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Video Game / Phantasy Star Online

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Phantasy Star Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Action RPG released for the Sega Dreamcast, then for the PC, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube that carries on the legacy of the Phantasy Star franchise.

This story seems to take place a very long time after the original tetralogy. The story begins with a planet called Coral, whose environment has been destroyed due to a prolonged period of warfare. Seeing no other hope for survival, the nations of Coral band together and plan a mass-exodus to a new homeworld in space.

Their first colony ship (Pioneer 1) discovers an ideal planet called Ragol, and begins preparations for the colonization. One year later, the second colony ship (Pioneer 2) arrives in orbit around Ragol. However, just as they establish contact, a mysterious explosion on the planet's surface engulfs Pioneer 1. The player, a government-approved mercenary known as a Hunter, is sent down to the surface by Pioneer 2 to piece together what happened.


Phantasy Star Online comes in four episodes. Episode I is concerned with the efforts of Pioneer 2 in discovering the truth behind the mysterious explosion. To do this, the player must follow in the footsteps of Red Ring Rico, a famous Pioneer 1 Hunter who is also looking for answers. It soon becomes apparent that Ragol is not as safe as Pioneer 2 was led to believe, and that the people of Pioneer 1 were involved in some very questionable activities in their "colonisation" of Ragol.

Episode II has the player work for the Lab, a scientific arm of the Pioneer 2 government. After passing some virtual-reality evaluation, the Lab tasks the player with investigating a secret laboratory that was recently discovered on Ragol's surface. This episode deals further with the dark activities of Pioneer 1, and involves a veteran Hunter called Heathcliff Flowen who fought alongside Rico.


Episode III is a Card Battle Game sequel exclusive to the Gamecube. Set 20 years after Episode II, it's about two rival groups- the government-approved Hunters and the rebellious Arkz faction- and their battle for control over the revolutionary C.A.R.D. (Compressed Alternate Reality Data) technology as humanity finally prepares Ragol for colonization.

Episode IV, featured in the PC-only version Blue Burst, is set in-between Episodes II and III. It concerns the efforts of the Hunters to discover the secrets behind a mysterious meteor which suddenly changed course in space to crash on the surface of Ragol.

All versions of Phantasy Star Online have had their online mode servers shut down. Sega had initially set up international servers for Blue Burst, but these were shut down on March 31st, 2008. The Japanese servers went down on December 27, 2010. You can play PSO on a private server, with several fan-created efforts out on the net to try in this regard.

See Phantasy Star for the original tetralogy. It was later followed by two Spiritual Successor series of its own, Phantasy Star Universe and Phantasy Star Online 2, both of which are inspired by Online but not directly related to it.

Has a character sheet under construction.

The Phantasy Star Online sub-series includes:

  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2
  • Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II
  • Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution
  • Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus
  • Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst (includes Episode IV)
  • ... and possibly one other: Phantasy Star Zero.

Phantasy Star Online provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: The Underwater Base and the Gal Da Val Labnote  in Episode II.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: One of the worst offenders amongst MMOs. The highest level cap in all editions except the original is 200, which doesn't sound too bad except it requires just over 82 million experience points in a game where the enemies in the last dungeon on the highest difficulty give about 350 XP (in Episode I anyways - Episodes II and IV really crank things up by going all the way to... 450) and bosses cap out around 50k. Oh, and virtually all the game's content is perfectly beatable if you're at least level 130 (at which point you're not even 10% of the way to the cap going by experience points). The last levels are almost exclusively for bragging rights, since your stat growth almost completely flatlines for the last 20 levels or so and the level up requirements get truly ridiculous thanks to the exponential XP requirements (to give an idea of just how bad it is, the character passes the halfway point for experience at level 182).
    • Taken to even greater extremes by Episode III, which allows you to reach level 999.
  • Action Girl: Red Ring Rico.
    • The player themselves can make action girls by creating a female character.
  • A.I. Breaker: Enemies will not pursue you through doors, and will only ever take a straight line to you. This means that characters with ranged attacks can attack with impunity. This can backfire badly in the Mines, as the basic Gilchic enemies can return fire, and due to a bug the Sinow series can occasionally follow you through doorways.
  • Antidote Effect: Zig-Zagged. Antidotes are more or less useless, since poison deals little damage, is generally easy to avoid, and all characters either gain access to a tech that heals it at Tech Level 1 almost immediately, or are just flat-out immune to poison. However, Antiparalysis and Sol Atomizers can be a bit more useful, as they can heal Paralysis and, in the case of the latter, Shock - two status effects which can be crippling and which cannot otherwise be self-healed. However, high level characters often get access to Cure/Status armour slots, which render that character immune to certain status effects.
    • This also tends to be true of healing items. Aside from Androids (which cannot cast Techs), all characters quickly gain access to Resta, which can be used far more readily than healing items and costs almost no money to recharge. However, at high levels, Trimates and Star Atomizers remain useful for the fact that they heal instantly and cannot be cancelled by an enemy attack; although the casting time for Resta is very short, it does exist and if the player is surrounded, healing items can prove to be the difference between life and death.
  • Apocalyptic Log: In Phantasy Star Online, Red Ring Rico's log goes from helpful tutorial to an increasingly depressing Apocalyptic Log as the game progresses. Heathcliff Flowen pens his own in Episode II.
  • Arc Words: Sort of- several boss themes (usually Final Boss themes) have names with "IDOLA" in them. This has led some to believe that an Episode IV boss, Shambertin, is the True Final Boss for that episode; His theme is "IDOLA-The Fanatic Viper".
  • Art Evolution: PSO brought with it a major shift in the art style for the Phantasy Star series; the games of the tetralogy tended more toward a generic anime style evocative of the late Eighties and early Nineties, not counting the Generations remakes.
