I've Decided to play Phantasy Star IV

I'm about an hour in to Phantasy Star IV on the Genesis Classic. I've never played it. It's fun! Yes, I know we are supposed to be talking about Phantasy Star Online 2 right now in the games marketing cycle, but this is what I'm playing.

  • - The cut-in anime frames that come in for the dialog scenes do a lot to add personality to the story.
  • - I like Alys' strong characterization in the game right off the bat. She's bullheaded and a bit manipulative.
  • - The macro system seems like it will be fun to learn and edit once I have enough skills to get the combos down.
  • - I totally needed to go look at the manual ([which is posted online with all the others here](https://manuals.sega.com/genesismini/)) to figure out what the skills are and do because they are _not_ explained in-game at all.
  • - It's interesting playing a classic 16-bit RPG that isn't related to any of the Square or Enix games as a branch of parallel evolution. What did they keep vs. what did they reject, etc. Especially since the game series itself had plenty of its own history to lean on by the time Phantasy Star IV came out.
  • - Seems like it's "only" about 20 hours to play the entire thing, which seems much more doable than _Persona 5_.
  • What else is cool about this 16-bit series?


    I really like (as in the screenshot here) how they just stamp new frames on top of the old ones. We stole this idea for our game Gunsport, and I‘m surprised I haven’t seen more games do it? It really adds a bit of dynamism for a very low amount of work on the dev side.

    That said, I've never played it, only watched videos!! I should... probably do it some time soon. I even own it I think!?

    Phantasy Star 4 is fast, fun, low on grind, great on aesthetics. And yeah there is the hidden depth of the combo techs which gets you into using the macros, which speeds up battle even farther. The others in the series are good, but Phantasy Star 4 is the only one that doesn't need some tweaking (rom hacks / Sega Ages versions) to be completely playable today. I am on the verge of selling my whole Genesis collection in favor or flash carts, but this is the one game I will likely keep.

    Good to hear that I don‘t need a different version to enjoy it. I made the mistake of looking at Romhacks and there’s a bug fix hack that was scaring me quite a bit. In the end I decided that if Sega put it on the console, it probably doesn‘t have too many crash bugs.

    Another reason I started with IV was accessibility. The earlier ones have a reputation for being grindy and easy to get lost in without an external map. And since I’m playing the non-Ages version of it, I didn't want to need to go find a bunch of supplementary material to enjoy myself.

    while we‘re talking ages, definitely do get Phantasy Star (the first one) for switch! It turns an intimidating, grindy, somewhat frustrating game into something you can breeze through and have a lot of fun with in just a few hours. I loved it! but I bounced off every prior iteration of the game completely. They just gave you more exp, gave you a map, and a couple other quality of life things, and it just works. You can almost play straight through the dang thing, grind if you want to (like to find/defeat secret stuff), not grind if you don’t, and really not miss anything. it rules!

    I beat Phantasy Star 1 on GBA and enjoyed it, but everything Brandon said about the Ages version is true. Its such a unique world to hang out in that I am glad its more accessible now.

    So I‘ve been playing Phantasy Star IV again and I’ve been playing it on this little Miyoo hand-held. The last game I finished on it was Mega Man 3 and I wanted to try something I haven‘t played before. Having it in my pocket and in a device I can pick up and put down on a whim for even a few random battles has gotten me much further than I’ve ever gotten in the game even though I am sad I don't get the large speaker treatment for the soundtrack. The huge animated enemies and battle backgrounds are a highlight. I love the manga panel styling of the cut scenes. I love how Chaz will comment on you rifling through homes and gets excited with what you find:

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/ezBXp0I.jpeg]

    Ironically, I tried out _Phantasy Star_ [1] yesterday and got a talking cat to join my party before I saw this @"exodus"#p3991 guy [I follow online posting about it](https://mastodon.social/@Necrosofty/109876825082262097):

    _Phantasy Star 1_ is fun but I think requires the Sega Ages switch version for our modern sensibilities. _Phantasy Star IV_ and I seem to be getting along just fine without any updates (other than the fact I can save states and put it down instantly). I certainly would have enjoyed this game when it was originally released.

    [In conclusion](https://mstdn.party/@Pot_Sticker/109877096721677855)...

