Thursday, January 28, 2016

Game #50: Traysia (Genesis) - Move Along; Nothing to See (Finished)

A fitting generic ending screen to a run of the mill RPG
I rarely suggest not playing a game, but this one can be skipped entirely. It holds no value over other RPGs, and is slightly incomprehensible in its presentation. I finished it though, and will give it a proper burial. The worst part of this game was getting stuck in chapter 3 for nearly 3 hours. I was making good progress, but couldn't find my way into the Town of Swordsmen. The reason being the entrance wasn't a kind the game had used before. Up until this point moving between the different towns was done through visible stairs.
This one is in a random otherwise unremarkable indentation in the southern wall
Before I found it, I completed a side quest in the Thieves' Town for some extra gold. It had a secret passage in the wall that led to the treasure I sought. After finishing that off, I thought maybe the game had a similar hidden passage to the next section, and that's how I found the entrance. The Town of Swordsmen had a colosseum style arena I could grind in (didn't bother), and a random NPC that revealed Banegie was a princess in a far off land called Alkishea. In the Noblemen's Town I found a store with Water Sticks. Previously I'd found that characters could equip multiple sticks, and their defensive power would stack. I hadn't thought much of it since the stick bonus was very slight; however, these new sticks were about as powerful as the best armor. For weapons and armor (including shields), the game automatically removes the older item of the same type. Not so for sticks.
Seriously, there's nothing in the game or manual to suggest this shouldn't be the case
I'm fairly certain it's an exploit of some kind because from then on my team never took another point of damage. I wrapped up the Town of Adventurers by facing off against the rogue mages, reporting back to the king my findings, and finally assaulting their leader. With his dying breath he mentioned Floyd. So, our team headed north in a stage coach provided by the king.
By this point I wasn't really paying attention to the story for two reasons. First, it's a bit incoherent. The bad guys are bad because they found some ultimate power they can use to control people by making them lose all their memories (only revealed in this chapter). Second, combat was completely trivial and became a huge time sink with little gain, which turned me off to the game as a whole. The townspeople in this area had their memories wiped by the super awesome powerful spell called the black (balls of) light. A guardian witch didn't do her job, and asked the party to stop the wizards to the north. She directed me to a temple where the last wizard to oppose the rebels stood. I arrived just as he fell, and once again reaffirmed that the party was the world's last hope.
How can I remember memories are missing if I don't recall them?
There's a very sudden scene after the screen above where Banegie declares her love for Roy, and asks him to give up on this fool's errand before he forgets everything. Apparently left with only one memory, that of Traysia, Roy commits to finishing the job. Banegie leaves, unable to continue to watch as Roy loses himself on this quest. When Roy faces Floyd and the queen of mages, he loses all memory and is left wandering outside aimlessly. Banegie returned and helped him remember his quest by showing him Traysia's pendant. The queen was a pushover, and Floyd disappeared once more. Seriously, they let him escape again!
The only spell in the game worth anything (it can target any enemy), Roy is the only one that can cast it
After the battle, Banegie once again disclosed her burning passion, but Roy was having none of it. So, Banegie (and the other two) accompany Roy back to the town of Johanna to better understand his commitment to Traysia. There they find Floyd had taken over the town and ruled it as the ultimate authority.
*Plop*5 (Final)
Finding the triggers to continue the story was difficult in this chapter as well. First an old man in the second floor of the inn spoke of a mysterious man that arrived by boat. Next, south of town, was a lighthouse where the keeper retold the story of the wizard who burned down the mayor's house with him in it. Guards then came to arrest us for progressing the story. The party appeared in a dungeon (I don't consider it a *Plop*) that must be navigated in complete darkness.
The only visible object aside from the party was a treasure chest with a really good sword
Once I escaped that hell, I still had to deal with Floyd. Somehow getting caught removed the man that guarded his castle. I found Traysia in the dungeon... well, heard her from the dungeon, but there was no way in. I had to talk to a blind architect that sent his assistant in to show me the secret entrance. He was a bit hard to locate, hiding in a southern corner of one of the screens. The reunion with Traysia was bittersweet as Banegie acted as a diversion while we escaped. (Completely unnecessary, but part of the plot.) The party charged in to save her, and drove Floyd away once more. This time to a previously inaccessible temple north of town.
By this point the game really liked throwing in screen transitions without any visible indicator; the game asserts there are stairs here
The final dungeon didn't have much of note. After Traysia and Banegie were rescued, I didn't see much reason to continue butting heads with Floyd. He's not much of a villain. Again, he's just evil and mad because I didn't let him conquer the world. Every time he escaped it was completely unreasonable. He didn't even poof. The screen just fades in and out, then he's gone. This time though, I faced off with him in combat for the last time.
Wait, is this the same guy?
Seriously? Froid? In the first battle I fought him he was named Floyd. In every dialogue since then it was Floyd. In the final battle, it's Froid. I suppose one could say I care about this game about as much as the developers. To put the final book end on this disappointing story, Floyd has a final trick where he turns himself into a human bomb and Banegie shields everyone from the blast. Bye Banegie; guess we'll never know if you and Traysia would have hit it off.
"Love her as I would have loved her" -- pretty sure that's what she meant
Roy and Traysia get married, and Magellan and Bellenue go traveling back to her home town. Roy opens a tavern and shop to supply other adventurers with supplies. No mention of kids though, so I can only imagine what depravity Traysia underwent in that dungeon of Floyds. The end.
I suppose the town of Johanna is in this picture somewhere
Elapsed Time: 6h55m (Total Time: 14h29m)

