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Video Game / Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim

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The cast of Ys VI.note 

Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim is the sixth installment in the Falcom Action RPG franchise Ys. It was released in 2003 for Microsoft Windows, then ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2005 and PlayStation Portable in 2006 by Konami, with a worldwide release available on Steam in 2015. iOS and Android versions by Manhattan Project were released in 2021.

Set some time after the events of Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand, series protagonist Adol Christin and his traveling companion Dogi board a pirate vessel and head west of the Eresian continent towards the vast Atlas Ocean. Unfortunately, they are attacked in the middle of a maelstrom by the Romun Empire due to their pirate allies having preyed upon Romun vessels, sending Adol overboard. When he awakens, he finds himself alone in the Canaan Islands, surrounded by a giant, unceasing storm called the "Vortex of Canaan", preventing ships from entering or leaving the archipelago. With help from the native Rehda, Adol must explore these islands in search of his missing friends and find a way to stop the Vortex to escape.

Ys VI is the first title in the series where sprite-based visuals are abundantly used for characters and monsters; large bosses are presented as full 3D models, insteadnote . The game expands on prior installments by taking a bird-eye-view perspective from Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, using different elemental swords for combat in Ys IV: Mask of the Sun and featuring jump mechanics like Ys V.

Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim show examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: Admiral Agares of the Romun navy, so much that Baslam uses a banquet to lure him out of his ship.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: After Ernst accidentally destroys the control key, "Almarion", the Ark of Napishtim goes insane and tries to destroy all civilization in Eresia with a giant tidal wave.
  • Artificial Gill: The Grattheos Talisman allows Adol to breathe underwater.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: "Mighty Obstacle" is the first boss theme of the series to heavily feature electric guitar, which would soon become a mainstay of the franchise.
  • Backtracking: Ys VI is hit hard by this.
    • Before the Broken Bridge is fixed, players have to keep using the "Mythos Path" to traverse the islands; this is especially bad when returning the Mirror Fragments to Olha.
    • While the "Alma Wings" can warp Adol out of a dungeon, players still have to backtrack through a plain (or a forest) to return to the nearest town. Thankfully, the Steam version changes Alma Wings - it can now take players to any visited save point.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: The battle with Geis in the Mythos Path - if players lose, Geis simply taunts Adol and warns him not to get in his way; win the duel and Geis exclaims it was a fun fight and leaves.
    • Also, defeating Ernst in battle does nothing, since he activates the Ark anyway, and even after its power leaves him even more gravely wounded, he still lives long enough to recite a mound of exposition.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: The Vortex of Canaan is this in all, but name - the area where the Canaan Islands are located is viewed as such by the outsiders due to a Perpetual Storm that surrounds it. Many ships are said to disappear in the region and, later, it is revealed that the Vortex is a defensive mechanism of the titular Ark from preventing anyone from finding it.
  • Big Bad: Ernst, the Romun general who sends his homunculi to cause most of the trouble in the Canaan Islands and a big strife when his Romun fleet arrives at the archipelago. He is also to be Geis' older brother and a descendant of the Clan of Darkness who wants the power of the Ark of Napishtim for himself.
  • Big Good: Alma, a member of the ancient Eldeen civilization that resided on the Atlas continent. When the Darklings tried to commandeer the Ark of Napishtim, causing it to flood all of Atlas, Alma sealed the Ark off with her body. Although she never makes a physical appearance in Ys VI, a statue of her serves as a Plot Point.
  • Bonus Dungeon: "Alma Trials" in the PlayStation 2 port and the "Sealed Cavern" in the PlayStation Portable version.
  • Boss-Only Level: The last dungeon of the game has no enemies or puzzles, only the last three boss battles.
  • Broken Bridge: There is one between the first two islands, with inhabitants of both places blaming the other for breaking it, raising the tension between them.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The "Limewater Cave", which doubles as a Blackout Basement and leads to an Underwater Ruins.
  • Closed Circle: It is impossible to sail more than a short distance from the coast of the Canaan Islands without running into the Vortex of Canaan, so everyone on the islands is stuck there until the Ark is controlled or deactivated.
  • Co-Dragons: The three homunculi (Xisa, Jue and Sera) to Ernst.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Orjugan can cause rocks to fall by creating a Shockwave Stomp with its hands. There is also the "Kishcarin" Mini-Boss in the "Ruined City of Kishgal".
