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Video Game / Phantasy Star I

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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 twist.

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 was also released in Europe well before either of those franchises made their debuts there.
  • It featured animated enemy sprites, used photos of characters along with text boxes to tell the story, and had rich full-screen battle backgrounds.
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  • It featured 3D dungeons (dropped from later games), a first for console RPGs.
  • It was one of the earliest games to feature a lead heroine — as noted below in the Action Girl entry, Alis is right up there with Chun Li and Samus.

The game was later remade for the PlayStation 2 as Phantasy Star Generation 1, which prominently features updated visuals with a vastly expanded story and content alongside a remixed (and polarizing) soundtrack. It was released alongside the remake of its sequel, but it unfortunately both games failed to see the light of day outside of Japan. Curiously, out of the entire tetralogy, Phantasy Star I tends to get skipped over for re-releases, but was later upgraded into an Updated Re-release on the Nintendo Switch under SEGA and M3's SEGA AGES banner.

Not to be confused with Fantasy Zone, another Sega Master System game.


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.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Both its Video Game Remake and Updated Re-release (on the Nintendo Switch) incoporate an auto-mapping feature; the former featured a limited-use item that would map the dungeon for 100 steps, while the latter features it as a permanent part of the UI that can be toggled, saving the player the trouble of having to draw his own maps.
  • 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:
    • Being an early game translation effort from the 80s, it runs into more than a few problems. In addition to the gender confusion concerning Noah, and weird enemy name changes such as "Devil Eye" becoming "Owl Bear" (despite having nothing to do with owls or bears), we got the classic "I tell you no one can do!"
    • A particularly egregious mistranslation was Nightmare becoming "Saccubus", despite having nothing to do with succubi.
    • The Brazilian translation mistook "Lassic's affairs" in the intro for romantic affairs. A literal translation back to English would be:
      "Don't speculate around Lassic's romance! Learn this lesson!"
  • 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.
  • Broken Bridge: 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.
  • 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.
    • Seen 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 "PelorieMate" and "Ruoginin" were respectively translated as "Burger" and "Cola". As it turns out, "PelorieMate" is a play on a Japanese energy supplement product called "CalorieMate".
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: All the caves and dungeons use the same corridor assets, only recolored to match the world or environment. This is justified by the devs privileging smoothness as well as limited space, even considering the large cartridge space for the time.
  • 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.
  • Degraded Boss: Every boss except Doc Mad, Saccubus, Medusa, Lassic's Shadow, Lassic and Dark Falz reappear as common enemies.
  • Developers' Foresight: If Myau dies during the aerial battle against the Gold Dragon, the battle immediately ends in a game over because you were riding him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Lassic.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Air Castle.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Of the main characters, Alisa/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.
    • Dark Phallus became Dark Falz.
  • 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. Notably, one of the ones on Palma is a (expensive!) bakery, where you must buy a cake and bring it to a security robot on Motavia. The baker actually lampshades how ridiculous it is.
    "I'm sorry I have a shop in such a such a place. Shortcake for 1000 mesetas!"note 
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After destroying both Lassic and Dark Falz, the Algol star system returns to normal with Alis and Co. hailed as heroes!
  • Elemental Powers
  • Energy Weapon: The Laser Gun.
  • Escape Battle Technique: There is a spell that Alis can learn called "Bye." This allows the party to instantly escape from a particular encounter. If there is a spare "wand" item in the player's inventory that can be used to instantly escape battle as well. The wand is reusable, rendering the bye spell obsolete if a spare wand is obtained.
  • Escape Rope: The Myau's "Exit" spell allows escaping from a dungeon. The "Exit" spell is not usable in combat, but there's still an escape combat spell. There is also a flute item that functions like the exit spell. The flute is reusable, rendering the exit spell obsolete once the flute is obtained.
  • Fake Difficulty: Not being able to choose your target when there's a group of enemies tends to spread out damage evenly, meaning you'll be taking a lot more than you normally should.
  • Faux First-Person 3D: The game only shows the corridor directly ahead. The dungeons may seem animated on turns, but it's a fakery: The turning animation only shows a corridor until it finishes, then properly renders the corridor having branches and ending walls pop-in.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: The gun weapons all deal a fixed amount of damage, and target all enemies at once instead of only a single, random one.
  • 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).
