Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Genre: Sci-Fi Role-Playing
There are elements that a series needs to hold its own after a number of iterations. Looking at franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire– and yes, Phantasy Star- there is always a need for new mechanics, more engaging stories, and overall higher quality content to justify to the fans that they should return to your series. The first entry is an introduction; a work that needs to be pushed through its outward presentation before gamers will give it a whirl. The second entry is a proving ground, where a series shows that it can deliver lightning in the same place again with a few upgrades here and there.
The third entry is the experiment. With Final Fantasy, we got interchangeable classes. With Dragon Quest, the ability to create your own party with their own quirks. With Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom, there was a solid jumping off point with the improvements that the second game offered over the first, but there were still some mechanics that could use a little work for one reason or another. Given the success of the series thus far and being the first RPG series on the Sega system, it was imperative for the third Phantasy Star to dig in its heels and stake its claim to continue on successfully.
While we know that Phantasy Star IV released, leading one to believe that part three can’t have done too poorly, how exactly does Phantasy Star III stand up to the rest of the series? Given how fondly people usually speak about the second and fourth pieces of the mainline series, it’s interesting to see the evolution into the third and where it hits and misses the targets set up by prior entries.
If you’d like, feel free to check out my prior analysis of Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star II before reading up on this entry!
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School
Genre: Survival Horror
There are a thousand and one ways to scare an audience. In writing, you’re limited by the reader’s imagination- but the imagination is a powerful tool in this case. Filmmakers are limited by budget but with skill and creative angles and production, even the most mediocre offering has its moments. When it comes to video games, there are still limitations, but the sky is the limit when it comes to effects, locations, and most other elements. There are a variety of styles to be experienced from the years of exploring themes and methods of exacting terrifying encounters in electronic worlds.
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a remake of a game from 2001, but this is the first that the United States has seen of it on consoles or in a full translation. Between the county’s interest in foreign horror offerings and gaming, there have only been a few titles that were made originally in Asia and remade for worldwide distribution (Corpse Party being another recent example) but they have been appearing every so often to the excitement of horror fans.
Given the fourteen years the US waited for White Day to hit consoles, how did it transition into the ever-growing library of chilling games that we’ve been seeing over the past few years- and was it worth the wait in any case?
Phantasy Star II
Genre: Sci-Fi Role Playing
Having recently played through the original Phantasy Star recently, I can say that it took a lot of steps to revolutionize role-playing games and was quite ambitious for the time. You can see my impressions on that game here. At the time, the market wasn’t as saturated as it is now, and while the premier role-playing games of the time can be difficult to go back to for a number of reasons, they tend to conjure up feelings of nostalgia and warm feelings of falling in love with a genre that was really beginning to flourish in the West.
Phantasy Star II has a few things going for it over the original from the beginning- Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy came out around the time so the market was starting to come into its own. Not to mention the fact that its predecessor had been well reviewed by critics and the public alike.
Having had a couple of years to perfect and enhance the experience for their fans, how does the second entry to the series fare not only against the test of time but against the previous entry?
As a note, I’m going to try to delineate certain discussion points for future reviews to keep them segmented and outline where spoilers might be. It may be expected, but given that this is a sequel related to the original, there may be spoilers throughout.
Sega Master System
Genre: Role-Playing Game
When people talk about fantastic role-playing games from the 16-bit era, the same answers tend to crop up- Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana- but rarely do you hear a game from the Sega corner of the universe first out of a gamer’s mouth. That’s not to say, however, that it never happens.
Sega Genesis has some pretty solid entries into the RPG arena, but most of them are one-offs or largely forgettable. One series that has still had some kind of traction after all of these years, though, is the Phantasy Star series. Predating Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior on US shores, Phantasy Star made a splash when it came out but appears to have fallen to the wayside over time for one reason or another, subject to romantic reminiscences from diehard fans with charmed memories.
With a myriad of titles in the series across a number of systems, let’s take a look into the original Phantasy Star and the number of ways it should- or should not be- fondly remembered. As with most story-heavy games reviewed here, be forewarned that there will be spoilers, though hopefully in short supply.
Genre: Survival Horror/RPG
I have always been a fan of RPGs and survival horror games. Tracing them back, you can find plenty of interesting works along the way, and Capcom had given its due to the genre as well with Resident Evil. Tracing back to 1989, however, brings up an interesting experience known as ‘Sweet Home or (Suito Homu), depending on your native language. It has picked up a bit of a cult following with its strange origins and extremely well translated entrance to American gamers in 2000. Continue reading