Phantasy Star

Developer: Sega RD4
Publisher:  Sega

Originally created to compete with Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star went on to be the closest thing the Master system had to a "killer app" (sorry Alex Kidd). These days the series is more often remembered for its series of short lived MMOs, which is a shame because this is without a doubt in my mind, the BEST Master System game out there and the best RPG I've ever played on an 8-bit console.

You play as Alis, a resident of the Algol solar system who witnesses her brother's death by the hands of King Lassic's forces. Along the way you'll ally yourself with a warrior, a wizard and a talking cat (just go with it). The game's plot isn't really its strong suit, but it really shines in gameplay, graphics and content. For starters you have three planets to explore all of them with their own look, feel, towns and gear, the combat itself is done in typical turn-based RPG fare, though you have the option to talk with some of your enemies, sometimes helping you evade battles.

Unlike other RPGs of the time, who were almost exclusively sword and sorcery themed, Phantasy Star is a mix of Science Fiction with fantasy, this means some of your characters will be equipped with laser blasters while others still use swords and shields. You also get to travel between three planets, all of them look stunning with some well animated and colored overworlds. Even the battles look amazing, all of your enemies perform a small animation when attacking and sometimes the backgrounds are animated as well, I especially loved the beach, you can see the waves coming and retreating as you fight.
Although most of the game is set in 2D, when you enter a dungeon the perspective changes into a Pseudo-3D plane which looks great, but it also makes it easy to get lost, so a pen and graph paper will be crucial towards the end of the game (I love games that require me to draw my own maps).

Its obvious Sega was trying to one-up the competition by packing everything they could into the game and that's a good thing because we got one hell of an RPG

- A fun mix of medieval and sci-fi
- All three planets have a very distinct feel and are fun to explore
- First Person Dungeons are extremely well done

- The story could have been more fleshed out
- Almost every dungeon will require you to draw a map, not everyone will be up to it

Final Grade: A+

For all the great content the game has, I seriously expected more from the packaging, what? Not even a map Sega?

At least the manual does a good job of explaining the story and what most of the items and spells do, so there's always that.

I also like the artwork, but I think it's ruined by that grid background (big surprise, right?), it just makes a decent cover seem bland, at least they put more effort into it then they did with early Master System covers.

Packaging grade: C+

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