• Register
  • TOS
  • Privacy
  • @NeoGAF

Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-13-2008, 11:30 PM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar
Since Phantasy Star IV has now been released on the Wii's Virtual Console (JP+EU), in addition to its North American re-release on the PS2/PSP Sega Genesis Collection, another upcoming 360/PS3 collection, and the import PS2 Phantasy Star Complete Collection (which includes English-language versions of all 4 games in the series, I hear), I figure it's time to finally give this game the appreciation thread it deserves. In this thread, I tell you why you should give a damn about PSIV and even go the extra mile to provide some spoiler-free tips for those new to the game. Wall-of-text incoming.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you may have already known, the Mega Drive struggled to compete in Japan. While it was extremely successful in the West, Sega was unable to garner much key support from big Japanese publishers, and in no genre was this more obvious than the RPG. With hardly any backing from Japanese 3rd parties (barring some notable support on the Sega CD), Sega would have to rely on in-house development for action RPGs (Landstalker), strategy RPGs (Shining Force), and traditional turn-based JRPGs (Phantasy Star).

Phantasy Star I on the Master System was very technically impressive for 8-bit hardware, featuring animated enemies and some impressive-looking 3D dungeons. Phantasy Star II's plot and setting really went the extra mile to make it stand apart from its peers. Phantasy Star III, while only tangentially connected to the other games in the series, is notable for its story that spans multiple generations, the last of which changes entirely depending on the decisions you make throughout the game.

And while the previous three games in the series have their fans, I have to admit that I was never really able to get into any of them. Being a latecomer to the series, I found the first three games difficult to approach without the nostalgia factor for various reasons, be it clunky user interfaces, gargantuan sprawling dungeons, grind-or-die difficulty, or sub-par scripts/localizations. I find 8-bit RPGs difficult to enjoy, period, so PSI's technical advantages over its peers of the day mean nothing to me. PSII is a first-generation Genesis game, preceeding the likes of the original Sonic the Hedgehog by about two and a half years, and it shows. PSIII is regarded by most to be the weakest link in the series for a variety of reasons.

I'm of the opinion that it took Sega precisely four tries to get it right. But oh man, when they did...



Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium landed in Japan on December 17, 1993 and in the States in February of 1995. It represents to me, perhaps moreso than any other game, the golden age of JRPGs, the point where the capabilities of gaming consoles and the programmers and designers who utilized them had advanced far enough to convey sufficiently epic adventures, varied gameplay, and user-friendly interfaces without the shitload of FMV, obscenely-long and time-consuming summons, and long-entrenched cliches that have been dragging the genre down ever since then. Most of the little (but important) things in PSIV are done oh so right. Your default walking speed isn't painfully slow. The combat system places a lot of (not-so-obvious) tools at your disposal, making it almost completely unnecessary to grind provided that you take the time to learn how to work it. The battles themselves move at a brisk pace while being sufficiently animated. Instant death spells WORK! With high success rates, even!

I could go on, but just let me say that if you play one traditional turn-based RPG on the Sega Genesis, make it Phantasy Star IV.

The Story

The universe of Phantasy Star is unique among its contemporaries in that it blends traditional fantasy staples of wizards and magic with futuristic sci-fi worlds populated with androids and high-tech weaponry. Unusual as it seems at times, I think the combination works out just fine, at least in this installment.

The story of Phantasy Star IV, as copied from the in-game intro:

The long, long struggle of ancient times finally ended...
The victor sacrificed the vanquished to the heavens.
Four bells tolled. Four torches were lit.
And the world continued for thousands of years...


The Algo solar system, somewhere in space...

Once a brilliant civilization flourished here. The citizens devoted themselves to the art and the sciences, and life was prosperous and good.

Then a series of disasters struck. The system-wide management system, 'Mother Brain,' was destroyed. So was the first planet, Parma. Over 90% of the system's population died, and the advanced technological culture was lost. Society declined, spiralling downward until at last only a few scattered groups even remembered there were once better times.

A thousand years passed.

At last, civilization is once more on the rise across the Algo system. People are once again turning to the thought of an easier life. Old knowledge is being rediscovered. But just as things look brighter, beyond a threshold long thought closed, a dark and very ancient evil stirs...

Phantasy Star IV begins as hunter Alys Brangwin is summoned to investigate some mysterious finds in the basement of Piata Academy. As with the heroes of the previous games, she and her companions have no idea just what they are getting themselves into.



(Partial) Cast of Playable Characters

Alys Brangwin
An extremely talented mercenary employed by the Aiedo Hunters Guild. Adored by many and feared by others, she's the one in command. She calls all the shots. Alys' primary weapons, Boomerangs and Slashers, hit all enemies at once. Make sure to keep two of the strongest types of available Slashers equipped to her whenever possible.

Chaz Ashley
A hunter-in-training and apprentice of Alys. Somewhat naive and prone to acting on impulse, Chaz starts out as a bit of a weakling but soon earns his place among the party as its most-skilled sword-wielder. Chaz will be the primary damage dealer for single enemies throughout the course of the game, and he can also heal single allies should you need him to (though not as well as some of the other characters). Make sure he has a sword in his hands whenever possible.

