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jeremiahjt

Starting the Phantasy Star series

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After wanting to play through the Genesis Phantasy Star games for quite a while and always putting it off, I actually started it.  I am starting with Phantasy Star on the Master System, which I have played through before, but it has probably been more than a decade since I played through it.  I know the Phantasy Star games are not super-connected, but I like to play through games in the order they were released.

 

A few years ago I played through the Genesis and Sega CD Shining series and posted my thoughts to a thread on SegaAge, but I do not plan on doing that here.  I was really just trying to get some more threads/posts on the forums over there since there was very little new content.  AtariAge has plenty of new content, but not a whole lot on the Genesis so I figured I might as well at least start a thread.  I will at least give my thoughts once I finish each game, but nothing like I was doing for the Shining series if anybody was following that one.

 

Outside of wanting to play a highly thought of series of RPGs, I also wanted to expand the number of games I have played on my Genesis.  Even though I have had one since I was a kid in 1991 or so, I really have not been through a whole lot of Genesis games.  If I did a top 10 Genesis game, 70% of the entries would be from just two series; Sonic the Hedgehog and Shining.

 

Excited to finally start on this adventure and I hope the games are as good as I think they will be.  I know Phantasy Star III gets the most hate, so I am tempering my expectations with that one.  Here we go.

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Enjoy! I've only played the first and second games, and didn't finish Phantasy Star II (got about 6-7 hours into it).

 

I beat the first Phantasy Star twice, once in emulation with savestates, and then once legitimately on real hardware (last year in fact), and found it to be an excellent piece of work despite a few minor annoyances.

 

Maybe I'll pick #2 back up, as I'd like to experience the series. I've had a hard time getting motivated for RPGs lately, but I'm getting my Nomad fixed/screen-upgraded, and that may help. I find it easier to put up with the grinding, etc. if I can do things like watch TV with my wife at the same time.

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20 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

I know the Phantasy Star games are not super-connected, but I like to play through games in the order they were released.

The Phantasy Star games are actually very connected, with the possible exception of 3, and even that has its links to the earlier games.  Phantasy Star 4 is loaded with fan-service references to the first 3 games.

 

20 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

A few years ago I played through the Genesis and Sega CD Shining series and posted my thoughts to a thread on SegaAge, but I do not plan on doing that here.

It's a shame you stopped there.  Shining the Holy Ark and Shining Force III on the Saturn are both fantastic.  Shining Force III in particular is nothing short of a masterpiece and I'd go as far as to call it the best game of its generation.

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I had only really played PSO. Played a lot of PSO2 when it finally hit the States last year, and had finished the fan re-translation of PS1 the year before, so I thought I'd start on PS2.

 

I didn't get very far before I decided I wasn't going to make it without cheating =(

 

Normally I don't mind a little grind, but yikes. I put on the 2x or 4x MST+EXP patch (basically the "easy mode" from the Saturn version), and it's a bit more tolerable (maybe too easy now), but still not as good as the first game yet.

 

Got to the first dungeon, figured since it was overhead I wouldn't need to map it...but holy cow, teleports all over the place, I got lost real fast.

 

I'm opting for Sega's original English translation, BTW.

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2 hours ago, Ryan Witmer said:

The Phantasy Star games are actually very connected, with the possible exception of 3, and even that has its links to the earlier games.  Phantasy Star 4 is loaded with fan-service references to the first 3 games.

 

It's a shame you stopped there.  Shining the Holy Ark and Shining Force III on the Saturn are both fantastic.  Shining Force III in particular is nothing short of a masterpiece and I'd go as far as to call it the best game of its generation.

I know they take place in the same solar system, but I thought they were many years apart from one another.

 

As far as the Shining series, I do not have a Saturn.

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1 hour ago, jeremiahjt said:

I know they take place in the same solar system, but I thought they were many years apart from one another.

All of this is true, but they're still very closely connected.  3 and 4 are basically about the aftermath of the events from 2, but in very different ways.

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Phantasy Star is a great franchise.  I've played all four games but only beat the Sega Genesis titles.  I never beat the original Phantasy Star on the Sega Master System.

 

Phantasy Star 2 is hard!  It took me years to beat it and it is a very difficult game, even with the map and hint book it was included with.  

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Slight update; I defeated the Saccubus which attacks you in your sleep after talking with the Governor in Paseo.  I do not remember if I defeated it the first time I played this, but considering how difficult the fight is probably not.  I had done quite a bit of grinding so my characters were a little over-leveled, but it still took me 5 or so tries to win the fight.  I know the result of the fight does not matter since afterwards, win or lose, you just wake up after having a bad dream, but I really wanted to win that fight.

 

The Saccubus is one tough SOB for only giving a measly 10 experience points and no treasure chest.  I really have no recollection of that fight the first time I played, but I am pretty sure it only appears once and the result of the fight does not ever come into play later in the game.  Right now I am flying through the first Phantasy Star, hopefully I can continue this pace.