  • Asteroids Monster: Hitting one of the Slime enemies with either the third hit of a combo or an ice-element technique that doesn't successfully freeze it causes it to split into two. Since the Poufilly Slimes have a rare variant, this makes it essential for farming.
  • The Atoner: Ino'lis in Episode III after she inadvertently causes the death of her crush.
  • Auto-Revive: Scape Dolls and the Ragol Ring
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Dark Flow. It's a BFS, it looks awesome, and it has the highest attack power of any sword in the game. Unfortunately, it cannot combo, which makes it a poor weapon, and it is impossible to obtain legitimately (private servers often include "A New Hope", a teeth-grindingly difficult online single-player quest that offers it as a reward if the player completes the quest without dying).
    • Megid and almost all Instant Death Weapons. Being able to kill an enemy in one stroke seems awesome; regrettably, most enemies are highly resistant or completely immune to instant death effects, heavily limiting the usefulness of such weapons.
    • The Maser Beam is an awesome BFG Lightning Gun that looks like it should be able to wipe out half a room in one shot. Unfortunately, all it does is spit out a low-level Gizonde at the painfully-slow firing speed of a Launcher, making it almost completely useless.
  • Battle Baton: Wand-type weapons are based on batons (with one tier of weapons explicitly called Baton). Their animation tends to be a bit spinnier than most weapons.
  • Battle Boomerang: Slicer weapons look like giant boomerangs, and are used in a throwing motion, but they instead form and fire off boomerang-shaped photon blades that bounce from target to target and don't come back.
  • BFG: The Ranger-exclusive Shot and Launcher weapons classes.
  • BFS: The reasonably-sized bladed implement is called a Saber. The Sword class of weapons is as long as most characters are tall, and is built for cleaving through multiple enemies per attack.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pretty much every single Episode. Episode 1 ends with the player defeating the Dark Falz and setting Red Ring Rico's spirit free, however this still means that Rico died due to the possession and you never actually find out what happened to the people of Pioneer 1 but it's suggested they're all dead. Episode 2 has a repeat with the player defeating Olga Flow and freeing Heathcliff Flowen's spirit, but once again killing the innocent host and leaving with no real answers to anything. Episode 3 only makes it worse by revealing that the players really were defeating the Falz and Flow over and over again, making them strong enough to escape their bonds and wreak havoc on the universe had Rico and Flowen not pulled a Heroic Sacrifice. However it does end with Pioneer 2 finally getting ready to colonize Ragol after 50 years. Episode 4 is about the only story to have a somewhat happy ending since none of the main characters die. Damn.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Partisan class of weapons, of course.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Zig-zagged. Most of the original game has an acceptable translation, though there are some sketchy parts and the game was quite clearly written in a different language. However, once you go online, you'll find plenty of quests rife with obvious grammar errors, poorly stated directions, and clues that were meant to be cryptic but are just flat-out useless thanks to how nonsensical they are.
  • Blood Knight: Kireek, the iconic "default" HUcast.
  • Body Horror: Victims of D-Cell infection slowly and painfully become warped beings that are clearly not human anymore. In episode III, there are also Pollux and Castor, the boss fights of the light and dark route respectively. While both look human, each of them has a grotesequely deformed, weaponized arm along with other anomalies, such as the former having a weird, pulsing membrane on her stomach. They are the result of the germ being used to create living weapons from test subjects. They are also the penultimate manifestation of the Great Shadow.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The East and West Towers, packed full with the Control Area's minibosses and a few exclusive monsters, culminating with Epsilon, a monster that gives some bosses a run for it's money.
  • Boring, but Practical: Master's/Lord's/King's rifles, particularly with android characters. Each successful special attack with these weapons nets the user a set amount of XP (capping out at 80 XP per hit in Ultimate). This means a successful combo nets the bearer 240 XP, roughly equivalent to the XP awarded for killing a normal enemy. Standing and blazing away at a helpless Recobox or Ob Lily with a Master's Rifle is extremely tedious, but it's also the fastest way for mid-to-high level characters to gain XP in single player.
    • The Black King Bar. In a game that has a lot of awesome looking weapons, the Black King Bar is just a featureless black, extendable staff. It is, however, the best double saber in the game, one of the best weapons overall, and is relatively easy to get compared to most of the other "ultimate" weapons.
    • Photon Drops, assuming you're online. On the one hand, that shiny rare drop wasn't the loot you were hoping for; on the other hand, Photon Drops can be used to buff up existing weapons and significantly improve their effectiveness.
    • The Yasminkof line of rare Ranger weapons. Higher than normal stats and improved range, but lack any special.
    • The Yellowboze Section ID has only three exclusive drops, all of which are unimpressive, but it drops all weapons with the same frequency as well as having the most amount of rares and (before Blue Burst) had a 3% to get Hit% instead of the standard 1%. As such, it's always a safe option for anyone offline and provides good trade opportunities online.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The Ill Gill. They don't look particularly threatening - just a black humanoid with a Sinister Scythe. However, their DEF and EVP are through the roof (to the point where characters who can handle everything else in the Control Tower may be reduced to Scratch Damage against them), they can root you to the floor if they get close enough (and it's a non-standard status effect, meaning Anti and Sol Atomizers do nothing), and their scythes do significant damage and may inflict shock, freeze, or instant death. Oh, and once their health gets low, they Turn Red and begin zipping across the screen with a devastating charge attack.
  • Boss Rush: The online quests Towards The Future and Respective Tomorrow, for episodes I & II respectively.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Several hard-to-get items qualify, but probably most notably the Section ID Cards. Virtually useless as weapons, with no notable special abilities, they are amongst the rarest drops in the entire game, often requiring the player to kill tens of thousands of an enemy that may only spawn a half-dozen times in a single dungeon.