Hahn Malay
A gifted scholar of Piata Academy, disowned by his father for abandoning the family business in favor of his studies. Engaged to a school teacher from Krup. Also rather naive, trusting, and prone to panicking, traits Alys uses to manipulate and string Hahn along quite frequently. While Hahn may initially seem to be a useless character, physically weaker than Alys and Chaz and lacking in offensive spell-casting compared to Rune, he will eventually become one of the most versatile party members in the game. He learns a wider variety of techs and skills than any other character, which makes several more team attacks possible (see the section below). It's up to you as to whether he should carry two knives/daggers for an extra physical attack boost or two shields for defense while he casts magic instead.

Rune Walsh
A mysterious young wizard adept in several disciplines of supposedly-forgotten magic. Also a bit cocky and forever on Chaz's bad side. Seems to have a previous history of some sort with Alys. Rune joins your party briefly near the beginning of the game, then leaves for a little while, then returns. Feel free to experiment with his destructive magic as much as you want at the beginning of the game, and toss out his canes for a pair of Silver Shields when they become available, as the defense boost is much more useful for him than a physical weapon.

Gryz
A Motavian whose village was burnt to the ground by the dark magician Zio. He seeks nothing more than revenge on the main who killed his family and friends. Gryz is fairly straightforward, battle-wise. An axe-wielder who learns few techs/skills, he'll be your most potent physical attacker while he's in the party.

Demi
The control android responsible for overseeing the operation of all of Motavia's environmental systems. Very enthusiastic and child-like, especially when working with various types of machinery. Also very bashful when installing internal weapon units. Has to walk rather fast to keep up with the taller characters. (Her walking sprite is lol.) Androids are unique in that they heal themselves by 1 HP with every step they take, and they also automatically recover from 0 HP at the end of a battle should they happen to be wiped out during the fight. Otherwise, with some rare exceptions, the only skill that can heal them is RECOVER, and the only item that can do so is REPAIR-KIT. Since enemies are more prone to attacking the first person in your party, place Demi at the front when she joins, as her auto-regeneration attributes allow her to absorb a lot of the damage dealt to your party.

Presentation

While Phantasy Star IV was developed in 1993, it didn't see a release in the States until 1995. This makes it look and sound a bit dated in comparison to other later-generation AAA games on the Sega Genesis, to say nothing of those on the SNES. It is a big improvement over its predecessors in this regard, however, and any technical deficiencies in the presentation are offset with one cool feature: the cutscenes.






Almost all of the major events in PSIV are accompanied with illustrations that play out like comic book sequences. Along with the at-least-decent localization for its day, I feel this does a lot to flesh-out the characters and universe of PSIV. You could make a good argument that the major plot points and twists of PSII actually make it superior to PSIV story-wise, but PSIV's presentation makes it seem so much more full of life. My only complaint is that there aren't enough of these cutscenes in the later parts of the game.

The music isn't universally great, but there are plenty of standout tracks. Two of my favorites:

Phantasy Star 1 Dungeon Arrangement
Laughter

[ CHARACTER LIMIT REACHED HOLY CRAP, TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT POST ]

Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-13-2008, 11:31 PM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar
[ POST 2 OF 2: GAMEPLAY TIPS ]

Basic Combat

The one aspect of Phantasy Star IV's gameplay system that is the least user-friendly is the combat system. The vast majority of techniques have strange names with no in-game descriptions, forcing the user to experiment with all of them to determine exactly what it is that they do.

Special moves in PSIV are divided into two camps: techniques and skills. Techniques all cost a specific amount of TP but can be used as long as you have enough TP to perform them. Skills have their own stock that depletes by 1 each time they are used. Both TP and individual skill stock increase as the characters level up. Several of the healing techniques can be used both inside and out of battles.

First, some basics about the naming conventions. If a tech starts with RE, then it's a healing or restoration skill of some sort (RES, REVER, REGEN). If it starts with GI or NA, then it's a stronger version of a previous tech (RES, GIRES, NARES). If it starts with SA, then that means it affects either all enemies or all allies (SAR, SANER, SAVOL, etc). Try to memorize at least this much.

A complete list of techniques (and items that perform similar, but not always identical, functions in parenthesis) is below. Regarding status-changing techniques, you should generally stick to techs that increase your own party's power rather than those that decrease those of the enemy party unless otherwise noted. Those that affect your own party have 100% success rates.

Once you learn techniques that perform the same functions as simple, inexpensive items (such as HINAS/RYUKA/ANTI/RIMPA), it's usually best to sell all of your remaining stock of those items in order to free up inventory space (40 items max), save for perhaps one ESCAPIPE for absolute emergencies.

HINAS - Escape from the current dungeon. (ESCAPIPE)
RYUKA - Transports the party to any previously-visited town. (TELEPIPE)
RES/GIRES/NARES - Restores HP of one (organic) ally. (MONOMATE/DIMATE/TRIMATE)
SAR/GISAR/NASAR - Restores HP of all (organic) allies. (STAR-DEW)
ANTI - Cures poison. (ANTIDOTE)
RIMPA - Cures paralysis. (CURE-PARAL)
AROWS - Cures sleep.
REVER - Revives one fallen (organic) ally and restores some HP. (MOON-DEW)
REGEN - Revives one fallen (organic) ally and restores ALL HP (SOL-DEW)
DEBAN - Increases physical defense of all allies.
SHIFT - Increases physical attack power of one ally.
SANER - Increases agility of all allies.
GELUN - Lowers physical attack power of all enemies.
DORAN - Lowers agility of all enemies.
SEALS - Prohibits all enemies from using techniques. Useful against enemies with healing techniques or instant death spells.
RIMIT - Inflicts paralysis on all enemies.
FOI/GIFOI/NAFOI - Fire attack. Effective in cold environments.
WAT/GIWAT/NAWAT - Water attack. Effective in desert environments.
TSU/GITHU/NATHU/MEGID - Energy attack. Effective against darkspawn enemies.
ZAN/GIZAN/NAZAN - Wind attack. Hits all enemies.
GRA/GIGRA/NAGRA - Gravity attack. Hits all enemies.
BROSE/VOL/SAVOL - Instant death attack. BROSE has a low success rate. SAVOL hits all enemies. All 3 are ineffective against bosses and inorganic foes.

