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Video Game / Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen

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Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, released on June 21, 1987, is the first installment of the Action RPG series Ys, developed and published by Falcom. The game follows Adol Christin, a 16-year old swordsman who seeks adventure, which takes him to the island of "Esteria" northwest of the continent of "Eresia". Upon arriving in the town of Minea, a fortune teller named Sara speaks of an ancient evil that sleeps in the island. Adol is informed that he must seek out the six "Books of Ys", a collection of tomes containing the history of the titular ancient land, while presenting him with clues on how to defeat these dark forces.

The game differentiates itself from other Eastern RPGs of the time by shying away from traditional Turn-Based Combat. Instead, it features a rock-paper-scissors style of fighting colloquially called the "Bump Attack" system where combat and its results happen automatically upon making contact with an enemy. To add an extra degree of strategy, Ys allows the player to manipulate the outcomes of each battle based on what direction they approach opponents in. To offset this, Adol has Regenerating Health that automatically activates between fights, a mechanic that would become a staple of the series and would see wider adoption throughout games in the 21st century.

Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen was originally released for the PC-8801. In the years since, it was ported to a number of other computers and home consoles: in order, it saw ports for the X1, PC98, FM-7, MSX2, Famicom, Sega Master System, MS-DOS, Apple IIgs, and Sharp X68000. While most of these versions were exclusive to Japan, the Master System, DOS, and IIgs ports did see release in North America, with the former also receiving a European release, all in 1989.

Ys received a Sequel called Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, which resolves the Cliffhanger ending of this game.