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15 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

Slight update; I defeated the Saccubus which attacks you in your sleep after talking with the Governor in Paseo.  I do not remember if I defeated it the first time I played this, but considering how difficult the fight is probably not.  I had done quite a bit of grinding so my characters were a little over-leveled, but it still took me 5 or so tries to win the fight.  I know the result of the fight does not matter since afterwards, win or lose, you just wake up after having a bad dream, but I really wanted to win that fight.

I remember building up for and winning that fight when I was a kid.  You're right, totally not worth it.

 

I've been streaming my way through Phantasy Star on my Twitch channel.  I'm just about at the end of the game, need to mop up the last few sites on Dezoris on then I'm off to the finale.  I might move on to PS2 next.

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I finished Phantasy Star III many years ago and I enjoyed it, but I don't recall if I played any of the others on Genesis.  I think Phantasy Star IV was too expensive for me at the time and I don't remember if I ever owned Phantasy Star II.  Like you though, I hope to play through the series at some point.  I started the original Phantasy Star on Switch last year and played through quite a bit, but then I took a long break and now I can't remember where to go next.  I'll either need to start over or try to read through walkthroughs to figure out where I left off.  

 

What are you playing the games on? Original hardware? Emulation? Switch?  I personally think the Switch is a great way to play the games, especially with the enhancements to the original Master System game.

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1 hour ago, Sargon said:

I finished Phantasy Star III many years ago and I enjoyed it, but I don't recall if I played any of the others on Genesis.  I think Phantasy Star IV was too expensive for me at the time and I don't remember if I ever owned Phantasy Star II.  Like you though, I hope to play through the series at some point.  I started the original Phantasy Star on Switch last year and played through quite a bit, but then I took a long break and now I can't remember where to go next.  I'll either need to start over or try to read through walkthroughs to figure out where I left off.  

 

What are you playing the games on? Original hardware? Emulation? Switch?  I personally think the Switch is a great way to play the games, especially with the enhancements to the original Master System game.

Original hardware. I am playing my CIB Phantasy Star on my Master System now.  I do not have any of the cases for the Genesis Phantasy Star games, but I have all cartridges, manuals, guides, maps, etc. I even have the hard-to-find Phantasy Star IV guide.

 

I have never been a fan of emulation except for arcade games. I cannot say I would never play games from compilation discs, but I really prefer to beat a game with original hardware first.

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2 hours ago, Sargon said:

I started the original Phantasy Star on Switch last year and played through quite a bit, but then I took a long break and now I can't remember where to go next.  I'll either need to start over or try to read through walkthroughs to figure out where I left off.

Same here (except on the DS, not Switch). I opted to just check a walkthrough...I had to check another time or two as well...the game doesn't really like to tell you where to go next. I think there were quite a few times where I found myself exploring areas I wasn't supposed to yet.

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I finished the first Phantasy Star.  I did it mostly without guides, the big exception being the dungeon maps.  A couple of other times I got stuck and had to get help.  I did not remember that Myau's Trap spell could disarm pitfalls and I could not figure out how to get past them so I had to consult a guide.  Once or twice I was pretty sure I knew what to do next, but I went ahead and consulted a walkthrough just to make sure I was not wasting my time on something.

 

I think the game was a little bit better than I remembered.  It is no Dragon Warrior (my favorite rpg), but I would place it above Final Fantasy and maybe even Dragon Warrior III and IV.  I cannot decide if I am a fan of the first person dungeons or not.  I think I am going to enjoy going to a more traditional dungeon experience for the rest of the series.

 

As far as Phantasy Star II, I have heard mostly good things about it and I am excited to see what it has to offer.  One of the complaints I have heard is that it is too long I believe.  We shall see.

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I started Phantasy Star II. It is definitely different. The battle system is a little confusing. It took me a couple of battles before I figured out how to have both of my characters attack.

 

The technique thing sounds confusing, though I am pretty sure once I figure it out it will be just like most spell systems.

 

One weird thing; I had to have the volume on my television way up before I could hear anything.

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Don't get me wrong it's a great series...but I found some of the mazes in Phantasy Star SMS confusing. So between the 1st time I ever played it to my second time I found maps and was able to get to the final boss.

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I'm probably going to finish up the first game on my Twitch stream tonight.  Just need to do the run up to Lassic and the final battles.

 

It might also be worth checking out the Sega Ages 2500 versions that came out for the Playstation 2.  The first two games were completely remade with... differing results.  They were never officially released outside of Japan.  There are English fan patches for them but I've never played them, I really should.

 

The first game suffered in the remake, I actually think the original is better.  They completed nailed 2 though.  In my opinion, the Sega Ages 2500 version of Phantasy Star 2 is the definitive version of the game.  I really need to try it with the language patch.

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17 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

One weird thing; I had to have the volume on my television way up before I could hear anything.

Hmmm, that's very weird. I wonder if you're getting some sort of phase cancellation issue, or in any event if it's got something to do with stereo issues? If it were bad caps or a bad connection, I'd expect other games to be affected.