And now, a complete list of skills, divided into subcategories. Whereas many techs are shared between multiple characters, several skills are character-specific.

MEDICE - Similar to NARES tech but also works on androids. (TRIMATE)
MIRACLE - Similar to NASAR tech but also works on androids. (STAR-DEW)
RECOVER - Restores all HP of the user. Only learned by androids. (REPAIR-KIT)
ATARAXIA - Restores some TP for all organic allies.
MEDIC PW - Revives all fallen organic allies and restores some HP.

BLESSING/WARLA - Similar to DEBAN tech. Increases physical defense of all allies.
BARRIER - Increases magic defense of all allies.
WAR CRY - Increases the user's physical attack power.
VISION - Increases the party's dexterity (accuracy and critical hit ability).
TELELE - Lowers physical attack power of all enemies.
ILLUSION/SHADOW - Lowers agility of all enemies.
EARTH/MOONSHAD/BINDWA/MINDBLST - Inflicts sleep on all organic enemies.
HIJAMMER - Inflicts sleep on all mechanical enemies.
STASISBM - Inflicts paralysis on one organic enemy.

VORTEX/CROSSCUT/DBLSLASH - Inflicts a high amount of damage on a single enemy.
AIRSLASH/DISRUPT/SWEEPING - Inflicts normal attack damage on all enemies at once.
BURSTROC/PHONON/POSIBOLT - Hit-all skills of increasing strength, acquired by androids.

FLAELI - Fire attack. (Stronger than FOI but weaker than GIFOI.)
HEWN - Wind attack, hits all enemies. (Similar in strength to GIZAN.)
RAYBLADE - Energy attack. (Slightly stronger than NATHU.)
TANDLE - Electric attack, hits all enemies.
ST. FIRE/EFESS - Holy light attacks, hit all enemies.
FLARE/ASTRAL/LEGEON - Radiation attacks. LEGEON hits all enemies.
CORRSION - Physical force attack that hits all enemies.

BROSE - Instant death, generally ineffective.
SPARK - Instant death, works on machines.
DEATH/ELIMINAT/DIEM/DTHSPELL - Instant death, generally effective.
HOLYWORD - Instant death, very effective against dark enemies.
CRASH/EXPLODE/NEGATIS - Instant death, generally very effective. NEGATIS hits all enemies.

Team Attacks and Macros

One of the key elements of combat in Phantasy Star IV (and my favorite aspect of the gameplay) is the use of combination attacks between two or more characters. If you tell two characters use CROSSCUT and EFESS one after another, for example, they will instead combine the effects of these skills to create the particularly devastating GRANDCROSS team attack. Team attacks are usually much more damaging than the sum of the component attacks used to create them, and almost all of them will hit every enemy (provided that the enemy is not immune to that particular type of move). Knowing how and when to perform these attacks isn't necessary to beat the game, but it goes a long way in carrying your party through situations in which they would otherwise be under-leveled.

Here is a complete list, roughly arranged in the order that you'll be able to use them. (If a > is used instead of a +, that means that you have to perform the moves on the left side of the > before performing the others.)

TRIBLASTER (FOI + WAT + TSU) - Radiation attack. Useful early in the game.
FIRESTORM (FOI/GIFOI/NAFOI/FLAELI + ZAN/GIZAN/NAZAN/HEWN) - Fire attack. Useful early in the game.
BLIZZARD (WAT/GIWAT/NAWAT + ZAN/GIZAN/NAZAN/HEWN) - Water attack. Useful early in the game.
LETHAL IMG (ILLUSION + DEATH) - Extremely high chance of instantly killing all enemies.
SILENTWAVE (AIRSLASH + PHONON) - Strong physical attack, hits all enemies.
CIRCUITBRK (HIJAMMER + TANDLE) - Instant death to all machines.
SHOOTINSTR (BURSTROC > FOI/GIFOI/NAFOI/FLAELI) - Fire attack, hits all enemies. Useful in cold environments.
GRANDCROSS (CROSSCUT + EFESS) - Strong light attack. Useful against dark enemies. EXTREMELY useful against certain bosses.
BLACK HOLE (GRA/GIGRA/NAGRA + NEGATIS) - Extremely high chance of instantly killing all enemies.
CONDUCTTHND (WAT/GIWAT/NAWAT > TANDLE) - Electricity attack. Useful against machines.
HOLOCAUST (SAVOL + DIEM) - Extremely high chance of instantly killing all organic enemies.
PARADINBLW (RAYBLADE + ASTRAL) - Very strong energy attack. Only hits a single enemy. Useful against dark enemies.
PURFYLIGHT (HOLYWORD + EFESS) - Instantly kills all enemies weak against light magic.
DESTRUCT (DEBAN > MEGID + LEGEON + POSIBOLT) - Strongest energy attack. Inflicts up to 999 damage to all enemies. Generally not that useful against bosses for its cost.

