Thursday, 10 February 2011

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Why Phantasy anyway? Were they worried that people would get it mixed up with Final Fantasy? The Japanese title of the game is just spelt normally.

One of these two is the protagonist, though it remains to be seen which. Our heroes are Chaz, a young and inexperienced warrior, and Alys, his mentor who is kind of a bitch. We are badass monster hunters, on our way to a job at a University.

Man, this intro is going on forever. The characters just walk around everywhere by themselves. Enough of the story, I wanna go into a dungeon and kick some ass already.

Well, yeah! Don't get me wrong, I like story in a game. But I prefer to earn story as I go, as a reward for playing through the game, rather than earn some gameplay eventually as a reward for sitting through endless cutscenes.

Finally I get control of the character, and I'm immediately thrown into a crisis!

Okay, in game that's two boxes of text and you have take a couple of steps left to see her, but I edited up a picture to save showing three screenshots. To be fair, I prefer this to having to actually search the whole building for her.

Ugh. I was trying to look at the statue, but she automatically turns away from it when you push towards it. And then has the nerve to complain about it! This happened to me all the time, whenever I tried looking at stuff I'd be a little off, or forced into facing the wrong direction, and then up comes the message box. Slowly. I put the message speed to 'fastest' and it was still too slow (ie. not instant).

Anyway, as I finally have control of my dudes it's time... to ESCAPE!

Oh c'mon! Okay to be fair we came here to do a job for someone, so lets get it over with.

Important conversations happen with cool comic book panels flashing up on screen. It's a nice idea, though I'm not sure it was necessary to throw up three pictures of the same guy there. Anyway, he says we are to go into the basement and kill monsters. These monsters had better not be rats...

We recruited a new guy for money (he paid us) and boldly began our journey into the infested basement. Oh noes, I think I see a monster!

My hopes that this might have visible monsters in dungeons were soon crushed, as I encountered my first standard issue invisible jrpg random encounter.

Oh joy. Icons instead of words. Fair enough most of them are easy to figure out, but I don't want to have to figure out icons! I suppose it's better than having words like ATTK, MGIC, SPEC, DEF etc. Oh hey, I see that the game has reserved a place at the table for two more characters.

Finally we reach the dungeon boss, and all line up to look badass for the screenshot. I had to switch up my strategy for this fight, I hammed 'attack' several times instead of just two or three times.

After returning to the Principal with news of our glorious victory, were are given a new job: investigate some place. Plus there was a stone guy and... okay fine I wasn't paying attention.

After many minutes of travel, and countless (probably 3) random battles, we reach a village full of people turned to stone! This must be the right place. I immediately try to break into the inn and get a free night's sleep, but it seems they had the sense to lock the doors before being instantly petrified.

A cave! No doubt it shall be long, twisty, and mazelike. We could be here for quite some time.

Nope, we found the guy already. Man these cutscenes are making me feel like I'm playing a jrpg of 24. In a good way.

After searching the land for a save point, I discovered I could just save on the world map whenever I wanted. But then I realised that there was no point really. By the time I get around to playing this again I will have totally forgotten where I'm supposed to go and what I was meant to be doing...

Oh, wait, you can actually talk to your dudes to find out where to go next. Well played Phantasy Star IV, you win this round.

This is actually a pretty solid rpg so far, I'm surprised. It gets the gold star for not being crap. But onto the next game.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Semi-Random Game Box