Jan 252012

Face-crunching guitars meet soul-soothing melodies in our 90 minute tribute to the majesty of Ys

Download episode 12 here


0:00:00 – Release of the Far West Ocean (Ys VI)
0:10:28 – Field Mountain Area (Ys Book I & II)
0:12:30 – Shrine Entrance (Ys Book I & II)
0:14:32 – Shrine Depths ( Ys Book I & II)
0:19:01 – Darm Tower ( Ys Book I & II)
0:20:51 – Ruins ( Ys Book I & II)
0:22:58 – Solomon Shrine ( Ys Book I & II)
0:29:08 – Ys Core ( Ys Book I & II)
0:31:32 – Dark Fact ( Ys Book I & II)
0:33:10 – Battle with Darm ( Ys Book I & II)
0:48:01 – Quatera Woods (Ys VI)
0:50:04 – Ultramarine Deep (Ys VI)
0:52:58 – Windslash Steps (Ys VI)
0:58:18 – Ruins of Amnesia (Ys VI)
1:00:55 – Overwater Drive (Ys VI)
1:04:35 – Defend and Chase! (Ys VI)
1:10:36 – Innocent Primeval Breaker (Ys Seven)
1:15:40 – Mother Earth Altago (Ys Seven)
1:17:52 – Extensive Forest Green (Ys Seven)
1:22:08 – Place of Reticent Lava (Ys Seven)
1:24:44 – Lost Harmony Among People (Ys Seven)
1:26:56 – Crossing Rage (Ys Seven)
1:31:09 – Darm Tower Floor 25 ( Ys Book I & II)

I meant to bring this up during the show, but was distracted by all the awesome music… Gamasutra posted a great interview with the current president of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo, which runs through the company’s past, present and future, plus highlights the fact that Kondo-san was a lifelong fan of Falcom. A fan who one day ran the company – beautiful.

  40 Responses to “VGMpire Episode 12 – Ys-y listening”

  1. Bit of a different vein, but the Ys Piano Collection is also a worthwhile listen: http://vgmdb.net/album/483

  2. Y’s is that one one series I’ve always WANTED to like. I bought 3 right after I got my drivers license (circa 2000) and was crushed when it was a side-scroller. I had seen Y’s 1 in some magazine and was expecting some Zelda-style sweetness. What I got was an hour and a half of brutal death which resulted in me having to start the game over. Still own it and just tried it again about a month ago. Managed to beat 3 bosses but abandoned it for Steam sale games. Kinda soured me on the games but the music is pretty damn good.

    • Not to be anal, but it’s Ys (pronounced like ‘geese’ without the g). It’s named after a mythical city (similar to Atlantis) supposedly located on the coast of Brittany. There are a few American ports that have spelled it incorrectly as Y’s, but the official spelling is Ys.

      Ys I, II, and IV are overhead action-rpgs, but are much faster-paced than Zelda games. There is no attack button, but instead you run into enemies and is about fast-paced precision. Running directly into a monster will result in you exchanging blows, which is often in the enemies’ favor. Your goal is to run slightly off of head on or taking an enemy from the side or behind so that you can deal damage without taking any in return. All of the games feature multiple difficulties, with Nightmare mode being particularly brutal and unforgiving as there is a hard level cap in each game which can be hit relatively early (for instance, Ys I was capped at level 10 and Ys II was level 20) and using the right equipment has always been a very big deal in each Ys game. Even on normal difficulty, if you are under the appropriate level by a single level, most monsters will kill you in less than 4 hits while it will take you somewhere between 20-30 hits to finish a single monster off, the same thing goes with using an inappropriate tier of gear. Another thing that makes the games more difficult is that the enemies not only grow stronger as you progress through the game, but they also become much faster. Fortunately you are also given tools to deal with this (a ring that slows enemies in Ys I and magic spells that allow you to kill monsters at a distance in Ys II).

      Ys 3 was definitely the black sheep of the series, but it is also pretty good for a sidescroller. Don’t let it scare you away from the series, however I will warn you that all of the games are challenging and are intended to be so. If refighting bosses countless times to discover their weakness/pattern and saving often is not your idea of a good time, then the Ys series definitely isn’t for you.

      If you have a PSP and want to give Ys I and II a try, I highly recommend Ys I & II Chronicles, it has the original soundtrack but also has an awesome arranged soundtrack by Yukihiro Jindo and uses an updated game engine which allows the game to have much tighter controls and is even faster-paced than the originals.