Combatant - The worst part of this game is the combat. There's no challenge, and spells are useless. The AI is completely broken, not just due to the pathing, but also because none of them ever use spells. Walk up and attack is all they understand. Even the mages only have physical attacks. I'm not sure Floyd had a physical attack in the final battle because he only walked up to my characters and just stood there. Leveling up matters very little, and combat options are limited. Running is actually the best thing to do since it serves to save time.
Rating: 2
This is the "black" dragon from the cover art... I guess they had to throw him in somewhere
Admirer - There's hardly any customization in this game. Character sprites don't change with equipment (imagine 10 sticks sticking out of each character). Spells are purchased, and it asks to select a character to learn it, but everyone gains the spell (if they can use it). Controls are stiff, and the game stutters while moving, and freezes after speaking to NPCs.
Rating: 2
Is that Banegie's grave they're going to "relax" on?
Puzzler - The main quest is often obscured by the translation. There is a side quest, and it's mildly interesting, but doesn't add much to the game. There aren't any puzzles.
Rating: 2
As the only non-Japanese name, I'm going to start the blame list with this guy at the top
Instigator - The story doesn't only suffer from translation issues, it's bland and jumping between chapters gives it a disconnected feeling. There are inconsistencies as well, from the minor Floyd vs. Froid to Roy being gone for many years (mentioned multiple times) even though the final scenes plainly state he was gone for one year. There are no decisions (although some false choices are presented), and nearly every NPC has nothing to offer towards completing tasks. Banegie was the last line in some random royal lineage that will never again see the light of day because they're now all dead.
Rating: 1
A whole year?!
Collector - There are a lot of items in the game, but nowhere to store them; jewels, trinkets without description, and a lot of equipment get sold for a pittance to make room for new gear. None of it really matters though. Sticks are cheap and just as good as other armor. Weapons are the only thing worth buying. Healing items (food) are worthless as they can only be used outside combat. There's no way to have a full collection. Checking status between equipment is annoying as it takes 3 screen transitions (about 10 seconds) for each item.
Rating: 2
I guess Roy can get anything he wants now
Explorer - The world is uninteresting, and sparsely populated. Each section of the game gets cut off as soon as the next chapter begins. There weren't any unique or interesting discoveries. The music was the best part, and very enjoyable. The graphics looked dated, and I wondered if this was intended for or a port from a lesser known system. Often locations in one chapter are blocked by invisible barriers until plot points are met.
Rating: 3
This was the only time the game actually acknowledged the invisible barrier
Final Rating: 12 [20%]

It's hard to believe a game that looks like this would score lower than Wizardry or Double Dungeons. This just isn't a fun game, and missing the mark on nearly every aspect of an RPG. If I had some evidence to back it up, I might even claim this was an unfinished product and rushed to production. This game makes Phantasy Star III look polished. Please, if you're thinking of playing this game, do yourself a favor and pass on it.

