Video Game: Phantasy Star I
Alis, ready for action.
The first game in the Phantasy Star
series was Sega's answer to Dragon Quest
for their Sega Master System
, and with a heavy Sci-Fi
It tells the story of Alis Landale, a young woman seeking to avenge the death of her brother at the hands of the corrupt ruler
Lassic. However, as Alis gains allies and seeks out legendary weapons needed to destroy Lassic, it soon becomes apparent that there is a secret power behind Lassic, one that is already working on finding a new pawn in the events Lassic is defeated.
The original Phantasy Star is notable for a couple of reasons:
- It debuted in America before Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.
- It featured animated enemy sprites and used photos of characters along with text boxs to tell the story
- It featured 3D dungeons (dropped from later games)
- It's one of the most difficult games ever made.
Probably the single greatest legacy left by this entry was the fact that it was one of the very earliest games to feature a lead heroine
(as noted below in the Action Girl
entry - Alis is right up there with Chun Li
). Furthermore, hers wasn't a quest driven by the need to explore, follow a heroic love interest, or treasure hunting... hers was a quest driven by straight up vengeance
. She could still serve to hand out some lessons to RPG heroines today.
Not to be confused with Fantasy Zone
, another Sega Master System
Provides Examples Of:
- Action Girl: Seeing as this has been around since the start of both Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy - Alis is one of the earliest female heroines of gaming, alongside Chun Li and Samus Aran.
- American Kirby Is Hard Core: The Japanese box art◊ vs. the American one◊. A standard group shot is changed into an action shot and Myau looks like a completely different creature.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Laconian Axe. Statistically, it is the most powerful weapon in the game and is capable of doing heavy damage, especially when combined with Myau's Help spell. In reality, it is often less useful than the Laser Gun, which does a fixed 20 points of defense-ignoring damage and also targets all enemies. Against high defense enemies (including the final bosses), you will on average do more damage with the gun than the axe.
- Another note is that the Laser Gun can't be dodged while the Laconian Axe can.
- Noah's Thunder spell is really only useful against very large groups of enemies since it targets every one. Otherwise it's a very expensive spell (16 MP) that doesn't always do much more than the 20 damage Odin does with his Laser Gun.
- Bag of Holding: Alis & Co. somehow manage to lug around three tank-sized vehicles by the end of the game.
- Bishōnen: Noah, which probably led to the Ambiguous Gender translation errors.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: It does run into this sort of problem occasionally, being an 80s game. In addition to the gender confusion concerning Noah, we got the classic "I tell you no one can do!"
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: An NPC will ask if you like Sega games. If the players selects no, the NPC asks why you've played the game this far.
- But Thou Must: When you finally confront Lassic, he asks you if you really want to kill an old man like him. Answering "no" causes him to become insulted and commence the fight anyway.
- And your party loses initiative for the first round. No small thing in a boss fight in a game that involves a lot of defensive spells you want to cast ASAP.
- Averted in the confrontation with Doc Mad. He asks you to hand over Myau. If you say "no" he gets angry and fights you. If you say "yes" he gleefully kills Myau and attacks you anyway. The bastard.
- Cash Gate: At the beginning, you need to collect 200 meseta for a road pass, then an additional 100 for a passport. You also need to upgrade your starting equipment to fight anything other than monsters just outside the city's exit.
- Chokepoint Geography: Much of Dezoris requires you to go through dungeons to get between areas.
- Credits Gag: Story by April Fool.
- Cultural Translation: In the English version, the healing items "Perolimate" and "Ruoginin" were respectively translated as "Burger" and "Cola". As it turns out, "Perolimate" is a play on a Japanese energy supplement product called "CalorieMate."
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: All the dungeons.
- Degraded Boss: Every boss except Doc Mad, Saccubus, Medusa, Lassic's Shadow, Lassic and Dark Falz reappear as common enemies.
- Deadly Gas:There is an area of Motavia surrounded by poisonous gas, and a gas shield is necessary for reaching the village at its centre.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: The Air Castle.
- Dub Name Change: Of the main characters, Alissa/Alyssa became Alis, Tylon/Tyrone became Odin, Lutz became Noah, and LaShiec became Lassic. (Only Myau remains the same.) In addition, most of the monster and spell names were changed to fit size restrictions.
- Dumb Muscle: Odin, apparently. In addition to the What an Idiot entry, he's the only character unable to use magic.
- Dungeon Shop: There's a few.
- Early Installment Weirdness: First-person dungeons, for one thing. Also, the iconic Newmans hadn't come about yet, and plain magic is used instead of techniques.
- Elemental Powers
- Escape Rope: The Myau's "Exit" spell allows escaping from a dungeon, while Alys' "Fly" spell returns you to the last church you visited when cast in a city or the surface (even travelling across planets to do so). This becomes odd in Skure, which is an underground city where Exit is not available, while Fly may be cast. Neither is usable in combat, but there's still an escape combat spell.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: After Dark Force is defeated Alis is very suddenly and undramaticly revealed to be the daughter to the former king of the Algol star system and the rightful ruler. Whether or not she assumes this position is up to you.
- Faux First-Person 3D
- Forced Level Grinding: All of the "good" armor needed to survive battle cost an arm and a leg. Then there's the fact that there are a ton of essential vehicle items that cost as much as Alis's ultimate armor (15,000 meseta).
- In a more literal sense of level grinding, Noah needs to learn the Open spell for the party to even reach the final area.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Laser Gun
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Dark Force's role as the final boss.
- Give Me Your Inventory Item: The beggars.
