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The Wanderers Return
By: Derek Cavin
Battles are simple in this game. Adol simply needs to evade enemies and hit them with his sword a few times. He can slash forward or overhead while standing on the ground, duck and slash along the ground, or jump in the air to deliver aerial attacks. Sadly, poor collision detection is also present in battle. It is possible for Adol's sword to travel through the enemy without injury. If he bumps into any enemy, whether it makes sense or not, he will take a rather large amount of damage. There are a few accessories Adol can use to assist him in his quest. They have various effects such as boosting attack power, defense, or allowing regeneration. While in use, they slowly drain his ring meter which is essentially the same as MP. He can also carry a very limited supply of items that have various effects such as healing HP or ring points. Unfortunately, most battles aren't varied much and simply involve hack and slash with a bit of evade.
Ys3 is a difficult game. Unfortunately, most of the difficult comes for poor collision detection. From the moment Adol begins his quest, he must proceed cautiously or he will end up dead very quickly. A few minor mistakes quickly add up and healing items are very scarce and fairly expensive. Even if Adol survives the dungeon, too many mistakes will make it very easy for bosses to defeat him. While most of the game isn't too bad if the player is cautious and upgrades equipment whenever possible, the last few bosses are very powerful and can defeat Adol in only a few hits.
The interface isn't perfect, but it isn't too bad either. The only attack that isn't set up very well is the jumping slash. Due to the way the controls are set up, this very important upwards attack will sometimes switch to a downwards slash. The localization is also fairly average. It's easy to understand what people are saying, but sometimes the dialog doesn't come out right and sounds a little odd.
Ys3 isn't very original. Almost every item Adol can use has been seen before. The gameplay style is also very similar to that found in Zelda II and various Castlevania titles. The story is very basic and isn't very unique either.
Not only is the story fairly unoriginal, it isn't very good either. The plot seems to only serve the purpose of giving Adol's actions some meaning and send him to the various dungeons. There are only a few important characters and only a small amount of character development. Fortunately it's an action RPG and the emphasis is on gameplay, not story.
Music is where Ys3 really shines. Virtually all of the background music is very well done. Since each level is very short, none of the tracks become repetitive. In fact, some levels even switch music halfway through. The game really does have some of the best music on the SNES. Unfortunately, the sound effects aren't anywhere as good, but overall the sound quality is still excellent.
Ys3's visuals are fairly average for an early SNES game. Sprites are small and don't have very much detail or very many frames of animation. While they aren't very impressive, there are a number of cutscenes complete with large, detailed sprites. These make the game look much better, but are too scarce to have a major effect.
The third game in the Ys series is quite lacking overall. The gameplay isn't very good, it suffers from poor collision detection, the story is fairly minimal, and there is very little content. The music and cutscenes are quite good, but they aren't enough to save the game. While the challenge is refreshing, it's not enough to justify playing this game. There are plenty of better games out there.
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