Speaking of Wizardry, we have the second scenario up next. I'm glad this isn't a PC version that requires party members from the first game. I'm hoping the re-balance they had to do to accomplish the lower levels means they made the game a little more manageable. Granted, I'm expecting to die a lot, but with a little luck I can avoid losing the whole party to an unrecoverable position.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Game #50: Traysia (Genesis) - Dreaming of Better Times

Game 50

Title: Traysia
Released: 1992 (February 1992 JPN)
Platform: Genesis
Developer: Telnet Japan
Publisher: Renovation Products
Genre: RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Turn based
Series - Standalone

And don't come back if you lose it
This has got to be the most generic fantasy RPG I've ever played. End post, end game, nothing to see here. Even the story doesn't bother to give much motivation. The main character, Roy, has a good life, but he's always dreamed of other lands. So, he says farewell to his girlfriend, Traysia, and follows his traveling merchant uncle to another town. He's there left to fend for himself as his uncle has to travel to other lands that only allow merchants. Something tells me this traveling thing wasn't well thought out.
The first NPC gave me the lowdown for the game. Visit towns, find out what the mayor or sage wants me to do, and get it done. Magic shops for magic, weapon shops for weapons and armor, item and general stores for food and accessories, and inns to save the game. It costs money to stay, so saving is only possible with enough gold. Strangely, the save happens before the party is healed, so upon reloading I either need to stay again or find a doctor that specializes in only healing.
Question: "Would you like to continue playing the game?" -- I foolishly accepted
The mayor of Salon, fondly called Master, was getting groups of men together to defeat the monsters that were attacking merchants as they passed the nearby forest. I got paired with Magellan, a tank-like character that uses swords (like Roy except better); Banegie, a mysterious knight covered from head to toe in full body armor; and Floyd, a mage capable of using fire, thunder, and lightning spells. They came with additional gold and items that allowed me to purchase the best equipment available for every member.
Magic in battle is always cast in a straight line
The combat system is rather unique to a Genesis RPG. It begins by selecting an action for each character: fight a target, cast a spell, defend (and move), or attempt a party retreat. Once actions are assigned the turn is carried out in a deterministic order based on character speed. The first town has nearly every spell in the game, and they're all relatively inexpensive that it's possible to purchase them all before fighting the first boss without much grinding. Even so, they're hardly worth it, and healing isn't possible during battles. Moving in combat follows a set pattern, carrying out vertical movement before horizontal. If there's someone in the way, then it'll cancel that character's turn. Leveling up produces only small gains for most characters. Every battle (except one) has been a cake walk.
Cahoots, there's a word you don't see very often
Turned out that Floyd and the master were the bad guys. They're running some kind of scheme to lure all the men and adventurers from Salon into the woods, and killing them off in small groups. Before he fled, Floyd mentioned he would frame the party for the murders. The boss of the cave isn't even worth a mention, but the fighting caused a cave-in that forced me to seek help from the Stone Village on the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately, I ran into the one enemy that could wreck my party at this stage of the game. Crawlers killed Roy in two hits. If Roy dies, then it's game over. Playing it a little safer I was able to avoid death by having Magellan tank difficult enemies, exploiting the AI's movement.
No indication, but the wood is at this one spot even though there are trees everywhere
The mayor of Stone Village suggested I seek the forest to the west for some wood. Once collected, a craftsman offered to build me a raft. He said it'd take some time and to meet him by the river later. After finding yet another specific location, this time along the river, that triggered an event, I received the raft. Taking the raft back to Salon resulted in the loss of the raft, even though I was told I could use it as much as I wanted.
It's not all about you, Magellan!
Back near Salon the party had a touching time with some character development. Roy shared that he was traveling just because, and dumped Traysia for the unknown. Magellan mentioned that he traveled for the same reason, left behind the love of his life as well, but now could no longer return home. Banegie was just your average adventurer wearing full body armor. I liked how Roy's story included cutscenes along with a melody full of melancholy.
One of the memories Roy recalls of Traysia as we assume he's describing it to the others
Waiting for us in Salon were a couple of warlocks from the North. Floyd was one of their own, but betrayed them. Now they're seeking revenge. The one dressed in red put the town to sleep to protect the party from the wrath of the townspeople, as my name had been so tarnished that my story wouldn't be accepted as truth. Bellenue joined, and I found Floyd and the master hiding in a previously inaccessible portion of a house on the north side of town.
My confidence in this translation is shaken
I'd like to take this opportunity, as I tried to grind Bellenue up a level, to point out that this is not a well polished game. In addition to an eyebrow raising translation, the walking is not smooth, there are load times between screen transitions (e.g. entering buildings, exiting towns), and stat growth is very slow (1 HP levels are very common for Roy). Scrolling the screen seems to take a pause every half screen, and after speaking to an NPC the game freezes before resuming. There are times where the sprites will flicker around the screen. Add in the oversight of saving at an inn before healing the party, and it says to me that this game wasn't play tested. I just hope it's actually beatable.
The game is separated into chapters
Defeating Floyd and the master freed the people of Salon, but Floyd escaped while he weren't looking. The sage in town assured us that the townspeople would one day know the truth. I bought out the magic shop, and headed off to the next adventure. Oh, and we had another party revelation. Bellenue reaffirmed her commitment to destroying Floyd, and Banegie turned out to be a woman. "This is the beginning of a new adventure!" the party exclaimed.
*Plop* 2
The next area was rather simple. The enemies were only slightly more powerful, and I had plenty of funds to purchase all the new (best) equipment. This made all the fights in this chapter very simple. I arrived outside a Gypsy camp where I learned that the kingdoms of Lyudes and Iyuves were starting to war. The mayor of the Selvies asked me to speak to the kings then return, and both told a similar story. They were attacked by the other kingdom, and were gearing up to retaliate. The Selvies stayed neutral, but the mayor revealed he'd seen some rebels in a nearby cave.
Oh, you mean that cave where I found a suspicious robed man that wouldn't let me in?
During my travels through the desert I ran across a sword master that I bested easily. (Actually, he nearly killed Magellan). On the advice of the mayor, I broke up the rebel forces, but the kings did not believe a third party was inciting the war. I spoke to the wise sword master, and he suggested I kidnap the prince and princess of each kingdom to make them listen. Somehow my party thought that was a great idea, and so did the prince and princess when I asked them to steal away with me in the middle of the night. They ended up falling in love with each other during their travels to the swordsman's hermitage, and their union united the kingdoms.
It's always the advisor
Even though the kingdoms were no longer at war, I had some unfinished business with the rebels. There were ruins to the northwest that had previously been sealed by a mysterious force. In them I found and dispatched the rebels. Everyone left alive thanked me, and I headed off to the Town of Adventurers.
*Plop* 3
Each chapter is completely separate from the previous with no way to return to previous lands. I contemplated this after getting stuck in the Town of Adventurers. There were no random encounters, and nothing of note beyond the town. The town is actually reportedly 13 layers of towns built on top of each other collectively known as the Empire or Sandora. Roy had his pendant stolen in the Town of Thieves, but recovered it from the mayor after yet another heartfelt retelling of the love he left behind. Roy then agreed to help him by attending the school of magic in the Town of Mages. The mages had their own trouble as a group of rogue mages burned down the school after I graduated. Each town is locked, and only the mayors have the keys. The king in the Town of Kings granted me audience to discuss the matter of the rogue mages.
I found many Book of Magic, but I have no clue what they do... probably nothing as I bought all the spells already
I met the king, and he told me to seek out the Town of Noblemen to further my investigation. Someone else made mention of South Town, but all I could find were North and East towns. I found some craftsmen that were used to build an underground house, then were left to rot in a cave. Under East Town was a strange room that constantly spawned battles with some kind of spectres. I was now at a dead end with no idea how to get to South Town, Town of Noblemen, or Town of Swordsmen (also mentioned by random NPCs). I spent another 2 hours looking for them, but I'll save that for the next post.
So do I... so do I
I like the idea of a town that takes the focus away from combat, but doing so in this game actually glares light on the drudgery of walking around, the sluggish dialogue crawl, and the incomprehensible description of events. If this were a better game, then I might welcome exploring such a town, but here and now I couldn't stand searching each town, especially when I got stuck. I'm hoping the game wraps up soon.
There are supposed to be hints about what to do next from the party, but they're completely worthless
Elapsed Time: 7h34m (Total Time: 7h34m)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Below the Cut: Cowboy Kid (NES)