  • Death Mountain: The "Grana-Vallis Mountain"; Adol is explicitly warned of its dangers but is forced to traverse it to find Ur.
  • Early Game Hell: Catastrophe difficulty on Story Mode can be this due to the ban on carrying healing items. While there are stat boosting seeds for sale in Port Rimorge, they're too expensive to farm until the endgame.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This is the first Ys game made in the Napishtim Engine and as such, it has a lot of differences compared to Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin:
    • There's no fast travel between save points (until it was retroactively patched in the Steam/GOG versions);
    • There's no buff potions or experience multiplier;
    • Healing items are used like any other RPGs by going to a menu instead of being instant pickups (until Catastrophe Mode was added in the Steam/GOG versions);
    • Unlike in the next two games where you have a single weapon and three main skills, this game has Adol using three swords, and all of them must be upgraded with gold and Emelas until they reach their maximum level. The game also lacks any skills, as all three weapons have a special attack that can only be unleashed if their magic meter is full.
    • There's no double jumping or, as mentioned above, skills that allow the player to float midair. Instead there's only dash jumping and that's it;
    • There's no Boost Mode;
  • Elemental Weapon: The three magic swords in Ys VI - "Livart", "Blirante" and "Ericcil". Meanwhile, Ernst's Almarion acts as an Evil Counterpart to the others.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Leav, a Rehda who lives in Port Rimorge, can upgrade Adol's swords using Emelas.
  • Escort Mission: Adol has to escort both Olha and Terra out of the Romun fleet. The latter two do not fight back against enemies and take more damage than Adol does. However, if players use health restoration items on Adol, they also apply to Olha and Terra.
  • Everything Fades:
    • Ernst's body vaporizes after he dies.
    • Averted with the Romun Empire Mooks, whose bodies lie on the ground until players switch screens.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Ark of Naphistim has the shape of a giant tower.
  • Experience Booster: The "Starlight Medal", a missable accessory found in the Romun fleet.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Romun army refers to the Rehda as "subhumans" and capture some of them as a gift to the Emperor.
    • Downplayed with the Rehda's views on "Eresians": they have a distrust for outsiders because the humans from Port Rimorge deforested the island to build towns and hunt for treasures. The tension increased when the bridge connecting their islands was destroyed, leading to both races blaming the other for it.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Despite being more difficult, Catastrophe has some advantages with how it handles the standard item system. The auto-consume gimmick can be useful if a boss summons item-dropping enemies, which wouldn't work outside of Catastrophe unless Adol is equipped with the same kind of consumable item that was dropped. Additionally, there are more "Capla Waters" available, which can be sold for thousands of gold. Finally, Croix will sell stat boosting seeds on Catastrophe, allowing players to Level Grind in the endgame.
  • Harder Than Hard: In addition to Falcom's traditional Nightmare difficulty, the Steam version allow players to add a Catastrophe modifier to their difficulty, preventing Adol from stocking on healing items or using them manually. Instead, healing items dropped by enemies are used immediately and all healing items from chests are replaced by Capla Waters, which are Nerfed and unusable in boss fights.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Played Straight with Rehdan Village in the beginning of Ys VI, where they don't want anything to do with Port Rimorge due to them suspecting the latter residents of burning the bridge. Downplayed after the bridge is fixed and both sides find it pragmatic to trade with each other despite their differing values.
  • Hybrid Monster: "Zonplas, The Wings of Avarice", fought at the "Grana-Vallis" peak, is a cross between a Giant Bug and a Giant Enemy Crab.
  • Kaizo Trap: When killing the "Demi-Galba", it's possible to get slammed by its falling body, forcing a retry.
  • Killer Robot: Most enemies fought at the Ruined City of Kishgal are robots, while the "Ud-Meiyu", a Spider Tank boss, is fought at the Lethal Lava Land area of the ruins.
  • Leap of Faith: The "Ruins of Lost Time"/"Ruins of Amnesia" are full of these; failing these jumps will send Adol into a room full of monsters instead of killing him.
  • Life Drain: When equipped, the "Bloody Nail" accessory allows Adol to regain Hit Points by killing enemies.
  • The Lost Woods: The "Woods of Quatera", the first dungeon of the game; its most dangerous area leads to the "Windseeker Heights".
  • The Maze: The Alma Trials, a dungeon composed of five floors, exclusive to the PlayStation 2 port.
  • Mini-Boss: A couple of them - "Piana-Pius", "Noodollon", "Kishcarin" and "Gaposasura".
  • Money Multiplier: The "Thief Glove", given to Adol by Lloyd after defeating the monsters on the "Coastal Road".
  • Musical Nod:
