jumping, fast-paced button-mashing as opposed to just running into dudes, etc), ultimately the single (non-PC) platform and comparatively awful music caused a full-blown fan revolt in Japan as former fans absolutely despised the game. Ys III may have taken some heat but Kefin just about killed the franchise stone dead. Falcom had to spend the next seven years developing other games and remakes of the first two games just to repair their reputation before daring to try and release another new Ys game. To this day, Kefin ranks pretty squarely at the bottom of polls when the games are ranked; only the pretty cool story prevents it from becoming a nearly unanimous Fanon Discontinuity.
- Blade on a Stick: The weapon of choice for Geis in Ys VI and Ys SEVEN, Kishigal in Ys Origins, and Frida in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Falcom's own official romanization for the Fact family is Fukt. Feel free to start laughing any time.
- The DS version of Ys I and II translates Shrine of Solomon (that being the translation used in XSEED Games's translation of the PSP version, previously worded as Solomon Shrine in the Turbo-Grafx 16 version) as Palace of Salmon. One implies wisdom. The other implies fish. The weird thing is that Atlus USA did the DS version's translation and didn't do terribly bad with the rest of the game, but Atlus and XSEED Games both try to go for natural-sounding English text, with XSEED being the one to do so with its translation.
- Falcom's initial English title for Ys: Memories of Celceta was Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta, despite the fact that its Japanese title can be neatly translated as Ys: Celceta, the Sea of Trees.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Dark Fact had blond hair even before he transformed into a demon (as seen in his artwork on the English Web site for Ys I & II Chronicles. Also, Chester in Ys III/Oath in Felghana.
- Blood Knight: Kishgal in Origin.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Dogi, the Wallcrusher!
- Bonus Boss: Several in 3D Ys games.
- Boss Rush: An extra featured in I/II Chronicles and Oath in Felghana; suprisingly absent from SEVEN, however.
- The Black Pikkard is essentially a Boss Rush in a boss fight, pitting you against three elite mooks and then the Black Pikkard itself.
- Boss Subtitles: In the Japanese versions of the games, Glorious Engrish subtitles began with Ys VI and continued in Oath and Origin, giving us such wonders as 'Garland - Mind Broken of the Darkness'. The accompanying Japanese subtext tended to make a lot more sense but wasn't half as fun. Ys SEVEN has only Japanese titles. XSEED Games's translations translate these, and had fun with at least one in SEVEN, with one boss having the subtitle "big bug beast".
- Falcom actually started doing this with Ys Eternal, where the titles all went [Boss Name] - [Ys Priest Name]'s Redemption of [Priest's power]. This was dropped in II Eternal and removed from the original entirely in Chronicles.
- But Now I Must Go: Adol is the king of this trope. Most often, he'll leave behind some maiden who's obviously fallen for him standing on a dock, watching him go. Also, the twin goddesses at the end of Ys II.
- Call Back: In terms of release order, not chronological order (considering it's the first chronologically) Origin is loaded with them, such as the fact that the setting is Darm Tower.
- Canon Discontinuity: Ys VI follows the two Super Famicom sequels (Ys IV: Mask of the Sun and Ys V) and relegates the PC Engine version of Ys IV (Dawn of Ys) to an alternate continuity. Mask of the Sun was retconned into canon discontinuity after Memories of Celceta was released, as it was not outsourced like the previous two Ys IVs and the plot and gameplay are thus be 100% Falcom this time. Oath in Felghana also supersedes all previous versions of Ys III.
- Canon Immigrant: Several characters and locations hinted at in manuals or introduced in the OVA made their way into the games proper with the release of Ys Eternal.
- Cap: With the exception of the Turbo-Grafx 16 version, which has a cap of 55 in both Ys I and II with the endgame level of I carrying over to II, Ys I typically has a very low level cap which you'll reach long before the final dungeon. That the enemies keep getting stronger while Adol doesn't aside from some new equipment is the main source of difficulty in the game's second half.
- Can't Drop the Hero: Played straight in Seven due to plot reasons, averted in Memories of Celceta.
- Chaste Hero: Adol. One can even say Adol is a Celibate Hero since his job description says "After saving beautiful women and making them swoon all over for you, leave for another adventure."
- The TG-16 version of Ys II may be the only game in the series where he goes so far as to kiss one of the girls.
- Chekhov's Gun: The broken sword in Ys Origin.
- Check Point Starvation: In the Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Ys V, you have to fight three very tough bosses, with no save points in between. Unlike previous games where you could save anywhere, this one only allows you to save at inns in town.
- Chessmaster: Garland in Oath. Also Cain Fact in Origin
- Chick Magnet: Adol. Hugo too, to an extent.
- The Chosen One: Adol is a rare combination of this and The Unchosen One. In most cases The Chosen One becomes Badass because they were chosen. Adol, by contrast, didn't even Jump At The Call: he set out looking for calls. In the OVA of Ys 1, it turns out he has the same name as the prophesized hero, but this is Lampshaded when the seer's superior reminds her that Adol Christin is a common name and the last one that came to town was a little girl. It turns out that the prophecy is in fact talking about him, but instead of him becoming a hero because he was chosen by the prophecy, it just correctly predicted that he'd show up and save the place. Adol's reputation begins preceeding him as early as the first game. It's generally because of who he is and what he's done that he's given any powers or ancient artifacts that he doesn't get himself: if you need a hero to save your land, it's only sensible to choose someone with job experience. In the sixth game, the daughter of Alma running the trials is not impressed with this random man who just showed up out of nowhere, but after he begins passing them, she asks around about who this 'Adol Christin' guy thinks he is. She gets much more impressed and respectful after that.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Felghana's monotheistic religion, which as pointed out below is centered around a benevolent deity referred to as God rather than a Crystal Dragon Jesus, seems very much like the Ys world's equivalent of Catholicism, since it has priests, nuns, bishops, etc.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Adol. An interesting case where the Chronic Hero Syndrome isn't because he can't say no when someone's in trouble and keeps running into problems, but a deliberate lifestyle choice by a character who set out to look for problems and people in need of saving. He's far less hapless than most examples of the trope.
- Climax Boss: Vagullion in I, Zava in II, Gildias in III, Chester in Oath, Gadis in Dawn, Eldeel in Memories of Celceta, Dorman in V, Orjugan in The Ark of Napishtim.
- Clipped Wing Angel: Arem's final Blob Monster form in The Dawn of Ys ("mind-numbingly easy" according to a GameFAQs walkthrough).
- Collision Damage: Played straight and inverted in the earlier games — Adol gets hurt when enemies hit him and enemies get hurt when Adol runs into them.
- Colon Cancer: The first two games are titled Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen and Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter, at least in the English translation of the recent PSP versions.
