Two down, Two to go

Rather than just rewriting a post that was mysteriously deleted for reasons unknown (someone got my password? Glitch in the system? Something else?) I decided not to rewrite that lost post but rather combine it with a new one, making it a double post. The first part has some new stuff added in, so if you managed to read the Langrisser IV post beforehand, you might want to skip most of it until game n. 498 a bit lower.

So, once more, the game number 497 is Langrisser IV.

Limited edition package just has a large red L behind the logo, but it also came with pins, a small booklet and other extras. Naturally, I purchased the Limited Edition package.

Langrisser III was something of a black sheep of the series amongst fans, so Masaya decided to return to basics to please the fans with great results. Seriously, after Langrisser Millenuim and Schwartz Langrisser III suddenly looks a lot better. Just trust me. However, Langrisser IV’s system did have a new Judgement System that determines which character moves first. Basically, characters with high speed stat moves first, so this system is highly questionable as it is. It changes the players’ strategy a bit, as the soldiers tend to move faster than their Generals.
Langrisser IV has two versions; the ‘original’ Sega Saturn version and the PlayStation that was bundled with Langrisser V in Final Edition double pack. The PlayStation version changes Langrisser IV’s system to that of Langrisser V’s, making the game a bit easier in theory. I have no idea why they changed the system, but this might warrant me a reason to track it down for completions sake.

Langrisser IV’s presentation is top notch, as with every 32-bit era games with Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork. The man might draw shitloads of porn, but that doesn’t make him a great artist in his own field. Urushihara’s work was one of the reasons I got into Langrisser in the first place, as his sleek and shiny lines just grab my view and I have to look at every crevice these lines create.

Mmmmm, crevice…

Honestly, I’m a big Urushihara fan and only lately I’ve been able to get my hands on artbooks and comics he has made. While he has had worked on some adult material (as in bulk of his life work) I’m slowly tracking down his earlier works in some form to see the evolution his career gone through. Urushihara’s colouring is one reason I want to stay with Black and White images, but at the same time I’d really love to learn to colour my images with those same plastic and metal tones. Trust me, if you don’t know how to reproduce Urushihara’s method, it’s a bitch to make.

Other than that, Langrisser was a long time a contender for reasons yours truly started to study Japanese. The language barrier in the story is pretty high, but luckily most of it is spoken, and this man can at least understand the language. The story, as always in Langrisser, is great if I failed to mention it before. It starts with a small rebellion, until events stack unto each other until a nation basically is under war. Friends and foes are made, swords clash against each other as does emotions and views. It’s a great story, well told and presented. While it really doesn’t tie to Langrisser I & II, and III’s a prequel to those, IV and V do tie to each other quite tightly.
If you’re wondering why I wanted to learn Japanese, it was a song named Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru by Yukie Nakama. Cue for Youtube search.

Now this is gameplay, unlike in some visual novels I love so much

Now, with Langrisser IV, I’ve completed the main series collection for the Sega Saturn. I might track down Warsong for the MegaDrive / Genesis, as it is the first Langrisser game and thus far really the only ever released in the West, even if it got that name change. The reason for this is that Langrisser got a few remakes under the name Der Langrisser that is by all means a different game, and all games that came after that basically disregard Warsong’s points. There’s no reason to complain though, Warsong hasn’t really aged that well in the end, but as a curiosity and for completions sake…

The game number 498 is… Ys IV; The Dawn of Ys.

I love this kind of game covers

But hey, don’t you already have this, asks a keen reader. Yes, I do have Ys IV in my Super Nintendo/Super Famicom collection. However, that game is called Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. Ys IV had two different iterations; one for the SNES/SFC and one for the NEC PC-Engine, also known as TurboGrafx-16 in the West. These two games are two completely different beasts from each other, as the SNES/SFC version was developed by Tonkin House, and the PC-E version was developed by Hudson/Alfa Systems. Also, Falcom was developing a third version for the MegaDrive with SEGA, but that never came into fruition for some reasons.
There was also a PS2 remake that was pretty bad in every regards.

In the Ys canon, Mask of the Sun is seen as the sequel to Ys II and as a prequel to Oath in Felghana (which is a remake of Ys III.) Objectively, Dawn of Ys is a superior game with better sound quality, faster music and better controls, as Dawn of Ys was the first game where Adol could move diagonally, whereas Mask of the Sun sticks to the original PC Ys game’s anally accurate hit boxes with restricted movement. Actually, Dawn of Ys comes on top in every regard compared to Mask of the Sun with better level design, better boss battles and all. Dawn of Ys is also quite a long game, ranking at the same length as Ys Books I & II on the PC-Engine.
Fans generally regard Dawn of Ys the best game in the earlier Ys era before Ark of Naphistim and it’s not hard to see why. While the music is good as per Falcom standards, it still doesn’t hold up to Ys III.

Don’t worry, Oath in Felghana tops any video game soundtrack anyway and I’m not even speaking as a fan here!

Dawn of Ys also almost had an anime made out of it, with trailers and all out, but ultimately it fell through as no animation studio was interested taking the job. Well, this was after the economy crashed in Japan, so it’s no wonder nobody wanted to animate an OVA about a game series that would soon be forgotten for years.

While I don’t have any real personal memories regarding the Dawn of Ys, it’s a game that I’ve always seen as something “I need to get to.” Ys IV and V are something I never really got into. Ys I&II are classics on their own regard, Ys III was a curiosity with an awesome soundtrack, The Ark of Naphistim was a good game, Oath in Felghana made everything and anything better and then some, and Ys 7 is just damn good. Ys Origin was decent, thou I’m not really unto dungeon crawlers in my Ys. Perhaps it’s just that Ys IV and V aren’t that good when compared to the rest of the series, especially V. I never really gave them an opportunity thou, and this is why Ys IV; The Dawn of Ys deserves my attention. At some point in the unforseen future I’ll promise to sit down with all three of you and play you properly to the end.

The Dawn of Ys also got a translation by Deuce, which seems to be reasonably good and all. Dawn of Ys has a lot more plot and talking heads than it’s predecessors, so when fans do something like this its always a welcome plus. The fantasy world Ys represents isn’t really uncommon, but there isn’t really anything that compares to Ys these days. They’re like remains of the days of old, but still alive and well in our time, ever changing so slightly to walk towards the future. Whatever Falcom is doing for Ys in the future, it can’t that bad, can it?

Well, remember that Ys game for the PS Vita I spoke of earlier? Well, Ys; Celceta no Jukai, or The Great Forests of Celceta seems to be remake of Ys IV. Like Oath in Felghana used a refined engine from The Ark of Naphistim, The Great Forests of Celceta will be using a refined engine of Ys 7. I’m getting the feeling that the staff at Falcom are slowly but surely retracing their past and making the Ys series into one of the most finest and grandiose game series still alive. I’m all for it. We need more good games like this.
Ys IV has a track named “The Great Forests of Celceta,” which I see more appropriate name for the remake than Woodlands of Celceta, which most news sources seem to use to an extent. There’s also names like “Celceta’s sea of Trees” and so on. They even use the song in the trailer! In all essence, this is Falcom’s first real take on Ys IV. Adol’s adventure in Celceta’s forests has always eluded proper treatment for a long time, but perhaps now Falcom will give some justice to this chapter of Ys.

I don’t usually want to go into a game console without those seven games or so before I want to purchase it, but for Ys, I’ll make an exception. I paid 150€ for MuvLuv, I can pay ~500€ for a new Ys game, right?