This is yet another remake of the first Ys game, which made its original appearance back in 1987. The games are known for their unique battle system, where you attack enemies by clipping into their sides, although this concept has disappeared from later titles in the series. The main character is Adol Christin, a young man with fiery red hair, something that is very rare in the Ys universe. He's always searching for adventure, which leads him to Esteria, where this game takes place. There, he hopes to uncover the mystery of Ys, the vanished land.
Best time, easy difficulty: 0:38:35 by Jeff 'Korzic' David on 2009-03-10, done in 9 segments.
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While this run is largely my own work, there are some people I'd like to thank for helping me:
Before I get into the individual segment comments, there are a few things I want to address about this run as a whole. It is actually pretty similar to a normal playthrough, even though you can do some things out of order. However, it's not really beneficial to do so, except for a couple of minor instances. Plus, you pretty much have to level up before fighting Vagullion (it's not required, but it would certainly be longer without doing so), so you'd think it wouldn't be too bad. That's true enough, I guess, although certain parts of this run were harder than I anticipated, even on the "Easy" difficulty.
Speaking of which, the reason I chose to do this run on "Easy" is because of the increased amount of damage I do, as well as the damage enemies do to me, once my level is maxed out. This is especially important in Darm Tower, where some of the boss strategies may not have been possible without equipping some armor. Another reason I chose the "Easy" difficulty is because of how hard it is to defeat Vagullion in a timely manner, something that's difficult enough already.
Also, throughout the run, there are certain points where I chose to use the mouse to select items, instead of using the keyboard. I'm right-handed for using both the mouse and keyboard, which often means there's a little movement pause on my end, so I had to limit the mouse's use as much as possible. The pause shouldn't be very noticeable, except for a couple of points in Darm Tower. However, there are a couple of times when it might look like I could use an item a little bit sooner after equipping it (such as a Wing, or a Book of Ys), when really the game won't let me use them any sooner.
One final note before the individual segment comments. Even though I ran this game in Japanese, I'll be referring to characters/places/items as they appear in Nightwolve and Deuce's English translation patches, as that is what I'm most familiar with.
After the opening scenes, the first thing I need to do is get enough money to buy a set of equipment, otherwise I can't get Sarah's Crystal to go further into the Shrine. Instead of doing the Sapphire Ring sidequest, I chose to get the Golden Pedestal and sell it to Pim. Doing the Sapphire Ring sidequest would leave me short 100 gold for the first set of equipment, another 200 for a Wing to use after Nygtilger, plus 500 to purchase the Mirror from Pim (although, I could purchase the Mirror later, or get one in Darm Tower). Even if I only bought the one Wing to use after Nygtilger, it is still faster to get the Golden Pedestal, as I'd need to kill 30 of those blue demons (10 G per kill - need 100 for the remaining armor, and 200 for the Wing) outside Minea after obtaining a sword, as they can't be damaged otherwise. Basically, I'd need to make an extra trip to the weapon/armor dealers, plus hope the blue demons cooperate in a timely manner. After that's out of the way, I just need to head to Zeptic and see Jevah to receive the Shrine Key, and then it's off to Jenocres' room (right outside it, anyway).
By the way, I use a Wing to warp after getting the Golden Pedestal, as it turns out to be a little bit faster than just walking back to town.
In all, this was a pretty good segment, although maybe it could've been 1-2 seconds faster had some of the townsfolk not gotten in my path.
And here we are at Jenocres, quite possibly the most difficult boss in this run. For one thing, Jenocres is very tough to defeat at level 1. You may have noticed that I didn't bother to equip myself last segment. That is because, no matter what, you cannot deal any extra damage to Jenocres until you are level 5 (level 4 if you have the Long Sword equipped); the same principle applies to the damage he deals to you. If there is one benefit to doing the Sapphire Ring sidequest, it would be that I'd be at level 2 with 35 HP, instead of level 1 with just 20. But, I'm afraid that is simply wasted time, plus the extra HP doesn't help much. Also, it takes longer to get to level 4 or 5 than it does to defeat him under-leveled. If I survive Jenocres, then I have to worry about some of the normal enemies in the Shrine, some of whom can kill me in 2 hits. Thankfully, though, Jenocres actually went pretty well this time around; usually, if I finish this battle, it's with 5 HP.