Interesting art direction (Source: Wikipedia)
Cowboy Kid - Rating(5 RPP)
1) 0 - Character Advancement: practice/experience based advancement, stat or level increases, multiple classes or characters, customize characters
2) 0 - Combat: character stats used for combat, additional combat options, turn based
3) 1 - Items and Equipment: store to buy and sell, equipment decisions, item decisions
4) 2 - Story: main story at the forefront; world full of hints and lore; descriptions for objects, people, and places
5) 1 - Exploration: open world from the beginning, visited locations remain open
6) 1 - Quests and Puzzles: side quests not related to the main quest, puzzles and riddles to solve

Welcome to the wild west, where if you have money, health, and stores, you get to call the game an RPG. Simply put, the game hides its levels by placing the duty of sheriff on a new stranger in town, and you select a "quest" to capture a bandit. Put another way, it's a simple action game with no character development, combat based solely on weapons, and even some scrolling-shooter levels. I can only imagine someone was confused by the inventory plus health related items and slightly open world, and decided that was enough to label it as having RPG-elements. This categorization has since been corrected on MobyGames.

The setting is interesting for an RPG, and one that's hardly ever used to my knowledge. It seems a wild west RPG is ripe for the making. The only RPG that comes to mind is the Wild ARMs series, but an action-RPG based on the western theme seems to be missing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Game #49: Ys III: Wanderers From Ys (SNES) - Easing Back In (Finished)

Game 49

Title: Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
Released: 1991 (March - Nov 1991 JPN)
Platform: SNES
Developer: Falcom
Publisher: Sammy
Genre: Action-RPG
Exploration - Side-scrolling
Combat - Action
Series - Ys

