Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys is the second of two Ys titles released as "Ys IV", the other being Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. Like the latter, series creator Falcom licensed out development to Hudson Soft, who also published it, and released it exclusively for the PC Engine on December 22, 1993. It remains the only non-Spin-Off Ys installment to remain on a single platform.
This version of Ys IV is also a Prequel. Two years after his adventures on Esteria, Adol returns to the island town of Minea to catch up with old friends, but leaves afterwards to travel to the region of Celceta on the Eresia mainland. When he arrives in the region, he hears about monsters increasing in number thanks to the actions of The Clan of Darkness, something that might be connected to the very evil Adol was summoned to fight.
Just like Mask of the Sun, The Dawn of Ys retains the birds-eye-view perspective and "Bump Attack" combat system from Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen and Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, including the use of magic spells via wands from the latter.
Since Mask of the Sun was originally meant to be the canon version of Ys IV when Falcom released an official Ys timeline, The Dawn of Ys was Retconned out. However, some narrative elements of this game would be recycled in the Video Game Remake Ys: Memories of Celceta, which also takes a few things from Mask of the Sun
This work provides the following examples:
- A Taste of Power: 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.
- Cannon Fodder: Romun Empire soldiers in the game are given the weakest equipment.
- Canon Discontinuity: This game was dropped from the official Ys timeline even before the release of Ys: Memories of Celceta, as it strayed too far from Falcom's vision.
- Clipped-Wing Angel: Arem's final Blob Monster form ("mind-numbingly easy" according to the GameFAQs walkthrough by Deuce, who translated the text for the fan translation).
- Chekhov's Gun: The first game's Mask of Eyes is really the Mask of the Moon that controlled the Mask of the Sun.
- Escort Mission: The people you escort are badasses and will kill demons and Romun soldiers that are in their way without any problems, but they still can get killed by fire traps.
- Evil Counterpart: Gruda to Adol. They are both fearsome swordsmen with mastery of magic.
- Evil Overlooker: Arem, the true main antagonist of the game, overlooks the other characters while in full armor and shadowed in the image for this page.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: A more literal example - the battle with the possessed Keith Fact atop Darm Tower. Failure Is the Only Option here.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Done to Eldeel by Gruda in when he has no more use to the latter.
- Infinity +1 Sword: Leo's Sword is the strongest weapon in the game, but entirely optional and requires a bit of lateral thinking to acquire. In a twist, any attempt to use it against the Final Boss will result in a Non Standard Game Over.
- New Game Plus: Players get the option of starting a new game with Silver and Gold Rings after beating it for the first time. Both grant double the Experience Points and gold, respectively.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: This game was released a little over a month after Mask of the Sun, was produced by a different developer (Hudson Soft), had a significantly different story and game-play, and is not part of Falcom's Ys Canon, but is generally regarded as the superior game.
- Police Brutality: Adol becomes victim to this at the hands of the Romun Empire because he spotted some of its soldiers arresting Karna despite the fact that he did not intervene in the arrest (probably not knowing whether she was being fairly arrested or not), and the soldiers decided to arrest him just for spotting Karna's arrest. He quickly becomes a Determinator who wants to wipe out this empire's invasions of Celceta and Esteria.
- Power Glows: Adol's Cleria equipment gets enhanced into the Eldoran equipment, causing it to glow gold.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Gadis, Bami, Gruda, and Eldeel
- Shoulders of Doom: Gadis, Bami, and Gruda in The Dawn of Ys all sport large shoulder pads. Arem, their true master, similarly dons these pads.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Cleria equipment gets upgraded to the Eldoran equipment which is required to damage Arem despite it not being the strongest gear.
- The Unfought: Eldeel, who gets killed by Gruda right after he has unwittingly fulfilled his purpose in the Clan of Darkness's plan.