After that, I need to get the Prison Key to rescue Feena, as well as collect the Mask of Eyes. I could rescue her later, but it's not beneficial, as the game won't let you leave the Shrine without Feena if you collect the Book of Ys after defeating Nygtilger (in that instance, you can't warp out; you must backtrack through the Shrine). Anyway, I had a couple of minor mistakes on the way to her cell, but nothing major. When escorting Feena to Jevah's house, the most important thing is for her to keep moving. To that end, I had to let an enemy near her live so she wouldn't slow down, which was a pretty big risk on my part, but it paid off. By the way, the reason I enter Zeptic again before returning to the Shrine is because Feena will be awake upon re-entry, and I need to talk to her at certain points before being allowed into Darm Tower. The reason I talk to her now is because it is slightly faster to reach Jevah's place using the northern entrance, rather than the western one (where I'd be entering from after Vagullion). The next step with Feena isn't triggered until after finding out Sarah is murdered, but that doesn't occur until after getting the Book of Ys beyond Nygtilger, so it's back into the Shrine. I need to collect the Treasure Box Key at this point, otherwise I won't be able to open most chests. Before fighting Nygtilger, I need to find the two keys to get into his room, and also collect the Silver Shield, as Goban won't let me into Darm Tower without all of the Silver equipment.
This segment would probably be the best time to get the Power Ring, if it had any real use. It is ineffective against bosses, meaning that the only possible use for it would be while leveling, which really makes it a waste of time to obtain. I'd need to get the Treasure Box Key during my first visit to B2 of the Shrine so that I could open the Silver Bell chest before rescuing Feena, as the trip to Zeptic in this segment would be the ideal time to return it. Essentially, I'd be doing B2 of the Shrine twice. The whole process would take about an extra 45 seconds or so, meaning I'd need to save at least that much time while leveling, which I don't think is possible. Perhaps on a harder difficulty, but not on "Easy".
By the way, it was rather unfortunate that a couple of passageways in the Shrine were temporarily blocked by enemies (especially that first one, which almost caused me to restart the segment), but there were also a couple that weren't blocked that usually are, so it's kind of a mixed blessing.
As I said, this was a very difficult segment to finish; this attempt was actually only my third successful recording, as most of the time I couldn't even survive Jenocres. Anyway, there were about 2-3 seconds lost on my part, plus maybe another 2-3 could be saved if all of the passages in the Shrine were clear (not likely to happen), but it still went pretty well.
Now it's time to kill Nygtilger and obtain the first Book of Ys. As with Jenocres, Nygtilger is faster to defeat under-leveled than it is to level up. You need to be level 7 to do any extra damage to him, but I think that's only with the Talwar equipped. The one thing I could've done to make the fight easier would be to equip the Silver Shield (in that case, I think he kills you in 3 hits instead of 2), but he's usually pretty easy, so I don't bother.
Afterwards, I visit Sarah's house to learn of her death and receive another Book of Ys, plus buy another Wing from Pim. I could stop at Sarah's at a later point, but this is the best time to do it, as a couple of townsfolk have a tendency to get in the way. If I need to restart because of them, it's better to get screwed up sooner rather than later. Anyway, the next stop is the Abandoned Mine to get the necessary items to obtain the Silver Sword (as well as the Silver Armor for access to Darm Tower). The enemies near the Roda Seed chest sometimes gave me a bit of trouble, but it otherwise went pretty well. Next, I warp again to Minea to return the Silver Harmonica to Lair, as well as buy another Wing for use after Vagullion. Then, I need to talk to the southern Roda Tree to obtain the Silver Sword. Lastly, it's back to the Abandoned Mine. I stopped after getting the Darm Key because the next segment was more difficult than I anticipated
I should point out that I intentionally talked to the Roda Tree twice - once before eating the Roda Seed, and once right afterwards. The reason I did this is because I found out that the Roda Trees' special text can be skipped faster, which normally only happens after viewing the scene at least once beforehand. Normally, if you talk to and understand the Roda Trees (either one would work) before returning the Silver Harmonica to Lair, they'll say some stuff, and then talking to them a second time will trigger the cutscene again, only this time you can skip their text faster than before. However, after returning the Silver Harmonica, the Trees will only show their respective scenes once, and then they'll stop talking to you, which means that those scenes' special text cannot ordinarily be sped up. I don't know the exact details, but I'm guessing that talking to the Trees without understanding them somehow fools the game into thinking that their respective cutscenes have already been activated. The Silver Sword cutscene normally takes about 45 seconds, but with this glitch it takes about 25 seconds, plus about 10 more for talking to the Roda Tree without understanding it. So, the way I did this cutscene might be a little unusual, but it is not a case of me being forgetful to eat the Roda Seed beforehand.
In any case, this was another difficult segment, but not as hard to complete as the last one. This attempt went pretty well, although one of my earlier tries was about 1 second faster. However, it ended up with about 1000 less EXP, which would've added a bit of time while leveling next segment; the mantises I use take several hits to go down at level 7, so I want to get to level 8 as soon as possible, where they can be killed in 3 hits. Anyway, Nygtilger possibly could've been killed a second or two faster, and maybe another second or so could have been saved had I opened some of the chests from the side (kind of a pain to do).
