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Phantasy Star II: The End of the Lost Age is the second game in Sega's long-running Phantasy Star series of science fiction/fantasy Eastern RPGs. This is the first entry in the series released for the Sega Genesis, and it is widely considered the most difficult. It was also hailed as the best RPG on the system, only unseated by Phantasy Star IV five years down the line.Phantasy Star II takes place a thousand years after the original Phantasy Star, and in the intervening centuries the people of the Algo(l) system mastered terraforming, using complex control systems to transform Mota(via), the original game's desert planet, into their breadbasket. But the normally automated control systems are starting to go haywire. Our protagonist, Rolf Landale, a government agent (and descendant of PS1 heroine Alis, as it happens,) is sent to investigate. Accompanied by his mysterious friend Nei, they find themselves caught up in a plot to destroy the entire solar system. They stop the plot, but not without great losses.Caution. It's nearly impossible to explain the plot without giving away spoileriffic details; even the titles of many of the tropes are spoilers. Therefore, UNMARKED SPOILERS ahead.You have been warned.
Provides Examples Of:
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. It turns out Mother Brain is working just fine. It's just working for the enemy.
Action Girl: Nei and Anna and, to a lesser extent, Amy and Shir.
Amazonian Beauty: Nei, particularly on the Japanese box art. She looks somewhat less muscular in-game.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: The presumed reason why Rolf and Nei look about 10 years older on the US box than anywhere in the game. Also the artwork is realistic-looking rather than the manga look of the Japanese box.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You have 8 playable characters, but can use no more than 4 at a time in your party, with the rest simply sitting around at Rolf's house when not in use. Notably, this is the only one of the original tetralogy to do this (with the minor exception of Phantasy Star IV's final dungeon).
Badass Normal: Rudo has no ability to use even the most trivial techniques. He does, however, have the strength to carry and wield a BFG and wear the heaviest armor, which makes him a more than qualified party member.
Covers Always Lie: The Japanese box art shows Nei with a BFG, while the American box art shows Rolf as the one with the gun. In-game, that's Rudo's specialty. Nei uses tiger claws, while Rolf is a swordsman.
Crutch Character: Nei levels twice as fast as anyone else, but only learns a handful of techniques compared to the others. This is so that she can carry the rest of the party until they're strong enough to go on by themselves... which, if you're careful about Level Grinding, should be just in time for her demise.
More than her leveling faster than the others (her stats are pretty crappy and she doesn't get too many techs), her equipment is ridiculously strong for the point in the game she gets them.
Darker and Edgier: This is the darkest game in the Phantasy Star quadrilogy, which is saying something. It started the Phantasy Star trend of Anyone Can Die, and it rather convincingly portrays a world that's on the edge of collapse while its citizens continue to while away their lives in a dying paradise. The game also features one hell of a Downer Ending (see below). Probably the darkest JRPG of the 16-bit era, only challenged by the Shin Megami Tensei games. Hell, it's possibly one of the darkest narratives in gaming history.
Debut Queue: Remember, every time you reach a new town, go back to Rolf's house. Someone will be waiting to join the party.
Difficulty Spike: While the game is already hard enough, things suddenly become much more difficult once you start facing robots in battle after completing roughly one-third of the game. Most of them hit harder and are much more resistant to damage than the biomonsters you were (finally) destroying with ease due to being sufficiently geared / leveled. The shops don't sell anything new, and you won't be coming across any new ones for quite a while, which means that your only resort is to find better upgrades in the dams. If this wasn't bad enough, it comes right after you've lost your heaviest-hitting character. Good luck.
And it further spikes once more when you first reach Dezoris about two-thirds through the game. The spaceport isn't too difficult, though rarely you may face a few powerful robot types there that you haven't previously. Once you step foot on the surface, you'll inevitably be confronted by biomonsters far higher in power than anything that was on Motavia. They are the easy ones... the dungeons have even more powerful biomonsters that are capable of decimating your party and often attack in groups, much like the Blaster example from very early in the game. Also, depending on where you are, robots may show up from time to time which have absurdly high HP and defense and can take a very long time to kill, but usually aren't as threatening as the biomonsters.