This game contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: Apart from the Turbo-Grafx adaptation (which fuses I and II into one game), the level cap for this game is 10. By the time the typical player enters Darm Tower (which is the second half of the game), they will have reached level 9 or above, even without putting much effort into grinding.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game hits a Cliffhanger after beating Dark Fact and reading the final Book of Ys, at best implying something would follow it up. Ys II kicks off right where this game left off.
  • Barrage of Bats: Vagullion is a large winged monster that is fought in the subterranean mines in Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen (and its remake). In both games, he can disperse himself as a swarm of bats that trails behind the player character.
  • Bowdlerise: The English Sega Master System version repositions the title on the title screen to obscure the nude goddess's body. Compare to the Japanese title screen.
  • Clean Dub Name:
    • In most English versions, Dalk Fukt has been changed to "Dark Fact". The exceptions are the Sega Master System version, which calls him "Dulk Dekt", and the MS-DOS version, which calls him "Malificus".
    • Adol himself got this treatment in the English Sega Master System version, in which he is called "Aron" instead, presumably because "Adol" is too close to "Adolf". The MS-DOS version follows suit, renaming him "Arick".
  • Cliffhanger: Bordering almost on No Ending were it not for defeating the Big Bad and an ending text crawl. Adol saved the day, he plans to tell Feena about his adventures as he looks upon Esteria from above, And the Adventure Continues. Lingering elements like the fates of the several characters in Darm Tower were completely unresolved in this game, never mind Dark Fact's motivations going unexplained.
  • Early-Bird Boss: Jenocres, the first boss in the game, is a teleporting wizard who uses mounted flamethrowers on the sides of the boss arena, is this in the Android, iOS, PlayStation Portable and Steam versions for players who are at level four or below. If players decide to Level Grind to level five and has bought mid-level equipment in the shops, the boss will fall after taking three hits. The primary reason most players for the Android and iOS versions do the grind is they can earn the "God Mode On" achievement, which require beating Jenocres without taking any damage whatsoever.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Adol's artwork in the PC-88 version's manual looks totally different from his usual appearance, being brown-haired and dressed in blue, among other things. All future artwork of Adol, starting with the manual for Ys II, use his more familiar appearance.
    • There's a very basic plot, a small handful of notable characters you go back to repeatedly, and Dogi is just some notable bandit stuck in the Darm Tower that crushes walls. You also have no magic or extra features beyond the Rings that can't be used in boss fights, leaving players with only the classic Bump Combat as their way of fighting. Even its own sequel would expand upon these things, and most subsequent games in the series would add new features or gimmicks on top of the series eventually hitting a ridiculous number of characters.
  • Fantastic Racism: Inverted by demons - they (with one notable exception, Keith Fact) do not hesitate to kill all humans, but most demons except for Dalles mistake Adol in roo form for a demon, talk to him, and will not attack him.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first game, the Abandoned Mine has a seemingly redundant room behind the boss chamber that you can't access, which turns out to be part of the Final Dungeon of the second game, after the eponymous Floating Continent returns to Earth.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The smartphone versions of Ys I shows you a couple of pictures that vaguely suggest that you must run into enemies' sides or back to land clean hits. There is nothing to let you know that you can also get clean hits by running into the sides of their fronts.
    • There are two puzzles in Ys I that are not solvable unless you Talk to Everyone, consult a walkthrough, or remember the solution from another game with the same puzzle.
      • One puzzle is how to get the silver sword. You need to find a roda seed and the silver harmonica in Rastin Mine. You would not know that you should eat the roda seed unless you talk to someone who states that it is a rare delicacy that everyone should try if they find one. Eating one grants you the ability to communicate with the roda trees. You also have to return the silver harmonica to Reah. She then plays a song that wakes the roda trees up. Otherwise, the trees will just mumble nonsense in their sleep if you approach them after eating the roda seed. Finally, you have to talk to the roda trees to get the silver sword.
      • Another puzzle is how to pass the Devil's Corridor: players wouldn't know how to solve this puzzle unless they've talked to Raba twice when he is trapped in the cell adjacent to the Devil's Corridor, recall a similar solution from Hugo Fact's route in Ys Origin (assuming players played Origin before Ys I) or consulted a walkthrough.
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: Averted with the bosses, who all adhere to the Hit Point cap of 255 and deal similar levels of damage as Adol. They make up for it by being designed so that Adol has fewer opportunities to damage them.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": No, Dark Fact isn't just an intimidating title. His first name is literally Dark.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Vagullion and Dark Fact have deceptively small hitboxes (centering on their feet) despite their large sprites.
  • Ignored Expert: According to the official World of Ys website, Dark Fact's parents opposed mining Cleria because of old teachings that warned against it. Sure enough, mining the Cleria weakened the seal on the Black Pearl, Darm, and the demons.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Flame Sword in Ys I is the strongest weapon in the game and is entirely optional, but attempting to use it against the Final Boss will result in you seeing the Game Over screen.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Silver Sword/Armor/Shield, which can be acquired by around the halfway point of the game, and even scratching Dark Fact requires you to equip the full set.
  • 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.
  • Money for Nothing: There are no shops in Darm Tower, making money useless for half the game.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dark Fact. You know a guy's bad news when his first name is Dark.
  • Point of No Return: The Darm Tower (with another one after defeating Dark Fact in the TurboGrafx-16 version that ends up with Adol in Ys and no way to get back to Darm Tower, as that game merges Ys I and Ys II into one game). It's impossible to be underleveled.
  • Red Herring: The Battle gear - sure it's better than the Silver gear, but why does the trap insist on stealing the latter from you? Because it's the only effective equipment against the Final Boss, that's why.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Ys is supposed to be a city swallowed by the ocean. It's a floating island in the game.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Sara is murdered off-screen, presumably by Dark Fact searching for her Book of Ys, right after the first dungeon.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Silver Sword requires a sidequest (see 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.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Dark Fact, who became a demon and the game's Big Bad after his father's death at the hands of miners. This is explained in Origin, which shows that his ancestor, Hugo Fact, is fused with demon seeds, thus showing the genesis of the "bad genes" in the family.
  • Tyop on the Cover: The English Sega Master System version's box misspells the game's title as "Y's", with an apostrophe, leading to it being widely mispronounced as "wise".
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: In the Steam version of Ys I there are two achievements for sexually molesting Feena while rescuing her from the Shrine. The first ("Hey Baby, What's Your Width?") is done by crowding her into a narrow dead-end corridor on the way out so she can't get past you and pushing her up against the wall at the end until she complains you're scaring her. The second ("I Can't See You, But I Can Feel You", with the description '"Measure" Feena in the creepiest way possible) requires you to do so while wearing the Mask of Eyes (which lets you see secrets at the cost of hiding all NPCs and monsters). The achievement icons are pretty perverse too.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Apparently, silver is the only thing that can bypass the protection of Dark Fact's otherwise-impervious Cleria cape, which is why he, prior to the start of the game, steals and hoards every silver object he can get his hands on.

Alternative Title(s): Ys I