- Continuity Snarl: Ys IV. Even putting the (now resolved) two version problem aside, if Memories of Celceta also takes place before Oath in Felghana, Adol should have very specific notes on how to kill a Galbalan by the time he reaches Felghana, not to mention a special anti-Galabalan sword...
- Critical Existence Failure: Enemies explode into Ludicrous Gibs when killed in the 3D games and Eternal remakes. Not Adol, though. Although enemies can "critical attack" you on Nightmare difficulty, possibly delivering a One-Hit Kill.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Subverted with the religion practiced in Felghana (and implied to be so elsewhere with the explicit mention of a Felghana diocese), as it is a monotheistic religion centered around a benevolent deity explicitly referred to as God.
- Cut Song: Quite a few songs in the first game were unused, including the Theme of Adol. Future ports and remakes use most of them.
- Dating Catwoman: Epona and Hugo's relationship in the nutshell in Origin.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hugo Fact in Origin tends to be one when talking to his enemies.
- Deal with the Devil: The closest we get is Hugo Fact accepting demonic essence from Dalles... and going mad.
- Death Ray: Orjugan and Napishtim's second form in Ys VI and Gadis in Ys: Memories of Celceta use this type of attack.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Adol's rival in The Ark of Napishtim and SEVEN, Geis, joins the party in the latter after losing a duel. Of course, in this case it's more like "defeat means becoming willing to provide assistance defeating a common enemy" since Geis was never terribly fond of Adol.
- Determinator: Nothing can stop Adol from uncovering mysteries behind ancient ruins and destroying whatever abominations that were sealed in there.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Twice in Origin. Roy, in Yunica's route, and Epona, in Hugo's route.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Normally this is inverted, as in most games the female lead doesn't get the guy (As Adol leaves on another adventure). But it is played straight in Origin, where in Hugo's route, he fails to get Epona, and in Toal's route, he fails to get Reah. In both cases, it's because the girl isn't available for romance by the end of the game. This also arguably applies with Adol and Feena in Ys II.
- Disappears into Light: "Dularn" and Garland in Oath in Felghana, Ernst after his defeat in The Ark of Napishtim, Tialuna and the Five Dragons at the end of SEVEN, and Gruder after his final defeat in Memories of Celceta.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: The Abandoned Mine in I, after which is the Point of No Return and the Evil Tower of Ominousness that takes up the entire second half of the game. Also, the Moat of Burnedbless in II, the Elderm Mountains in III (last Fetch Quest item), and the Xandria underground in V, where you fight the Climax Boss, the One-Winged Angel of The Dragon Dorman, and Ruins Island in SEVEN.
- Distressed Damsel: Multiple cases, but the worst offender has to be Elena in Oath, whom you have to rescue at LEAST three times.
- Adol himself qualifies, getting captured or trapped and requiring Dogi to break him out of jail/a cave-in at least once per game.
- Reah and Feena each have to be rescued once in I, II, and Origin (In each path).
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The English-language intro to Ark of Napishtim. "I'm Dogi, the Wallcrusher. Wanna get your walls crushed?"
- Doomed by Canon: Toal's plan to keep the goddesses from needed to seal the Black Pearl by destroying it himself. In fact, this applies to all three routes of Origin, because the demons aren't defeated permanently until Adol arrives 700 years later.
- The Dragon: Dalles to Darm in Ys II, Garland to Galbalan in Ys III/Oath (and in Oath, Dularn explicitly serves as this to Garland), Eldeel to Arrem in The Dawn of Ys, Gruder to Eldeel in Mask of the Sun, Dorman and Rije to Jabir in V, Admiral Agares to Ernst in VI, Scias to Tialuna in SEVEN.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Gruder in all versions of Ys IV, who was simply manipulating Eldeel in order to attain the ancient power.
- The Drifter: Adol defines this trope.
- Drop the Hammer: Calilica in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Dual Wielding: In his second boss fight in Oath, Chester fights with both his original sword and the Brave Sword.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Somewhat subverted since Adol becomes more popular as he goes through many adventures. However, that still doesn't stop lazy townspeople from asking him to do some menial tasks.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Adol for every single female in the series. As with so many common series tropes, Ys SEVEN has a lot of fun with this one.
- Easter Egg: Ys I and II Eternal were loaded with these, ranging from a developer's room to fun but pointless tricks with various items to a cutscene that lets you check out Feena's measurements (If you must know, 158-84-56-85, which translates to 5'2", B33" W22" H33.5"). Most of these were removed from the DS games that were combined and then released overseas as Legacy of Ys. They were restored for Falcom's own handheld version, Ys I-II Chronicles for the PSP.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Starting a game on the very easy difficulty of the North American and European version of the Windows version of Ys: The Oath in Felghana unlocks the achievement "More Like Adol the Yellow."
- Easter Egg: In Ys: Memories of Celceta, Misshy from the Kiseki series appears in various places.
- Elemental Powers: Generally ignored until Ys VI, even though several games possessed weapons that look elemental. SEVEN and Memories of Celceta s have taken this trope even further with each playable character having his or her own element.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The harder difficulties of The Ark of Napishtim feature color-coded enemies, which can only be damaged with the same color sword, as well as the occasional black ones that are Invincible Minor Minions.
- In Ys SEVEN and Ys: Memories of Celceta, you have blunt, slashing, and piercing weapon types. Some enemies are vulnerable to one while resistant to others.
- The Empire: The Romun Empire, which resembles the ancient Roman Empire.
- Empty Room Psych: Quite a few areas exist purely to show off the pretty graphics and make players wonder what they're missing. Subverted with the empty room at the bottom of the mines in Ys I. It's just an empty room at first, then in Ys II when the titular land is restored to its place it becomes the doorway to the Core.
- Also, some of the dead ends in the mines in I and II make more sense once you realize that you're looking at two halves of what used to be one structure. In fact, both mines are named Rastin/Rasteenie.
- Escort Mission: Happens at least once in every game except Ys V. Thankfully, most of them aren't that bad for the simple reason that the escortee will usually stick close to Adol.
- Everything Trying to Kill You
- Everything Fades: Even main characters' bodies fade or blink out of existence upon death. A notable example is Ernst in The Ark of Napishtim, where his body seems to vaporize or sublimate.
- Evil All Along: Sister Nell and Bishop Nikolas in Ys: Oath in Felghana.
- Evil Counterpart: Gruder to Adol in Dawn of Ys. They are both fearsome swordsmen with mastery of magic.
- Evil Sorceror: Dark Fact in Ys I, Dalles and Zava in Ys II and Ys Origins, Dularn AKA Sister Nell in Ys: Oath in Felghana, and Kain Fact / Darm in Ys Origins. Bammy in all versions of Ys IV.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Darm Tower and The Ark of Napishtim.
- Fallen Angel: Eldeel in Dawn of Ys and Mask of the Sun.