Doing In the Wizard: PSII replaces the vast majority of magical elements in PSI with science fiction; magic is replaced with Techniques that the manual describes with a heavy dose of Technobabble and may be Psychic Powers, resurrection at churches is replaced with Clone Labs, and all monsters on Motavia are either genetically engineered or robots. Dezoris retains some magical elements, but in general they're limited to the Espers and creatures under the influence of Dark Force.
Earthlings Are The Real Monsters: The Earthmen, true human beings from Earth, are all presented as the Outside Context Villains of the game. Though Darkforce was likely brainwashing them into the plan to destroy Algo, they still were forced to leave Earth because they destroyed its environment.
Fantastic Racism: Nei has to deal with this due to her being half human, half animal.
Flat Character: Pretty much all of the protagonists; the game was less concerned with Character Development than it was with just having them witness events. Generation 2 tries to reconcile this with more dialogue during plot events as well as a party talk option.
Forced Level Grinding: Good Lord, yes. You'll need to grind to around level 10 just for the first and second dungeons, and every character who joins you starts at level 1, no matter how far along in the game you are.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: When Nei is killed by Neifirst, Rolf tries to revive her at the clone labs, but is told "it only works on humans". Prior to this, if she dies in battle she can be revived there just like any other character.
Nobody cares to revive dead minor characters either. This includes male citizens of Anima and Darum and Tiem. They stay dead despite the clone shop is right down the town's corner, completely unharmed by the scoundrels' raid.
Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Mota's Biomonster problem is a result of an accident at the Biosystems Lab. Because of this, Motavian monsters tend to be giant-sized simple lifeforms, such as insects, worms, amoebae and bacterial colonies, with a few higher-animal splices and Cat Girls for flavoring. The exceptions, of course, are the two Artificial Humans who are the source of the problem.
Hello, Insert Name Here: All of the party members introduce themselves in Rolf's home and then offer to accept a nickname of your choice. Nei averts this, since she has to share a name scheme with Neifirst.
Just Before the End: As the subtitle indicates, this is the end of Algol's golden age. Palm is an ivory-tower world where the wealthy spend their lives in an idle paradise. Mota's great cities are equally idyllic, but the rest of the world is beginning to collapse into anarchy due to the breakdown of the Biosystems Lab and Climatrol, and space travel is forbidden. Later, Palm is destroyed when Mother Brain suddenly Colony Drops the Gaira satellite on it. Rolf and his party eventually have to destroy Mother Brain to save what's left of Algolian humanity, ending the technological Golden Age that she made possible and knocking technology back to a lower level than it had been in the PSI era. PSIV reveals that this event became known as the "Great Collapse", where roughly 90% of the population in Algo died because they didn't know how to take care of themselves after living so long under the control of a supercomputer.
Can be averted if you do a special quest in Phantasy Star Generations II. If you have just have the original however...
Killer Rabbit: The Rabbit enemies, obviously, fit this trope, though the sprite makes it clear that these rabbits (a Dezolian lifeform, to boot) are infested with something nasty.
Lethal Joke Character: Shir is widely regarded as useless in combat and only valuable for her stealing gimmick (which does provide some vital items, but is not something you bring along on an adventure), and since that gimmick is a hassle on Dezo, most players level her up to 10 to unlock the good steals and then forget about her. However, if you do level her up and keep her away from Dezo's shop fronts, her ability with offensive techniques comes to rival Rolf's. At the very highest level (far higher than almost anyone cares to grind, especially with Shir), she becomes the only character in the game to develop the brutally-powerful Nagra technique, which is a lower-powered and less-expensive rival to Rolf's Megid.
Live Item: Teim, after you rescue her from the Tower of Nido.
Mecha-Mooks: Once Rolf and his party are pursued by the Motavian government after blowing up Climatrol, enemy encounters turn exclusively into these. On Dezo, though, they share space with biological enemies and the minions of Dark Force.