      • Heya!

        Didn’t spell it Y’s, I always use Ys. The headline is just for a pun, and even then it’s Ys-y, not Y’s-y.

        I believe I share the same sentiment for each of the games you mention here, and say so in the show. PSP is definitely a haven for Ys fans or people looking to get into it for the first time, so I also endorse Seven/I & II/Felghana.

        You know your Ys – thanks for the comment!

  3. Whoa, I love this series, haven’t listened yet, but I’m kinda surprised by the lack of Oath in Felghana…many consider that to be THE best of Ys…myself included.

    As always, cool, blow me!

  4. I always wanted to play Ys Books 1 & 2, but never had the CD for my TG16. The only one I played was 3, I think, on SNES, which was pretty decent. I’ve always liked Falcom, but never got the chance to play very many of their games, I should have gotten Popful Mail for Sega CD, and regret not buying it when I had the chance. It’s nice to hear about all these old action RPGs that I loved so much in the 8 and 16 bit days.

    • Listening to these tracks from the first game, I think Castlevania: Shadow of the Night stole its music from it.

      • Why the hell did I put Shadow of the Night? It’s obviously supposed to be Symphony.

        I played Ys 3 pretty much the same way Michael did, renting it from a gas station. I did finish it, though, the way Brett said, going up against a boss that just thrashed me, going back to gain a few levels, then just marching through the boss.

  5. Clever name. Clever name indeed.
    Cool, blow me.

  6. like the title

  7. Ys is so kickass and criminally ignored. But then again Falcom can never seem to afford to develop for the big systems. Oh well, another reason that I am still incredibly happy to own a PSP.

  8. I have been waiting eagerly for this one. Love Ys’ special brand of “Triumph Metal”, as I like to call it.

  9. Oh god dammit. Fuck you Brett. You’re a horrible person. “Ys-y” is so badgood.

  10. I do believe they are remaking Ys 4 for the PS Vita, using what seems to be very similar mechanics to 7, so hopefully we’ll get a release in the States! 🙂

    TGS 2011 Traler:

  11. Field Mountain Area is more commonly known as “First Step Towards War” or some variation of that (variations pluralize ‘step’ and/or ‘war’). I really like that you included a lot of the PC-Engine (TG16 in the US) music from Book I & II, the PC-Engine really pushed the envelope for game music in the era because almost all of it was recorded as opposed to having the limitations of the sound chip’s synthesizer/soundbank.

    Also, about the Wild ARMs song, I think you’re talking about the overworld theme “Lone Bird in the Shire” and the song is an homage to “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone from the Clint Eastwood film “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” It was definitely intentional.

    One thing I actually learned recently is that Falcom was a pioneer in a lot more ways than just music. They made the first action-RPG and realtime dungeon exploration/puzzle game (Dragon Slayer in 1984) and the first “metroidvania” game (Dragon Slayer IV in 1987). I found this interesting because I had always considered Zelda to be sort of the first action-adventure dungeon delver, but it was preceded by Dragon Slayer by almost 2 years, and I thought that metroidvania games were simply an evolution of both Metroid and Castlevania games, but the ideas had already been explored (and were quite successful in Japan) by Falcom.

  12. Just an FYI, since you were unsure, Oath in Felghana came out long before Ys 7. I believe Oath was originally released in 2005 on PC in Japan, and it was really a great evolution of the Ys 6 engine. Don’t expect it to be as mature as Ys 7, though, since it’s much, much older. There was actually also another game that was released between 6 and 7, called Ys Origin (came out the year after Oath) which takes place several hundred years before Ys I (you play as 3 of the ancestors of the Priests in Ys I).

    Since Ys 7 is 2 iterations after Oath (and came out 4 years later), don’t be disappointed when you see that its engine isn’t as developed as Ys 7.

    • Ah, OK. That makes sense. I had read Oath PSP was actually a port from some PC version years earlier but didn’t look into it any further. Not expecting it to be as evolved as Seven though, so I’m mentally prepared for that. I liked VI just fine so I’m sure it’ll be good. Now I’m looking forward to the Ys IV remake on Vita! (Though, have they said WHICH Ys IV it is?)

  13. Thanks to Brett’s recommendation, I somehow tracked down the 3 collector’s editions of the PSP versions at Gamestop last year. The CDs were totally worth it.

