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Phantasy Star (Master System)

Phantasy Star (PS) SEGA Master System
Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Perspective: 1st-person, Top-down
Art: Anime / Manga
Pacing: Turn-based
Gameplay: Japanese-style RPG (JRPG)
Interface: Direct Control, Menu Structures
Setting: Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Published by: SEGA of America
Developed by: SEGA Enterprises Ltd.
Released: 1988
Platform: SEGA Master System

The feeling of complete permissiveness is the main feature of the first part of the cult series. Imagine that you started to pass Final Fantasy IX: You fled Alexandria with the princess on board, got out intact and safe from the Forest of Evil and then suddenly you are given a flying ship and they say: "Now fly, my dear, wherever you want." Something similar happened in the Phantasy Star: assembling a team in the face of Tylon's strongman, fluffy talisman named Meow and the steep magician Lutz, Alice performs the last "rail" quest and gets her own spaceship, allowing them to fly to any of the three planets. "Where is the catch?" - you ask. The catch is that you can not simply fly over the surface of the planet and freely land anywhere in the world, so the heroes will still have to move on their own two. And then the first serious problems with orientation in space begin. If I now ask: "how did you go through Phantasy Star?", Then I will answer that I did not understand anything, went at random and somehow I managed to progress. The most important thing to do in the game is to communicate with the inhabitants of other cities. With monsters we also need to communicate sometimes, but we will come back to this later. Only from NPC you can get an idea of what to do next, learn about the existence of certain items, their possible application and approximate finding. This leads to the need to constantly return to the locations visited and to study them in the second round, taking into account the information received earlier. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the names of cities, towers and other sights of the planets of the solar system of Algo are very reluctantly communicated by the game itself and only from the lips passing residents, which makes it sometimes very difficult to understand exactly where you are sent by civilians, or a city or a very important artifact in a certain dungeon.

If you sum up all the information you receive from non-gambling characters, you can make a plan for the game:
  • Find equipment made of laconium: laconic sword, laconic shield, laconic armor and laconic ax. Without it, you can not even try to raid the final boss;
  • Obtain all possible means of transportation: a spaceship, a cross-country vehicle, an icebreaker and an air-cushion ship. The ship can not be missed, but everything else (except for the hovercraft needed for movement on the water surface) will have to be bought in stores for a lot of money;
  • Find the "Perseus Shield" and use it to kill Medusa - one of the few bosses in the game;
  • Find an object that allows you to find the place where the final boss of the game sat down, because it is invisible from the beginning;
  • Find an object that allows you to get to the place where the final boss of the game sat down, after its detection.
The latter is most important, because as with impunity to navigate the world map Phantasy Star still will not allow, be ready for the incessant flow of random battles! Since the game appeared long before the invention of the word "balance", the intensity of materialized monsters from the air is devoid of any logic and completely unpredictable. Your newly emerged team of world saviors can at times calmly trample down the entire surface of the planet, and can be attacked every step. The very same combat system is very simple and simple, because of which the vast majority of battles is limited to only two menu items: "give in the face" and "run away." You can, of course, try and surprise someone, especially closer to the second half of the game, when all the wizards in the team will master their most effective spells, but very soon there will come a realization that spending valuable mana on ordinary opponents is not only pointless, but also very dangerous: not only that all ethers and other mana regenerators are not provided with a game, because of what you have to go back to the gas station in the nearest city, so even the profile magicians do not have to say that much, and spend them on Thurs. -That except for treatment and clearance treasure chests simply impractical. Another reason for the ineffectiveness of magic in combat is the almost total absence of attacking spells in the game. In fact, there are only three of them: fireballs (very weak, but cheap), wind (average damage) and lightning (huge damage to all enemies for the corresponding price). Other variety of charms revolves mainly around the strengthening of heroes and the weakening of opponents and is not used very often. The fourth scenario, which is used in practice even less often than magic, but definitely adds a few points of uniqueness to the game, is to try to talk with the enemy. Considering that interplanetary flights in the world of Phantasy Star are common, you can run into not only a bloodthirsty monster, but also local native people, it is not necessary to fight with them. If you talk to them, then, prompting something on the further passage (or simply pouring water), they will leave home, on which the battle will end. Unfortunately, only the indigenous inhabitants of the planet Motavia are talkative, with all other reasonable enemies will have to communicate with the help of magic "Telepathy", which makes the point of "Talking" so useless.

