Beware the Slugs.
Those Little Fellas Will Get Ya. Also, This Game is Terrible.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #96/100
Finally — a weekend to enjoy myself! After finishing a 12 day swing, what better use of my time than review…this.
Game reviews usually come in a few flavors for me. There are the ones that I despise with a deep-seated hatred. Those are the easiest to write — I enter a meditative state fueled by resentment and the words pour onto the page. The second easiest are the games I absolutely adore. It takes some soul searching to figure out the reason, but after a while, I can start articulating why something is so important to me.
Then you have the middling mediocre. It’s not good, but at the same time it isn’t awful. Well, welcome to Ys III: Wanderers From Ys. Not only is the title blah (too many Ys for me to care), the game is very blah. There isn’t anything you can even really talk about. It would be like trying to hype up gruel.
Like all things difficult to write, I’ve been sitting on this post for months. What’s the angle? There are a couple memorable things from this game, but none can equal the devastation wrought by this creature: the first enemy, a basic slug.
The game opens with a rather cinematic intro scene. The colors and the pixel art for these portions is damn good. You start out in a vibrant town and hopping music. The game layers its graphics, a foreground and background, which gives the illusion of depth and animation. It’s unique and catches the eye.
You get the inkling that maybe you have found a hidden gem for the SNES.
The story starts with promise as you return to the hometown of Dogi on the suggestion of a fortune teller, but it quickly devolves into saving the land of so-and-so from evil empire so-and-so while running into so-and-so princess.
You know what isn’t so-and-so? This guy:
The game is a side-scroller. You get to your first enemy location, the Tigre mines, and descend some stairs. You swing your sword a couple of times at these guys and…what!?!
You are already dead. But, how? Oh that’s right — the game doesn’t give you any VISUAL OR AUDIO feedback of anything happening. Sure, there is some flashing, but that doesn’t mean your pinky toe isn’t stepping on the hitbox of the slug (ie. spider). Unless you are watching your HP bar in the bottom, you’ll be dead before you can do anything.
After some grinding, accidently stepping on one of the eight legs of the spider (ie. slug) becomes less of an event because your have more HP. But after the slug/spider, you face the jelly blob or the tangle of weeds and it all happens again.
In an attempt to add extra flare, there is a rain-puddle depth of inventory and equipment to give you additional choices. There are “rings” that you find in the game that allow you to have increased attack power or defense for brief periods of time. This mostly comes in to play only with bosses due to them needing to be powered up which requires a long trip back into town.
I can’t get over the stark contrast between the visuals and the gameplay. For a game made in 1989 and then ported in 1991, there are some pretty cool visuals and the layered graphics make for some cool effects.
Then, you have the boss fights. To even have a chance, you have to grind against every jellybean or slug/spider you can find. Then, you have to head back to town, charge up the ring of your choice, and go through the entire repetitive dungeon again while NOT losing HP. When you finally get to the boss, you have two plans of action: full frontal assault or dink and dunk.
Neither is particularly interesting.
It was voted number 96 out of 100 for a reason.
Other People’s Takes:
- Games From the Black Hole: “The packaging isn’t just something you’d proudly display on your shelves. It’s an experience, separate from and complementary to the game itself. It’s the sort of thing that reminds me why I prefer the real deal to emulation.“
- Twentieth Century Gamer: “Ys III might have still been a-ok if the combat was top-notch. Unfortunately, it suffers from a general lack of feedback that leaves it feeling floaty and disjointed.“
- Logan Plays Games: “If you like action RPGs, I would give this game a try. I had never played any of the Ys games and found this to be a good introduction to the series.”