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Phantasy Star II

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Reviewed by Vegita Ranking: Graphics: 7/10 Sound Effects: 4/10 Music: 7/10 Originality: 7/10 Play Control: 7/10 Group Enjoyment: 5/10 Individual Enjoyment: 7/10 Challenge: 8/10 Ending: 9/10 Overall: 7/10 Phantasy Star 2 is the sequel to the popular Master System game, Phantasy Star (duh!). As with the previous game, you are a character out to save not just the world, but the galaxy. Your character (with the name you give him) lives on the planet of Mota, a planet in the Algo system. Sadly, your character has been having nightmares. He dreams of a girl fighting a giant demon, but is unable to aid her (By the way, the girl is Alis, and the demon is DarkFalz, both from P.S.1). You are then given the mission, by your superiors (you're a special agent in the city of Paseo), to get a data recorder from the Mother Brain, the giant system that runs the environmental controls for the planets of the Algo System. Hopefully, it will explain the anomolies taking place on the planets. Before you can go, however, your friend, Nei, forces you to take her along. Well, that's your briefing to the story. Along the way, 6 people will join you to discover what is happening to the Universe, and what your role in it is. Good luck! Good Points: Counting previous experience with bad RPGs (mostly NES), this game has counteracted a lot of the usual problems that plague them. Battle, while still tedious (aren't ALL RPGS like that?), aren't quite as bad as some games I've played. This is in part to the pseudo-continuous battle system. You select what you character is going to do, then the battle continues on with each character performing that action until someone wins. If you want to cancel out of this, press a button. This makes battles extremely easy after a while, as you can set up a series of attacks, then walk off, come back, and find out...you've died. Oops! Another good point is the thief, Shir. While not particularly strong in any area, she has one great ability - she steals things from stores. Simply walk in and out of the store until she suddenly disappears, then travel back to the Main Character's house, and she'll be there, waiting. She will have in her inventory whatever she took. If you're short on cash, this is a great way to gain some. Bad Points: Aside from the dramatic jump in enemy challenge (if you wander into the wrong area, you're toast!), there are only 2 main problems with this game. In battle, shouldn't you be able to decide exactly who you're going to hit with something? You SHOULD, but the closest the game lets you get to that is picking the group of enemies you will attack. That's just not good. Second of all, there are some things that you want to be able to check up on from time to time, and this game does not give you the opportunity to check them. In order to find out how much experience you need to gain a level up, you have to go to a saving location (until you get Shir...). And if you forget where you are supposed to go, good luck remembering. Finding you way there is just as difficult as figuring out where you're supposed to go! You are rerouted through so many subquests, you'll probably forget just what it is you're doing in the game - You have to find out what's wrong with Mother Brain. In order to do that, you have to get to the control module. In order to do that, you have cross a certain bridge. In order to cross the bridge, you have to get the kidnapped girl back from the thieves so the guard on the bridge will leave. In order to get the girl, you have to find dynamite AND the thieves' base. In order to find either, you have to wander around for a while in a variety of locations until you stumble upon what you're looking. Frustrating, no? General Ratings: Graphics: The graphics in this game were great, but there were several points that brought it down. Whenever you entered a building, there was a large picture of the shopkeeper. There were also large pictures of each character when they joined your party. There was also a good deal of animation of both the characters and the enemies during battle. These were good. The bad aspects were the lack of animation in your characters walking (3 frames?). There was also a LOT of palette swapping in the enemies...Frankly, I can't STAND that in a game! Sound: The sound just doesn't do too good here. The sound effects are more annoying than anything. For instance, whenever you select something it sounds like a pathetic bike horn! Seriously, folks... Music: The music has a decisively technological feel to it. While, at times, the music becomes rather irritating, the rest of the time it is rather enjoyable. The Overworld music is catchy, and even features a "Techo-Vibes" solo! Good, but the irritation factor brings it down a notch. Originality: There have been RPGs before, and there was a Phantasy Star before this. That is no problem for this reviewer, as there is plenty in the way of original ideas to take care of that! Instead of using magical abilities to warp from one place to another, the people of this universe use vast technological means (transporters, hovercraft, etc). They use guns and swords, and the guns are usually more effective (they can hit lots of enemies for lots of damage). And instead of "Magically" reviving a dead character, you take them to a cloning bank to have them restored via, well...cloning. Nice, imaginative work! Play Control: It's an RPG! You don't worry about it, aside from what buttons do what! The A button talks to people and searches, the B button cancels out of menus and selections, and the A button takes you to the menu screen and accepts items therein. Oh yeah, and the start button pauses the action. The controls are muddy or anything, but I'm sure they could have found a way to change which button does what (if you so choose). Enjoyment: For other people watching, it's average enjoyment. For yourself, it's a fun look at a futuristic society, founded on 3 different planets, that still has problems like any society. They deal with it in their own ways, but sometimes people go out of their way to take care of their own needs by themselves, creating even more problems...only with a technological feel! WEEE!!!! Challenge: As I stated earlier, if you wander into the wrong area, the monsters take a radical jump in strength, making you look foolish and weak. Another point is the odd system of techniques, as people might not initially figure out that "Gofoi" is really a stronger version of "Foi". In fact, they might not even figure out that "Res" heals, "Hynas" returns you to the last area you saved, "Rever" brings back the dead, and "Megid" lays waste to anything in its path. Oh yeah, and the enemies are pretty strong too, but that's due to the lack of armor you party is probably facing (high prices tend to do that to you), and weak weapons. Oh well...we can't ALL be perfect, now can we? Ending: Ah, the only section I can't give an example for. Very well, I WILL tell you this - this is the kind of ending I love to see, but don't want to see it ALL the time (at the end of a Super Mario Bros. game, for example). The games that have the guts to do this style of closure are a very brave bunch indeed, and I tip my hat to them. Oh yeah, and it's got really good graphics to go along with it. Just thought I'd mention that. Overall: 7 / 10 Overall, this game could stand a little more finish work. While the graphics and music are good, the sound got on my nerves after a while, and the high cost of items bothered me a great deal. Well, at least this game isn't Hydlide...

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