With the last few weeks of good to great for releases, the VC has a lot to live up to this week. And it pretty much does, with Phantasy Star from the Sega Master System. Well, I’m not a fan, but let’s hear what everyone has to say about it!
Original Release Date: 1988
Cost: 500 Wii Points.
>Alex Lucard: I’m torn here. On one hand, I love Phantasy Star. It’s easily the best RPG from the 8-Bit era, and it deserves to be on Virtual Console.
On the other, I own it for the SMS, for the Dreamcast, for the PS2 in two different forms (Sega ages and Genesis Collection), for the PS3 and for the Game Boy Advance. I realize Sega loves to re-release everything from the 8 and 16 bit era, but it would be nice to start seeing some CD, 32-X and Saturn titles get ported after more than a decade of dormancy.
If you don’t own a copy of this game, then yes, by all means get this. It’s got unheard of characterization for this era of gaming and it’s a lot of fun. It’s also very hard, especially the last few dungeons which are “X-Men for the Sega Genesis” stupid in terms of getting out of them, but for only a few bucks, if you’re an RPG fan, it’s worth getting this for the sheer experience. If you already own it on another system then well… why bother?
Ashe Collins: I’m with Lucard on this. If you don’t have it, get it, but really, I think I’ve got at least 2 or 3 copies of it now on various collections for either the PS2 or the PS3.
Nathan Birch: Well it’s about time!
It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a Phantasy Star fan, and have been waiting not-so-patiently for them to finally round out the collection. Phantasy Star is of remarkable quality for an 8-bit RPG. You won’t find another 500 point game on the VC this good looking, deep and well told, plain and simple.
And yeah, it’s been released on a number of platforms, but to be fair this is the first time it’s been playable in any way on the Wii, so I don’t think you can really criticize Sega on that front. If you’re a big Phantasy Star fan you’ve already played it, but those new to the series, or those who were only introduced to it through the later versions released on the VC this year, should definitely give it a try. Just keep a pad a paper and a pencil handy for some of those later dungeons.
Christopher Bowen: Well, that took forever.
As stated: IF you don’t have Phantasy Star in its original form yet, then yes, grab this game. It’s simply the best RPG of the 8-bit era, and yes I’m counting all three Final Fantasy titles, four Dragon Quests, and even Destiny of an Emperor.
But I have to believe that anyone that doesn’t own this yet is trying to avoid it. It’s on every system known to man at this point, on multiple compilations, and while Nate is correct that it’s not on the Wii or any Wii-derivative system yet, the only people I can think of that don’t/didn’t own a GBA, PS2, 360 or any other system that this has been ported to are casual gamers who bought a Wii because it was cool, and they’re the LAST people I would tell to get this game. They’d get killed by a scorpion before they knew what hit them, and it’d be all over.
In short, I think that by now, anyone that wants the original Phantasy Star already owns it. But if you’re curious and want to try an old-school RPG, I can’t recommend this game highly enough. Of course, that goes for the $20 Genesis Collection on the PS2 as well, or the $30 Sonic Collection on the 360, if you own those systems.
Now Sega, I have a deal for you: you release the Sega Ages versions of Phantasy Star I and II that you released in Japan years ago, the ones with the redone graphics and script, and I’ll shut the fuck up about your pathetic policy of spamming all of your decades-year old games and calling it success. Deal?
Mark B.: Woo Phantasy Star!
Y’know, I can actually remember, from start to finish, how to play through the entire game. I mean, I don’t remember the names of towns or the layouts of maps, and I think I might have forgotten where to find the Prism after all this time, but otherwise I can remember what you need to do from start to finish pretty vividly. Talk to everyone in the starting town until you get a Laconian Pot. Level Alis a bit until you earn at least 300 Meseta, then head of to the eastern coastal city and buy “Secrets” three times until you get a Roadpass. Head back to the main town and go to the spaceport, buy a Passport, then go to Motavia. Trade the pot to the shifty salesman who has the talking cat to get Myau. Head back to Palma, level Myau a bit. Buy a flashlight, go to the cave below town, use the Asulin to cure Odin’s petrification, find the compass, head to the forest to the east, level on Werebats for a bit, then talk to the guy in the town in the center of the forest. Head back to the home town, find the Dungeon Key…
Anyway, the game’s still impressive some twenty years (or thereabouts) later, and was one of the best looking 8-bit games PERIOD. The story is pretty solid, the gameplay is still interesting, and there’s a good twenty hours of game to be experienced here. The game is a bit archaic by today’s standards, but it more or less tells you where you need to go and what you need to do, so it’s easier to understand than many games from its generation, at least. It’s also hard as hell, and the last boss is a major nightmare in more ways than one.
I’m going to disagree with my compatriots on its availability, however; while the game HAS been re-released numerous times, these releases were exclusive to Japan in most cases, and in the US the only re-releases of the game amount to the GBA Phantasy Star Collection, which was buggy and crashed while saving at some points, and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. That’s it. It’s not on the PS2/PSP Sega Genesis Collection, unlike the other games in the series, which makes it a little less likely that you might have played it, and if you missed the GBA release and don’t own a 360 or a PS3, Phantasy Star is a worthwhile download.
Just, uh, make sure that you actually trade the merchant on Motavia the Laconian Pot to get Myau. Don’t do what I did and spend two weeks trying to earn the money, because the money counter doesn’t go up that high. Shut up, I was like eight.
And on Wii Ware, Tales from Monkey Island: Chapter 2 and 3-2-1, Rattle Battle!, which from its description sounds like the most stick waggling ever, for 1000 and 500 points, respectively. Choose wisely!
Tags: Virtual Console