    @“antillese”#p104662 PSIV has maybe the weakest soundtrack of the series, so no great loss there. The last time I beat it was on PSP listening to an iPod. Everything else about the game is great and will come through on the Miyoo. Shoot I should try playing it on my Pocket

    Frank brings this up every time OG PS is mentioned on the podcast and I‘ll repeat it here: the Phantasy Star Retranslation mod, programmed by Omar Cornut (MEKA emulator, Wonder Boy 3 remake) & featuring contributions from Frank and others, offers most of the same enhancements as the Ages version in addition to a new script—the original script is far from the worst of its era but the new version is less terse and offers, like, lower-case letters, and there are alternate French, Spanish, etc patches as well… It obviously can’t offer the dungeon automap or any of the other screen-border UI features provided by the Ages version, but if you want to play the game on something approximating genuine hardware, that patch will get you most of the way there.


    @“robinhoodie”#p104665 PSIV has maybe the weakest soundtrack of the series


    @“gsk”#p104677 Only because 1 -3 are off the charts good to me. PSII is one of my favorite soundtracks ever and 1 and 3 have some incredibly high highs.

    Wild Arms is better than Phantasy Star

    @“IncompatibleKaiser”#p104688 this is a thread for enjoying phantasy star iv. Think about it!

    wow so brave. i have never been able to actually commit to playing phantasy star IV

    @“exodus”#p104694 About 6 years ago I lost someone incredibly important in my life and pretty much went dead emotionally. I woke up one morning and started playing Phantasy Star I on an emulator while remembering my childhood. Some of it was bad but I picked up a memory of a friend who thought the game was jank but nonetheless played through the entire thing by herself in a single weekend. I sat there grinding through it for 16 hours in some sort of trance, and by the time I beat it, I was so refreshed that I felt like only 4 hours had passed and had to double take when I realized it was 8 in the morning and not 8 at night. I went through the rest of the day as though I‘d had a full night’s sleep, so great was the spiritual nutrient and virtue of the videogame called Phantasy Star. It brought back a feeling of courage and optimism that otherwise would have been frozen within my soul from the tragedy. It's a pretty good game.

    I also think about this screen every single time I wake up at 5 AM.
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/aMB0BM0.png]

    This is amazing: there‘s a scene in the hunter’s guild where three girls come out… throw off their dresses and do a burlesque dance to the Fantasy Zone music! This would have been talked about constantly like the “censored” dancing scenes in Final Fantasy 2 … if it was on a Nintendo platform!

    i sort of fell off PSIV shortly after >!beating that first tower dungeon and losing alys!<. i'd like to get back into it! i love the music and story presentation.

    As long as the forum‘s discussing Phantasy Star, has anybody else ever noticed the unusually specific parallels between Phantasy Star IV and Chrono Trigger? They’re almost Cat Concerto/Rabbit Rhapsody levels of specific, and I‘m surprised I’ve never seen anybody else even make the connection. To whit, both games feature:

  • - A battle system defined by multiple characters joining together to perform a single powerful technique of some kind.
  • - An early plot beat where one character demonstrates their power by [splitting](https://youtu.be/5XQ0uq7YLhk?t=430) a [mountain](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsKJooAb02c) in half.
  • - A major character death where they sacrifice themselves in an [otherwise](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIneeFx6toM)-[futile](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHJl9y9S3Qc) battle against an eldritch horror whose power a semi-major villain is harnessing.
  • - The main [antagonistic](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lcpGzeAS5E) [force](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sRU8yrcEu8) being splintered off manifestations of a much greater eldritch force wrecking havoc from basically outside the confines of spacetime itself.
  • - A [Mother](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA2JwrHcH_o) [Brain](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7vAfB2alMY) sidequest. Granted, I confused the name of the antagonist in this quest with the final boss from *Phantasy Star II*, but that's about the only difference I can think of between these two quests.
  • A part of me really wants to know how these similarities came to be. You can't exactly reduce all of them to 90s JRPG mise en scene, but I don't see any reason why Sega and Squaresoft would pay close enough attention to the other's output to take notes from their work.


    @“Video Game King”#p104884 A part of me really wants to know how these similarities came to be.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it honestly was that they were all inspired by the same popular manga, novels, and media that was happening around then. The splitting a mountain in half is definitely in Dragonball and plenty of shounen manga anyway 🤔

    @“Video Game King”#p104884


    Every one of these is in the Choujin Locke series of movies based on the manga. Watch those films in chronological order now and I can guarantee you will have good times. Even if you go in knowing what to expect it will still sort of mindblast you by how it actually goes down.

    Just finished Zio's tower for likely the first time. It was a significant difficulty spike, but also an opportunity to get some levels. Game is still fun and scratches the RPG itch without being overly grindy. I hope Alys will be OK! :worried: