66 - Ys: The Oath In Felghana (PC)

Falcom took the third entry from their flagship franchise - a side-on platform action adventure on the 8 and 16-bit consoles - and gave it one hell of an overhaul. One of the most stunning remakes ever made, Felghana is a thrilling action RPG that stands toe-to-toe with any other entry in the genre. The 2D viewpoint is discarded in favour of an elevated 3D view, with beautifully rendered and animated environments ranging from gloomy caverns to snowcapped peaks.

The basic plot and structure remains the same. Red-haired hero Adol Christin, returning with his pal Dogi to Dogi's hometown, once again has to battle against an insidious evil and save the people of Redmont town. In game terms this means thrashing through hundreds of enemies over a variety of areas and facing off against some vicious old-school bosses.

Adol can collect money and precious items with which to upgrade and buy new equipment, and he levels up with experience. He also gains abilities along the way such as double-jump, dash and various magics. A cool element of the gameplay is that as enemies are dispatched they drop power-up items that give various bonuses for a certain period - increased attack power, magic, experience etc. It really encourages the player to keep moving and get stuck into the next group of bad guys, and this makes the game flow beautifully.

Of course, this being an Ys game special mention has to go to the soundtrack. Ys III probably had the best soundtrack in the series to start with, but the reworked version for Felghana is amazing, and undoubtedly one of the all-time greats. Every area has a memorable tune at the very least, but the dungeons are accompanied by some awesome rock arrangements.

As of the moment, Felghana has yet to receive any kind of western release (and it looks increasingly likely there won't be one), but it's perfectly playable with the minimum of guides, and a translation patch is nearing completion. It is a shame that such a stunning game in an overlooked genre remains somewhat obscure.

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