  14. […] Face-crunching guitars meet soul-soothing melodies in our 90 minute tribute to the majesty of Ys. LISTEN NOW […]

  15. Great episode guys!

  16. Hmmm, will have to give it a shot.

  17. never played an Ys game, so this is all fresh to me … but anyway ,,,, HOLY SHITAMAZEBALLS!

  18. Very nice choice.

  19. I really have to say that the Ys music is fantastic. I might just have to find a cheap PSP and try them out. Awesome episode.

  20. Fascinating music from a series I will never play. Great episode by the way!

  21. Great episode! I haven’t played much Ys before, I briefly tried Ys 1 and 2 on what I think was Master System but found that running into enemies to hurt them was pretty silly. I played a tiny bit of Ys III on SNES and recall seeing footage of it on an old Gamepro “cheats” VHS I had. I also played a good hour of the PC remake of Ys III, Oath in Felghana and was blown away by how awesome it was. Ever since I’ve really wanted to get into the series and particularly play through Felghana on PSP, but alas there are way too many RPGs on my plate to even purchase it. But someday I really hope to do so.

    Anyway, Ys music is great! Innocent Primeval Breaker took the cake for me, that track is incredibly epic.

    I hope you find the time to go through the Breath of Fire series’ music. A VGMpire of that would be stupendous. /breathoffirefanboy

  22. awesome episode! just passed jumping flash as my favorite.

  23. Nice trip down mem-lane! I played Ys Book I&II on my TurboGraf-X CD!! (NOT Turbo-Duo). The day that came out was a happy one… it was the first thing that really made use of the music and storage capacity of the CD. I still like to fall asleep to it sometimes.

  24. This reminds me, I would love to hear an episode about Darius and Zuntata… I was a HUGE fan of that game in the arcade, and when I first got my copy of Super Darius for PC Engine CD, I was in redbook heaven. I got both these games at around the same time. But I know it’s a long shot, being just a niche shooter and I don’t think you guys have ever mentioned it on T-Dar. But still…!

  25. I enjoyed this A lot. I had just installed a new radio in my car and had this cranked up as I drove around. Wasn’t able to get the weird looks like you because its winter around here.

  26. I just found out that you can get the OST of the three PSP remakes at xseeds online store for only five bucks!

  27. The intro song is amazing, can’t wait to hear the rest!

  28. I really enjoyed this music. I didn’t keep up with JRPGs after the SNES era and didn’t know anything about these games, so this was all a pleasant surprise.

  29. Have always wanted to check out Ys, now I have no choice!

  30. This has to be my favorite episode. Took me about half an hour tostop listening to the Ys 6 opening to get to the rest of the podcast. Awesome stuff.

  31. Love that YS has some coverage here. I strongly urge you to check out the samples from YS III though. I was disappointed to see it skipped, YS III was the first game to motivate me to try taping game music so I could listen to it in my car. Some really good tracks! Thanks for doing this podcast!

  32. Thanks so much for introducing me to the music of Falcom sound team! This stuff is GREAT!

  33. I realize that this is an older episode, and that i’m late to the party concerning the podcast in general, but you ask for people to comment at the end of each episode, and that’s what you’re gonna get.

    I chose this particular episode to begin what I hope is a neverending spree of comments because of the specific situation I was in at the time I listened to it. Without wasting too much space, I have a massive backlog of games and I often have trouble(a relative term) deciding which game to play next whenever I finish something. After finishing Cursed Mountain(laugh away) for the Wii, I remembered Ys Book I & II for the TGCD had been sitting on my Wii menu waiting to be played for at least a year, and now I’ve fired it up and I can’t get enough of the old-schooliness.

    My experience with Ys has been on and off(mostly off) since it began ages ago on the Sega Master System, where I believe the cartridge and possibly even the box spine both spell the title with an apostrophe. But buying “The Very Best of Ys” as one of my first import video game music CDs was not a choice I’ve ever regretted.

    I knew the TGCD had the arranged soundtrack accompanying the game, but I’d never heard any of it before listening to this podcast about a week ago. I was immediately inspired to dive in headfirst and am loving every minute of it.

    Keep up the good work, Brett. And thanks to you and all of your guests for giving this music the attention it deserves, and for keeping me laughing while driving to and from work listening to you guys jabber on about stuff no one loves as much as we do.

  34. […] consider listening to this old-ass VGMpire about the series – the music […]

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