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Phantasy Star Review

Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 1988 Also On:

Wow, what can’t I say good about this game? Phantasy Star is one of the most legendary RPGs of all time and easily stands as probably one of the top five in history in my opinion. It broke ground and did so much more than other games of its era that it’s astounding it was actually an 8-Bit cartridge. Make no mistake about it, Phantasy Star deserves its position as the Master System’s greatest achievement.

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Graphically, Phantasy Star will blow you away. I can’t even believe they managed to make a game of this magnitude on any system during this time period. It boggles the mind. The color schemes are used to their fullest, the details are incredible, enemy animations are fluid and dynamic, the story screens are bright and well designed, there just isn’t a single graphical problem with this game. The 3D dungeons make you wonder why someone didn’t try Doom on the Master System, because it certain shows it may have been possible. There is really nothing else to say, Phantasy Star will make your jaw drop when you see what it looks like.

And in spite of the Master System always getting poked at because of its lesser-quality sound chip, Phantasy Star goes to show that if a programmer or programming team knows how to milk what it does, it can shine just as brightly as anything the NES could pull off. The themes here are very memorable, some of the most iconic tracks in the history of Sega itself. They did a great job of making the game have the atmosphere the storyline tries to set up for you. The otherworldly music is fitting. Great sound effects to spice up the action too. Again, I have no problems with Phantasy Star in another category. Spectacular. And if you ever get a chance to check out the FM version that was only released in Japan, you’ll probably pass out. In fact, the music you hear in the video before is this version.

As you can expect, Phantasy Star plays like any normal RPG. However, this was the first game to really blow the genre out of the water. Before it, you had very simple titles like Dragon Warrior, which hardly involved much more than moving around a bit, fighting some yawn boring enemies, powering up and yawn repeating until the end. Phantasy Star, however, makes the RPG much, much deeper than it had ever been before, and its depth can even stand up to modern games. They did everything in their power to make this game stand out from everything then and that would come after for a long time. Not only is the lead character a girl (previously something never before tried to this extent), but it mixes science ficition with fantasy, incorporates a huge number of enemies, 3D dungeons, different planets to travel to, novel items like a hovercraft and spaceship, pretty much everything they could do differently or better they did with Phantasy Star. Check some of it out here:

So does Phantasy Star have any problems in the gameplay department? No, plain and simple, no. The storyline is engaging, they managed to make the usual EXP collecting less bland, the development is spectacular, the usage of different characters for different effects is clearly evident and actually important, the items are all well integrated into the overall scheme of the game, there’s just nothing wrong with Phantasy Star, period. I could go on but I’ll just be repeating myself, this is easily the best RPG I’ve ever played.

Phantasy Star is definitely creative. Though it didn’t create the RPG genre, it totally redefined what could be done and should be done. I could list all of the niceties of it here, but it’s easy enough to read about it yourself on the internet through the various interviews and such explaining exactly everything they did to make this game stellar. It changed the RPG forever.

As for replay value, yeah, I’d definitely play Phantasy Star several times over. The game has so much depth to it and it’s so involved that I eventually feel the need to see what everything was all about one more time. It’s a massive game that will take you several weeks, months, or maybe even over a year to complete, and this alone will keep you coming back to it. Once you do finish it, chances are you’ll be a little nostalgic for all the lead-up, and you’ll give it another go. There’s nothing to unlock or anything like that, it just has a lot of character and quality to it. More high marks for Phantasy Star, but I might have liked a little more. Perhaps the ability to choose a different path to the end? Probably didn’t have the memory.

A number of gamers out there aren’t really fans of RPGs, but Phantasy Star is a game that can even bring the staunchest anti-RPG gamer to try it out. It’s intuitive, deep, beautiful, it just has everything you’d expect out of a good game RPG or otherwise. It’s often considered to be the greatest game for the system, and though some people may argue against it, there’s just too much going for it in its favor to deny it. The graphics are incredible, the sound has been bludgeoned until there is nothing better to be done with it, the gameplay is intense and deep, it’s creative as all hell, and it will keep you coming back for ages. It’s just a great game, plain and simple, and easily the best title the Master System ever had to offer. Every gamer out there needs to say they’ve at least played this game.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.5
Written by Stan Review Guide