Monster Lord: Neifirst is the humanoid master of the Biomonsters of Motavia, and by far the most powerful.
Nintendo Hard: This one is the most brutal in the main series in terms of difficulty. All characters you obtain start at level 1 with sucky stats and equipment and there's no Leaked Experience ever. Equipment is generally expensive. Enemies hit hard and their melee attacks never miss while your attacks (and spells) miss frequently. Except for hospitals, there's no way to replenish mana points, which you don't get a lot of in the first place. Enemies can ambush your party, but you can't ambush enemies. Later monsters tend to be resistant to non-gun melee attacks (meaning most of your characters can barely do double-digit damage to them) while their attacks can kill a character in a few strikes. And the dungeons are extremely complex, even if you have access to maps.
A slight correction: enemy attacks miss a lot, regardless of whether they're melee or a special attack. As the game progresses, though, they do miss less and less.
No Ending: The Earthlings who had been trying to destroy the world in the Bolivian Army Ending of PSII were never mentioned in PSIII or PSIV. It's stated in one of the Universe Bibles that Rolf's True Companions defeated the Earthlings, but for those of us outside Japan, there's no clue whatsoever whether they won, lost, or won a Pyrrhic Victory and died stopping them... Damn you, Sega!
Anyone who played PSIV probably figured out the Earthlings lost, since the Earthlings stated they'd build another Mother Brain, but that never happened.
Pyrrhic Victory: Almost every victory you obtain in the game is accompanied by a tragedy. End the biomonster infestation? You'll lose your closest friend in the process. Save Motavia from flooding? Palma becomes space dust. Pry Motavia from the corrupt supercomputer controlling it? Society will collapse as a result.
Rich Bitch: Her bio describes Shir as being "well-to-do," but she steals for fun and excitement.
However, Amy and Shir's best weapons are so weak that they're rendered obsolete by the time robots start showing up, which is also the point when you start finding equipment that can cast spells when used as items. It's more effective to stick a few of those in their inventory and equip them with two shields instead of weapons.
Shoot the Dog: Destroying Mother Brain, and incidentally destroying technological civilization throughout the Algo system.
Soiled City on a Hill: Algo's civilization became too dependent on Mother Brain, and the people grew fat and lazy in paradise. Mother Brain was destroyed and took civilization down with her.
A screen displaying the planets of the Algo system spell the names as Parma, Motabia, and Dezolis. This is also the only place in the game where the planets are referred to by their full names.
Spared by the Adaptation: One CAN save Nei in the Updated Re-releasePhantasy Star Generation 2 (Only in Japan), but it requires that you have a saved game from Phantasy Star Generation 1 after beating the final boss, get every discussion scene and to unlock absolutely every dialog in the game and saving and then playing again. This makes no change to the plot except for a single picture of her in the ending.
Stripperiffic: Nei's "battle teddy." In the Japanese box art, it shows a visible camel toe, even viewed from the side.
Terminally Dependent Society: Motavia's terraforming depends on Mother Brain, and in addition, robots make it so everyone can live in paradise. When she's destroyed, Motavia goes to hell. All of this was, of course, planned by the Earthlings who introduced her into the system in order to make Motavian society lethargic and weak.
Too Dumb to Live: Teim rushing out to meet her father Darum while still veiled; would it have killed her to take it off? Because it certainly killed her to leave it on.
Troll Bridge: Darum guards the North Bridge and won't let anyone pass if they don't pay him; doing so is not an option. note This is explained in-universe as a result of Darum's having tried to kill Nei prior to the beginning of the story, possibly due to the Fantastic Racism example listed above. Your only choice is to rescue his daughter Teim.
Underground Monkey: Every non-boss enemy comes in several varieties. Most are strictly Palette Swaps with different stats, with one exception: the "Carrier" and "Mushroom" monsters' upgrade, Head Rot, is a Carrier with a Mushroom infesting its head.