    • Speaking of ten of thousands of kills, the Tsumikiri J Sword is a very powerful sword with a special attack that hurts every single enemy in a room. However, to actually get it, you have to kill 23,000 enemies with the Sealed J Sword first. Twenty three THOUSAND. It was so bad that faqs made around the time the game came out weren't sure whether the Sealed J Sword's description was just flavor text or whether it really could power up.
    • The Dreamcast Mag is also worth a mention. It requires five different rare item drops, which only drop off one of the rarest enemies for one month out of every year and only online (as it requires holiday rappies to be active). And for all that effort, it's not appreciably better than any other mag in the game. Oh, and those five rare items? You get them from another rare item, which turns into a random item when used, meaning you may need a lot more than 5 to get all the components you need (although Save Scumming can be used to get around that requirement).
      • In the sequel, the Dreamcast Mag is only acquirable from a 2015 fan convention in Japan, or by playing the closed Xbox One beta test.
    • The Del Rappy card in Episode III. You need to obtain all of the other cards to get this one, including rare event and promo cards. By then, you'll already have better cards.
  • Card Battle Game: Episode III, in which battles are waged using cards that summon weapons and monsters from the series.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Berserk doubles damage at the cost of burning a quarter of your current health per hit.
  • Cast from Money: Charge weapons double damage at the cost of 200 Meseta per hit. The Vjaya triples it, with higher accuracy to boot, at the cost of 10,000 meseta per swing, whether you hit or not.
  • Chain Lightning: Gizonde.
  • Chainsaw Good: "Chain Sawd", a BFS laser chainsaw.
  • Cherry Tapping: So long as you can do at least one point of damage to an enemy, you can kill it. A viable strategy when being slightly underleveled for an area is to pop in the door, fire a few shots at an enemy and then back out before they can reach you. Repeat until room is cleared and EXP is obtained.
  • Clown Car Base: Monests and Recoboxes should not be able to hold all of the monsters they spawn.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: PSO color-codes the speech bubbles of the party with a corresponding similarly colored icon next to their name.
  • Console Cameo: All of Sega's consoles could be obtained as Mags. The Level 1 Box in the Spaceship also looked vaguely like an Xbox, but this was likely coincidental.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: A common feature of all post-millennial Phantasy Star games, but PSO was really bad about it. The first episode of PSO contained only four mission environments (each with two to three sub-environments), and told an entire story (complete with side stories and quests) within these maps.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Vol Opt, the Mines boss of Episode I, is nothing more than a room with a core hanging on the ceiling, six floor-mounted turrets, and a computer image scrolling across the monitors covering the walls. That is, until you wreck everything inside and force his second form to descend from the ceiling.
  • The Corruption: D-cells, the "virus" created by Dark Falz. It corrupts anything it infects - including animals, people, and even machines and computer systems - and turns them into hyper-violent monsters in thrall to Falz. It's even hinted to be responsible for the destruction of the planet Coral before the game begins, as the planet began to die shortly after a meteor containing D-cells crashed onto the planet (seemingly launched from Ragol).
  • Critical Existence Failure: A notable example is Donoph in "The Retired Hunter". He is old and ailing and only has 30 minutes to live. In that time, he wants to finish his life's work of killing 10,000 monsters (he's only 99 away), so your job is to accompany him to the game's hardest dungeon to help him do it. For the next 29 minutes and 59 seconds, Donoph is one of the toughest NPCs in the game (Level 190 on Ultimate difficulty) and is able to slice through some of the toughest enemies in the game with little difficulty. But as soon as that timer hits 30:00, he immediately keels over, dead as a doornail.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Arkz in Episode 3, even labeled as the "Dark side" of the story. Their character designs are visibly darker than the Hunters, some even looking downright sinister and villainous, but they are just as heroic as the "Hero side" and mostly just have different ideologies regarding Pioneer 2 and Ragol.
  • Death Mountain: The mountain area in Episode II.
  • Demonic Possession: Rico's ultimate fate at the hands of Dark Falz.
    • Heathcliff Flowen in Episode II.
  • Dummied Out: The Red Ring and the Parasitic Cell D were meant to drop off the final bosses of Episodes I and II respectively. Unfortunately for players, Sega set the item drop rate for both bosses to zero, meaning they would never drop anything (including rare items). As such, it is impossible to obtain either item without a cheat device or homebrew quests.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Rupika shows up as an unconscious FOnewearl in an early quest in Episode I. You don't even learn her name here unless you happen to open up the chat window, which serves little other purpose in an offline quest. She isn't seen again until Episode IV, where she plays a much more significant role.
    • The Del Rappy first appeared as a card earned in Episode III by collecting every other non-event card, before making an actual appearance as an enemy in Episode IV.
  • Early Game Hell: The Caster classes have a much harder early game than the Hunters or Rangers. Their physical skills are pitiful, their health and defense stats are even worse, their spells aren't that powerful yet, and Casters have to buy Monofluids for TP along with monomates for HP, causing them to be perpetually poor while the other two classes start racking up money. As Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards applies, things do start looking up for casters, especially as money starts seriously flowing in, making Fluid costs more of pittance rather than half your entire savings.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Zigzagged. Playing on Normal for episodes 1 and 2 will cause you to miss certain things in the final bosses and in the case of episode 1 will net you a slightly more pessimistic ending, but you can't actually choose to play on Hard until you beat the game on Normal or, in the case of multiplayer, reach a certain level. In episode 1 you will can only fight the Dark Falz's holy form on hard and above, and defeating it will set Rico's spirit free. If fought on Normal the Falz will just keel over in its second form and her signature red ring will fall to the ground in a tragic fashion. With the Olga Flow he will not use his special attack that turns you into Flowen.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Endu in Episode III.
