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Phantasy Star Reviewed by Chip McGee on . Rating: 85%
Phantasy Star
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Every hardcore RPG gamer should be aware of the fact that role-playing games have had to come a long way to earn the respect that they now enjoy. In a world over populated by the graphicsstory-driven epics that the Final Fantasy series has portrayed lies an underdog title that was helped push the boundaries as to what the RPG brand name stands for today. Phantasy Star is the real reason as to why I smile at the modern-day requirements of the standard over budget, voice-acted tear jerker we are now accustomed to. Quite frankly this wasn't the game that started the role-playing phenomenon; it just helped define what it would become.

The story begins in a whole new universe known as the Algol Solar System. Three different planets inhabit this system One similar to earth (Palma), one covered in sand (Motavia), and last one blasted in ice. The story begins on Palma sometime a long time into the future. The opening scene you find young Nero lying on the pavement bleeding to death. Nero had apparently ticked off the royal bad guy (Lassic) by trying to end his rule as a dominating entity in the Algol system. Nero's last words to Alis is to find this man named Odin and use a stone-dissolving potion to help you defeat the evil and restore peace to the universe. Ok, fair enough ... but why didn't we do this in the first place Psh ? men. Yeah, Odin was the backup plan in case I sucked at fighting ... well ok here's all you need to know sis. I'm dead ... your turn ... LOVE YA!

Ok all joking aside, the aspects of the game play are simple. You control Alis with the standard 8 directional two-button controller as you navigate through the towns as well as the world-map. You'll have to face many perils in your quest for vengeance. Scavenger hunt for treasures, fight monsters to build up experience and Mesta (money) and find three other teammates - Esper (Noah) Dolph Lundgren of Rocky IV fame (Odin) and a talking cat that will fly you to final conflict after you find his nuts (Not kidding). Standard RPG elements include Attack, Skills, Items, Defend and Run. You will constantly have to travel back and forth from town to the world map to collect your burgers and colas for healing purposes (irony) and eventually upgrade your weapons and armor to tackle bigger and badder foes. On the world map there is freedom in movement, however in a town you'll have to stick to the designated walkways. There are shops for weapons and items (you'll have to decipher which is which) as well as little egg-shaped future homes that kind of look like those padded cells at nut-houses when you walk inside them. Sega was even kind enough to realize some towns are not up to par with current trends of etiquette housing and went ahead and threw in a ghetto-Ville or two. All of the people you encounter are pretty stiff until you actually bump into them ... then they're BIGGER STIFFS! (Most even cross their arms as if they only exist to assist you.) The most unique feature on here would be the animated battle scenes. There is a huge list of monsters you will encounter during game play. Also you have three different types of travel you will be able to access throughout the game including a Land rover, Hovercraft and your own Spaceship!

Now moving on with the graphics, this title was very impressive at the time of its debut. It was very smart move for Sega to go that extra step to provide full-blown features and provide faces to the individuals you spoke with. It gave life to the communities, even though there are redundant environments, at that time that was just unspeakable and way too cool. What even blows me away to this day is that this was among the few handful of games to utilize the 3D dungeon exploration feature. Sure most of the dungeons are only colored bricks, and yes the pitfalls are so annoying (so say some, I however like to see people suffer) but it always feels like there is something new to discover within the contents of it. Also I shouldn't neglect to mention that it was one of the earlier games that provided ... cut scenes! They are cheap, but effective! (Did I mention the animated battle scenes).

The sound and music on this game are equally appealing. The melodies ring in your ears with no sense of nauseating, but rather stimulate your experience. The attacks feel forceful and the dodges make you squeal on both ends (hit or miss it's quite engaging). Melodies will make you hum also they interact well with your environment no matter what part of the solar system the music will always have it's place. All sounds on here are effective in breathing life into this universe.

Overall this game is a must have for all Master System fanboys and girls. Its innovative concepts are a true foundation to the standard role-playing game setting of today's overblown epics. In any case of the matter, I would love to pop in this game re-experience the joys of 8-bit glory heaven. Nuts included!
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