Author's Note: I'd intended to do one of these articles for every game in the series, but this was the only one I ever actually finished. Ah well.
One of my all-time favorite RPG series',
#1. I've mentioned my fondness for the second and fourth
elsewhere, but I think it's high time I gave the whole series its
due. We'll start off with the first game in the series.
The beginning of the series, and
ironically the last
one I'd actually played, as I'd never owned a Master System (until this
year) and didn't know anyone who had one. But, thanks to the
wonders of both emulation and a Game Boy Advance compilation, I managed
to finally play and complete it.
The game opens with this plot scene:
Sure, it doesn't look like much by today's
but back in the late 80's - an era when Nintendo wouldn't even let
designers use the word "Kill" - it was pretty risque to show an
Fairly standard RPG plot stuff here - King
become corrupted and evil, ruling the Algo solar system with an iron
fist, and now your heroine is dead set on avenging her brother's death by
defeating him. Of course, you'll need to gather a few allies
stand a chance against him. Average stats and a little bit of
every type of magic can only carry you so far, after all.
Myau, a rare species known as a "Musk
Cat", and Odin's
travelling companion. Unfortunately, their quest to slay
went badly; Odin ended up turned to stone and Myau was captured and
sold to a merchant from Paseo, where he still resides when Alis finds
him. After bargaining for his freedom, he joins Alis and they
off to revive Odin. Myau has pretty good stats all around, as
well as several useful supportive spells. He also learns the
game's most powerful healing spell, which is exceptionally useful.
Odin, who is revered as a mighty warrior
much of Algo. He sought a powerful axe in Medusa's posession
that he could kill Lassic. As you may expect, Odin is pretty
the "brute force" character - he has high attack power and can wield a
variety of weapons, but cannot use any magic.
Noah, an Esper who joins the party at the
Motavia's governor. He serves as the game's primary magic
posessing both powerful healing spells (including the only spell that
can revive killed allies) and offensive magic. He is rather
physically, though, so you'll have to keep an eye on him to make sure
he doesn't get killed by stronger monsters.
While the game's universe is largely a
with monsters like giants and mermen, it's also apparent that the original Phantasy Star game was heavily
by Star Wars.
The guards and "dome houses" look familiar.
awful lot like Jawas.
Robotic enemy, who bears a resemblance to
from Empire Strikes
Hapsby, another familiar-looking robot who pilots your spaceship for
Perhaps most telling, though, is that
there's even a
weapon in the game called the "Light Saber". The manual's
illustration gives it the look of a plain sword, but it's pretty
obvious what they were referring to there.
The series would deviate from the Star Wars elements as it went on;
more fantastic weapons like bows, "slashers" (bladed boomerangs) and
claws would arise, and most of the robotic enemies would become less humanoid and more "machine-like"
in design. Robotic
characters would also play a much
larger role in the plots of all the subsequent titles, serving as party
members, allies and villains, and technology would be much more
prevalent, even to the point of controlling planetary weather systems
As well as being one of the first console
RPGs to be
brought to the United States, Phantasy Star was renowned for its
colorful, sharp graphics (widely regarded as some of the best on the Master System) and for having much more than the bare standard when it came to
animation. Dialog scenes feature detailed portraits of the
characters, and in battle your foes actually throw lightning, swing
swords and shoot pistols. A stark contrast to competing RPGs
Dragon Warrior, Shin Megami Tensei and Final Fantasy, most of which
would feature minimal animation until the era of the Playstation
consoles. The game also features a female protagonist, which
still something of a rarity in gaming.
Of course, the game is also subject to some technical
limitations. Only one type of enemy can be fought at any
time, and multiple enemies are simply depicted by adding extra HP
counters to the side bar and having the same onscreen sprite attack
multiple times each round. Additionally, you cannot target
individual enemies in a group; your attacks will simply detract from
one HP counter at random. Fortunately, both of these would be
fixed with the advent of the Genesis and subsequent release of Phantasy