  • Escort Mission: A few bonus missions.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The main conflict in episode III boils down to the colonist government's attempt at using "the germ" to their advantage. It is the organism/substance that caused the C.A.R.D. revolution, allowing matter to be easily disassembled for transport and re-assembled as items and weapons. However, the germ is also an extremely lethal virus and obviously connected to Dark Falz in some way. As it turns out its qualities that make it so attractive for weapons research were entirely intentional on part of the entity that is also its source - "The Great Shadow", widely believed to be this game's version of the Profound Darkness.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: With a little to a lot of crossover, depending on your race and gender within those classes.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: The third game.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Most classes will only have access to these types of attack techniques, if they learn them at all. Forces get to add Light and Darkness to the mix.
  • Forced Tutorial: Kind of. The tutorial is an optional mission, so you're not forced to do it to beat the game. However, you ARE forced to do that mission to unlock more missions, which can make it really annoying if you've already beaten the game before doing the missions only to have your partner say he doesn't want you to be a liability (even if you're 13 levels higher than him and have better weapons). Even worse, the mission is on ALL difficulties, so even on the hardest difficulty you still have to listen to a lecture on how to attack (even though you need to beat the game or be at a certain level to unlock higher difficulties, which kinda requires you to know how to attack).
  • For Science!: What is, presumably, Dr. Osto's motivations for doing many of the things that he did in Episode II.
  • Foreshadowing: In the story intro that sets up the plot, the cause of the mysterious explosion of light that makes Pioneer 1's populace disappear can be seen vaguely. It's Dark Falz, towering in a cloaked form over the Pioneer city after he'd been re-awakened.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Both in different ways. Males tend to have higher physical attack and HP, while females tend to have stronger techniques and defense. There are far more female-specific items than male specific items though.
  • Gangsta Style: The RAmarl class fires handguns like this. Every other class uses a proper two-handed grip.
  • Gathering Steam: In episode III, Pollux passively gains attack power with each passing turn and eventually gains the "timed pierce" ability after a set amount of turns, making her one of the most difficult enemies in the game.
  • Gatling Good: The L&K38 Combat is a man-portable minigun. Uniquely to shot-class weapons, it strikes one target five times in a row.
  • Giant Waist Ribbon: RAcaseals
  • Genre Shift: Phantasy Star Online itself is a shift from the Eastern RPGs of the tetralogy; Episodes I, II, and IV were straight-up Massively Multiplayer Online Action RPGs. Episode III was a MMOCCG (Massively Multiplayer Online Collectible Card Game), using cards that had powers of many of the previous two games' monsters and weapons.
  • The Goomba: Rappies.
  • Green Hill Zone: Forest 1 in Episode I.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Tails chao. It requires you to go back the forest after you complete "The Fake In Yellow" quest but before you talk to the receptionist. Then you stand where the rappies are staring at and a chao appears (with Samba de Amigo music playing). You then go back to Pionner 2 and put the chao on your GBA.
    • It is incredibly easy to miss out on the various subplots contained within the optional quests. Failed to talk to the different people in town? Forgot to check every area before turning in the quest? The choice of whether or not to tell Sue your name at the end of one of the quests automatically locks you into one of two subplots in the current difficulty setting... both of which don't get picked up again until later quests. It's very easy for a new player to assume the choices made in quests don't matter outside them.
    • Item combinations, rare mags, what Photon Drop are for, getting an SS-rank on Towards the Future... this game just begs for a guide on hand at all times.
    • Did you know that if you don't have a full photon gauge, you can still assist someone else's Photon Blast by rapidly pressing the "Chat" button? No? Not surprising, given that the game never mentions this rather useful tidbit of information.
    • Did you also know that combining multiple photon blasts together increases the effects of all of them and, in the case of one photon blast, allows you to obtain buffs far above and beyond what any player is capable of casting? The game very briefly mentions this one in a one-line throwaway dialogue, but considering how useful a full-powered Photon Blast can be, it really deserves better instruction.
  • Guns Akimbo: Every mechgun.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Caves area changes as the player travels through it from a Lethal Lava Land to a soaking wet tropical cavern to a grassy cavern full of machines. The Ruins area changes from a not-very-ruined Temple of Doom to a mixture of a Temple of Doom and a Womb Level. Central Control of Episode II is a borderline case, putting a jungle, a beach, and a highland (as well as two 10-story-tall towers made for a pair of specific missions) into one collective mission environment, albeit on different parts of Gal de Val Island.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Ultimate" difficulty, in which enemy speed and spell resistance drastically increases, and several bosses and some mooks gain nasty new tricks.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen. They turn up in the end credits in single player PSO Episode I & II if you complete episode II on Ultimate difficulty. Flowen could be seen through a convoluted method online involving possession of Rico's Red Weapons while fighting Olga Flow, then returning to the site of the battle after winning. The inverse of this using Flowen's weapons to beat Dark Falz apparently let you see Rico.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: As with most RPGs' inventory systems, but more obvious now. Justified by the technology of the time however. All items can be compressed into a capsule form. The fact that you have 30 spots for items, no matter the size implies that you can hold 30 fully compressed capsules.
  • Immune to Flinching: Ultimate Mines holds a nasty surprise, the first time you meet them. The Normal - Very Hard Gilchics are easy to kill because they get knocked down with every hit, allowing even an underleveled player to scratch them to death. In Ultimate, they've been replaced with the Gilchich, which, unlike virtually every other monster in the game, only flinches roughly 20% of the time. The other 80% is often spent pummeling the player through their ineffectual sword strikes. The best part? Everything else in the area follows suit. Enjoy Sinow Reds.