  • Nintendo Hard: Downplayed; dungeons in Ys VI have a noticeable number of difficulty increases, especially in the deeper areas where enemies become strong enough to kill Adol with a few hits, forcing players to either use Hit-and-Run Tactics or go all the way back to Port Rimorge to upgrade their weaponry.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: On Catastrophe, the ability to farm stat boosting seeds for STR and DEF makes the endgame far easier than on a non-Catastrophe run. This doesn't apply in Time Attack, which doesn't give Adol store-bought seeds.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The only trait the Rehda have that closely resembles classic fantasy elves are their pointed earsnote . Other than that, the Rehda are no different than humans, aside from having tails; in fact, their overall appearance and attire are more akin to Aboriginals/Native Americans. The Rehda also worship Alma, who sired them when the Eldeen still existed and protected them from the Ark of Napishtim when it flooded Atlas.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: A homunculus in Ys is simply another term for a Fairy Companion created from magic, three of which that appear in Ys VI are made by Ernst to undo the seal on the Ark of Napishtim.
  • Paper Talisman: Geis puts some at the third island shrine to prevent the Ark from being found. Unfortunately for him, Baslam and his subordinates remove them during their treasure hunt.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Starlight Medal will be lost if you don't grab it on your one chance to infiltrate the Romun fleet.
  • Port Town: Ys VI starts in a unnamed one, resided by the Rehda, while Port Rimorge is another example.
  • Puzzle Boss: Orjugan, the Background Boss of the "Limestone Cave", a semi-submerged giant that attacks from afar with its Giant Hands of Doom, shoots lasers from its mouth and launches birds towards Adol. Players can damage its hands, but the right strategy is to use the Brilante to reflect the incoming birds back at Orjugan.
  • Random Drop Booster: The "Emel Mallet" can be traded with Capla Water for it at the Port Rimorge's pub.
  • Rare Candy: The seeds of Vitality, Power and Defense are used to permanently raise said attributes.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Napishtim is a reference to "Utnapishtim", a character from the The Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Ark of Napishtim is a dangerous magical Weather-Control Machine with enough power to destroy all civilizations in the world. Due to the danger it presented, the Ark was sealed by its own creators, the Eldeen.
  • Shipwrecked: How everyone in Port Rimorge came to the Canaan Islands. In an atypical turn for the Ys franchise, Adol does not start the game by being shipwrecked - he fell overboard instead, and the ship sailed safely to Port Rimorge without him.
  • Soft Reboot: From this game forward, the series starts making a serious effort to craft a consistent Ys lore. However, all games to follow also treat the pre-Napishtim games in Broad Strokes where they acknowledge them at all, and Ys III and IV have both been replaced in the canon by remakes.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: All versions of Ys VI except the PlayStation 2 version use sprite characters, polygonal backgrounds, and polygonal bosses.
  • Status Effects: Poison, Heavy, Confuse and Curse - the former is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, "Heavy" slows movement and limits the jumping ability, "Confuse" reverses the directional controls, while "Curse" reduces attack power.
  • Stripperific: Rose, Port Rimorge's shopkeeper.
  • Superboss: Majuunun, who guards a chest in an out-of-the-way room in the Ruins of Amnesia, is by far the strongest enemy in the game.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The three swords that Adol finds are needed to open the path to the final island.
  • Temple of Doom: The "Mythos Path", the Ruins of Amnesia/Ruins of the Lost Time and the Ruined City of Kishgal.
  • Tsundere: Terra acts like one to Adol and even blames him for "having fun" while they were searching for him. When Olha loses her composure and cries into his chest, Terra clearly gets jealous.
  • Updated Re-release: The game received updated ports for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable; even the original PC got one in the form of a "PC Vista version" compatible with Windows Vista.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Konami replaced the sprites with 3D models in the PlayStation 2 version, which made the game fit the console better because it lacks the memory needed to store a huge collection of sprites, but its enormous polygon-crunching capabilities allow it to handle 3D models like nobody's business, using less scarce memory simultaneously as 3D models require less memory than their corresponding sprite sets.
  • Villain Override: After Ernst is defeated, he attempts to drain more power from the Ark with the Almarion, but fails and causes the Ark of Naphistim to go berserk.
  • The Worf Effect: Chief Ord and Geis are defeated by Ernst to establish him as a formidable swordsman and a serious threat.
  • You All Look Familiar: One of the biggest aversions in video gaming. Every single NPC has a unique name, sprite, dialogue picture, and voice - and yes, that means they're all voiced.