- Fallen Hero: Toal in Origin, it turns out he's not.
- Feelies: Atlus released a soundtrack CD with the DS compilation of the first two games and XSEED Games released soundtrack CDs and various other items (such as a cloth map of part of the series's world) with the premium editions of SEVEN and The Oath in Felghana and the initial release of I & II Chronicles.
- Fight In The Nude: Played entirely straight in I-V where your appearance does not change based on equipment. Partially averted in VI where your weapon changes (and completely averted in the PS2 port where everything changes). Oath has your appearance change whenever you have a full set of matching equipment and only a full set. Appearance in SEVEN only changes based on weapon and shield. Yunica's model in Origin changes slightly when she changes between using her axe and her sword, but strangely Toal's model does not change when he regains his sword before the final battle.
- Five-Bad Band:
- The Dawn of Ys:
- Ys V:
- Ys Origin:
- Ys: Memories of Celceta:
- Fire Wind Lightning: The Emelas swords in VI.
- Five-Man Band:
- Adol and his party in Ys: Memories of Celceta
- Floating Continent: The eponymous Ys.
- Forced Level Grinding: In earlier games, this is pretty much required if you want to be able to hurt a boss even slightly. Fortunately, reaching the level caps in earlier games is easier than in later ones (in the more recent remakes of the first one, the level cap is just 10, though the TurboGrafx CD version goes higher than this).
- Foregone Victory: Hugo's second fight with the Mantid. Hugo gets a big power boost and the Mantid loses its regeneration. If you somehow manage to lose, you get a trophy.
- Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Adol tends to be this during boss fights in Oath in Felghana, being taken down by the bosses in 10 hits at most (as opposed to the 30 at least needed for some bosses).
- Funny Animal: Roos.
- Gaia's Vengeance, Diabolus Ex Machina: The Ark summons a tidal wave to wipe out Eresia, this is shortly after countered by a Deus ex Machina.
- Genre Blind: Adol.
- Genre Savvy: By the time of SEVEN, Dogi is getting this way and occasionally hangs a lampshade on some of the slightly predictable things that happen to he and Adol. He also has some moments like this in Oath in Felghana, especially when discussing Elena.
:I wonder if maybe... hmmm, she does have that "childhood friend" thing goin' on... aww, but who am I kidding, she'll go for you if anyone
- Chester in III. He knows that Evil Is Not a Toy, but helps Count McGuire revive Sealed Evil in a Can Galbalan he knows what happens to people that revive ancient demons and wants revenge on McGuire for destroying Chester's village.
- Not so much since Chester is not aware that 1. Galbalan isn't actually dead and 2. he's manipulated into breaking the seal by the real mastermind.
- Get on the Boat: Odd usage: all of Adol's adventures start with him getting on a boat... but gameplay doesn't start until the boat sinks, leaving him stranded at the site of his current adventure. Adol has never set foot on a boat that has not later sunk.
- Subverted in Ark of Napishitim where the boat does not sink but Adol is knocked overboard.
- Subverted in Ys SEVEN where the boat ACTUALLY makes it to the harbor. Dogi was so surprised by this he actually pointed it out, saying "I'm surprised we made it, considering your luck with boats."
- The boat also makes it intact in IV and V.
- Also, in III/Oath, the boat (raft, more like) Dogi and Adol arrive in Felghana with is not only untouched, but is also used later (twice!) and it survives both uses.
- Subverted in Ys: Memories of Celceta where Adol already arrived safely in Celceta some time before the game but he lost his memories by the beginning of the game under mysterious circumstances. Finding out what he did in Celceta before he lost his memories is an important part of the storyline.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Lots of the bosses have no connection with the storyline, although they may guard a Plot Coupon, eg many of the bosses in Wanderers/Oath, or fit with the dungeon theme, such as the Ice Golem in Mask of the Sun. One of the most out-of-place bosses is that one centaur boss you fight on Minea Plains in Mask. Also, in Ys SEVEN, Rul-Ende, the root of all existence in Altago which appears right after the battle with Tia with no explanation beforehand.
- Girl of the Week: Ys heroines are known as "the Bond Girls of videogaming" for a reason: Adol seems to end up with at least one love interest per game. Lilia is the most "solid" love interest Adol's ever had but even she's been AWOL for three games now. Elena is (very arguably) the most popular one with the fans. And, as per its wont, Ys SEVEN really fucks with the player's expectations (and head) concerning this, especially at the end.
- A God Am I: Name any major villain.
- In general, the Eldeen attitude towards to humanity, though there are benevolent ones like Alma and Feena and Reah.
- God Is Good: Felghana's monotheistic religion worships him and he does not turn out to be evil as with too many other JRPGs to count.
- Golden Ending: XSEED Games refers to Toal's ending in Origin as the true ending. It's easy to see why, because at the end Toal witnesses his father Cain fusing with the Black Pearl and becoming the Demonic Darm, whose body is destroyed and reduced to the the Black Pearl, with Cain still in it. The Goddesses seal the pearl and Darm away. In addition, at the very end it says "To be continued in ''Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen," the first game.
- Götterdämmerung: Adol's gotten involved in this several times now.
- Guide Dang It: Many examples:
- To give one, the Gold Tabulas in The Ark of Napishtim (and by extension the Winged God Emblem) is definitely one of these. Various third-party titles like Taito's port of IV also have loads of these. The Korean Ys II Special is an entire game of Guide Dang It moments.
- The Black Tabulas is worse, you have to use a certain item that allows you to see invisible platforms, with no hint that it does so, and you don't obtain it until after completing the dungeon that contains said tabulas.
- There's a tree in Minea Field that does nothing the first time you see it. You have to return to the tree once you obtain the Roda Tree Seed to get the Silver Sword. Even worse, in Eternal, you have to eat the seed to be able to talk to the tree.
- Both puzzles involving the Evil Bell, to some degree.
- The puzzle to regain your form after your Involuntary Transformation by Dalles is more of a Moon Logic Puzzle in the Turbografx CD version, but you get almost no hints about it in Eternal.
- Goban tells you that the Mask of Eyes allows you to see hidden passages, and in the Turbografx CD version there's the hints of "I saw that blue statue's eyes glow" and the outline of a doorway, but in other versions, there's nothing remotely hinting at the hidden doorway in the shrine basement.
- Many achievements in the Steam version:
- Hey Baby, What's Your Width?, I Can't See You, But I Can Feel You and Police Are On Their Way: During both games' Escort Mission, there is a single narrow passage which you must push your escorted character into. This will trigger some dialogue and give you the achievement (I Can't See You also requires you to be wearing the Mask Of Eyes while doing so).
- No Reservations: In Ys II, there are four NPCs who will give you food if you give them enough gifts. Some are somewhat hinted at because they raise meat animals, but one of them runs an armor and weapon shop and is never hinted to give you anything.
