Phantasy Star (SMS)

Phantasy Star Box Art

Phantasy Star

System: SMS

Release Date: November 1988

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: RPG

Next up, we have the beginning of Sega’s long running RPG saga, Phantasy Star! I’ve started this game over a half dozen times over the past 20 years or so. I honestly don’t remember if I’ve ever beaten it, but I put about eight hours into it again and think I got myself stuck by accident. I didn’t relish possibly starting over, so we’ll leave it here.

You are Alis and the story begins with your brother having been mortally wounded by the minions of the evil King Lassic. He tells you to search out Odin to put an end to Lassic’s tyranny. Once you enter the wilderness, you find you’re pretty weak and can’t last long between trips back to town to rest. The beginning of the game is very grind heavy, because you need mesetas to buy what you need to move forward with the game and begin hopping planets.

There are three planets in all that you will travel to, Palma, the temperate Earth-like planet; Moravia, the desert planet; and Dezoris, the ice world. I had reached the point of being able to fly to Dezoris, but I used the Fly spell and got myself trapped in Paseo on Moravia. The guards would confiscate my passport and I know of no way back to Uzo.

You’re mainly hamstrung by equipment upgrades. Earning money should be your number one priority, which comes with experience points for levels. Leveling is important, just like in any RPG. You collect clues on what to do next from citizens in towns and then find your way to dungeons to find items you need to move the plot forward.

I had created my own maps of the dungeons, forsaking the lure of using GameFAQs. I even got myself a sweet graph paper notebook so I could create maps through the years. Battles are pretty simple. You can attack, talk (to a select few enemies), and run. Attacking can be of the physical sort or of the magical sort. I received the Fire spell with Alis and the Wind spell with Noah. You are also joined by the sentient cat Myau, and the warrior Odin. The game becomes more interesting when you gain the extra party members, but then you also have to deal with more enemies.

Graphics: 3.0

I like the graphics, they are fairly well detailed.

Sound: 3.5

The music is very good. Not perfect, but quite good.

Gameplay: 2.5

Typical JRPG gameplay. Not very deep, yet, but decent.

Difficulty: 2.5

The game is dependent on grinding and mapping. If you have the patience, it’s not hard.

Fun Factor: 2.0

Look, I was enjoying the mapping, but getting trapped by an errant spell sucks.

Overall Grade: 2.7

Phantasy Star earns a B-. It’s a solid RPG. I recommend giving it a shot.

Phantasy Star Video Review on YouTube