The crown jewel of the Sega Master System and still a pretty damn solid RPG to this day.
A collaborative effort between Yuji Naka (best known as the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog) and Rieko Kodama (known for her work on several other well-known Sega franchises such as Shinobi, Fantasy Zone and Alex Kidd), Phantasy Star was actually a relatively innovative title for its time. It became well-known for its colorful environments and animated characters, as well as incorporating science fiction elements into a genre which, at the time, was largely dominated by high fantasy titles like Dragon Quest, Wizardry and Might and Magic. It even went on to have three pretty damn good sequels, but we'll get to those in due time. For now, let's check out the origins of Sega's classic franchise.
Plot synopsis from the manual:
The time: Space Century 342. The place: the three planet Algol solar system located deep in the Andromeda galaxy.
Under the democratic rule of King Lassic, life was good as he provided everything his people could want. Space Travel had been discovered 200 years before and deep space shuttles had allowed colonization of Motavia and Dezoris, the other worlds of the Algol Star System.
But slowly, over time, things began to change. It started with a new religion which was rumored to have come from another galaxy. The dark priests of this religion, never seen by any mortal, promised immortality to all who joined. You would live forever!
King Lassic was getting old. The idea of living forever appealed to him so he became the first to join. Then, he... changed. It started with the threatening suit of armor the priests made him. The armor looked evil and corrupt, and that's how Lassic began to rule his people. Outrageous taxes became a burden on everyone. Business on all three planets shut down and entire towns fell into decay. There was no way for the people to make any money.
As time passed and the people suffered, horrible creatures and monsters began to stalk all three worlds. When the dead came back to life, the people feared the worst and guessed the truth. Trough black magic, Lassic had become an evil tyrant.
But where there is evil there is always good. Brave individuals began to rally in secret against Lassic. But his Robotcops were ruthless in hunting out these defenders of the people. One was Nero, a spaceport worker in Camineet, the central town on Palma. Long ago, his father had disappeared trying to learn Lassic's evil secrets. Now, the Robotcops had crushed Nero as well. Before he died, he passed on his short sword and his quest to his sister, Alis. He also told her to find a brave fighter named Odin.
Alis raised the sword to the sky and vowed that Nero's death would not go unavenged!
(The Japanese version's story differs slightly in that Lassic sought out the evil cult himself, making him a bit more of a sinister character in that version. The "evil cult" itself is never really elaborated on until the later games.)