Adol bids farewell to another woman as he once again enters the wilderness with Dogi
Ys III was a childhood favorite, but as I played through the end I realized that I had no recollection of the last area or final boss. I may have moved on to Zelda or some other game before I finished it. In any case, I have a confession. I may have put the release date in the wrong year once again. Luckily it's first, and I suspect the release was late in 1991. Without good release info it's probably close enough.
I found the mode 7 in the intro
The story opens with Adol and his companion Dogi traveling through unknown lands aimlessly. After stopping by a fortune teller's stall, and receiving an ominous message regarding the future of Dogi's homeland, they decided to return to investigate.
Most of the names were changed from the original version, but Galbalan is the big bad of this game
While traveling to Redmont they took notice of once docile animals becoming more aggressive. Rumors were abound of strange weather and crop failure. This hardened their resolve to get to the bottom of whatever was the cause of the progressing calamity befalling their once peaceful homeland.
The true title screen emerges
After some time, Dogi and Adol (the main character) reached the town of Redmont whereupon they confirmed the strange happenings and set about their investigation. Dogi greeted the village guard, Mr. Gardener, and a childhood friend, Ellena, before retiring to the inn and letting Adol do all the dirty work.
You know what's funny, how in the cutscene Adol was shown slaying a normally docile wildcat with his sword. Then, he arrives in Redmont without any equipment. I spent the initial 1000 gold on an herb, short sword, leather armor, and small shield. As I made my way through town I heard growing concern that Tigray Quarry would soon become overrun with monsters. Fears were realized when an injured man appeared bearing witness to these events. He then sent me off to save Edgar, the town elder, still trapped inside. Someone named Duey had already departed, but he wasn't controlled by me, so I obviously needed to rescue him as well.
On my way to the mine... err quarry
So, why of all the versions did I decide upon the SNES? Well, as I've owned this cart since childhood, and I didn't feel like going out of my way to get a "better" version. I tried the others for about an hour, and it may be bias, but I still prefer the SNES port. The synth music on the Genesis doesn't sound as good as other games, and the TG-CD doesn't have smooth scrolling. Saving is faster, fighting monsters is less stressful, and combat is easier with invincibility frames after taking damage. It's possible to get cornered or attacked from behind in the Genesis version, and lose all HP before you can react. Granted, leveling is faster in the TG version, but the Genesis version is strangely skewed for the first couple levels where the gaps between levels are larger yet the stat increases are on par for the experience earned. From what I could tell, the story is basically the same.
Receiving the first quest item after a bit of grinding
Getting through the first cave requires a bit of grinding. There are blue slimes capable of massive damage that block the path. If Adol's power level isn't adequate to damage these, then they effectively block the passage forward. The warehouse key was retrieved from Duey after a strange man pushed his way past. Inside the warehouse was Dulan, a robed magician that guarded a long sword. The new sword increased my damage greatly, and past Duey I found another boss monster (this one much tougher).
The game allows saving at nearly any point (save boss rooms), which made redoing this fight 20 times less of a pain
The lightning attack seen here was extremely powerful. While outside the range of the lightning the monster shot a wave beam attack. It's during that attack where I had a window to get one--maybe two--attacks in. I previously gained a power ring that came in very helpful during this fight. Ring power is quickly consumed while rings are equipped, but only 1 point is gained for each monster slain. The herb store owner will recharge ring power to full, but that requires a visit to town. The blue gargoyle-like monster dropped a sun statue, which I added to my quest items. In the next room I chased off the strange man that pushed Duey. He warned me to leave before leaving me to rescue Edgar.
Returning a pendant from the quarry to this old lady rewarded me with a shield ring that greatly reduced damage, the only side quest
Back in town Ellena asked me to investigate some nearby ruins where she found her brother's pendant. (Why does everyone have a pendant?) She hadn't seen Chester in months, and asked a cleric named Pierre to help her search. He disappeared inside the ruins. There I grinded for some more levels. In fact, it was such an easy place to gain experience quickly that I ended up leveling to nearly max level; birds constantly spawned, and it took less than an hour. I also purchased the best equipment from the store, and proceeded to steamroll through the mid-game.
I'd like to know who's pushing me off this cliff into a river of lava
