Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Phantasy Star Review/Swag

I'm always on the lookout for video game swag, especially if it's Zelda or Phantasy Star-oriented. As with the Zelda series, and as mentioned in a previous post, I'm pretty obsessed with the classic Phantasy Star RPG series (which basically ruled my childhood). The original series began in 1988 with Phantasy Star I -- my favorite video game of all time -- and concluding in 1995 with Phantasy Star IV. For an excellent review of the complete series you could check out Happy Console Gamer's synopsis, but otherwise the DL is as follows:

Phantasy Star (1988): It all began with this one. Somewhere deep in the Andromeda galaxy, is the Algol star system (as some nerdy trivia, Algol -- the "Demon Star" -- really exists as seen in the constellation Perseus, but Algol is actually closer as it's about 90 Light Years away). In the game, the Algol Star System consists of three planets: Palma, a world of green, Motavia, a world of sand, and Dezoris, a world of ice (and there's Rykros, but we don't get there until PSIV). Anyway. Alis Landale resides in Camineet, on the planet Palma. The economy is in ruins, the people are under martial law, and the star system's ruler, Lassic, has proved to be a tyrant. Under Lassic's rule, towns and cities are falling apart, the people are suffering, and dangerous monsters roam the three worlds. Alis's brother Nero tries to do something and investigate, but he ends up being murdered by Lassic's robotcops, and dies in Alis's arms. Alis therefore vows to avenge her brother's death and overthrow the corrupt goverment. She enlists the aid of Myau, a Musk Cat; Odin, a reputed warrior of great strength, and Lutz/Noah, a wizard. This sci-fi game has 3D dungeons, nice battle backgrounds, and is an incredible experience to play. I worked on it for years, first starting the game when I was a child in the late 1980's. (Also, since it's worth mentioning: Alis Landale is a fantastic female protagonist; she's definitely one of the best, if not the best!)

Phantasy Star II (1990): A continuation of Phantasy Star I, set 1,000 years later. Rolf, a government agent on the planet Mota (Motavia), and his companion Nei, set out to investigate the issues affecting the planet's system computer, "Mother Brain." This game was created by the same team at SEGA who also created the first Phantasy Star, and as with the first, it has great characters and a strong storyline. However, the game is different  in regards to combat and dungeon design (a downer, in my opinion). This game didn't have that same magic for me, though, as the first did... it's actually my least favorite, and it's arguably the most difficult game in the series.

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom (1991): Created by an entirely different team at SEGA -- which is evident as the game is a bit of a departure -- and it's considered to be the "black sheep" of the classic series! Indeed, this game is different from the others, and this is its main negative aspect (well, that, and Rhys's metal jock strap). Furthermore, in my opinion, it isn't as exciting as the others and some "phans" even consider it to be boring! That said, though, the character development is excellent and the game's overall plot is really interesting. I like the game for what it is: a space soap-opera with mustaches and harems. It's not really Phantasy Star, though.

Phantasy Star IV (1995):  We're back to the Algol solar system 1,000 years later from PSII (specifically on the planet Motavia) with the adventures of Chaz Ashley and his mentor Alys Brangwin. Along the way, they encounter new and old friends alike in the ultimate quest in battling evil. This game is critically acclaimed, and it is, in one word, incredible. (No joke, read the game's reviews.) For the "phans" who were ticked about PSIII, alllllllllll was forgiven with this game! It compliments the original well -- and then some -- with its excellent dialogue, combo attacks, character design, and battle backgrounds. This game remains my second favorite game of all time, after the original.

Since the beginning of the Phantasy Star series, other games have been released, such as Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe. As for myself, I've been slowly building a collection of classic Phantasy Star swag. Original Phantasy Star swag is hard to come by as they're rare (and unsuprisingly, also very expensive). My collection isn't nearly as awesome as others, but eh, I'm sharing it anyway:

Mega Drive games. 'Still have yet to purchase the first.
I have the Master System/Genesis games, as well. These game covers have great 
artwork and came with cool maps.

Phantasy Star Compedium. It is out of print and is therefore quite
expensive, but worth every penny. If only Dark Horse Comics could release this for North America with the Japanese translated, as done with Hyrule Historia!

Other Phantasy Star books (and Japanese treats).
All are in Japanese. These books have beautiful illustrations and all are in excellent condition. I got an extra copy of the PSIII "Diet" character book.

I've been able to score most of these items though eBay (I befriended a sweet Japanese lady through eBay who worked with me in finding some of these rare items), and I just purchased the PSIV North American Official Players Guide on Amazon. Amazon Japan is another site where you can find a lot of these rare books. I'm still building on this collection; I really want to get my hands on the  S.P.E.C. issues (Sega Players Enjoy Club). From what I know, it's very, very, very hard to find them. I'd like to get the other adventure and hint books, too.

If you love games like Final Fantasy and even The Legend of Zelda, give the classic Phantasy Star series a try. You won't be disappointed!