(Sega, 1988)

Sega's Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System is not only one of the first ever RPG's in North America but it's also an outstanding game even today and it's easily my favourite SMS title of all time! The first Phantasy Star is famous for being on the Sega Master System, a system that got crushed by Nintendo's mega popular NES, sadly that means 99% of you may have never played this awesome adventure before. That's a shame because Phantasy Star is a huge 4 Meg game with 5 save files, over 50+ hours of game play, fantastic graphics, and an engaging storyline. If you haven't played this awesome game before then you don't know what you're missing.

In the game you are Alis, a young women warrior from the planet Palma in the Algo Star system who has just witnessed the death of her brother, Nero, by King Lassic's foot soldiers. Nero tells you about Lassic's evil plans and asks you to find some help to fight the leader just before he dies. It's your mission to find help and then try to over throw the evil ruler before he can summon the power of Dark Falz, a very powerful demon. It won't be easy because Lassic's fortress is hidden away in the sky and is well guarded as well. If you love movies like Star Wars then you should be right at home here with the whole science fiction look here (even the Foot Soldiers look like the Storm Troopers found in the first three Star Wars movies). Alis must travel to different towns and even different planets to become strong enough to fight Lassic in his huge air castle. You have to find three other friends (a cat, a strongman, and a magician) on the long quest, each one character has different abilities needed for finishing the game so you're not alone.

Nero tells his sister Alis of Lassic's plan's before he dies.

When I finally found this legendary Phantasy Star game it was at a pawn shop (for only 5 bucks believe it or not), I also bought Square's Final Fantasy VIII at a local EB later that weak (for a scary 70 bucks!). Final Fantasy 8 was very flashy and all but it just could not hold my interest despite how good Final Fantasy 7 was, and so I continued playing Phantasy Star instead. Phantasy Star plays very similar to the old Dragon Warrior games on the NES with tons of random battles and super tough game play, but the Phantasy Star universe is in a futurist Sci-fi setting and a not medieval one.

Like I said earlier, the game is really difficult especially at first. You can get easily kill off by most enemies at the beginning of the game especially when you're all alone. In this game you have to play smart and build your levels before you go anywhere too dangerous plus it's a good idea to use the useful save anywhere feature too if you want to beat this hard game!

Moving on to the graphics, I noticed the bright and detailed graphics were way better than either Final Fantasy 1 or any of the Dragon Warrior's on NES. The game's dungeons here are also in all in 3D, which can fairly confusing if you don't draw maps, but still very impressive for a 8-bit title (my friend thought it was a 16-bit game when I showed him). Unlike other 8-bit RPG's like Final Fantasy your enemies animate while they attack you and if that wasn't enough wait till you see the many enemies like the huge dragons when compared to tiny dragons found in the first Dragon Warrior for example. The colourful enemies look fantastic as well during the battles, this game looked unbelievable at the time and still looks great even after all these years. You have to remember that the Sega Master System was actually stronger than the NES and Sega really pulled out all the stops here.

I hope you have a pencil and a piece of paper ready when you enter the dungeons?

If there is any down sides to this awesome RPG, I would have to say that some of the sound effects and music track are a little annoying at times (especially during the battle scenes) but on the flip side though there are some really catchy sound tracks as well (like the music in the later Dungeons) so it's not a total loss. This is the Sega Master System after all, a system known for its poor audio, eh?

Phantasy Star also has a lot of random battles, so if you hate that sort of thing, (sometimes you only have step once after a battle to get into another battle) than maybe this is not one RPG you are going to like? These are only minor problems to a very addictive and ground breaking RPG. Name any other RPG that starred a woman, uh? She isn't even half naked or anything like most women in RPG's, she just wants to avenge her brother and save all of Algo from evil here. Phantasy Star is just as fun to play has it ever was and you haven't played it yet then this is your big chance to play a real legend. Phantasy Star is a perfect example of a great RPG and is still fun even today!

*Battery back up game saves up to 5 files!

overall score: 99/100

Find Phantasy Star on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 9/10
sound: 5/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 7/10

(Ryan Genno) 2001

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