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Official Article

The Role of Phantasy Star III

By: MissM

I’m not just a dorkette that loves toys. I also love other kinds of fun cool stuff, particularly old school video games. I wouldn’t use the word ‘gamer’ to describe myself, because I am not always up to date on the new games, but I totally love playing games I grew up with. Mega Man 2 is still as fresh feeling today as it was when it first came out. Mega Man 2 was my first introduction to Rock, and had it not been for that MM2 box art, I probably never would have fallen in love with the series.

 

We’re not here to discuss the blue bomber though. Instead I want to talk about my favorite type of video game, the role playing game. I have had the Final Fantasy games in my heart since I was knee high to Kowl’s eye. Nothing can beat a really good role playing game and back then, it seemed like Final Fantasy was the only role playing game for people in the states.

 

However, all one needed to do was look a little harder back then. Role playing games were already sparking a name for themselves thanks to Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) and Legacy of the Wizard on Nintendo and of course we mustn’t forget Sega’s underrated role playing series: Phantasy Star.

 

I thought the original Final Fantasy was tough, but nothing could have prepared me for the difficulty of a Phantasy Star game. I was first introduced to the series when Phantasy Star IV came out in the early 90’s, and I was intrigued so I picked up Phantasy Star II at a used video game store. That game is quite possibly one of the most challenging games I have ever played. In fact, I gave up on it for many years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually managed to beat it!

 

There’s something to appreciate about a decade’s long journey to beating a video game. It becomes a special story, one that has staying power. Thanks to the market for old games, I was also fortunate to come across the original four Phantasy Star games on one of those Sega Classic Games on one disc purchase. On this disc was the third, and most interesting, Phantasy Star game ever. With a quick jaunt over to eBay, I was also able to purchase a very nice manual of the original version too. So come on folks, let’s investigate 1990’s Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom!

The beginning of a video game occurs long before the player has to press the start button. It all begins with the cover art. Phantasy Star III sported one of the coolest designs. A sense of fear and sci-fi coolness is clearly evident. Our hero is on a stone staircase against a ferocious looking enemy firing laser blasts all in what looks to be space. How could anyone not be interested in this game? One other important thing to note about the Phantasy Star series is that each game is connected to the previous one. This role playing series truly has the feel of a connectedness between each one, though some games may not always be evident about their connection to the previous installment.

 

Upon closer inspection, we can see more detail of the art for the cover. It is simply breathtaking. What I love about the Phantasy Star series was that each game managed to meld the worlds of science fiction and fantasy together. I enjoy both, and sometimes it can be frustrating to see each one separately, but together, that is where the magic is.

 

Inside the manual there was a brief description of the plot of the game. Essentially this game was like a Choose Your Own Adventure book as the player travels through three generations of characters and multiple endings depending on the choices that the player makes. The game just has an epic feel to it. Not only do you play one adventure, but you go through generations of adventures trying to find out what is behind the realm of terror. So much mystery and excitement!

 

The manual features just one page of characters that the player will come across. The names of the characters from these games were always really cool. That goes for most all role playing games. I have always enjoyed the unique names. Sadly, this manual only shows a fraction of the characters that the player will come across in the game. To help things out though, there are a few characters that make it through each generation due to their status as a cyborg. I also must note that Phantasy Star always utilized a nice mix of male and female characters. I was always personally thrilled about that.

 

Another piece of the manual shows off some more of the mythology of the world and people from Phantasy Star III. I am not entirely sure what it all means, as I have only played past the first generation. I hope to one day return to the game and finally finish it. For now though, I enjoy having this manual to look through.

 

Phantasy Star III was far from being critically successful, however it really should have been. The series had a unique spin on the role playing genre from the type of difficulty to even the basic (yet highly strategic) mechanics of battle. Not to mention the overall plot of the game. This game spans three generations and has multiple endings! The replay value alone is enough to keep players interested for future generations of their own. I highly suggest giving this game a try.

 

Did you play any of the Phantasy Star games? Share your thoughts and memories on this incredible series!     

  

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MissM Posted on Nov 26, 2013 at 06:43 AM

Vaporman- I know! It was very nice to finally finish the second one.

I've enjoyed action adventure games for sure, but there is just something special about an RPG for me. I don't even know why, because on paper they sound like very boring games, but I can't get enough of them. lol I never played the Phantasy Star Online games, but I heard it was a good game. I have the Phantasy Star Zero game on the DS, but I haven't played it yet. I'm always behind on that too. lol One thing I do enjoy and love about RPGs is the music.

Benjanime_ I've heard the endings are pretty good. I've only gotten past the first generation, so I still have a long ways to go.

Benjanime Posted on Nov 22, 2013 at 05:06 PM

Ahh, Phantasy Star III, also known as the black sheep of the series. I still have yet to get all of the endings

Vaporman87 Posted on Nov 22, 2013 at 03:23 PM

Wow. That's awesome that you were able to finally complete a game that you started many years ago. That does have to be a fun and special feeling.

My brother was always the RPG player in the family. I preferred the action/adventure games with real time fighting and such, as opposed to anything turn based. And, I had a hard time getting into games that used so much text instead of actual dialogue. I really don't know why, since I grew up on games with NO dialogue at all (text based OR spoken), but I think after that first time I heard "B-17 bomber" come through a speaker on the Intellivision... I felt like I wanted to HEAR the characters speak from then on.

Still, I occasionally enjoyed watching the games be played through. I had some difficulty with the fact that many of the characters of RPGs were little kids. I wanted my heroes to be giant warriors with massive axes, lol. But, I've grown to appreciate the genre as the years have progressed.

Now, Phantasy Star... the only Phantasy Star game I have actually played was the Phantasy Star Online game for the Sega Dreamcast. I actually spent a good deal of time playing that one with my brother in online multiplayer. I don't know if any of the story from that game tied in to the mythos of the original Phantasy Star games, or if it was something like Final Fantasy where every game is a new story, but it was a fun romp.

Thanks Miss M.!

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