This is the leveling segment, so if you want to, you can probably skip over this segment, but it only takes a little under 3 minutes. Anyway, I need to do this before facing Vagullion, as I believe he'll take 64 hits to go down under-leveled on Easy (even at level 9 with the Silver Sword equipped). So technically, I don't need to level right now, but it certainly is faster than facing Vagullion under-leveled, not to mention the amount of luck it would likely take to get at least a halfway decent battle.
Despite what it may look like, this segment was actually pretty difficult to get right. The knights in the beginning were often in the way, plus the main mantises I used to get most of the needed EXP were often wandering somewhere else. Plus, the mantises can deal pretty good damage until you hit level 9 (it's pretty easy to get misaligned via this method), even if you're fully equipped, which I was. Even if those things weren't an issue, the main mantises would sometimes wander off to the side, and then I'd need to chase them down and kill them to get them to respawn in the proper spots, which would also usually end up with me taking a good chunk of damage. Speaking of respawning, I need to be a certain distance away before the enemies will respawn, so that's why sometimes I went up/down a little bit extra before turning around to kill the other mantis. By the way, I found that I often took damage when trying to attack the mantises from the side, so I mostly tried to attack them from the front/back (plus, it usually messes up my positioning). That's why when the main northern mantis wasn't aligned at first, I'd wobble up and down slightly to get it in a favorable position, instead of chasing it off to the side.
As far as I'm aware, this is the best method of leveling outside Darm Tower, at least for a normal speedrun. The knights might be faster (the mantises give 480 EXP, whereas the knights give 510 EXP), but I couldn't get them in favorable positions like I could with the mantises. Besides, you need to be level 8 before you can start damaging them, and even then it's about the damage you'd do to the mantises at level 7 (the lowest level you can damage the mantises, which is the level I started this segment with).
This segment went really well, especially considering that most of my previous attempts were about 8-10 seconds slower. It possibly could be improved by a couple more seconds if the mantises didn't get misaligned at all (not likely to happen).
Now it's time to face Vagullion, one of the most annoying bosses in this game. Unlike Jenocres, he's not necessarily hard to beat (even under-leveled, I didn't find him too tough), but he has an annoying tendency to not appear fast enough. That is the main reason I chose to do this run on Easy, instead of a higher difficulty. Even though he only takes 8 hits at level 10 with the Silver Sword equipped (he takes 13 hits on Normal; unsure about the Hard and Nightmare difficulties), it is still very difficult to kill him fast.
After he's taken care of, I collect another Book of Ys, and then it's off to Zeptic to finish up the remaining events with Feena and Jevah so I can get inside Darm Tower. First, I need to talk to Feena on the pier, and then I need to talk with Jevah and have her read the current 3 Books of Ys; technically, she only needs to read one before the next step can occur, but all 3 must be read before she'll send me off to Goban, so there's no reason not to have her read the others right now. The last step won't start unless I first exit town, so I do that before heading off to Jevah's again. There, I need to talk with Feena one last time, and then to Jevah. After that, it's off to the Thieves' Hideout to talk with Goban about entering Darm Tower.
This is one of the segments I dreaded the most when planning this run, but ironically, it turned out kind of fun, despite the difficulty in getting Vagullion to cooperate. Anyway, the segment went really well, although the Vagullion battle possibly could've been done a second or two faster (there was one point where he didn't appear as soon as he could have). Plus, there were a couple of very minor errors when talking with Jevah the first time, although those add up to about a second, if that.
And here we are at Darm Tower, the game's main "dungeon". I used to hate this place due to it's size, but since starting work on this run, it's become one of my favorites. Still, it contains a lot of enemies to be avoided, which can make speedrunning it rather frustrating at times.
Anyway, the first thing I need to do here is to obtain the Evil Ring to free Lair later on. I should probably note that one of the chests near the Evil Ring contains a Mirror, which I'll also need for later use, but instead I chose to buy one from Pim way back in segment 1. Getting it here means that you have to listen to that little tune that plays whenever you find an item, something you don't have to do when buying them.
Next, I need to work my way up the Tower a little bit. Unfortunately, I need to get captured first in order to get the Idol from Dogi, or else Raba won't give me the Blue Necklace to continue past the cell trap. While in the cell, you need to search for at least one way out, as well as speak with Luta Gemma, before Dogi will show up. Looking through the bars should be the fastest method, as it can be done right on the way to Luta. After that, there's a bit of downtime while waiting for Dogi to arrive. Upon leaving the cell, Dogi gives me the Idol to take to Raba. The enemies in the corridor where Raba's hiding gave me a fair bit of trouble, especially when I needed to don the Mask of Eyes to enter his room (I always wondered how he got in/out of there without the Mask of Eyes). I suppose I could've used the Idol to help avoid the enemies on the way there, but I felt it would be wasted time to bring up the inventory screen an extra time. Anyway, after listening to Raba's long speech (over 30 text boxes, sheesh), he finally hands over the Blue Necklace so I can continue climbing the Tower. Next, I re-obtain the Silver Sword, and then it's off to Pictimos' room.