    • A lot of the large enemies (Hildebears, Pan Arms, Garanz, Chaos Bringers, and Indi Belras) somewhat follow this trope. Their attacks cannot be interrupted (except for the Belra, but you need to be able to do a LOT of damage to flinch it), although if you manage to hit them when they're not attacking they'll flinch as normal (Pan Arms excepted). Unsurprisingly, each of the aforementioned enemies (once again excepting the Pan Arms) is significantly more difficult than the other mooks you'll face.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Donoph suffers from one in "The Retired Hunter".
  • Infinity -1 Sword: There's a number of them, most of which are far, far easier to obtain than their Infinity +1 Sword variants. The Red Sword, the Yaskminkov 9000M and the Black King Bar are probably the most widespread. The Black King Bar is particularly notable in that it's oftentimes statistically better than its Infinity +1 Sword equivalent (the Double Cannon).
    • Many generic weapons with the Charge/Spirit/Berserk skills can surpass quite a few rare weapons, and the customization of S-Rank weapons make them very adaptable.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: There's at least one per weapon type. The Tsumikiri J-Sword, the Double Cannon, Guld Milla, and the Psycho Wand are probably the most notorious of the bunch. Their drop rates are so infinitesimal, by the time you get them (assuming you ever manage to do so), you've probably reached the level cap with at least one character, making them more of a Bragging Rights Reward than anything.
  • Interface Screw: Confusion randomizes controller input directions. While the affected player can attack and combo normally, it'll be in random directions.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Olga Flow. Actually a D-Cell-infected Heathcliff Flowen merged with the computer system of the secret laboratory.
  • Informed Ability: The four blades used by one of the legendary Hunters you meet before they die, Zoke "the Great Sword" Miyama, possesses three of four legendary katanas. These swords were said to have brought ruin to a tyrannical king, and have the power to destroy an entire planet if all four were used together. Of course, you'll never find out if that's true, as you find two of the swords broken and the fourth katana has tons of fake replicas.
    • In a bit of Gameplay and Story Segregation, it is possible (though quite difficult) to loot all four of the legendary swords and use them together. Predictably, the world doesn't end when you do.
  • Joke Item: Frying pans, parasols, syringes, coins, guitars, magazines... some of which are lethal. Most of the joke items of the Online series mostly referenced other Sega franchises or companies that sponsored events in the game.
  • Jungle Japes: The Jungle area in Episode II.
  • Kaizo Trap: Beating the Dragon at the end of the Forest stages is quite a difficult, but very rewarding, accomplishment for new players. This accomplishment can be quickly undone by having the dragon fall on you and kill you in the victory cutscene, when the camera pans away from the players (which makes it difficult to see where your character is in relation to the dying dragon). Reviving fallen allies is rarely possible, as revive items are relatively rare and expensive at this point in the game, making this an incredibly frustrating experience - even moreso in single player mode.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: On paper, Katanas in PSO can outdo many other melee weapons. Also a Rock Beats Laser, as it outdamages laser weapons. However, they are slower and outclassed by weapons that have five or six hit combos, though there is one paired set of katanas that not only has a five hit combo, a health refill special, and is relatively easy to ensure that its Percents are very good. The Tsumikiri J-Sword, while falling into the Sword weapon category instead of the Katana, has the appearance of a giant 6-foot long katana.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: A rare case of every single fight other than bosses being like this: until you kill all the monsters in a given room/area, all the doors leading forward are locked. Thankfully, monsters can't leave their room/area (although you also can't hit them with ranged attacks from outside their room), meaning you can retreat into already cleared areas to heal yourself.
  • Kill It with Ice: Against an opponent that can't be hit repeatedly (such as opposing players or the gelatinous enemies in 1&2's Caves), freezing them will allow you to do just that, making taking them out much faster. As the final dungeon of part 2 proves, however, the enemy can do this to you as well. One enemy is capable of using an attack that, while not hitting very hard, hits about 50 times in a row. Normally, you keep blocking these until one hits, then the rest get grazed over by Mercy Invincibility. However, they are usually accompanied by an enemy capable of freezing you. End result? A level 200 character getting buzzsawed to death in a single blow by a puny Mook on Normal Mode.
  • Kill Sat: Heaven Punisher. You can achieve the same effect with a Heaven Striker + Striker mag.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: PSO practically wrote the book on this trope. Generally speaking, the rarity and quality of a weapon is inversely proportional to how much of it is composed of photon particle effects. You'll get a fancy, dangerous-looking Laser Blade right out of the gate, but it won't be anywhere near as good as a several-hundred-year-old katana.
  • Laser Blade: Every common melee weapon, and a goodly number of rare ones either have a full-on photon blade or a photon-edged blade.
  • The Last Dance: In "The Retired Hunter", Donoph wants to kill 10,000 monsters before he succumbs to his Incurable Cough of Death; your job is to help him finish off the last 99 of them.
  • Less Embarrassing Term: Try telling a western FOmar that they're wearing a dress. Then sit back and watch the flames rise.
  • The Lost Woods: Forest 2 in Episode 1.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Weaponry is restricted by Attack Power for melee weapons, Accuracy for ranged weapons, and Mental Strength for magic weapons. Each of these stats, however, can be boosted by a specialized MAG or by armor units -both of which have no base requirements. Armor, however, is level locked, meaning that characters being rushed through the lower levels by a gift of overpowered equipment tend to be Glass Cannons.
  • Lightning Gun: The Maser Beam.
  • Limit Break: After your MAG learns a Photon Blast, receiving damage or hitting enemies charges up the Photon Gauge. Once it's full, the player can use the Blast. What's more, other players nearby can either donate some energy to increase the power of the Blast, or fire their own Blast, multiplying the power of both. A four-way chained blast will often shred everything in the room and buff the players far beyond the usual level cap for buff techniques.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Garanz enemy is a rolling robot tank with a few long-ranged missile launchers. Attacking it breaks off its armor, uncovering a much larger number of missile ports, leading to this.
