Music From Ys III Wanderers From Ys


Review by · June 27, 2005

Among Ys games, Ys III is unique in that all three major console versions produced of it (SNES, Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16) somehow made it over to the states. As such, Ys III was the first Ys game for a great many people. For those that played the TG16 version of the game, they experienced what is arguably the most impressive Ys redbook soundtrack to date, featuring wailing guitar, incredible synths, and an all-around kick in the musical pants. The rest of us, however, got something like this.

Music from Ys III is not from any of the console versions, but instead is the soundtrack to the PC88 version of the game released in Japan only. Unfortunately, the PC88 is an exceptionally old computer system and thus did not really have the power to support a spectacular sound system. Thusly, this version of the Ys III soundtrack is highly underwhelming compared to its brethren. That is not to say, however, that the music is terrible. It’s just very, very old. If you can stand that, then the arrangements are very nice.

As far as the actual music goes, it’s quite a bit darker than other Ys games. Whereas in the first two Ys games there was always a sense of victory associated with the music, the soundtrack to Ys III is comparatively evil and foreboding at times. Even the titles of the songs are dark sounding, with such titles as “Beasts as Black as Night” which features some amazing synth and drum work, not to mention “Snare of Darkness” that easily overcomes its age to deliver some high quality evil-sounding synth.

Of course, not all of the songs are like this. Some of them are exactly what you would expect from Falcom, with timeless classics like “Valestine Castle” and “Frozen in Time” that prove difficult if not impossible to become bored with. All of the sounds you know and love from the original Ys games come back with a vengeance here, even if the music is over a decade old. However, there are also a few interesting slow tracks as well. “Tower of Fate” is particularly interesting, in that it sounds somewhat like something from a Final Fantasy album, yet still retaining its Ys influence. It blends the two genres exceptionally well, however, and makes for a very fulfilling “last area of the game” song. Also, at the end of the soundtrack are three tracks from the X68000 (another Japanese computer) version of the game. Most of these grate on the ears fairly quickly, however, and seem more filler than anything else.

As far as Ys III albums go, Music from Ys III is really best left to the die-hards. It’s not bad music, but it’s the kind of thing that you really have to want to like. If you’re a chip tune kind of person, you might get quite a bit out of this album. If not, however, you may wish to investigate the other Ys III albums before this one.

One further side note: the original Ys III soundtrack had its tracks listed in Japanese. As such, there are many different translations for the tracks. An effort has been made to find the most accurate translations possible and is reflected in the track list for this album. Keep in mind they are, however, alternate translations and thus not “official” ones.

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