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9 hours ago, Classic Pac said:

Don't get me wrong it's a great series...but I found some of the mazes in Phantasy Star SMS confusing. So between the 1st time I ever played it to my second time I found maps and was able to get to the final boss.

I did hand-drawn maps for the whole game, on graph paper. It was the only way I could wrap my head around everything.

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When I played through Shining in the Darkness a couple of years ago I did all the maps on graph paper. Since that game is a dungeon crawler I felt I should do it that way, but with Phantasy Star it was just a part of the game so I cheated and used online maps.

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On 6/3/2021 at 3:02 AM, jeremiahjt said:

I finished the first Phantasy Star.  I did it mostly without guides, the big exception being the dungeon maps.  A couple of other times I got stuck and had to get help.  I did not remember that Myau's Trap spell could disarm pitfalls and I could not figure out how to get past them so I had to consult a guide.

I went oldschool and drew the maps out while I played B)

I didn't know about the trap spell either, I just went around them all. I think there's one later that you have to get across though? I probably figured that one out from the walkthrough.

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19 minutes ago, Asaki said:

I went oldschool and drew the maps out while I played B)

I didn't know about the trap spell either, I just went around them all. I think there's one later that you have to get across though? I probably figured that one out from the walkthrough.

The Laconian Armor is behind a pit trap, so if you want it you have to use Myau's Trap spell. Everything else you can get around the traps.

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Posted (edited)

There was a time I'd probably have called myself a Phantasy Star fanboy. I paid $99 for Phantasy Star on the SMS back in the 80''s and it was really my first RPG experience. I was super excited for Phantasy Star II but to be honest it disappointed me by the simple fact it abandoned the 3D dungeons. I finished it anyway but I didn't love it as much as the original.  When PSIII came out I excitedly got that too, and finished it (saving at the points of marriage to try out some different paths). As we all know that was a really dry Phantasy Star game... and it pretty much ended my fascination with the series.  

 

I was really too bad because it made me 100% skip Phantasy Star IV.  I'm sure I would have loved it had I got it back in the day.. but alas, I only played it very recently long after the fact. :)

 

Also I'm sure most of you know this, but the Switch version of Phantasy Star is a great version which automatically maps out the dungeons for you. It admittedly makes the game way too easy though so thankfully you can turn it off if you desire.

 

 

Edited by NE146
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Posted (edited)

I didn't play the Phantasy Star series in order or how I beaten them. Back in the 1990s, I first played Played Phantasy Star 2, 3, and 4 by renting them. I did not play Phantasy Star 1 before 1999. I did not get a SMS converter or the system it self before 1999. Back in the late 80s, I was into the 2600 and 7800. I didn't get a NES before 1991 and get the Genesis in 1992. 

 

 I did beat Phantasy Star 1 with a online map. I thought it was a very good RPG on a 8 bit game console.

 

It didn't affect the enjoyment at all. I beats 2,3, and 4 in the 90s. Beaten 3 first and got all the endings. 

 

Phantasy Star 3 was the first I beaten. I did all the endings. I had the guide book for 3. 

 

2 was a royal pain to beat. What got me was one of the dungeons for the Nei items. The dungeons for the items were difficult from a navigation standpoint even with an online map. Phantasy Star 2 did not have a bad sound track for a Sega Genesis.

 

I ended up beating Phantasy Star 4 before 2. Phantasy Star 4 to me was a very good rpg and not as frustrating as Phantasy Star 2. I recalled getting it on clearance for $29.99. I recalled RPGS that came out in the mid 90s on game Cartridges were not cheap. It was not just a Phantasy Star 4 thing. I recalled similar stuff with SNES RPGS from the mid 90s in price.

 

 

Edited by 8th lutz

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On 6/4/2021 at 11:04 PM, jeremiahjt said:

The Laconian Armor is behind a pit trap, so if you want it you have to use Myau's Trap spell. Everything else you can get around the traps.

Yeah, that's probably why I had to figure it out from the walkthrough :)

 

On 6/4/2021 at 11:25 PM, NE146 said:

I was really too bad because it made me 100% skip Phantasy Star IV.  I'm sure I would have loved it had I got it back in the day.. but alas, I only played it very recently long after the fact. :)

PSIV is one of my friend's favorite games ever. IIRC, he hasn't even played 1-3 at all, just the online games.

 

 

PSO2 New Genesis comes out in a few days, BTW. It's free-to-play, but if it's anything like regular PSO2, you don't have to spend money to enjoy it.

I don't like PSO2 quite as much as the original though, they added a lot of "MMO addiction" grindy stuff to it. I just ignore most of that stuff and play at my own pace.

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On 5/30/2021 at 7:19 PM, Asaki said:

Got to the first dungeon, figured since it was overhead I wouldn't need to map it...but holy cow, teleports all over the place, I got lost real fast.

That's my biggest gripe with dungeon RPGs in general, but especially with games like PS2.  You're going through facilities that were supposedly once "business as usual", except that arriving daily at work to reach the control center involves a series of transports up and down floors covering from one side to the other, then jumping through a hole at the top center to fall down 4 floors into the basement....

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