Phantasy Star is the first installment in Sega's renowned series of the same title. It was released for the Sega Master System in Japan on December 20, 1987, and then in North America and Europe in 1988. It is considered one of the pioneers amongst role-playing video games, both for its advanced graphics technology, and for being one of the first story-driven games released in the West. It is also notable for being one of the first games featuring a female protagonist.
The game was ported a decade later as part of the Phantasy Star Collection, which was released for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation 2 in Japan and for the Game Boy Advance in North America, where critics deemed it as a historically relevant step for its genre. It was also released for Virtual Console on the Wii in 2009.
Phantasy Star was one of the pioneers of the traditional console RPG format, featuring fully traversable overworld maps, complete with interactive towns, and sprawling dungeons. The player engages in random enemy encounters, both on the overworld map and in dungeons, which saw a change from the top-down perspective to a first-person view. Unique amongst all games of the time was the faux 3-D graphics of Phantasy Star's dungeons, a widely praised technological feature. Also notable were the animations of the enemy sprites, which featured considerably more frames than were common at the time. Battles featured the now standard turn-based format, with each player using a combination of weapons and magic to destroy enemies. As the game progresses, the weapons and magic get increasingly more impressive. The option to talk, which would be scrapped in later games in the series, was sometimes a useful alternative, but only for the few enemies that were able to communicate with Alis.
Phantasy Star is set in Algol, a solar system consisting of three planets. There is the lush and green Palma, the arid and barren Motavia, and finally, the icy and desolate Dezoris. As the story begins, Algol is ruled by King Lassic, who while originally benevolent, becomes a cruel dictator after converting to a new religion. After a string of harsh political changes, small pockets of rebellion emerge, but are mostly ineffective against Lassic's iron rule.
When Nero Landale, the leader of one such rebellion, is killed by Lassic's robot-cops, his sister Alis swears revenge. As she travels and witnesses the many victims of Lassic's oppression, Alis' objective becomes less about revenge and more about liberation for the people of Algol. Joined by Myau, a talking cat, Odin, once a member of Nero's rebellion, and the Esper magician Noah (Lutz in the Japanese version and further English games), Alis embarks on an adventure spanning all three planets. She encounters many personalities, from the well-meaning Governor of Motavia to the eccentric Dr. Luveno, and faces off against an evil creature Medus that can turn one to stone at one look and who seems to work for Lassic. Other countless enemies on the way to find the weapons and other items are needed to eventually engage King Lassic and determine the fate of Algol.
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