There is one particular risk when attempting team attacks, however: If either an enemy or an ally attacks in the timeframe between two characters who are using a team attack, it won't work and the two characters will instead perform their individual attacks. Therefore, you have to ensure that your characters always attack in the proper order and are not interrupted by the enemies. You can do this via the MACRO option.



When not in a battle, go to the MACRO option in the main menu. From here, you can specify up to 8 different arrangements of attacks that the entire party can use in a single turn, including who does what and in what order. Make the character with the lowest agility attack first. Since everyone who will follow that character has higher agility, they should all follow immediately without any enemies interrupting. If you want to be doubly sure that your team attack is successful, arrange the entire party from slowest to fastest, with the characters performing the team attack always going dead last. This, of course, runs the risk of enemies getting to attack before anyone in your party moves, so you'll have to weigh the pros and cons depending on the situation or perhaps use SANER to increase your party's agility. To use a macro, select the MACR option during battle.



The three component techs of this particular team attack are associated with different elements and only hit one enemy at a time. Their combination not only hits all enemies but is tremendously more powerful than any of the three techs individually.

Supplemental Weapon Effects

Some weapons have a small chance of inducing a status effect or instant death on an enemy when used in normal attacks:

STUN-SHOT - induce sleep
DREAM-ROD - induce sleep
DEFEAT-AXE - induce sleep
SHADWBLADE - DIEM-like instant death
GENOCYCLAW - DIEM-like instant death
ELSYDEON - HOLYWORD-like instant death

If you use one of the following weapons as an item in battle (select them through the item menu, not the attack/tech/skill options), they will have the following effects. Sometimes it's useful to continue carrying these weapons around even when they're not equipped to anybody.

DYNAMITE - GIFOI attack (fire)
ECLPSTORCH - ST. FIRE attack (light)
TORNDDAGGR - HEWN attack (wind)
MAHLAYDGGR - NAFOI attack (fire)
FLAMESWORD - FLAELI attack (fire)
THUNDRCLAW - TANDLE attack (electric)
MOONSLASHR - MOONSHADE attack (induce sleep)
WOOD-CANE - restores ~32 HP to a single organic ally
PSYCO-WAND - CANCELING attack (reset enemy stats)
DREAM-ROD - BINDWA attack (induce sleep)
LACO-ROD - EFESS attack (light)
GUARD-ROD - restores ~64 HP to all organic allies
SWIFT-HELM - SANER (increase agility)
POW-SHIELD - SHIFT (increase physical ATK power)
MAHLAYSHLD - DEBAN (increase physical DFS power)

Equipping the following shields alongside a dagger, claw, or slasher has the following effects:

CRMCSHIELD - accompanying weapon acts like a fire-based weapon
PSY-SHIELD - accompanying weapon may inflict sleep
PLSM-FIELD - accompanying weapon acts like a radiation-based weapon

Abridged Walkthrough

A brief but complete and mostly spoiler-free walkthrough for PSIV can be found here should you desire to use one. It provides a list of all the treasure in each dungeon (in the order that you should find it so that it's easy to know when you missed something), strategies for each boss, recommendations for what equipment/weapons to buy in each town, and information for every sidequest. Though no plot details are provided, sometimes the given strategies and instructions give away major upcoming events in the story, and you generally shouldn't read ahead too much if you don't want to spoil yourself. There is also no word-wrap, so save the file to your computer and open it from there if you wish to use it.

If you would prefer not to use a guide and experience the entire story completely unspoiled, allow me to at least direct you to a few key sidequests you absolutely should not miss. I'll put these behind spoiler tags just in case, but really, you should probably just read them anyway.

The Mysterious Valley: This cave can be found once you have the Ice Digger in your possession. You obtain the best claw weapon from this dungeon. Its stats are actually lower than some of the other claws, but it is extra effective against dark enemies, which includes all of the major enemies and bosses towards the end of the game.

The Climate Center: This dungeon can also be found once you have the Ice Digger. The important thing to obtain here is the PULSEVULCN from a treasure chest, which is the strongest android weapon capable of hitting all enemies at once.

Silver Soldier: This is the final Hunters Guild mission, and you can apply for it once you have the Hydro Foil in your possession. (You also MUST complete it before initiating the end-game, as you won't be able to apply for it once you've passed a certain point in the story, so you'd best take care of it once it's available.) The important thing to obtain from this sidequest is the PHOTNERASR from a treasure chest, which is the strongest android weapon that targets a single enemy. (You can also find the POSIBOLT skill upgrade in the same dungeon.)

The Anger Tower: This dungeon can be accessed after obtaining ELSYDEON. Even though there seems to be more-pressing things to take care of at this point in the story, you had best head back to the place you had recently come from (same location as the towers of strength and courage). Search the map for a third tower, and enter it. The important things to obtain here are the final GUARD-MAIL from a treasure chest and a special reward from the tower's guardian.