- Go Wait Outside: When constructing the spaceship, you are asked to have patience. The event takes as long as it takes the player to bug Luveno three times. He's always done on the third visit no matter how much time has passed.
- Green Hill Zone: Palma.
- Guide Dang It: Much of the game requires a guide to get through with ease, especially some of the longer and harder mazes.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The team rest at the Mayor's manor and gets attacked by a strange floating mask that one shots your party. But it was All Just a Dream.
- Meaningful Name: In the Japanese version the creature is called Nightmare.
- With a moderate amount of grinding it is possible to defeat it, but the rewards aren't even close to worth it.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Every monster carries with them a treasure chest for some reason.
- Informed Attribute: Despite being considered a great, powerful warrior, Odin has the worst stats in the game.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The game is full of them, though only the Eppi Forest involves a physical obstacle (the team needs a compass to walk through it). Nearly every other example is an in-game "flag" that must be met in order find the object or pathway. For example, a man in a town tell Alis about where she can find the dungeon key. If the player tries to go there before talking to the man, the chest with the key won't appear.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Myau is pronounced like "meow", thus making it a Punny Name.
- It's Personal: Alis' quest to destroy Lassic starts with the death of her brother Nero.
- Japanese Ranguage: In this world, Fast Food Shops are called "First Food Shops".
- Kick the Dog: Doc Mad's "experiment" on Myau.
- Laser Blade: The Lightsaber.
- Last Breath Bullet: With his last strength Lassic transforms the Governor of Motavia into Dark Force.
- Only in the English translation. In the Japanese it's unclear just where Dark Force came from.
- Laughing Mad: Doc Mad if you allow him to kill Myau.
- Levels Take Flight: Lassic's castle.
- Locked Door: You need a key to open most later you need a spell.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Myau the musk cat to Odin (and Alis).
- Mad Scientist: The appropriately named Dr. Mad.
- Marathon Level: Baya Malay Tower is the biggest and most complicated dungeon in the game, with many dead ends and looping corridors to get hopelessly lost in while tough monsters whittle down your party's HP and MP. You have to find an absolutely essential item (Crystal) in Baya Malay Tower, as without the crystal, Lassic's lightning attack will kill your party dead in one blast. Making things worse, is that if you clear the item, you go straight to the Air Castle directly after it with no hospital or inn nearby to heal, before embarking on a second marathon dungeon crawl to get to Lassic, who is tough as nails to fight.
- The general accepted strategy for Baya Malay is to go get the crystal, then escape and heal then go to the top of the tower to get to the air castle and fight Lassic. This way, you can save after getting the crystal and not have to worry about crawling through all of Baya Malay Tower
- Magic Knight: Alis, though she's more knight than magic.
- Mini Dress Of Power: Alis
- Nintendo Hard: The grinding, enemy strength, did I mention all level and cash grinding?
- Ominous Floating Castle: Lassic's invisible floating castle.
- Palette Swap: Beyond just the enemies, the game's dungeons are all palette swaps of each other as well.
- Most likely meant to be Foreshadowing with Succubus/Nightmare and Dark Force.
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Fishmen enemy near the coast lines are very useful when you need to grind for money and experience.
- Pink Means Feminine: Alis's dress is pink. Although she does wear armor over it. And in this context, can even overlap with Red Is Heroic.
- Random Encounters: These encounters also include potential non-hostiles, where you can end/skip combat just by talking.
- Revenge: Alis' motivation is to avenger her brother's death.
- Saintly Church: The churches provide the party with resurrections and as a destination for Alis' Warp Whistle.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: The most common are capping the characters' levels or beating the game without Laconian items.
- Remake Difficulty Drop: Its remake is a lot less difficult than the original version. Exploring the many dungeons is also made significantly easier by the addition of an 'Atlas'-item, which helps a lot, despite the fact that it's only temporary and lasts for about 100 steps.
- She's a Man in Japan:
Lutz Noah was referred to as both a "he" and a "she" in the English version, apparently by accident.
- This is fixed in the Game Boy Advance version where he's always referred to as male.
- Shifting Sand Land: Motavia.
- Shout-Out: One of the swords in the game is a lightsaber.
- The game references Perseus' battle with Medusa. In the Japanese, the Mirror Shield is even called the Perseus Shield.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Dezoris.
- Somewhat subverted in that there isn't any movement difficulty.
- Squishy Wizard: Be prepared to heal Noah. A lot.
- Noah is actually an interesting case here. He has the highest base defense in the game and barely ranks 3rd when equipment is included (Odin beats him by one point). However, he does have only the 3rd-highest HP total, and he only hold that by three points.
- Talking Animal: Myau.
- A few of the monsters as well, though sometimes you need to use magic to understand each other.
- There Are No Tents: If you want to heal you have to trek back to the nearest town and visit a hospital or inn.
- Trauma Inn: Normally averted as you need to visit hospitals to heal you character... Or just spend a night at Suelo's to heal everyone for free!
- Useless Useful Spell: The Wall and Protect ("Prot") spells are pretty useless since they never work on enemies strong enough to make the player want to use them (with the exception of Doc Mad).
- Unwinnable by Design: You cannot defeat Lassic without first getting a special item to boost your defenses. Try it without he'll quickly one shot your party.
- It's the same story with Medusa.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential / Video Game Caring Potential: You can chose if you want to give up Myau to Dr. Mad or not.
- You Killed My Father: Or Brother in this case the whole point for Alis' revenge against Lassic.
- Zombie Puke Attack: One Ghoul attack.