Thursday, August 9, 2012

Game 11: Phantasy Star II (Genesis) - As if Millions of Voices Suddenly Cried Out

And so, it came to pass; that the space station Gaila, prison colony for those against Mother Brain, crashed into the planet Palm, which joined the company of Alderaan.
What was on that station to cause the destruction of an entire planet?
Before we get to the update proper, I apologize for the long delay. A combination of factors we'll just call life hindered my progress. The past two play sessions have been early in the morning as the only opportunity to grab some gaming time. I'm sorry to anyone who tries to catch my stream in the evening.

Back on track, I left Kyle reeling from the news of a world-wide flood, and that he was the only hope to stop this catastrophe. All he needed to do was find four key cards to close four dams. Simple enough; too bad no one remembers where they put their keys.

Game logic to the rescue! Piata, being the only town where a story event hasn't occurred, is the ideal place to start looking for the secret control tower. Here I find a path only accessible from the top area of the town, going along the bottom causes the group to leave town.
Too far to the left, you must leave town
Such areas were common in console RPGs; I remember skirting the edge of every town hoping to find a secret area, especially in Dragon Warrior games. Do these still exist in games today; if so, why? Why hide areas accessible only through trial and error where the point seems to annoy and frustrate the player just because they don't know which magic tile or area transports them out of town, and which ones keep them safely within its borders?

At least the dungeon is easy (the music "puzzle" didn't trip me up thanks to comments), and I begin my attack on the dams; however, one of the reasons I hesitated to play again cropped up: I'm bored with combat. The constant beating of the attack button gives no opportunity for any sort of strategy. Item selection is minimal (healing only), and using skills would only take away from my stock of healing. All of my tech points are saved for heal spells. After every battle I need to heal at least one party member to stave off death. I hoped this would change with the wrecker, but I get through about four fights before I get through all his tech and revert back to basic attacks.
Touch = return to town
I continue my trudge through yellow, then green, then I wipe out, game over. This was the end of my first session. It wasn't a big loss, I had just saved, but it stung because it was right before I planned to return (just one more battle!), and I failed to run 8 times in a row.
Game over screen confuses Algo with a planet
During my next session I was told by a viewer that I had missed the Laser Sword, which was superior to the double knives I was using. At the same time, it dawned on me that I had gained some new equipment from various treasure chests. I remembered from the manual that equipment had uses in battle, and while I had tried all the equipment purchased from shops, I imagined only items found later on would prove useful.

So, I went about trying the new items and found two cast Gires, the moderately powerful heal spell. By the third dam I obtained many more pieces, another item to cast heal, two helpful damaging spells, one agility buff, one that has an odd effect that hasn't worked yet, and lastly a mysterious reflective shield placed on my party.
Anyone know what a Crystal "nish" is? It casts lightning if that helps ;)
Once I discovered each of these uses I found myself enjoying the combat, even if the only thing to break up the monotony of attacking was casting indefinite heal spells. The less physically inclined members now had damaging spells available to cast at will, which made them much more useful, combat was shorter, progress through a dungeon was steadier.

Opening up the last dam alerted some robot guards. Even though I was at full combat ability, and threw everything at them, none seemed to be going down. After a number of rounds I was told I'd been captured.
Army Eye used "End Combat," it was super effective
I found myself on a space station, held in bondage, somehow depleted of tech points and items. I wondered out of my holding area, not really a cell; with no hope of fending off the enemies I had to run from each encounter. The place is devoid of any interest.

Suddenly, an alarm started blaring. It warned of the impending disaster. My only hope was to reach the controls and get the station back in orbit. From far off I saw them, but they were still out of reach. Making my way through damaging tiles and continued encounters, I found myself in front of them unable to alter our course. Then I blacked out.
Someone forgot to style check this image (Parma and Motabia?)
I received visions of Alis fighting Dark Force. Kyle doesn't know what these mean, and I wouldn't either if I hadn't played through the first game. It's a bit confusing as to why he's having these visions in the first place.
What's with the hair?
I woke to find myself on a pirate ship. I thank Tyler for saving me, a space pirate who left Palm many years ago happened to return at this moment. He informs me I was lucky to be alive given the space station I had been on collided with Palm in a rather epic explosion. Seeing as how my roster is already full, I bid him farewell; he deposits me on Mota after making some vague comments that I was heading for the planet Dezo.

I confront the commander, and he tells me to take the space ship on top of his tower to visit the only other surviving planet, Dezo. Wait... take the what? Why didn't you tell me about this space ship before?

Edit: On a side note, I've decided to inject some challenge and role-playing into the game. For those that have played this through, let me know if this is a completely crazy idea.

I'm thinking of taking Rolf, and the three level 1 character as my final party through the rest of the game. Story-wise, instead of going with the line that everyone escaped from Gaila, I'm going with only Rolf/Kyle did. I think it'll make things more interesting, although I might have to grind for a bit to get the rest up to snuff.

Session Time: 5h38m (Total Time: 19h31m)


  1. The PS games are totally confusing. I remember so little from the last update, I feel very lost here! (and it's worse because my only knowledge of the series is from PS4!)

    1. I'm about as lost as you. Here's a recap of the points though:

      Rolf (main character, I called him Kyle) is having dreams of some girl fighting a monster (Alis fighting Dark Force). He awakes that day, reports to the commander, and learns he must find the cause of monsters appearing in the wild. Nei, his half human-half monster companion, joins him.

      They rescue a small girl from bandits to reunite her with her father. He ends up killing her, and then himself.

      I find the biolab, and retrieve a recording device that tells me power is being diverted from weather control to animal creation. Next stop, a mountain to retrieve a leaf that creates oxygen. The leaf is made into a gum that allows me to breathe underwater, the only way to get to the weather control building.

