Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

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Original box art.

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys is an action adventure fantasy game developed and published by Nihon Falcom for the PC-9800 and PC-8800 series on 1989-07-28. It was later ported to several other platforms. It is the third game in the Ys series.


I didn't know about the Ys series when it was most popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I had seen the titles in lists of games, but, because they were mostly Japanese releases, I didn't bother trying to play them. At the end of 2018, I finally decided to try a Ys game because I saw that Ys III had several elements of my favorite game genre, Metroidvania. I began playing the SNES port in November of 2018, but, after discovering how bad it is, I switched to the Genesis port which appealed to me more and beat it on 2018-11-28.

I do not own this game but I have beat the Genesis port.


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4 5 6 7 3

Best Version: Genesis

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The graphics are pretty decent in the 8-bit ports and the Genesis port. However, the graphics look a bit dated by the time the SNES port was made.
  • Mieko Ishikawa composed a really enjoyable soundtrack with help from Yuzo Koshiro on a couple tracks.
  • The game lets you save and load pretty much everywhere. This is nice considering how easy it is to take damage, so expect to do a lot of save scumming.
  • The NPCs change their dialogue as the game progresses which is nice.
  • It has a pretty good ending.


  • The game caps you at level 12. I ended up hitting the cap a little over halfway through the game. After that, fighting monsters was mostly pointless for the rest of the game and most of the bosses were painfully easy.
  • Several monsters move so fast it's very hard to avoid taking damage.
  • Hit detection is bad in several ports, but especially the SNES where enemies can hit you even when they aren't visually touching you, but your sword also has a huge hit box, so I guess it equals out.
  • A lot of the bosses have attacks that are extremely difficult to dodge, so you basically just mash the attack button and hope you have enough hit points to survive.
  • In the Genesis port, the enemies have fairly basic movement patterns, but they're even worse in the SNES port.
  • Enemies don't collide with walls and instead walk right through them. They're usually placed in areas where they won't walk through walls, but sometimes they do. This hurts immersion.
  • The animation on the weaker ports (PC-8801 and MSX) is terrible.
  • Since items have liner upgrades, it would have been nice if they were automatically equipped when you acquire them.
  • Dialogue doesn't include the speaker's name, so identifying the speaker is sometimes confusing. Some ports at least color Adol's dialogue, but that's not enough when there are multiple other speakers.
  • Despite Dogi being your adventuring companion, he lazes about while you do all the hard work. Even if the programmers couldn't code AI for him, they could have at least given him off-screen tasks.
  • The NES and SNES console ports use the start button to pause and select to open the menu. This should have been reversed.
  • The porters must not have had clear game lore because they use different names and spelling variations for a lot of the locations, and the Genesis port has a lot of typos.
  • The final boss is really annoying to fight.


  • Across the various ports, the player control is pretty bad. Movement is a bit difficult to control, jumping is a bit jagged, attacking doesn't feel fluid at all, and the down-strike on a jump attack is odd. The SNES port is especially bad, the Genesis is one of the better ones. The bad controls really become annoying in the Clock Tower.
  • Neither the player nor the monsters recoil from getting hit. This is a terrible way to handle combat because, with such a short invincibility timeout after getting hit, monsters can walk through the player and cause damage over and over again.


Box Art




Longplay - Genesis.
Longplay - NES.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Ys III: Wanderers from Ys
Japanese イースIII – ワンダラーズフロムイース Isu Suri – Wandarazu furomu Isu Ys III: Wanderers from Ys


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