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game: Yes, despite having a single player mode, PSO counts as one. The "massively multiplayer online" aspect of the game was strongly hyped by Sega in its advertisements. In fact, PSO is credited as one of the inspirations used for the .hack series and is the first console MMORPG.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The enemies in the Mines are all robots.
  • Marathon Level: The Caves are long and boring, with Caves 3 having the most convoluted layouts in the game. Even the time consuming Control Area keeps it fresh with mini bosses and different scenery.
    • Seat Of The Heart, the downloadable offline quest for Episode II. It's an Escort Mission through the Temple, Spaceship and Control Area, with the last stretch in the East Tower. There are plenty of cutscenes and telepipes are disabled. Thankfully you can stop and save your progress after fighting the Gol Dragon and continue on later, but it doesn't help that Elly isn't the most resilient nor helpful FOneweral.
  • Master of Unlocking: Many of the NPCs can open doors that the player cannot. However, probably the one most notorious for his unlocking skills is Bernie, to the point where he - and his "See? I have the knack" catchphrase - have reached Memetic Mutation status.
  • Meat Moss: The Ruins are covered in organic growths that grow larger and more prevalent the further down you descend. The first floor is mostly mechanical, with the odd cyst or bit of fungus growing out of the wall; by the time you reach the bottom floor, there are guts growing out of the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and even pulsating underneath the floor.
  • Meaningful Name: Rag rappies can only be found on Ragol and Del Rappies resemble Delsabers.
    • Olga "Flowen"
    • Ragol is a japanese anagram of Algol.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Notable, in that this trope is played straight offline, but subverted online. Offline, if you are hit by an enemy, you are immune to further hits for about a second. Online, the only mercy invincibility that occurs is if you are hit with an attack strong enough to knock you down. Players going online for the first time often found themselves overwhelmed by swarms of enemies that they'd have no trouble dealing with offline (being surrounded in offline is an easily-ignored nuisance; in online, it's frequently fatal).
    • This also had the odd effect of making some enemies far more dangerous in one mode or another. Garanz/Baranz, for instance, fires clouds of missiles at the players, each of which does relatively little damage. Offline, the enemy wasn't that big of a threat, as its only danger occurred if all the missiles struck at the same time (thus negating the Mercy Invincibility). Online, it's arguably the single most dangerous enemy in the game, as the missiles are impossible to dodge or block and will deal enough damage to down even high level characters in a single attack.
  • Mini-Boss: The Hildebear and Garanz enemies feature more varied attack patterns, higher health, and often appear singly or in pairs instead of mobs. The Central Control Area features a trio of minibosses that need to be killed to unlock the door to the area boss.
  • Money for Nothing: The shops rarely sell anything useful, and once a character starts finding rare items, most Meseta is spent on recovery items and item identification. The ultimate lategame usage of money often ends up as ammunition for weapons with the Charge special, which do double damage at the cost of 200 Meseta per hit.
  • More Dakka: Mechguns in Phantasy Star Online. They even became some of the strongest weapons you could use.
  • Mythology Gag: The beginning of the opening theme is based on the theme tune from Phantasy Star II.
    • The VR Temple uses the first dungeon music from the first Phantasy Star.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Red Ring Rico accidentally unleashes Dark Falz, and dies for it. The players would have caused an even worse case: by defeating Dark Falz over and over again, they only caused him to grow stronger and stronger. Eventually he would have had enough power to completely break free from his bondage in the Ruins and destroy the universe.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Sinow series of robot enemies, which make use of Ceiling Cling, Active Camouflage, Teleport Spam, making fake clones of themselves and lots of other nasty tricks to ruin your day.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Megid technique either inflicts instant death or does nothing. The final boss in any difficulty other than the easiest has access to it, as well as a number of normal monsters in the hardest.
    • The Mericarol/Merikle/Mericus enemies all spit one as a ranged attack. Unlike the other instant death spells in the game, this one isn't a dark spell; it just deals 100% HP in damage and is completely unblockable.
  • Organ Drops: Occasionally a player will come across a seemingly useless body part item, notable only because it happens to be rare. Late in the Hunter's Guild missions, a certain NPC will remark upon being able to craft powerful weapons out of unusual materials. Taking him up on the offer rewards you with equipment ranging from decent to extremely powerful.
  • Palm Tree Panic: The beach stretch in Episode II.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: The Harisen Battle Fan and the Huge Battle Fan.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: One of the dresses has an anti gravity overskirt that just floats right next to the wearer's waist.
  • Player Tic:
    • Everyone always pulls up the menu when moving between rooms as a protection from traps (as when you unveil a trap, your character will go into battle stance and stop running. If your menu is up though, you won't enter this stance even as traps unveil, allowing you to safely just run through the room as traps detonate). Even when they're traversing an already-completed area where there are no traps. Even if they're playing an android who can see the traps in advance.
    • Everyone with a melee weapon will run up and start slashing the dragon's corpse after it dies, even though it does nothing.
  • Playing Possum: An alert player will notice a few things about Rappies. First, they don't ever drop anything when killed. Second, their corpses remain on the map. Third, they remain on the minimap radar as enemy dots. When your back is turned, Rappies will wake up and make a run for it. With a ranged weapon, trap, or technique, they can be smacked an extra time for a guaranteed item drop.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Played oh-so-painfully straight. The most powerful loot in the game was so incredibly rare, seeing one drop ever was considered a major accomplishment.
  • Power Glows: And does it ever.
  • Power of the God Hand: The God Hand is one of the best Fist weapons (until episode 4, definitely the best).
  • Power Up Letdown: Some weapons can be upgraded into a more powerful form by using a specific item on them. In some cases, this "upgrade" would remove the ability to combo, making it inferior in DPS to the original weapon despite its higher base damage. For example, the Frozen Shooter is widely regarded as a Game-Breaker that no Ranger should ever be without. It's upgraded form, the Snow Queen, is decidedly less so.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Dubchics act like Gilchics until you blast them apart, at which point they'll pull themselves together and adopt a zombie-like gait. Smashing them four or five more times until they stay dead is an option, but most players prefer to go straight for the hidden Dubswitch which controls all the Dubchics in the room.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted. Classes are tied to a gender and even within the same race have different max stat caps depending on gender.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: A few of the mag cells can create mags that turn into tails and wings for your character, but lack photon bursts, such as the chance of reviving your character. Good for looks, but not much else.
  • Random Drop: Taken to an art style in this game. To understand, there are several dropcharts defined by the character's name (and Class in Blue Burst) with each one specializing in certain weapons and such. There are quite a few weapons with low droprates that are exclusive to a certain dropchart. So...
    • Rare Random Drop: Enjoy farming for rare drops with a drop rate of 1/1000 or lower! Even worse is that any enemy can drop Photon Drops. Enjoy the Hope Spot after finally seeing that beautiful red box drop, only to discover that it's just a Photon Drop.
  • Reincarnation: Kinda in Episode III. Endu is the reincarnation/"son" of both Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen, created when they forced the essences of Dark Falz and Olga Flow to resonate. They did this to prevent their respective Superpowered Evil Sides from reincarnating over and over and eventually growing beyond all control.
  • Robot Girl: HUcaseals and RAcaseals.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The most powerful weapons in Phantasy Star Online are old fashioned katanas and ordinary bullet-firing guns. And Excalibur.
  • Science Is Bad: De Rol Le is a result of this, and is also the reason the A.Beast species exists.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The swear filter used in Blue Burst was a very good example of why swear filters should always be optional in games.
    • A notable example would occur when trying to tell another player that you can't play Friday, but can play on Saturday...
    • A worse example would be greeting someone with a friendly "Hello". Why is this worse? The word "Hell" is actually in the game as a weapon special ability. You can say it uncensored if you use the game's prefabricated messages.
    • Or perhaps you are looking for the rare items Ice Staff: Dagon or Frozen Shooter.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Dark Falz. The "can" is his ship.
  • Series Mascot: Rappies, continuing their role from the tetralogy.
  • Set Photon Launcher to Stun: The namer of the Launcher-class weapons can induce Paralysis with its Special attack, while a superior model, the Guilty Light, can freeze enemies...neither of which makes much sense, considering both weapons are capable of mowing down lines of enemies in a single blast.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Delsabers in the ruins fight with sword and shield, and when targeted from the front can throw up their shielded left arm to become invincible.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Subterranean Desert.
  • Shmuck Bait: A dead end room, with a single item crate sitting against the far wall. If you're lucky, it'll simply be booby-trapped. If you're unlucky, it'll spawn a pack of monsters in a ring right around you.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Thoroughly averted. Shotguns in this game lock onto up to five separate targets at medium range. Short range is actually the worst place for a shotgun user, as only one bullet can strike each target.
    • Very much so for the Needle weapons, whose range is similar to the short range but high power mechguns in exchange for shooting as fast as a Rifle.
  • Shout-Out: A number of weapons and items reference the original games; the Neiclaw, the Falclaw/Rika's Claw, the Elsydeon, and the Prophets of Motav. There's also weapons and items that reference other Sega series; the Opa Opa makes another appearance, for example, this time as a Mag.
    • It should also be noted that that "A" in the A. Beast monster type stands for "Altered".
  • Smash Mook: Hildebears in Forest 1 are twelve-foot tall gorilla-esque enemies. Trying to snipe them from afar leads to a painful leaping pound attack, and a beatdown with their massive fists. The one oddball trait is that if lead around in circles for too long, it will get frustrated and spit a ball of fire (or a bolt of lightning in Ultimate).
  • Sniper Rifle: Rangers, the sole users of Rifle-class weapons (with the exception of certain rare ones) can pick off enemies beyond their AI range.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: The standard weapons a character can acquire get progressively stronger as they proceed through the difficulties. The entire algorithm gets made irrelevant, though, should they be lucky enough to acquire a useable rare weapon early. The standard weapons basically aren't worth it any more by the time the most powerful get unlocked, as the player will almost definitely have a stronger rare version of the weapon. The sole exception lies in weapons with powerful special abilities, such as the Hell prefix. Rare weapons have fixed special abilities, and often not the most powerful versions of those abilities either.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When you enter the mysterious meadow from the ruins and The Nearest Place to Heaven playsit sounds rather...Happy. Only to gradually get creepier.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison, Paralysis (you can move, but can't attack), Confused (inflicts Interface Screw), Slow, Frozen, and Instant Death.
  • Stat Sticks: Force weapons aren't exactly effective. Forces use them for the small MST boost, TP-saving or -stealing special attacks, technique power boosts, or for opening crates.
  • Stripperiffic: Justified, as the primary form of armor in the setting is mounted in a unit on the wearer's wrist. It projects a protective field significantly more effective than any physical armour could be against most threats, and while some do still wear conventional armor as well, many more prefer to wear normal clothing. Indeed, it seems very much as if the cultural reaction to having armour that functions fine with any clothing, and can be worn by anyone without getting in the way of everyday tasks, was for acceptable fashion to grow ever skimpier.
  • Summon Magic: Upon hitting level 10, 35, and 50, MAGs evolve and learn a Photon Blast, a powerful summon technique that does damage, heals, or buffs you based on your MAG's IQ.
  • Tactical Door Use: Oddly enough, enemies can't pass through doors open or closed. The player similarly cannot shoot through open doorways. This leads to the common tactic of 'doorway sniping', where an underleveled character equips a ranged weapon, walks through the doorway, pops off a few free shots, and retreats back to the hallway.
  • Tagline: "You are not the only hero."
  • Taking You with Me: Poison Lilies will count down and detonate into a poison spray when they're low on health. The Ultimate Ob Lilies replace this with an instant death spray.
  • Tears from a Stone: If you played as Lura, the RAcaseal who wishes she were more human so she could be closer to Break, for the majority of the Arkz story missions in Episode 3, you'll get a cut scene before the final boss fights where she discovers that she's housing the soul of Break's former lover and Sil'fer's sister inside her body, and she sheds tears. Lura herself is surprised that she's crying tears, despite being a machine.
  • Temple of Doom: The Caves and The Ruins in Episode I.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • For those versions that can no longer go online since the official servers shut down, all online-only items are now lost for good (excluding the use of a cheat device to spawn them).
  • Three-Strike Combo: Almost uniquely for a hack-and-slash RPG, and fairly in-depth at that. Each weapon type has its own specific timing for a three-attack combo, with the addition of having the choice of weak-but-accurate attacks, strong-but-inaccurate attacks, and inaccurate special attacks that could trigger special weapon abilities. In addition to that, each class/race/gender combo had its own variations on the animations that made certain weapon types better for some classes. To cap it all off, some enemies react oddly to combos, and need either a delayed or increased speed combo to be executed safely.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Ragol Ring. It's a shield with pretty great stats for its level requirement AND an Auto-Revive ability. Only problem? It can only be obtained once per character per difficulty level, by completing a long, tedious quest line and answering specific dialogue options correctly. Oh, and if it revives you, it disappears. Most players who bothered to earn one promptly stuck it in their bank and forgot about it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Remember Ash, the Hunter you rescue in the very first mission of Ep. 1? The one who apparently got the silly smacked out of him by Rag Rappies? In the very last mission, he turns up in the Ruins, tearing the place up with a double-saber. Good to see he kept his promise.
  • Under the Sea: Seabed, the final level in episode 2
  • Underground Monkey: A number enemies have more than one variant of themselves, distinguishable only by slight physical differences and a Palette Swap; there are also Ultimate versions of most enemies, which look substantially different. Certain enemies from one location will also have the same behavior as those from another areas; Boomas, Evil Sharks, and Dimenians all act very similarly (and have similar body shapes).
    • Some monsters have rare variants. They're stronger and have nastier tricks up their selves, but getting rare drops from them are a cinch, with most of them being at 87.5% or 50%. It's just getting them to spawn is the hard part.
  • Unidentified Items: All rare weapons dropped by monsters appear as "?SPECIAL WEAPON". They can still be equipped in this state (which lets the player identify the weapon type, based on whether their character can even equip it), but its special abilities won't be available until taken to a Tekker for proper identification.
  • Universal Poison: Averted. The android CASTs are notably immune to the poison status effect.
  • Updated Re-release: Several of them. Ver.2, Episode I & II Plus and Blue Burst are the ones that are on the same platform as a previous version, while the original Episode I & II was the first version released on consoles besides the Dreamcast.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Megid, an extremely high-costed single hit spell that might kill the enemy. However, either get the right items or play a FOnewearl, and it'll never miss, allowing the spell to work sometimes.
  • Variable Mix: Done very well, but notably absent in its sequel, Universe.
  • Vicious Cycle: In an interesting take on the fact that multiple parties will fight and defeat the "final boss" over and over again, Episode III reveals that Dark Falz and Olga Flow really are being defeated over and over again, and each time they die they reincarnate stronger than ever, ready for the next party to come along. This would have continued until they became unstoppable and broke free of their respective bonds; that is, until the combined efforts of Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen break the cycle sometime between Episodes 2 & 3..
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Prior to PSO, every game in the Phantasy Star franchise was 2D.
  • Video-Game Flamethrowers Suck: The Flame Visit and the Burning Visit. On paper, they're fairly strong Ranger weapons of one of the most useful class. However, they lack the trait that makes that class useful (hitting multiple enemies) but retain most of its weaknesses (slow as death firing animation) making them essentially worthless. The upgraded Burning Visit does have a few very, very specific uses, but they're both essentially worthless.
  • The Virus: D-cell infection.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The De Rol Le. The Dragon was a very tame first boss, having very straight forward and easy to avoid attacks. You were probably more likely to be killed by having it step on you. The De Rol Le is an entirely different story, having multiple hard hitting attacks, limited windows for the player to deal damage, and new mechanics such as needing to clear out its tick bombs on the platform so you don't blow up. If you haven't been leveling your Mags for the stat boosts or upgrading your equipment set, you will struggle.
  • Was Once a Man: Part of Rico's human body can still be seen as fused into Dark Falz's first two forms, horribly mutated and writhing in pain. You can still see Rico's red ring on one of the arms if you look closely (it falls off after the creature dies). As for Flowen, we get an idea of what happened to him thanks to Episode 2's Apocalyptic Logs. One tidbit of Nightmare Fuel: We learn that the mutation begins as the wounds inflicted on Flowen by Dark Falz's infant form shift and change shape ...
  • Womb Level: The third section of the Ruins in Episode I.
  • Wutai: Not visitable in any game of the series, but there is at least one country on Coral that is this, as evidenced by Zoke Miyama, his servant Shino, and the legendary katana rare weapons.
  • You Are Not Alone: The game's Tag Line: "You are not the only hero."
  • You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: One reason why higher defense is seen as bad for many players, until it hits "reduce damage to zero" status. If you happen to have just enough defense to not get knocked down, but still take major damage from attacks, enemy mobs can easily rip your character to shreds if you get surrounded.


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