But back to the battles. Suppose that you still collected all the courage in a fist and chose the option "give in the face." So, the peculiarity of the game (and, possibly, the technical limitation of iron) is that monsters of different types can not attack your team in principle. But one type - even as they can. Why am I doing this? And to the fact that you can not choose which enemy from the group to attack! The character chooses it randomly. And the order of moves of heroes and monsters is always random. And the attacking magic, with the exception of lightning, strikes at casual enemies. And in general, everything is very random. More than once or twice you will witness that the heroes in the first move brought one adversary to the death agony, after all the subsequent fight flatly refused to finish him, as a result, he died the latest. And all this time he snapped. As if in Lufia & the Fortress of Doom I returned, where it was also impossible to choose a target from enemies of the same type. Who ever thought this was a good idea? Another no less important feature of the game are chests with treasures left after the killed monsters. And at this point, Phantasy Star is already beginning to beat on the face, because in any box a trap can be hidden, capable of breaking the health of either one character in the team or the whole party at once. Do not open chests, too, can not, because without money the game does not go. Meow, who owns the magic of mine, comes to the rescue, but his mana is not enough for every box, so there is nothing left to do except to open the chests at your own peril and risk and pray that nothing terrible will happen. But it's still not the worst! Welcome to the dungeons of the world of Phantasy Star.

Dungeons ... The main nightmare of anyone who ventured to challenge this game. If before Phantasy Star simply gave a slap with a non-linear passage, an acute shortage of money and mined chests, now it is hitting the players on the floor and begins kicking them with their feet. Judge for yourself: labyrinths from the first person, tons of random battles, lack of a map and the need to navigate through the compass space, which must still be constantly pulled out of uncomfortable inventory, invisible doors and traps dropping to the floor below. All this leads to one obvious conclusion: nafig this ig ... No, not this! Khem. Do not even try to climb into the dungeons without the teleport, bought in advance from one of the stores. There is a very high probability of getting lost in them so much that the only way to see the light of God again will be to boot from the old save. Despite the fact that the dungeons completely lack open locations, because of what all the wanderings are reduced to one very long and confused intestines, it is easy to get lost in them, and if the path starts branching ...

But what surprised me the most was the catastrophic inconsistency of the increasing complexity of the labyrinths, in which the heroes sink as they progress through the game. For example, one of the most complex, intricate and aggressive dungeons in the whole game is a couple of steps from the starting city, and after it follows a couple of absolutely linear danzhen, in which it is impossible to get lost at all desire. Each new detected descent into the ground becomes a real surprise, either flying unnoticed in a couple of minutes, or leading with many hours of wandering and forcing to grab for a pencil and paper (and for the head as well) and start drawing a map.

But the music will not say much about music. Not because it's bad, but because the technically extremely limited Texas audio console console, in comparison to which even NES looks like a small orchestra, is not trivial to squeeze out something truly impressive. To a certain extent, SN76489 is one of the main culprits of the fact that the games on the console have grown so quickly. Of course, and it came across real masterpieces (it is enough to recall Tintin in Tibet from Alberto Gonzales), but the overall picture of the soundtracks from the games on the Master System looks very bad. As for Phantasy Star, the composer of the game Tokuhiko Uvabo came to the point with the mind and did not feel the ears of gamers for strength and invent something excessively progressive, confining themselves to only a few melodious and very simply arranged compositions. Melodies in the game are not that much: a couple of cities, a composition for each planet, a couple of dungeons, one track for battles with ordinary opponents (from which you will get sick start-up-about-very quickly) and a decisive battle with the final villain, and all this is held together by a couple of songs that play in rare cut scenes. What can you still wish for?

Dreams about the best sound became a reality after the release of the add-on for Master System, replacing the chip from Texas Instruments with FM-synthesis from Yamaha. Sega did it radically, and instead of adding additional power to the existing tools, like Nintendo did with the release of the Famicom Disc System (FDS) or, say, Konami, which provided the third part of its Castlevania series with extra tools for creating a richer arrangement, they just made a new one . Of course, if the game was not specially sharpened for this module, then it will not even suspect of its existence and will continue to use SN76489 for sound generation, but the list of releases compatible with the add-on was far from being so shallow. Since I'm talking about this, it's clear which game was compatible with the FM-unit, but it's still more interesting here. I do not know what caused that, but the addon is supported only by the Japanese version of the game, in all other releases compatibility was removed. Only two games from the compatible list were with such an unpleasant "regional" exception, and Phantasy Star was among them! But the fans took this nuance into consideration and the Japanese version of the game was first translated into English, and then into Russian. Now the game can be played not only on the Great and the Mighty, but also under more pleasant music, and thanks to the more pleasant font, the orientation in the menu no longer seems so claustrophobic!

Here are the impressions from the very first part of the famous series. The game has grown significantly over the years, but it was surprisingly exciting to play it. Especially this refers to attempts to combine pieces of information obtained from other characters. The game, of course, tries to confuse, lead to a false track and so on, but in vile situations they almost never put, and all its secrets can be thought out on its own. However, the labyrinths are that pain in the ass.