There are several more sidequests in the game, and you should generally take the time to complete them, as most of them provide either a substantial EXP/MST boost or yield important weapon and skill upgrades. Make sure to obtain all the treasure from normal dungeons as well. Taking the time to find all of the important equipment upgrades will keep you from wasting much more time grinding levels to compensate for inadequate equipment.
sk3tch
Member
(11-13-2008, 11:35 PM)
sk3tch's Avatar

Originally Posted by Sixfortyfive

It represents to me, perhaps moreso than any other game, the golden age of JRPGs, the point where the capabilities of gaming consoles and the programmers and designers who utilized them had advanced far enough to convey sufficiently epic adventures, varied gameplay, and user-friendly interfaces without the shitload of FMV, obscenely-long and time-consuming summons, and long-entrenched cliches that have been dragging the genre down ever since then.

THANK YOU. This is why modern JRPGs have yet to "grab" me. Too much superfluous crap!
Gattsu25
Formerly Wakune
(11-13-2008, 11:35 PM)
Gattsu25's Avatar
I never did get to play through this game, but I did find the cutscenes to be a little too engaging for a game as old as it was...I only wish I were able to play this game back when it was first released.
Idioteque
Member
(11-13-2008, 11:43 PM)
I beat it for the first time last year. I love it. I tried playing Phantasy Star II afterwards, I didn't get too far. It's just way too hard.
Baron
Member
(11-13-2008, 11:48 PM)
Baron's Avatar
I bought and played PSIII back in 1993 or 4 or so, it was the first Phantasy Star game I had played. I enjoyed it a reasonable amount. I played a bit of 4 but not very much (got a PlayStation), and didn't think of PS again until PSO in 2001.

I bought the Sega Ages PS2 Phantasy Star Collection a few months ago - and let me say, it is awesome. If you have it in your power to play it, do it, and buy a copy while you still can. I still need to finish my PS4 game on it.
madara
Member
(11-13-2008, 11:51 PM)
madara's Avatar
Gosh darn it, where is my PS5, skip this online nonsense.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-13-2008, 11:54 PM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by Idioteque

I beat it for the first time last year. I love it. I tried playing Phantasy Star II afterwards, I didn't get too far. It's just way too hard.

I don't even mind the grinding that's necessary in PS1 and PS2. The battle systems are pretty basic, but they're not un-fun. I just didn't think any of the payoff (the story progression) was worth it in either game. Even though the skeleton of almost every JPRG is nothing more than a series of menial tasks to flip some flags to activate the next stretch of the adventure, it really seemed pronounced to me in PS1 and PS2 (and most other older RPGs I've played, like I said). I never really got that feeling from PS4.

It's a shame, too, 'cause I think a good case could be made for PS2's story. The rebellion against the Mother Brain is a rather interesting conflict, the mid-game spoiler moment is really impressive for its day, and the ending is pretty dramatic. Conversely, the main conflict of PS4 (the explanation as to what Dark Force is and what it wants) is really cut and dry and not terribly interesting, but I think the presentation and flow of PS4 is just so much better than PS2 that it doesn't make a difference. PS4 is just more enjoyable to actually play.
2DMention
Banned
(11-13-2008, 11:58 PM)
Back when it first came out, I borrowed this from a "rich" friend who had a job at the time, but I never got too far into it.

I'd like to play it again, but am holding out for the NA Wii VC release.
chaostrophy
Member
(11-14-2008, 12:01 AM)
chaostrophy's Avatar
Music isn't universally great? IMO it has the overall best music of any game, ever. It really plays to the strengths of the FM synth chip in the Genesis, has a great hard-hitting electronic sound to it.

I support this thread. PSII is my personal favorite of the Phantasy Star series, but I imagine PSIV is probably the best starting point for newbies to the offline PS games. It's more polished than PSII and doesn't require the extreme patience that PSII does.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 12:04 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by chaostrophy

Music isn't universally great? IMO it has the overall best music of any game, ever. It really plays to the strengths of the FM synth chip in the Genesis, has a great hard-hitting electronic sound to it.

Most of it is pretty good, yeah. I'd have very little to complain about if "Behind the Circuit" didn't play in every other mechanical dungeon. Such a gawdawful BGM.
camineet
Banned
(11-14-2008, 12:13 AM)
Phantasy Star IV was originally going to be a Sega CD game, subtitled 'The Return of Alis'
a completely different game than what was ultimately released in 1993/1995.

I have always been extremely curious about the never-fully-developed CD version.

I liked the PSIV we got very much, but felt it was just below II in overall impact and fun, even though IV is technically bigger & better.

The final foe The Profound Darkness was awesome in concept (an evil greater than Dark Force) but poorly executed IMO. Was not terrifying like Dark Force was. I felt the Dark Force encounters through out the game were better than the final battle against TPD.

Was it worth shelling out $99 plus tax in Feb 1995? Yes, but I think it could've been better.
PSII was absolutely stellar in every way, I felt there was something missing in IV.
Last edited by camineet; 11-14-2008 at 12:17 AM.
camineet
Banned
(11-14-2008, 12:16 AM)

Originally Posted by Idioteque

I beat it for the first time last year. I love it. I tried playing Phantasy Star II afterwards, I didn't get too far. It's just way too hard.

I felt PSIV was too easy in 1995, after being used to the more difficult PSII five years earlier, in 1990. PSII had the perfect difficulty IMO and by which i judged III and IV.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 12:35 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar
PSIV's difficulty is fine. As long as you make sure to stay properly equipped and learn when to use the right types of magic, you can squeak through the entire game without ever stopping in once place to grind levels. If you never make any wrong turns and never stop in one place to grind, you should reach the final boss at level 37-40, which is just about perfect. Trying to beat it at anything under level 35 or so is really difficult. I've managed it at about level 32, myself.