- Bill the Duck: You must give gifts to an NPC (once again, there is absolutely no hints as to which NPC this is) until he tells you that sometimes the ducks eat gold coins. Now you can examine the ducks outside and one of them will give you gold and the achievement.
- Where's Aldow: You must use the Alter spell and return to the first dungeon, in the area where you found the Evil Bell. One monster will give you the achievement if you talk to him.
- Hair Colors: Every color has representation somewhere in the franchise. Several characters even rotate through the rainbow in different installments: Lilia's hair is red in most older games, dark brown in the OVA and light brown in newer games. Karna goes all the way from dirty blonde to black depending on which version of the story you're looking at.
- Healing Checkpoint
- The Heavy: Bishop Nicholas Garland in The Oath in Felghana and Gruder in Dawn of Ys.
- Heroic Mime: Adol.
- Averted in Wanderers and Mask of the Sun.
- Subverted in The Ark of Napishtim, Complete/Chronicles, Oath and SEVEN, where his words are described from a third-person point of view (i.e. "Adol tells so-and-so about so-and-so")
- Also subverted once in II, where he tries to tell the refugees that he Was Once a Man, as well as the opening cinematic when he speaks to Lilia (though she's voiced; his responses are subtitled text).
- And once in I, when he meets Feena for the first time.
- Heroic BSOD: Yunica enters one after failing to prevent Feena from getting captured.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Chester in Wanderers and Oath.
- In Yunica's arc in Origin, Roy does one to save the former from a trap set up by Zava.
- A sizable part of Toal's arc in Origin is Toal and Reah each trying to make one on behalf of the other. Reah succeeds.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Adol and Dogi, of course.
- His Name Really Is Barkeep: No, Dark Fact isn't just an intimidating title. His first name is literally Dark.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first and third phases of the Final Boss in Mask of the Sun. After dodging Eldeel's lightning attacks for a minute, Adol will solve the Moon Logic Puzzle and figure that you have to use the MacGuffin necklace on him, and during the third phase, after again dodging him for a while, the Disciples will destroy his armor with a group attack.
- A more literal example: the battle with the possessed Keith Fact atop Darm Tower in Dawn of Ys. Failure Is the Only Option here.
- The first fight with Garland in Oath. It is literally impossible to break his defensive barrier without the game's Sword of Plot Advancement, which you don't get until after the fight.
- The mid-level boss fights of Guilty Fire level of Origin for Yunica and Hugo's route's are intended to be unbeatable. You can beat them if you level up enough, but all you get out of it is an achievement slightly different scene after the battle (Which has the same net effect on the plot).
- 100% Heroism Rating: In Ys II Eternal/Complete, Adol could give gifts to every villager he meets. While this has little impact on the gameplay, there are some perks as few villagers can give good healing items or interesting information when Adol maxes out their likeness. In Ys: Memories of Celceta, Adol can give gifts to animals and perform quests for villagers. You get achievements for makign all animals like Adol and finishing all quests for villagers.
- I Am Who?: Feena and Reah.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to Dalles at the end of Toal's story in Ys Origin by Cain Fact.
- Done to Eldeel by Gruder in Dawn of Ys.
- Impossible Item Drop / Money Spider: Played straight in all games but V. Dead enemies drop money and occasionally things like Emel and Raval. Enemies in Oath and Origin also drop instant-use healing items and temporary stat boosts and enemies in SEVEN drop synthesis items. In V, the enemies don't drop money, instead they drop gems that you exchange for cash. Don't ask why the literal spiders are carrying around topaz though.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Hugo's main issue with Toal in Ys Origin. In Toal's route, it turns out that Toal was aware of Hugo's talent in magic and turned down the position of the heir of the Fact family so Hugo, who is more talented, can become the heir.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Flame Sword in Ys I and Leo's Sword in Dawn of Ys. Both are the strongest weapons in the game, both are entirely optional (Leo's Sword requiring a bit of lateral thinking to acquire) and attempting to use either against the final boss will result in you seeing the Game Over screen. As a bonus, these games also include Infinity Plus One Armor and Shields which are equally worthless against the Big Bad.
- The Violent Light Sword and armor in Mask of the Sun, again useless against the Big Bad Eldeel.
- Infinity–1 Sword: The Silver Sword/Armor/Shield in Ys I. You can get all of them by around the halfway point of the game, and even scratching Dark Fact requires you to equip the full set.
- Instant Runes: Falcom really, really loves their insanely high detailed magic circles, runes, pentagrams etc. whenever someone casts a spell. Just take a look at Origins, the last level is basically Scenery Porn made of magic circles.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Alternative Saga crosses over Ys with Sora no Kiseki using SEVEN's engine and includes support characters from Gurumin, Zwei, Brandish, Legend of Heroes III and Zero no Kiseki.
- Item Crafting: You can boost the power of your swords in VI and all your equipment in Oath by gathering enough Emel or Raval. SEVEN also allows you to create certain equipment and items by gathering the right synthesis materials. Origin has weapons getting enhanced with Cleria, and armor getting blessed with Spiritual Power.
- Invincible Minor Minion: Black enemies in VI on Nightmare, which are usually Goddamned Bats (one of the Mini Bosses is guarded by these), and the Goddamned Bats in the cave, until you get the Bell.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: Darm Tower in I, Dawn and Origin.
- I've Come Too Far: Chester's motivation for not turning back, just before he stabs Dogi.
- I Want to Be a Real Man: Dogi's motivation for leaving Felghana and setting out for adventure.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Notably averted. Adol's swords based on real-world weapons have taken inspiration from Europe, Africa, India and Persia but never Japan. Scias in SEVEN is the first character in the series to have something recognizable as a katana.
- The TurboGrafx-16 version of Ys called the Talwarl the Katana.
- Killed Off for Real: Sara in most versions of the story, including the one Falcom considers canonical.
- Killer Rabbit: The Black Pikkard in Oath in Felghana, which can only be fought after beating the game on Inferno.
- Knight Errant: Adol, who is Walking the Earth looking for people in need of saving. He's good at both.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Adol.
- Large Ham: Nikolas Garland in Oath.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Adol suffers this in Ys: Memories of Celceta. More specifically, this is what happens to the outsiders who come into the village of Highland for knowledge and get out. Namely, they forget about the existence of Eldeel and the village of Highland but retain the knowledge they received from Eldeel. This is done to ensure that people do not come back for more knowledge and end up changing the future recorded in the Akashic Records too much.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If you talk to him after killing the first boss & saving Feena in the first game, Slaff will wonder if they're all in some fantasy land built for someone's amusement.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Adol qualifies. He will charge blindly head-on no matter how dangerous the place is.