I found Chester who turned out to be the strange man from the quarry, and he'd captured Pierre as well. Down below I fought a fire dragon that died in four hits. I gained the firedragon amulet that froze a river of lava. Emerging from underground I found Ellena had come to rescue me. We ducked into a side room before Chester, and someone named Garland, found us. A random guard informed them that I had slain the dragon "Gilan." Seeing as no one had ever returned from there, I'm not sure how that news reached them. Ellena headed back to town as I ventured further into the ruins to obtain a statue. Another boss dropped quickly, and I gained the star statue.
But thou must!
Chester returned to find me stealing away with the statue. Luckily Ellena returned to cool him down. Revenge was his greatest motivator for aligning with Lord McGaya, and he feared I'd interfere with his plans. I was allowed to leave, and found Dogi on his way to meet his old master in the mountains. Edgar, the mayor, had his house ransacked. He suspected people from the castle were after the statue I'd found in the quarry. He instructed me to return to the quarry, and explore another region previously locked. There I discovered an ancient tablet that told of Galbalan, a demon sealed long ago. My greatly over-leveled Adol quickly took out a snail boss, and I gained a flash statue. I dropped off a shining crystal at the herb shop that allowed me to purchase Brocia's secret medicine. An item that restored some ring power when used. I purchased the fairy necklace (later I found out it's bugged in the SNES version), amulet (damages enemies), and mirror (freezes some enemies) as well.
Fighting a harpy in the mountains
Third statue in hand, I returned to the mayor to find him badgered by Lord McGaya and his first in command, Garland. We refused to hand over the statues (well, he refused and I was mostly ignored). Fearful Dogi would contribute to the quest, I followed him to the mountains. His master assisted by giving me a new sword. I fought the harpy above to gain access to a cave where a dragon guarded the dark statue. Chester showed up to bring them all back to Lord McGaya, but a cave-in trapped us together. We got to talking. Trapped alone, Chester decided to fill me in on the situation. Lord McGaya actually destroyed Chester's home town, and he joined him in order to get revenge. Galbalan is a demon that Lord McGaya hoped to unleash on the world through the power of the statues or something. He agreed to let me keep the statues away from Lord McGaya. Dogi dug us out, and back in town gave me the healing ring before I headed to Ballacetine Castle to rescue all the townspeople. That's right, they were all captured because I didn't have enough reason to confront Lord McGaya.
To get access to this location it's necessary to speak to Edgar
Ellena was waiting for me on the way to the castle; apparently she slipped through the round up. Once again, Adol told her to leave even though she seemed more than capable of infiltrating dangerous locations without harm. The castle had some deadly spike and statue traps, not to mention the guards roaming the halls. I battled an elite guard for a garnet bracelet that granted me access to an area where I dispatched a hellhound. I picked up the battle shield and armor, and noted my dwindling resources. Still I pressed on.
Garland bade me stop Lord McGaya after having a change of heart
Not for a moment did I think Garland had switched sides, but there was nowhere else to turn. I followed him into the depths, freed some prisoners (including Pierre and Robert). I picked up the flame sword and the protection ring (full immunity at double the ring power cost), but was no match for Garland. He revealed Galbalan had been revived (I thought this required the statues), and he would be protected from his wrath with the statues (why aren't I then). I restocked back in town, then thoroughly stomped him. Lord McGaya conceded he had wronged everyone greatly, and pleaded that I defeat Galbalan. His island was the most insidious part of the game. I gained a couple more quest items to automatically unlock the caves, but the passages were concealed with darkness unless I equipped a light source (one of the quest items automatically gained).
Oh yeah, Ellena was captured as well... like I needed additional motivation to stop the big evil bad guy
There's a certain section of the dungeon where Adol falls down a shaft, and there's an obscured passageway on the left side that isn't visible until you find it given the light situation. This, along with a difficult final battle, artificially lengthened the game. There's a long cutscene that plays before facing off with Galbalan. It took a solid hour to find the best pattern and equipment to use (power ring all the way with occasional healing). The main problem was his hitbox wasn't always aligned with his body, so it was difficult to judge where I was safe to strike from a distance. In the end it felt more random than should have been possible in an action game.
Frames before I take damage and Galbalan doesn't... where's the hitbox?!
Adol ran into Ellena as he escape, and learned that Chester was still deep below sealing Galbalan once and for all. The reason Lord McGaya destroyed their village was to prevent a legend that foretold of a warrior from their village previously sealing Galbalan. Chester was part of a lineage of demon sealers or something. The island started to collapse, so we made a hasty retreat. Back in town Adol decided to collect up Dogi and head off to the next adventure. Ellena, seen at the top chased after them to say goodbye, but didn't stop their departure.

