Ys II: THE FORGOTTEN CHAPTER
Let me tell you a story. Let me tell you about Ys II SPECIAL.
In 1988, YsII - Ancient Ys Vanished The Final Chapter was released. It was a direct sequel to the first Ys, and it wasn't the longest game. Quite obviously, Falcom themselves weren't completely satisfied with this - after all - it was just an "experiment" as they say. Therefore, they improved the game, added some new elements, etc. and named it Ys II ETERNAL. The year after, they released Ys II COMPLETE. A "complete" version of YsII.
Did we miss something?
In 1994, something fantastic was created. A Korean company known as MANTRA released a game called Ys II SPECIAL - under the slogan "Features For The Future." If only Falcom would have thought of the same thing. "Features For The Future."
Ys II SPECIAL is - just like Ys II ETERNAL - a remake of the original Ys II. However, Ys II SPECIAL is so much more than just a remake. It can be compared to what Taito did with Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. They gave the game a whole new layout - a whole new feel - and named it Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory. This is what MANTRA did - they made "a new theory" of Ys II. (Although - unlike Taito - MANTRA succeeded in it.)
This "new theory" of Ys II resulted in a most fantastic, new Ys game. I can easily say - this is not Ys II. Ys II had potential as a sequel to the first game. In Ys I, you collected the books of Ys throughout the game. It was the whole point of the game. Ys II - however - did not relate to the books much at all, it was the first small thing to do in the game. Return the books to the priests. After that, the game took a completely different turn.
In Ys II SPECIAL, the whole game is based on the returning of the books, what Ys II (to me) should have been all along.
Ys II SPECIAL is a long, long game. The “fields” are huge. And many. There are also six main dungeons (among other, smaller dungeons). Very original ones, at that. These dungeons are [i]huge[/i]! When you have finished a dungeon, you will encounter a boss, and if you manage to defeat it, you will stand upon the statue of a priest. This statue will take one of your books, and award you with one of the six magic wands that the original Ys II contained. Return, and let the story continue. Return all the six books - "To Make the End of Battle."
That was a brief introduction to Ys II SPECIAL, a game that is very similiar to Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys graphic-wise. It contains all the music from Ys II, but since this game contains so much more than Ys II does, it needs more music. And it has. Lots of it. And it is good! It was composed by a group of Korean musicians known as soundTEmP. They also composed the music in other Korean games, such as Ragnarok Online.
Here are some development facts about Ys II SPECIAL.
Development started in 1992 by a small group of Korean programmers. Their company was called MANTRA. It wasn’t a big company. Especially not at that time. They originally planned to include a full voice over in the game, but due to budget (and storage) limitations, the idea was canned. The idea behind this game was to take the story from the anime Ys: Castle in the Heavens, that’s why the game is so different from the original. The gameplay was fairly different. You could draw your sword much like in Ys V… But you could also “bump” into the enemies like the original Ys II! Hitting the enemies with your sword in the beginning of the game is to prefer, otherwise you can easily get killed. When you’ve gained a couple of levels, it’ll be easier to just bump into your enemies.
The game is very buggy – it’ll crash many times (usually after finishing a huge dungeon). Mantra released some patches to fix the bugs, but unfortunately – these patches generated new bugs! Cheap, Mantra!
Mantra mostly localized and released Japanese titles in Korea. Some of them being Princess Maker 1 and 2, Brandish 1, 2 and 3, The Legend of Heroes 1, 2, 3 and 4, Revival Xanadu 1 and 2 as well as Ys ETERNAL. However, due to poor sales (and lots of piracy) - they went bankrupt shortly after the release of Ys ETERNAL. What could we have seen if they’d still be in business? Perhaps another excellent Ys game?