That said, I do happen to be working on a PSIV hack right now that modifies the difficulty in various ways. Monsters don't give out as much EXP/MST, bosses tend to use their powerful moves more often, and some enemies have new moves. On the other hand, some weapons are changed to be more useful (like certain daggers and shields that you would normally never have a good reason to equip), and some combo attacks are easier to pull off (no order requirements and so forth). It'll be a while before I'm done with it though.
djtiesto
is beloved, despite what anyone might say
(11-14-2008, 12:59 AM)
djtiesto's Avatar
Threads like this is why I wade through all the sales-age and meme filth that has tended to pollute GAF recently. This is one of the greatest games to ever be released. And a wonderful, albeit bittersweet, end to the greatest game series of all time. God I remember when this came out and was released at $110, and my parents wouldn't buy the game for me because it was so exorbitantly priced. 2 years later I ended up getting a used, cartridge-only copy at Funco for $35.

camineet: I had the same problem! I breezed through PSIV because I was expecting the extremely convoluted dungeons and challenging encounters of PSI and II. Although difficulty-wise, it's actually a very balanced game with more challenge than many of its peers. And yeah, II still remains my favorite (and my favorite RPG of all time), even though IV outdid the game in a number of ways...
farnham
Banned
(11-14-2008, 01:01 AM)
will get this on my wii as soon as i stock my wiipoints acount up
Mejilan
Running off of Custom Firmware
(11-14-2008, 01:01 AM)
Mejilan's Avatar
One of the BEST RPGs on the Genny. It's about time this hits the VC.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 01:17 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by djtiesto

Threads like this is why I wade through all the sales-age and meme filth that has tended to pollute GAF recently.



I like meme filth, thank you very much. (Sales-age I can take or leave, though. Only the .gifs make those threads worthwhile.)

Anyway, to get (even more) nerdy for a moment.... You know how the name of the main recurring villain of this series gets translated differently in the various games? Dark Falz and Dark Force? His name is the same in all of the JP games (ダーク・ファルス), and I was trying to figure out what the best translation would be.

And then I came across this artwork in the Saturn PS collection:



...Seriously. And you know what? I think this is actually the right translation. "Dark Falz" would be something like "ダーク・ファーズ" (the two little dashes at the end of the last character are important; they distinguish S from Z), and "Dark Force" would be "ダーク・フォース." "Phallus" is a closer phonetic match than either of the other two.

And we all remember this guy, right?



He's called "PROPHALLUS" in the English translation. I don't think that's an error, as it's about as close as you can get to the original name in this screenshot (which seems to be "Protophallus").

Normally I'm the kind of guy who gets irked when English localizations change things around and deviate from the source material, but I'd much rather keep either of the translations we got than put up with Dark Phallus. Lulz.
Kadey
Mrs. Harvey
(11-14-2008, 01:28 AM)
Kadey's Avatar

Originally Posted by Sixfortyfive

And we all remember this guy, right?

I remember he was the strongest of the regular enemies and can only be fought in the last hallway before the end boss. He also dropped Gryz's strongest weapon that you can't get elsewhere. He also dropped like 13000+ exp. Fastest way to level was against him. Grand cross him to death with Blondie and Blue and let the rest use their strongest attacks.
Prezhulio
Member
(11-14-2008, 01:30 AM)
Prezhulio's Avatar
one of my favorite games of all time. this makes me wish i could read japenese to play phantasy star portable, i loved pso and pso v2.... :(
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 01:35 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by Kadey

He also dropped Gryz's strongest weapon that you can't get elsewhere.

This was some other enemy. Everything else is correct though.
nitewulf
Member
(11-14-2008, 01:37 AM)
love this game, this one turned me onto jrpgs. i loved tri-blasting enemy groups earlier on, lead to quick battles.
sprsk
force push the doodoo rock
(11-14-2008, 02:05 AM)
sprsk's Avatar
No profile section for Wren?
camineet
Banned
(11-14-2008, 02:10 AM)

Originally Posted by Sixfortyfive



I like meme filth, thank you very much. (Sales-age I can take or leave, though. Only the .gifs make those threads worthwhile.)

Anyway, to get (even more) nerdy for a moment.... You know how the name of the main recurring villain of this series gets translated differently in the various games? Dark Falz and Dark Force? His name is the same in all of the JP games (ダーク・ファルス), and I was trying to figure out what the best translation would be.

And then I came across this artwork in the Saturn PS collection:



...Seriously. And you know what? I think this is actually the right translation. "Dark Falz" would be something like "ダーク・ファーズ" (the two little dashes at the end of the last character are important; they distinguish S from Z), and "Dark Force" would be "ダーク・フォース." "Phallus" is a closer phonetic match than either of the other two.

And we all remember this guy, right?



He's called "PROPHALLUS" in the English translation. I don't think that's an error, as it's about as close as you can get to the original name in this screenshot (which seems to be "Protophallus").

Normally I'm the kind of guy who gets irked when English localizations change things around and deviate from the source material, but I'd much rather keep either of the translations we got than put up with Dark Phallus. Lulz.

great post.



THIS.

Also used on the cover of Japanese PSIV.