Overall, this was a pretty good segment, although there was a minor movement hiccup on my part after re-obtaining the Silver Sword. Basically, that happens as a result of switching from the mouse back to the arrow keys (I find it faster to use the mouse to equip the Silver Sword). In any case, it's a very minor mistake, and probably not even that noticeable.
Now it's time to face Pictimos, the first boss of Darm Tower. He's actually pretty easy to deal with, but rather difficult to kill as fast as I did. The strategy I used seems kind of random as to whether it will succeed or fail, partially due to his crescent-shaped projectiles. If timed right, they won't reach you as you bounce off him (after damaging him) at the appropriate time, but that's much easier said than done. Also, there were quite a few attempts where it seemed like I should have damaged him at certain points, but somehow caught him in a brief invulnerability period.
Afterwards, I collect another Book of Ys, as well as the Iron Hammer. Next, I need to break the pillar on F11 to be able to safely pass through the Devil's Corridor, and then it's off to Khonsclard's room.
This segment went very well; there's really not much room for improvement (I'd guess about 10-15 frames). The one thing I can think of to improve it would be not to bump into any walls/doorways (which can sometimes slow you down slightly), but that is almost impossible to do consistently without cheating.
This segment starts off with one of the easiest bosses in this game, Khonsclard. This boss actually used to give me a fair bit of trouble, until I stumbled across the strategy you see in the video. The only real difficulty is keeping up a steady stream of hits; even without armor, HP isn't much of an issue using this strategy.
After he's taken care of, I collect the Rod, as well as another Book of Ys. Next, it's off to free Lair, as Luta Gemma will not give me the Blue Amulet until I properly read the current 2 Darm Tower Books of Ys with the Monocle. After reading the Books and doing a bit of backtracking to receive the Blue Amulet, the last thing to do is to get the Flame Sword before heading off to Yogleks & Omulgun. Technically, the next boss can be beaten without the Flame Sword equipped, but it sure is easier (and faster) than using the Silver Sword.
When reading the Darm Tower Books of Ys, it is important to note that I must wait for the translated text to show up before the game will count them as read, something that I didn't need to do while asking Jevah to read the first 3 Books. I don't know why that's the case, but it is (interestingly, if I were to press "R", the game would not list the priests' names for the first 3 Books, but it would for the last 3).
Anyway, this was one of the more difficult segments to get finished, mostly because there's a lot of enemies to be avoided, and I pretty much need a lot of HP going into the Yogleks & Omulgun battle. I would've liked to finish this segment with more HP, but it's rare that I still have all of it after receiving the Blue Amulet from Luta. At least I didn't suffer the usual knockback that occurs when an enemy hits you (actually, it did briefly occur the first time, but I was quickly bumped into a wall, so it hardly slowed me down). However, there is a stupid mistake on the second mirror floor that is roughly the equivalent of suffering enemy knockback. I decided to keep this attempt anyway, as it seems almost impossible to not get slowed down in some manner; there's really only about 1 second that could be saved without cheating.
The final segment starts off with Yogleks & Omulgun (aka Yog & Omu). This boss took quite a bit of practice before I could survive without armor, but it certainly is doable.
Afterwards, I need to re-equip the Silver Sword, and then it's off to face the game's final boss, Dark Fact. He actually seems easier for me to beat as quickly as I did while recording, although it can certainly be done just as fast while not doing so (on Easy, at least). Lastly, I just need to collect and properly read his Book of Ys, and that's it!
Another good segment, although sometimes I can kill Dark Fact at the lower-left edge of the platform, but that literally is only 10 frames or so faster. However, that is rather difficult to pull off, especially when you consider that the Yog & Omu fight has to go well beforehand (pretty difficult without full health), so I'm more than happy with the result.
Despite all of the difficulties I encountered with this run, it was a fun introduction to speedrunning an entire game, although I probably won't be going anywhere near it for a while. Even though the gameplay is quite simple, this game was surprisingly tough to run, and there's not much that I can see to make things easier without losing time. Using the current strategies, I'd estimate that there's about 15 possible seconds of improvement. However, only about 7-8 of those seconds seems realistic to shave off, as the other improvements would likely be heavily reliant on things that rarely ever occur (mostly how certain enemies are positioned). Even so, it would still be very difficult for me to save more than a couple of seconds, so I'm pretty pleased with this result.
If you enjoyed this run, keep an eye out for a run of Ys II sometime in the near future!
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