- Leitmotif: "Theme of Adol" (used in pretty much every game except VI and Origin, sometimes in Musical Pastiche form), "Feena", "Lilia", "Termination" (Darm), "Karna", "The Clan of Darkness", "Leeza", Eldeel's theme ("Eldeel" and "A Kiss from Eldeel"), "Niena", "Theme of Lovers" (Stoker's theme in V), "Theme of Kefin", "Turning Death Spiral" (the Quirky Miniboss Squad Boss Battle theme in V), Olha's theme, "The Successor of Almarion"(Ernst's theme), Napishtim's theme (heard in Revival of The Great Ark, Defend and Escape, The Depth Napishtim, Collapse of the Ark, and Zeme's Protection), etc.
- Lethal Lava Land: The Moat of Burnedbless in II, the Fire Mountain in Mask or Nergal in Dawn, the Zone of Lava below Illburns Ruins in III, parts of the Ruins of Amnesia in VI... played only for visual effect until Oath and VI respectively made the last two straight examples.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: According to Ys Eternal's loading screen and the opening movie of Ys II Eternal, the games are actually 'novels' translated from Adol's own journals. This serves as a nice handwave for things like the blatant differences between Mask of the Sun and Dawn of Ys. This conceit was carried forward into Oath in Felghana, though oddly enough not into Ys SEVEN. Memories of Celceta picks it up again, particularly in the companion "journal" that comes in the limited edition.
- Little Bit Beastly: The Rehda in Ark of Napishitim.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: The PSP port of VI is an exercise in patience due to its load times: 5-10 seconds for every screen (this gets especially annoying when trying to do jumping puzzles).
- Long Song, Short Scene: The song "The Boy Who Had Wings" is only played at the entrances of dungeons in Ys III. "Prelude to Adventure" plays on the world map. And "Theme of Chester" only plays in the last corridor of the Ilvern Ruins, and only in certain versions. The wasted song status of the three is inverted in the remake, The Oath in Felghana, which gave "The Boy Who Had Wings" more respect by making it the main overworld theme, but "Prelude to Adventure" can only be heard by stepping outside of town before it's time to set out for the first dungeon (which is after introducing oneself to the villagers), after which "The Boy Who Had Wings" plays there instead, and "Theme of Chester" is actually used as Chester's leitmotif.
- Origin has a jazzy remix of the song "Tension" that played in the upper parts of Darm Tower in the first game. As opposed to how the original game used it instead of "Tower of the Shadow of Death" further up the tower (thus giving it plenty of usage), Origin has its version used for a single boss fight.
- Lost Forever: The Starlight Medal in VI will be lost if you don't grab it on your one chance to infiltrate the Romun fleet. Similarly, you have a limited timeframe to accept the sidequest leading to the Augite Brooch in Oath.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Ever since Ys Eternal, mook monsters have had a tendency to explode into these; bosses can vary. They are particularly spectacular in Ys I&II Chronicles. Mercifully, this does not apply to our heroes being on the receiving end of a beatdown.
- Magic Knight: Adol, Chester, and Gruder.
- The Magic Goes Away: Happens at the end of many installments due to Adol's defeating Sealed Evil in a Can.
- Ys II: The destruction of the Black Pearl leads to the magic disappearing from Ys with the floating continent's coming back down.
- Ys IV: The death of Eldeel, the last of the Eldeen civilization, and the destruction of the mask of the sun result in the complete end of the Eldeen civilization.
- Ys V: The defeat of Jabir and the destruction of the philosopher's stone cause the end of the mythical kingdom of Kefin and its alcehmy.
- MacGuffin: Emelas.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Happens in Oath. See the Unwitting Pawn entry below.
- Made of Iron: Adol. When you survive getting shipwrecked and thrown off the cliff several times, you deserve the title.
- Magitek: It's heavily implied that the Eldeen civilization was based on this. It's never outright stated, but dungeons strongly associated with them tend to look suspiciously high-tech, sometimes going so far as to include apparently-robotic enemies. The final boss of Ark of Napishtim is basically a magical weather-control supercomputer.
- The Man Behind the Man: Darm behind Dark Fact.
- Also Cain Fact behind Dalles in Origin. Which makes Cain/Darm the man behind TWO men.
- Garland behind Chester and McGuire in Oath.
- Jabir behind the entire kingdom of Kefin in Ys V.
- Manipulative Bastard: Garland in Oath. In both versions of Ys IV, Gruder who is mainly responsible for Eldeel's fall to evil.
- Marathon Boss: The final bosses of I(excluding the PC Engine version), II, Dawn of Ys, Oath, and V.
- Marathon Level: Darm Tower in I is so massive it almost comprises half the game.
- Market-Based Title: The sixth main game's number was removed outside of Japan to avoid confusion due to a lack of an official translation for IV and V.
- Master Swordsman: Chester in Ys: The Oath in Felghana. Adol himself counts as well.
- The Maze: The warp mirror mazes in Darm Tower (the second one of which is full of Demonic Spiders), and in Iris Tower in Mask of the Sun.
- Mercy Kill: In Taito's port of Ys IV people transformed into monsters by Bammy can't be saved, they can only be killed, briefly returning them to human form before they die. Karna was angry with Adol for killing Lemnos until she saw another victim thank Adol for freeing him and allowing him to die as a man, after which she apologized.
- Missing Secret: Generally averted as there's one item or piece of equipment to fill every inventory spot so if you've missed something, you'll know. Played straight in Mask of the Sun where there are more inventory slots than items. Dawn of Ys looks like it has this but there are some rare items and post-game bonuses that fill the gaps.
- Toyed with as a bug in the Korean Ys II Special. After beating the first boss, you will lose any sword in your inventory. There's a second sword you can gain before the boss, not picking it up right away gets you a better weapon later but the inventory system is balanced on the assumption that you grabbed it earlier and lost it forever along with the first sword.
- Also in Interchannel's port of Ys I (aka Legacy of Ys), where they added a new sword, shield and armor but forgot to add a new ring, leaving your inventory permanently unbalanced and leading new players to wonder where the non-existent sixth ring was.
- Money for Nothing: Ys I has this in two forms. First, most items that you can buy can also be found for free. The only things the game requires you to purchase are one armor and one shield of any kind so Sara will talk to you and give you the Coupon of Plot Advancement. Also, once you enter Darm Tower you will still receive money for killing enemies even though there is absolutely nothing you can do with it.
- Money Spider: Golden Pickard in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Mook Maker: Several of the bosses, including Zomplus, Orjugan, and Napishtim (second form) in VI, and Druegar in Ys II Eternal, do this.
- Mysterious Waif: Feena, Reah and Niena.
- Myth Arc: I, II and IV originally. VI continued the arc and it plus Oath in Felghana serve to tie III in as well, leaving V and VII the only unconnected ones (save for the fact that V introduced recurring character Terra).