I think that the final foe The Profound Darkness should've looked like that, instead of the 3 non-threatening forms it took. All IMHO of course.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 02:14 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by sp0rsk

No profile section for Wren?

He and Demi are pretty similar gameplay-wise, and Demi joins the party first.

Rika could probably use a mention, though. I always thought that she was kind of an oddball as far as JRPG archetypes go, too. She's the primary healer for most of the game, but her Mental stats are actually rather mediocre, and she's actually a really good physical attacker provided that she has the right claws equipped (Thunderclaw when fighting machines, Silver Tusk when fighting dark enemies, etc).
camineet
Banned
(11-14-2008, 02:16 AM)
There was also this unused Dark Force from early PSIV...Not Sega CD
PSIV: Return of Alis, but an early version of the PSIV: The End of the Millennium:

[img]http://i38.************/1zwm2b6.jpg[/img]

Pretty niffty eh?

While not quite as cool as that other Dark Force / Dark Falz / Dark Phallus in the posts above, still better-looking than the final enemy of the finished game.


From the first english preview of PSIV, in EGM Number 37 - August 1992,
(probably done that June, in the hands of subscribers in July, thus about 1.5 & 2.5 years before Japanese & U.S. releases)

[img]http://i35.************/aouo7a.jpg[/img]
Last edited by camineet; 11-14-2008 at 02:31 AM.
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 02:29 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar
DF has never been a particularly interesting villain, and he has never looked particularly threatening outside of concept art, IMO. I do like this one, though:



Curiously, I've never seen any concept art of PSIV's final boss. I have a feeling that it was scaled back to some degree in order to avoid censorship complications or something.
camineet
Banned
(11-14-2008, 02:31 AM)
that's cool^
mistuhcahlos
Member
(11-14-2008, 06:45 AM)
mistuhcahlos's Avatar
I've had Sega Genesis Collection for a while now, but have been too afraid to try PS IV cause of how bad II kicked my ass. I've been playing it for the past hour or so and it's already 10 times more engaging than II was. Great post, I probably wouldn't have (ever) tried it if I didn't read this.
Teknoman
Little Big NeoContra
(11-14-2008, 07:20 AM)
Teknoman's Avatar
There was a PSIV on Sega CD as well? Sidestory or continuation?
Night_Trekker
Member
(11-14-2008, 07:27 AM)
Night_Trekker's Avatar
Man, this really was a great game. Arguably the best straightforward JRPG on the Genesis and definitely of the same quality as the best of the SNES JRPGs.

Sega needs to forget about online, tone down the neon colors and give us a real sequel. But Sega needs to do a lot of things they won't do.

Originally Posted by Teknoman

There was a PSIV on Sega CD as well? Sidestory or continuation?

It was originally planned as a Sega CD title, but that version was canceled during development.
chandoog
Member
(11-14-2008, 07:37 AM)
chandoog's Avatar
i freaking love this game, in fact back in the day i used to praise this game more then final fantasy III
HK-47
Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
(11-14-2008, 07:39 AM)
HK-47's Avatar
Hot stuff
PolyGone
Banned
(11-14-2008, 08:19 AM)
I'm waiting for the VC release, but SEGA has their heads up their asses so...
Aeana
Medal Princess
(11-14-2008, 08:24 AM)
Aeana's Avatar
I played it for the first time last summer and it immediately became one of my favorites. I've played it 4 times since then. :o I still think I prefer 1 (which I also played for the first time last summer), but 4 is great.
CO_Andy
Member
(11-14-2008, 08:37 AM)
CO_Andy's Avatar

Originally Posted by Aeana

I played it for the first time last summer and it immediately became one of my favorites. I've played it 4 times since then. :o I still think I prefer 1 (which I also played for the first time last summer), but 4 is great.

5 times?! I can imagine you either don't play a wider selection of games like the rest of us gaffers, or you like doing speedruns.
Red Scarlet
(11-14-2008, 08:45 AM)
Red Scarlet's Avatar
Lost my cart a couple years ago, but got the Genesis Collection on PS2 so I can play 2-4 sometime. So that's where demi got his nick, always wondered.

Originally Posted by CO_Andy

5 times?! I can imagine you either don't play a wider selection of games like the rest of us gaffers, or you like doing speedruns.

Last summer could have been 17 months ago; once every 3 months isn't too bad for a game that was pretty enjoyable.
Stage On
Member
(11-14-2008, 08:50 AM)
Stage On's Avatar
Phantasy star 4 was the first rpg I ever played and I still maintain it's one of the best rpgs of all time.

I think the thing i like best about it is the fact you can travel between multipul worlds in the solar system. I don't think any other rgp has ever truely done anything like that.
Aeana
Medal Princess
(11-14-2008, 08:55 AM)
Aeana's Avatar

Originally Posted by CO_Andy

5 times?! I can imagine you either don't play a wider selection of games like the rest of us gaffers, or you like doing speedruns.

Neither of those things are true. I certainly play plenty of new games. But I enjoy replaying games, too. In the case of Phantasy Star 4, Sega Ages: Phantasy Star Complete Collection came out earlier this year, which prompted two replays on its own since I was playing with some friends.

I'm always replaying games I like, though.
Red Scarlet
(11-14-2008, 09:00 AM)
Red Scarlet's Avatar

Originally Posted by Stage On

Phantasy star 4 was the first rpg I ever played and I still maintain it's one of the best rpgs of all time.

