Legacy of Y's Books 1 & 2 Review

By Gus Mastrapa - Posted Mar 19, 2009

Take a look at a classic RPG bundle 'Legacy of Ys: Books I & II' for the Nintendo DS. Is this port worth your hard earned dollars? Find out in this X-Play Review!

The Pros
  • An epic adventure restored
  • Streamlined grind
  • Bonus soundtrack
The Cons
  • Fetch quests and backtracking
  • Buffed out bosses
  • Ugly presentation

Two obscure role-playing classics see the light of day in Legacy of Ys: Books I & II. This isn’t the first time these games have been released stateside. The original made it to our shores on the Sega Master System. Both were bundled together for the TurboGrafx64 in 1990. There’s good reason to tie these two retro games together. Originally intended as one massive adventure, these games wound up being a bit too ambitious and were subsequently split. Both star Adol, a red-headed adventurer from across the sea -- Esteria’s only shot at surviving the evil that has overcome the land. And both break the rules of traditional RPGs by substituting turn-based combat with twitchy action.

Rushin’ Attack

Legacy of Ys: Books I & IIThe grind is streamlined in Legacy of Ys: Books I & II. Rather than slogging it out in tiresome turn-based battles, Adol approaches combat more like Link in the original Legend of Zelda. One button press is all it takes to slash many enemies to the ground. And even then that seems like a lot of work. Adol automatically attacks when he bumps into a baddie. The key is to charge into these enemies from the rear or side, so they don’t bite back. It’s not uncommon to see Adol dashing across the countryside, using his automatic attack to leave a slew of dead creatures in his wake. This approach to combat is a welcome change, especially if you’re tired of the slog in more traditional old-school RPGs.

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Building Steam

Adol’s tasks aren’t all that unique. His job is to rid the world of evil. That means gathering a stack of holy books, restoring them to their rightful place in a hidden temple and, eventually, going toe-to-toe with the big jerk responsible for spreading evil. Of course this adventure would be an adventure unless Adol were forced to do the bidding of the townies at the same time. Despite their age and by-the-numbers approach, both games retain an epic feel. Massive labyrinthine dungeons and the vast over-world contribute to the larger-than life vibe. Even more significant are the boss battles. First encounters with these monstrous enemies may end in defeat with Adol’s slashes only doing a sliver of damage. A quick excursion into the wilds rapidly strengthens our hero and earns him enough gold to buy new gear and armor. The next run in with the boss goes much better. This is grinding done right.

Makes Windows 3.1 Look Slick

Legacy of Ys: Books I & IILegacy of Ys: Books I & II collects two minor works. These RPGs aren’t going to go down in history as the most beloved or most successful examples of the genre. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth playing. Despite being nearly decades old both of these games are quite fun. This re-packaging from Atlus seeks to give fans of the series as much bang for their buck as possible. There’s a time attack mode for those looking for replay value as well as a wireless multiplayer game that’s playable inside the game’s second part. A CD comes bundled with the game collecting the series soundtrack. The only real downside here is the presentation – the updated art and menus are garish and much of the writing feels dashed off. Good thing Adol isn’t exactly the chatty type.

Article Written By: Gus Mastrapa