  • Flat Character: As was the norm in JRPGs of the time, none of the characters get any character development.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Dark Falz'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!:
    • Due to the game's shoddy translation (it was the 80s after all), a lot of the clues and hints given by NPCs are more obtuse or misleading than they should be.
    • The final boss is hidden behind a secret door in one of the walls with no prior hint, other than Red Dragons occasionally telling the player about the existence of hidden doors in dungeons if the player uses Telepathy.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The team rest at the Mayor's manor and gets attacked by a strange floating mask (which turns out to actually be Dark Falz's head) that one shots your party. But it was All Just a Dream. 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.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Laconian equipment, which have the best stats in the game. Although the Laconian Axe is arguably not entirely worth it.
  • Informed Attribute: Despite being considered a great, powerful warrior, Odin has the worst stats in the game.
  • 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".
    • "Myau flaps his wings ploudly."
  • 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 Dak Falz.
    • Only in the English translation. In the Japanese it's unclear just where Dark Falz 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.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Played straight, focusing on Human Aliens living in the Algol System in the Andromeda Galaxy. Phantasy Star II has humans invading from Earth.
  • 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.
  • Magic Knight: Alis, though she's more knight than magic.
  • Meaningful Name: In the Japanese version, the floating mask that attacks the team during a dream is called Nightmare.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Alis.
  • Money Grinding: You'll have to outright buy things to advance. If you don't have the cash, guess what? The updated versions increased the amount of cash dropped by monsters for this reason.
  • Monster Compendium: The Switch version comes with a new Monster Codex feature, which is filled out as you encounter enemies in the game. The Codex shows Flavor Text for each monster and details stats and drops for all of them.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even the starting enemies will kick your butt until you grind enough.
  • 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 Falz.
  • 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' dress and hairband are, as you'll note above, quite pink (and consistently so in-game). She wears a non-pink breastplate over her dress, but the whole ensemble is both unambiguously feminine and quite awesome.
  • Random Encounters: These encounters also include potential non-hostiles, where you can end/skip combat just by talking.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: After Dark Falz is defeated and dies, Alis is 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.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The game is basically your standard fantasy RPG in space.
  • 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.
  • 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. Oddly, this fix isn't used for the Switch port, bringing this issue back.
  • 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: Noah is an interesting case. 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!
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • If your inventory is full, you're given the option to discard an item if you find another in a chest. If you decline to make room for a plot-important item, however, it will disappear and you will be left unable to finish the game.
    • In the endgame, after you defeat Lassic, you need to use the Fly spell or a Transer item to leave the castle and return to the surface of Palma. If you have no Transers, and you don't have enough MP to cast Fly, you'll be stuck on Lassic's castle.
  • 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.
    • Medusa will wipe your party on the first turn if you do not have the Mirror Shield. It is possible to kill her without the Mirror Shieldnote , but it's insanely challenging and you have to go far out of your way to accomplish it.
  • Updated Re-release: SEGA AGES Phantasy Star for the Nintendo Switch. It features Ages Mode, which allows you to toggle on most of the difficulty-reducing modifications added in the SEGA Saturn release simultaneously, a Monster Codex, auto-mapping for dungeons as an Anti-Frustration Feature, and an exhaustive glossary detailing every item and ability in the game. There is also an FM Sound Unit that lets you listen to the game's music, and the Japanese version also includes the Hiragana text option that originally appeared in Phantasy Star Collection.
  • 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).
    • They can be fairly useful during regular encounters with lots of decently strengthed enemies. They can allow the party to avoid a lot of damage if they're lucky enough for it to last many turns.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can choose to give up Myau to Dr. Mad, who is known for killing animals with his inhumane experiments.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you actually do give up Myau to Dr. Mad, he kills Myau, then attacks anyway and gets initiative to boot.
  • Warp Whistle: Alis' "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). There are also items called "transfers" which function just like the "Fly" spell.
  • You Killed My Father: Or Brother in this case, the whole point for Alis' revenge against Lassic.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: The attack animation of the Zombie/Ghoul/Batalion enemies.