I think the thing i like best about it is the fact you can travel between multipul worlds in the solar system. I don't think any other rgp has ever truely done anything like that.



Most of the planets were useless, though (Planet X was the only required one to go to, iirc).
CO_Andy
Member
(11-14-2008, 09:25 AM)
CO_Andy's Avatar
Despite owning a Genny i missed out on PSIV due to the absurdly high price tag back in the day. I'll have to shove aside Suikoden yet again to play this one.

You certainly had a wealthy upbringing Scarlet to be able to play those titles (Rondo of Blood not withstanding); I'm jealous.
Red Scarlet
(11-14-2008, 09:34 AM)
Red Scarlet's Avatar
Huh?
RevenantKioku
PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS oh god i am drowning in them
(11-14-2008, 09:35 AM)
RevenantKioku's Avatar

Originally Posted by sk3tch

THANK YOU. This is why modern JRPGs have yet to "grab" me. Too much superfluous crap!

Funny. PS4 didn't catch for me at all. I've still got my save on the PS2 collection waiting for me to get back to it, but I wasn't really feeling it.
Actually, thinking on it, 3 is probably my favorite just because how fucked up it is.
Prime crotch
Member
(11-14-2008, 09:41 AM)
Prime crotch's Avatar
Back in the day I only played arcade games on my Mega Drive, so I never knew I could save games on a console and I never did with PSIV lol until one day I checked a particular menu option.
Ogni-XR21
Member
(11-14-2008, 09:43 AM)
Ogni-XR21's Avatar
I got myself an import copy of PSIV on ebay a few years ago (I guess it was never released in Europe back then?) and loved the game, one of the best JRPG's I have ever played. I'm thinking about getting the VC version sometime soon.

OP you really should give PS1 a try, even though I knew the game back from the MS years through a friend I never played through it until the GBA collection was released. Leveling the first few levels is kind of rough, but once you get used to the distance you can travel and don't go too far at first its a really great game (but to be honest I was using a walkthrough for the dungeons).

And while I love PSO, play(ed) PSU and can't wait for PS0 I really wish they would make a real PSV, but knowing Sega they would probably screw it up.
Mik2121
Member
(11-14-2008, 09:49 AM)
Mik2121's Avatar
PSO I&II > Any PS
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 09:52 AM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by Ogni-XR21

OP you really should give PS1 a try, even though I knew the game back from the MS years through a friend I never played through it until the GBA collection was released. Leveling the first few levels is kind of rough, but once you get used to the distance you can travel and don't go too far at first its a really great game (but to be honest I was using a walkthrough for the dungeons).

I've tried playing the other games in the series, believe me. Every once in a while I'll pick up PS1 or PS2 again and think to myself "Okay, I'm really going to finish it this time. Seriously!" And then I make some headway and put in a few solid hours into it, eventually get bored, and then shelve it and forget about it. I can't stop myself.

Like I said before, I don't have much of a problem with grinding. I just gradually lose interest in the progression of the story and end up putting it off indefinitely. Last time I played PS1, I think I quit shortly after Luveno builds you a spacecraft or something. I remember thinking to myself that it was really corny, too. "Yeah, I leave his house, come back just a few minutes later, and he's built me an intergallactic spaceship by himself in the span of just a few minutes." I know, I know, crudely-translated 1987 video game, but my suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

The apparent necessity of having a walkthrough or FAQ on hand if you want to avoid a ridiculous amount of trial and error is another big drag, as far as I'm concerned.
RevenantKioku
PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS oh god i am drowning in them
(11-14-2008, 09:58 AM)
RevenantKioku's Avatar

Originally Posted by Mik2121

PSO I&II > Any PS

They're entirely different kinds of games though. Hard to compare.
ElectricThunder
Member
(11-14-2008, 12:06 PM)
http://www.romhacking.net/community/876/

For the interested, this guy has done some mod work on PSIV in an attempt to make the game more difficult, add and tweak stuff, the usual.

I never did beat PSIV back in the day...though I do remember it being quite a fun game. So many resets on that giant sandworm bounty...
Sixfortyfive
He who pursues two rabbits gets two rabbits.
(11-14-2008, 12:16 PM)
Sixfortyfive's Avatar

Originally Posted by ElectricThunder

http://www.romhacking.net/community/876/

For the interested, this guy has done some mod work on PSIV in an attempt to make the game more difficult, add and tweak stuff, the usual.

I never did beat PSIV back in the day...though I do remember it being quite a fun game. So many resets on that giant sandworm bounty...

The Purgatory Mod and its variants are awful. Every single common enemy in the game can wipe out your party unless you have a little bit of luck on your side, so you have to abuse save states to get anywhere. The game swings from having slightly more TP than you probably need to never having enough, a lot of character roles are broken (Gryz and Raja using tons of offensive magic is just weird), all of the instant death spells are removed, the combo attack setups are more complicated than they need to be, characters are given moves that make absolutely no sense (non-android characters using the android Recover skill? seriously wtf), and some of the moves that they are given crash the game if you use them at the "wrong" time. According to what I've read elsewhere, the guy who made it didn't even bother playing it through the whole way after he was done to see if the end product had any semblance of, you know, balance.

I'm working on a mod myself, but I'm aiming to tweak the difficulty, items, and enemies without breaking the game in the process.

Thread Tools