- Name of Cain: Needless to say he is evil.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dark Fact. You know a guy's bad news when his first name is Dark.
- New Game+: Dawn of Ys gives you the option of starting a new game Silver and Gold Rings after beating the game. These let you earn double EXP and Gold respectively. The PSP port of Oath lets you choose from a series of bonus options including starting your next game with free gold and Raval, being able to upgrade equipment to higher levels or beginning with certain abilities already learned.
- Obviously Evil: Most villains. SEVEN proceeds to have a lot of fun with this.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Used during the "Revival of the Ark" cutscene in Ys VI.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Galbalan in Oath and Arem in Dawn of Ys. They both declare that they will destroy everything before engaging Adol in the Final Boss battle.
- One-Man Army: Adol. Toal in Ys Origin counts as well considering he, along with Saul Tovah, fought against the entire army of demons in order to earn time for the palace of Ys to float.
- One-Winged Angel: Garland in Oath, Gadis and Arem in Dawn, Gruder in Mask, Dorman and Jabir in Ys V, Ernst in Ys VI, Dalles and Cain Fact in Ys Origin. Gruder in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Our Angels Are Different: The Eldeen.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons in this world are artificial creations by humans who tried to make Emelas but failed. However, this is recently subverted in Ys SEVEN where the five dragons of Altago, which are worshipped as gods, have no connection to the Emelas and the Eldeen civilization.
- Pædo Hunt: The achievement "Police Are On Their Way" from the Steam version of Ys II implies this. The icon shows Tarf, some hearts, and a black box with the words "NO. I REFUSE TO DRAW THIS" written on it.
- Pet the Dog: In Ys: Oath in Felghana, Count McGuire may appear as a typical evil aristocrat in most scenes, but he genuinely cares about his family.
- Physical God: The Eldeen race. They are even worshipped as gods by humans and the Rheda. However, subverted with Felghana's religion, which worships God and seems to be the Ys world's equivalent of the Roman Catholic Church, and anyone familiar with the main religions in real life worshiping him know that he isn't a Physical God.
- Pirate Girl: Terra
- Point of No Return: Darm Tower in I (with another one after defeating Dark Fact in the Turbo-Grafx 16 version that ends up with Adol in Ys and no way to get back to Darm Tower, as that game mergies I and II into one game), Kefin and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in V (at least you can't save after the second one), and the Ark in The Ark of Napishtim. At least in the first and last examples they warn you beforehand (and in I, it's impossible to be underleveled or underequipped). Averted in Mask of the Sun where you can still use the Wing to warp out of the Golden Temple.
- In some cases, a certain location will be rendered inaccessable after the completion of a quest objective, causing any missed objects there to be Lost Forever, for example, the Flame Cave in Mask Of The Sun (destroyed by the raising of the ancient city), and the town of Felt in V (buried by a sandstorm after the return of Kefin).
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: In Ys V, the philosopher's stone that powers the kingdom of Kefin requires human sacrifices.
- Power Glows In Dawn of Ys, your Cleria equipment gets enhanced into the Eldoran equipment, causing it to glow gold.
- In Ys Eternal, chests containing Silver items had a distinct blue glow around them.
- Purple Eyes: Extremely prominent on the new designs for the Stoddart siblings introduced in Oath in Felghana.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Kishgal and Epona in Origin, Gadis, Bammy, Gruder, and Eldeel in IV, Karion, Abis, and Baruk in V.
- Rain of Arrows: Aisha and Sigroon have a skill that does this.
- Really 700 Years Old: Feena and Reah are at least 700, given that they are the Goddesses of Ys, which fell 700 years before the start of the first game.
- Real Time Weapon Change: In VI you can rotate through your Emelas swords during combat. Oath and Origin allow you to do the same thing with your magic-granting items.
- Rebellious Princess: Aisha.
- Recurring Riff: Recurring (non-leitmotif) themes include the treasure box and game over jingles, "Termination" (reused in the recap of the Darm battle during the intro of The Dawn of Ys), "Beat of the Terror" (remixed as Overwater Drive in Ys 6), "Tower of the Shadow of Death" (returns in Dawn and Origin), "Battle Ground"(redone in Over Drive, Sanctuary, and Armored Bane), "The Dawn of Ys" (remixed as Temple of the Sun later in the game), and "Memories of Celceta" (Sort of the main theme of Ys IV).
- "Ernst", in addition to using the beat of "Final Battle", is also a Suspiciously Similar Song to the tune of "Moon Over the Castle", the theme of the Japanese versions of the Gran Turismo series.
- The Boss Battle themes Holders of Power, Protectors, and Shock Of The Death God use a common riff during their "refrain" sections.
- Lava Field, Battle 58 and The Heat In The Blaze (main guitar riff).
- Redemption Rejection: In Oath, Dogi's speech to Chester about how empty and self-destructive his quest for revenge against McGuire is actually causes Chester to falter for a moment, but he ultimately decides to continue his plan because he feels he's too far into it to back out now.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Oath, Garland's eyes become noticeably redder after he reveals his True Colors. Sister Nell also has red eyes, though nothing seems to be particularly insidious about her until you learn that she's actually Dularn. In Origin, Toal and Hugo's eyes become red when they activate their demon seeds.
- Red-Headed Hero: Adol.
- Regenerating Mana: Some of the games have the Magic Meter refill in various ways. In some games, it refills automatically. In others, it refills when attacking enemies normally.
- Regional Bonus: When the Windows version of The Oath in Felghana was released internationally, it gained an achievement system and has Inferno difficulty unlockable without a patch. Since it's distributed through Steam, updates would also be easier and the game is downloaded after it's paid for instead of needing a disc.
- Retcon: Oath in Felghana made a few of these to tie the plot of III further into the rest of the series. Ys Origin made a few more.
- Retired Badass: Berhardt in Oath in Felghana.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The pikkards, which not only appear in every game, but also represent the series in Alternative Saga.
- The Rival: Chester, in Oath in Felghana only, as he's not a boss in the original Ys III; Geis in Ark of Napishtim and SEVEN. Geis joins Adol's party after losing a duel with him in his latter appearance.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Chester goes on this after learning the truth about the destruction of his village.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Ys is supposed to be an city swallowed by the ocean. It's the floating island in the game.
- There is a sunken city in The Ark of Napishtim, though, more based on Atlantis. Legend also tells of the "Atlas Continent".
- Samus is a Girl: Dularn is a girl.
- Scarf Of Ass Kicking: Adol dons one in Oath in Felghana, and in most games which take place canonically after Oath, he still has it. Chester's redesign for Oath also includes one so you know he means business.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Darm in Ys II, Galbalan in Ys III and Oath, Arem in Dawn, Jabir in Ys V, and the Ark of Napishitim in Ys VI.
