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PHANTASY STAR III: Generations of Doom
(Sega, 1992)

Sega's first two Phantasy Star games were some of my favourite role playing games ever made and I was really looking forward to next instalment in the cult hit series. Here we have Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom. Sega decided to make some very radical changes to the series like adding a generation’s aspect to the story lines, they changed the graphics so they appear more realistic, and the whole game has an all new medieval feel to it now. Despite their best efforts, many had mixed reactions to part III and that includes me.

Phantasy Star: the Next Generation

Phantasy Star III's story line is like no other RPG I ever played to be honest. The game begins as you play the role of a young Prince named Rhys, he is about to marry his mysterious love who he found one day washed up on shore. Just before the two could be married she gets abducted by a winged demon right during the wedding ceremonies. Prince Rhys then vows to get her back no matter what, even if it means starting a war. As two rival cultures fight among themselves, a great evil is brewing and the entire world is at risk yet again. If the generations of heroes fail on their massive quest then all is lost to the powers of darkness.

What makes Phantasy Star III so different then other RPG's now is this new and very long generation's system. The game doesn't end when Prince Rhys's quest is over because if you marry a certain female love interest then the game fast forwards 15 years later and then your son takes over the mission to save the universe. It's up to the third generation to finally discover the truth and stop the problems that plaque your planet. Fortunately for you, the descendants of Prince Rhys can keep the services of two special robots that don't age, so you don't have to begin these new missions alone. It should also be noted that you since you have also the option to pick your bride, the game's story will change accordingly. This game really sports some awesome replay value and it's possible to see up to four different endings here.

Although Phantasy Star 3 packs a lot nice new features here and there, these new editions to the series sadly add some problems to the game play especially if you're a fan of the first two games. For example; in the first half of the game you're forced to walk through the entire adventure and your team of heroes are by no means speed demons. This is going to be one very LONG game! Another unwelcome change here is the game's dungeon boring design that is nowhere near as deep as Phantasy Star II's complex mazes plus all the random battles are just as persistent as ever.

New story, new look.

Phantasy Star 3 even looks completely different than the past two games thanks to the more realistic backgrounds and sharper looking characters (there are no more black lines around the figures here anymore) so this is one of the better looking RPG's on the Genesis. Unfortunately the game may look a lot cleaner than before, it still looks very repetitive so it is easy to get lost in these mammoth environments if you're not careful. What really disappointed me about these new graphics was during those ugly fight scenes. I remembered being amazed by the detailed and well animated enemies from the first two Phantasy Star's but part III uses a pathetic two frames for their bad guys plus some of these enemies here look fairly goofy as well. I'm also not a fan of the game's new chunky interface either.

Sega even changed the type of music we hear in this RPG. The music on here can be very relaxing to fit the more medieval like setting or can feature some light metal stuff when you search through a futurist cave. Although I like the soundtracks here the sound effects are nothing special and leave a lot to be desired especially during the battle scenes.

Where's Doom when you need it?

Although part III was a decent enough game, some hardcore RPG nuts like me didn't like Phantasy Star III's super slow pace and overly goofy looking battle scenes. I also didn't like the fact that all the main characters are male for some reason. This is weird to me because the last two Phantasy Star games had such strong female’s roles (who could forget Alis and Nei?). Phantasy Star III still has a lot going for it like the four different endings, more realistic graphics, unique new music, and who can forget the massive quest that spans across three generations? Despite all that Phantasy Star III is still my least favourite game on the popular series because of the game's tediously long game play.

*Battery back up game saves two files.
*Uncommon Genesis game

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
overall rating: 74/100
Find PSIII on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 8/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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