Elapsed Time: 5h06m (Final Time: 5h06m)
Just ignore her, she'll stop eventually
Combatant - Combat is a frenzy of attacks that haphazardly connect with nearby monsters that rarely die to a single hit. The swings are so fast, and holding the attack button down will continuously swing it that I often found myself doing that rather than timing strikes. Power increases from levels significantly affect damage output. There aren't many interesting options in combat as most are limited thus best saved for boss battles. Monsters are a mix of strange creatures, and castle guards. In the end max level is always reached, and there's not much reason to engage enemies a little more than halfway through the game.
Rating: 3
One of the best scenes
Admirer - Control is quite good, a nice quality for an action title. There's no customization though, and appearance doesn't change as new equipment is gained. It's possible to grind, but only up to a max level easily reached.
Rating: 3
That's a lot of people for design, so I'm going to guess this is artists
Puzzler - There's only a single path through the game. While the main quest is mostly cliche, it's short enough of a game that it doesn't really overstay it's welcome as a small diversion. There's a single side quest to gain the shield ring. Even though fulfilling it is optional, finding the pendant is  directly on the main path. No real puzzles to speak of in this game.
Rating: 2
The most puzzling part is this message to "master our destinies"
Instigator - NPCs add some flavor to the world, but don't really assist with the game. As far as story, it's not engaging, but seems more of a side story in the Ys tale. Like one of those cartoon episodes where stuff happens, but nothing significant enough to change anything with the main characters. There aren't any descriptions except in the Genesis version, which offers detailed information about equipment. There are no decisions, and it even includes some false choices.
Rating: 2
At some point it seemed like they stop talking about the game
Collector - Most likely you'll collect everything in the game as it's very hard to miss any items. Like other Ys games, there's a space for every item, and the economy is only relevant to purchase consumables. Equipment is on a linear progression without any reason to revert to previous gear. Still, high marks for a complete collection, even if it's not on a single screen in this version.
Rating: 6
All the things (mostly)
Explorer - There's no option for open exploration as locations open based on plot points (with a nice chime to denote it). Graphics and music are good, but not great (the Genesis had more detailed textures). Unfortunately most of the environments are rather bland. The background is often more interesting. There's no real sense of exploration as you're forced down a prescribed path, and each area is rather small.
Rating: 3
Unlike everyone else I've heard from, I prefer the SNES music
Final Rating: 19 [32%]

Overall it was fun. I almost beat it in a single night, but the last cave combined with the final boss saw to it that it wasn't meant to be. I was expecting it to take a couple of weeks given other estimates, but I'm glad I got through it so quickly. Next up is Traysia, a game I know nothing about, and I've done my best to keep it that way until I play. It's nice to come into a game with absolutely no expectations, although the lack of coverage in general has me a bit worried. But first, let's cut a game that was called an rpg some years back and later retracted.
Thank you for reading