      There I find Nei's twin who is bent on creating these monsters to exact revenge on all humans after she'd been persecuted as a freak. There's a computer called Mother Brain, which controls all aspects of life on the planets in the Algo system. She's the one who regulates animal life, weather control, and space travel (in the distant past).

      Nei and Nei's twin die in the ensuing battle, and this causes the surge of power back into the weather control system. Apparently rain had not fallen for many years, and the build of water is released all at once.

      I'm blamed for both the creation of monsters and the flooding of the planet, and robots are sent to apprehend me. I don't know who sent them, although I assume it's the same person taking over Mother Brain, or Mother Brain herself. And, that's the story up to this post.

      There's a lot of holes that I hope get filled by the end of the game.

    2. Heh, well that was very informative and I'm slightly less lost now. Thanks!

    3. No problem, I know it's been a while. I'll try not to do that again in the middle of a game.

  2. Well if you take the rest of the members it could be good and bad. Anna the blond one eventually becomes an invaluable and powerful fighter with her boomerang like slasher weapon. The wrecker guy not really too useful from now on. But you might find some more party members yet... Maybe. I can tell shir is pretty worthless. She is good for stealing and that's about it. At higher levels she can steal better stuff. But you actually still have a lot of game ahead. And no matter what you will need to grind. One thing you can do to bring a character up is to use only that character and you party leader to grind because you will get more xp with only two members than 4. I've always wondered I'd it was intentional that hey blew up Palm or that hey had restrictions on the game where they had to cut a planet for time or space. In any case that event will come back as a major plot point in Phantasy star 3.

  3. Also I believe the space station was purposely crashed into Palm kind of like the biomonssters where purposely ler out of control and how you were blamed. I've always thought the whole thing was a plan to get rid of you by crashing you to you death with the planet.

    1. I get that impression as well.

    2. A plan to kill one person (or a small party) by destroying an entire planet... that's a heck of a lot of overkill!

    3. Think of it like this. Suppose the government really was behind 9/11 and someone found out too much about their plans so they put them on One of the planes that flew into the world trade center. That was more the analogy I was going for. (and 8 don't believe the government was behind 9/11)

  4. Don't you hate it when real life gets in the way of the gaming and blog updates?

    Solid update. I don't think I've ever mentally changed anything with the roleplaying games like you're describing, but I've definitely thought up side-stuff along the way - usually while I'm grinding to level, lol.

    1. I actually haven't either. Most often I'll weigh the optimized party and go with that, just using the strongest members. I thought I'd give the game a little more challenge, it doesn't need it though. Many character deaths and three hours later, they're mostly stable now. Still very fragile though, and it seems I'll need to grind for equipment anyway. I thought I was doing well with money, then all of a sudden the new equipment is 4 times as much as the old. Oh well.

  5. Reading through these posts, I'm sometimes surprised that I remember PS2 fondly. I guess I appreciate a lot of the core ideas and emotions of the game, even if the threads connecting them together are ridiculously silly, contrived, and occasionally just nonsensical.

    That, and I also think it's because I immediately played Phantasy Star 3 after this game, and, well, when you play Phantasy Star 3, whatever you happened to have done before doing so, be it playing a flawed game, watching a bad movie, or being lit on fire during the middle of an anesthetic-lacking dental surgery, it all just seems so much better by comparison.

    1. I'm definitely blaming the game a lot more lately for my lack of progress. I wonder why so many people remember the games fondly. I think the consensus is that either 2 or 3 are the worst, and 4 redeems the series in some way.

      Phantasy Star II is the first game that's overstayed its welcome. The interesting bits are separated by such mindless grinding that it's difficult to see the benefits of finishing. Reaching Dezo, I thought I was close to the end, but I was informed there is a lot more to go through. Maybe I'll be able to finish by the end of the month and put this slog behind me.

    2. Ya so I checked my strategy guide to see how much you have left and actually it wasnt as much as I remember. Basically 6 more dungeons. But the first five are like known for being the most ball busting in the game. The last isnt as hard except for the monsters. You should be able to grind through it pretty quickly. That and Dezo is confusing to navigate until you get the layout down. If you like challenging dugeons you are in for a treat. If not...... I think one of them is 16 levels.

    3. Thanks for doing my dirty work. ;). I had considered looking ahead to find how far away I am. On my next play, I'll be continuing to explore the Dezo over-land and purchase some equipment from Skure. My current direction isn't obvious, so I'm just meandering until I come across something interesting.

      These types of challenging dungeons haven't been all that fun, so I'm not looking forward to getting back into the game except to finally finish.

    4. 16 levels! The developers really thought that after parents blew their wads on this likely expensive game that this is all the kids would be playing for a year didn't they? Don't tell me PS3 thought PS2 was going easy on the player, RPGenius.

  6. I think that's why they packed this game in with a guide book with maps to the dungeons. I figure they thought no sane person would finish this with ought help. I certainly would never play this withougt the hint book. You can get some serious RPG cred for finishing this game solo. It was hard. It was hard WITH the dungeong maps. I guess PS1 had some hard dungeons as well but at least their grid like nature allowed the to easily mapped one to one. Almost required it. The developers must have been like, "let's make dungeons that aren't easily mapped, oh and how about we thro in some crazy parralax scrolling on the foreground to throw thelayer off too.". PS3 scales back the dungeon difficulty quite a bit.

  7. Where are you, O'Zenic Revrobie? You are our only hope!

    1. It's been a busy week still, but I've put in about another 6 hours. I'm guessing it's another 4 - 5 until the end depending on the dungeons, which have been taking about 2 - 3 hours each.

      I should post the maps I'm drawing. Do you think that'd be interesting to anyone?