- Sequence Breaking: In Ys Eternal (but not in later versions) it was possible to get the Silver Armor while you were still at Level 1 by entering the Mine, running away from everything and hoping you could get to the chest and back before something killed you. As the second best armor in the game, it made the beginning much easier. Later versions removed this by requiring the Treasure Box Key obtained in the Shrine Depths before you could open the chest.
- It's possible to do the same thing in VI (in fact, given the similarities it could be an intentional Shout-Out) by entering the Limewater Cave as soon as you reach Canaan Island. Provided you're good at running away, this lets you get the Galba Armor and Shield (second best in the game) much earlier than you're supposed to.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: In Ys II, you acquire a spell that allows you to become a demon and talk to other demons. Late in the game, you are cursed into a Palette Swaped version of this form and cannot change back until you find the items necessary to break the curse. You also lose the ability to talk to monsters and most NPCs
- She Is All Grown Up: Terra, who told Adol she'd do just this.
- Shoulders of Doom: Gadis, Bammy, and Gruder in Dawn of Ys all sport large shoulder pads.
- Shout-Out: An achievement in the Steam version of Ys II uses an icon graphic styled to look like an 8-bit era text box. The text within reads "Fortune smiles upon thee!".
- Hitting villagers with the fireball spell sometimes produces humorous commentary. One character will say "BARF". Another will say "Ouch! What do you do?"
- In the Ys I Chronicles version, using the Rod (for the Darm Tower mirrors) as an item will result in Adol attempting to short-circuit the rest of the game by chanting "Accio Books of Ys". It doesn't work.
- Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Feena is a major example.
- Shrouded in Myth: A thousand years after the events of Adol's life, stories of his exploits can be found throughout the entire world. Some branded him as a just and virtuous hero, and others as an agent of chaos and discord.
- Smug Snake: Again, most villains. Again, SEVEN has a lot of fun with this.
- Single Line of Descent: The ending of Ys II implies that the six people (Who are not Lilia and the Goddesses) who speak with Adol after Darm's defeat are the only people with the bloodline of the six Priests left after 700 years (Which would also imply that Jevah Tovah died shortly after Adol entered Darm Tower). Possibly justified by the fact that the demons were going out of their way to eliminate as many of the Priest's descendants that they could find.
- Small Annoying Creature: Nina, the synthetic fairy-type creature that hangs around Frida, in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Played straight with mooks, not necessarily true of bosses.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: For example, the "Valley of Quicksand" theme is a laid-back Latin style "beach" or "surf" tune, played while, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, you're in a harsh desert ridden with killer quicksand pits. And "Quatera Woods" sounds like the soundtrack for a peaceful walk in the park with your special someone, but the woods of Quatera are anything but a nature walk, with Everything Trying to Kill You, even squirrels. And one of the worst offenders is "Crimson Wings", the Ice Mountain theme, which sounds like elevator jazz/muzak in the Turbografx CD version, clashing with the song title as well, although in the SFC version, and on the Perfect Collection album, it's much more upbeat.
- "Defend and Escape" from The Ark of Napishtim, while musically a Tear Jerker, is played during a heated Escort Mission sequence.
- The song "Anxiety" is anything but anxious-sounding.
- "So Much For Today" from Ys I & II Chronicles is a cute, upbeat tune that plays when Adol is defeated.
- The Southpaw: Chester is left-handed.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Between fan translations, multiple official translations and Falcom's own official English names there are few characters or places that don't fit this trope. An example would be the name of the crater in Esteria where Ys used to be before it rose into the sky. In Atlus's translation, it has the vaguely French-sounding name Vageux-Vardette, but XSEED Games's translation gives it the more unusual-sounding name Bagyu Ba'dead. Also see "Blind Idiot" Translation above.
- The English TG-16 version, on the other hand, refers to the crater as "Clifton's Cliff".
- Ys III & Oath can be particularly bad about this, since each English version was produced independently of any other, with the Wanderers ones all being done simultaneously. The TG 16 version goes so far as to completely alter most of the place names and some of the characters; more generally, spelling disagree (like Dularn/Dulan/Duran, Valestein/Ballectine or Elena/Ellena).
- Standard Status Effects: Poison, Dazed, Heavy, etc. in Ys IV and later games.
- Storm of Blades: In Ys: The Oath in Felghana, Dularn's attacks consist of this and Beam Spam.
- Stripperific: Zalem, the weapon shopkeeper in Ys II Etneral. Epona's outfit in Origins. Olha and Crevia in the PS2 version of VI have hidden Stripperific moments. And Rose, the armor shopkeeper in The Ark of Napishtim. Ursa and Tia, after The Reveal in Ys SEVEN. Bammy in Ys: Memories of Celceta.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity Every time you see a Crystal in front of a Path in SEVEN you know a boss is coming up.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: If your last name is Fact, then you definitely have one. Eldeel in Ys: Memories of Celceta also has one.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Silver Sword in I requires a sidequest (Guide Dang It!) to obtain and the game won't let you into Darm Tower until you have it and the accompanying shield and armor. The Hero's Sword in Mask of the Sun and all three Emelas swords in VI perform a similar role in their stories.
- The Cleria equipment in Dawn of Ys also qualifies. It gets upgraded to the Eldoran equipment which you need to damage Arem despite it not being the strongest gear.
- The Emelas swords in VI are required not only to fight with and use magic but are the keys that open certain doors around the islands and are required to control the titular Ark.
- The Brave Sword in Felghana is the only weapon capable of harming The Dragon and Big Bad. Fortunately, it's impossible to miss.
- The Cleria Sword in Origin (Which the ending reveals to be the Silver Sword that appears in Ys I) is the only weapon that can defeat the final boss in Toal's route. Fortunately, it's given to you automatically right before that battle.
- Taken for Granite: Dalles does this in Ys II and its prequel Ys Origin.
- There Was a Door: Dogi the Wallcrusher, especially in Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys.
Kid: Look, it's unlocked. Why'd you break the wall, exactly?
Dogi: ...Sh...shut up! Kids should stay quiet!
- Token Mini-Moe: At least one in every game.
- Too Awesome to Use: The resurrection items, the Timestop magic, the sword magics in Mask of the Sun (except for the Hero's Sword).
- Took a Level in Badass: Chester takes a massive one in the transition from III to Oath, going from a story-only antagonist to That One Boss. Also, Elena, at least in secondary materials. She appears in promotional materials and in Alternative Saga with the Brave Sword and a knight's outfit not unlike her brother's. This leave a lot of people pining for What Could Have Been (and begging Falcom to explore the idea further in "Ys VIII" or something).
- Tragic Monster: Dark Fact in Ys I, who became a monster after his father's death at the hands of miners, and Keith Fact in Ys II, who became a monster after his sister died. This is explained in Origin where their ancestors Hugo Fact and Toal Fact are fused with demon seeds, thus showing the origin of "bad genes" in the family.
- True Final Boss: Cain Fact in Ys Origin, who only appears when you defeat Dalles as Toal, after unlocking Toal.
- Twenty Bear Asses: Some of the quests in Ys: Memories of Celceta require you to fetch a certain number of a particular type of item.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Sara and Goban Tovah share their ancestor Yunica's hair color (and Jeba presumably had the same hair color before her hair turned gray), and Dark Fact had the same color hair as Hugo Fact before he ended up becoming more demonic (as seen in the artwork of him on XSEED's site for Chronicles, in which he is fully human).
- The Unfought: Count McGuire in Oath isn't fought at all; after he is defeated, he just comes to term with what he was done and has a Heel-Face Turn. In Dawn of Ys, Eldeel who gets killed by Gruder right after he has unwittingly fulfilled his purpose in the clan of darkness's plan. Rije in Ys V.
- Unobtainium: Cleria in I, II, and IV, Raval in Oath in Felghana and Emel/Emelas in The Ark of Napishtim.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Painfully subverted in Origin. Toal's plan to destroy the Black Pearl will mean his certain death. Reah's plan to seal the Black Pearl will cause her and Feena to lose their powers and slumber for centuries. Partway through the game, Toal finds a third option that doesn't require one of them to make a Heroic Sacrifice for the sake of the other, but doesn't explains what it is. After the final battle, Reah implements her plan, with Toal lying wounded and exhausted from his battle with Darm/Cain Fact on the floor, begging her not to, leaving the third option forever unspoken and unexecuted.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: It is possible to reach the first Zone of Lava boss without finding the Firewyrm's Amulet. However you'll be unable to outlast the damage from the lava during the boss fight itself.
- Unwitting Pawn: In Ys III/Oath, Adol gathers all statues containing the essence of Galbalan. Of course, this ineviably leads to Adol's handing those statues over to villains, who then use them to unseal Galbalan. In Ys V, the crystals that Adol gathers throughout the game are pivotal to maintaining the seal on Kefin. He ends up giving them all to Dorman and Rieje due to Niena's being held hostage. Also, Eldeel in Dawn of Ys.
- The Vamp: Zava in Ys Origin and Bammy in both versions of Ys IV.
- Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Every Ys game has one of these except Origin, where the entire game is one of these.
- Video Game Remake: The first two games have been remade multiple times, and the third game was re-imagined as a top-down game as Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which was ported to the PSP finally got an official translation on that system after the PC version got the typical No Export for You treatment until its Steam release in 2012. (The PSP port of Ys I & II Eternal, Ys I & II Chronicles, were localized in 2011.)
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: In some games, Adol gains the ability to transform into a roo.
- Waif Prophet: Isha in VI, whose visions terrify her.
- Walking the Earth: Ys in general is kind of surprising about this. You'll do a lot of wandering around the various locales of the games, sure, but the actual distances tend to be moderately realistic and you never wander the whole planet in any game (because such journeys would take months). You never go from Altago to Romun and then take a brief jaunt to Kefin, for example; you're always limited to a geographical area that can realistically be traversed by foot. Most of the games start with Adol on a ship or other conveyance after a long voyage to his new destination, in fact. (Dogi likes to point out how this rarely ends well for either of them.)
- Wallet of Holding: Adol can carry gold and ores in the tens or hundreds of thousands of units. It gets lampshaded in Oath In Felghana, where people wonder where you managed to store the large amounts of Raval ore you give them (In one case the amount is explicitly mentioned as being more than is normally taken from the local mine in a month).
- Weak Sauce Weakness: The Infinity+1 Sword is often useless against the Big Bad, forcing you to switch to a certain lesser set of equipment.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: Should Feena die while being escorted in Eternal and all remakes therein? That's it, you're done, great job Adol, you just got a goddess killed, no way to win now.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Hugo Fact in Origin.
- Weather Control Machine: The Ark of Napishitim.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In Yunica and Hugo's routes in Origin, the ultimate fate of some characters is never mentioned (Toal and Epona in Yunica's, Kishgal in Hugo's).
- Raba's fate was left unaddressed for five games and sixteen years.
- Where The Hell Is Felghana: A bit odd in that we have a map of Felghana in-game... but it doesn't appear on various world maps that have been put out over the years. Given the various parallelisms with the real world in the Ys setting and a few sparse hints in Oath, the best guess most people have is that Felghana is meant to be an equivalent to Flanders or Switzerland (the former being properly placed near the sea and close to the real-life equivalent of Esteria, making the trip not too distant; the latter's Alps seems to have served as inspiration for the Elderm Mountains), and one point for Switzerland is the fact that it has a town named Rougemont, which Redmont is basically an Anglicized version of. Although it's ultimately still conjecture and nobody is exactly sure where one of the best-selling stories in the franchise actually takes place.
- Finally averted with the release of Ys Celceta, which puts Felghana in Northern Germany, around Rostock◊.
- Whip Sword: Karion in Ys V uses this.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Dalles from Ys Origin,. His hair color is slightly blue but he has the personality down pat. In Ys: Memories of Celceta, Eldeel and Gruder.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After the demonic essence Dalles gave to Hugo Fact is activated, he literally goes mad with power. The latter's speech becomes messed up too and is indicated in the English translation with unusual capitalization. Fortunately, it goes away after Epona snaps him out of it. Subverted with Toal, who despite having the demonic essence manages to hold onto his sanity through sheer willpower.
- With This Herring: Played straight in most games (it wasn't until VI that you actually started with anything) but averted in Dawn of Ys (you start with the Cleria equipment) and all the games since VI have given Adol a sword at the very least.
- To be fair, there's not much difference between starting with a sword/armor/shield and starting with the money to buy said sword/armor/shield. Although, one has to wonder, "just what happened to Adol's sword in Wanderers, the one he used to kill the beast in the prologue/cutscene with, if he shows up in Redmont with absolutely no equipment at all?"
- Winged Humanoid: Eldeen civilization.
- You Are Too Late: No matter how fast you climb the bell tower, it is impossible to reach the top of the bell tower before Dalles is ready to complete the sacrificial ritual. Maria still lives, but not due to any action on your part.
- In The Oath in Felghana, after handing over the statues to Chester, Adol sets off to Valestein Castle to recollect them. He does manage to find them, but not before Chester uses their powers to turn nearly everyone in the castle to mindless monsters and those powers are transferred completely to Galbalan.
- You Killed My Father: Unusually for this trope, Yunica didn't know about this until Kishgal told her that he had killed her father.
- You Shall Not Pass
- Zettai Ryouiki: Elena in her Bad Ass look for Alternative Saga.
- Reah's outfit in Origin is a high Grade B.