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Welcome to My Phantasy Zone: Why a 3D Phantasy Star Would Rule

by Ryan Grove - January 21, 2015, 1:42 pm PST
Total comments: 13

Here's why Phantasy Star would be an incredible addition to Sega's 3D Classics line.

The Sega 3D Classics line has been an absolutely fantastic addition to the 3DS library. If you are unfamiliar with the series, essentially Sega has tasked port kings M2 (whom you may know from their work on the Virtual Consoles and the WiiWare “ReBirth” series) with bringing various arcade and Genesis games to the 3DS eShop. But these ports are far from “ROM dumps.” In addition to bringing the games into the third dimension, M2 packs in a tinkerer’s treasure trove of options that range from novel to essential.

With the next wave of Sega 3D Classics on the way to the West (all of which I can vouch for, as I already own them on my Japanese 3DS), I can’t help but think about what’s next for the line. While I’ve been happy with pretty much every title released so far, there is one 3D Classic that I wish for above all others: 3D Phantasy Star.

While some enthusiasts (myself included) consider the original Phantasy Star the greatest 8-bit RPG of all time, its reach has been limited, especially in North America. Released on the unpopular Sega Master System in 1988, Phantasy Star wouldn’t see another English release until 2002’s Phantasy Star Collection on the Game Boy Advance. Due to the game’s grind-heavy nature and confusing dungeons, I suspect many players didn’t see the quest through to the end.

This is unfortunate, because Phantasy Star is a fantastic quest. The planet-hopping trek to overthrow a corrupt monarch includes a kick-ass female lead, a battle with Medusa, and even... a talking cat!?! The game sports great art design, music, and sprites, but it’s still off-putting to even hardcore RPG fans due to its dungeons and difficulty.

Here’s where a 3D Classics version comes in.

The first change that would need to happen is some tweaking of the difficulty. Give people a choice to cut down on grinding if they so desire. This should be easy enough, because M2 has already done it with previous Sega 3D Classics. They also introduced multiple difficulty settings to the original Phantasy Star quadrilogy on the PS2 Collection.

The next addition would take some more work, but if anyone could do it right, it’s Sega. The game needs a mapping system on the bottom screen. While Phantasy Star’s minimalist 3D dungeons would look rad in stereoscopic 3D, the fact remains that the later mazes remain incredibly cumbersome without a guide. However, the Etrian Odyssey series has shown us that making our own maps is way more engaging and rewarding than pulling them up on the internet. Since Sega now owns Etrian Odyssey developers Atlus, it would be fantastic if they could get some of the folks responsible for the mapping over to M2 and make it happen in Phantasy Star. I know how naive this all sounds, but stick with me a little longer here.

Finally, I’d love for this theoretical 3D Phantasy Star to include the option to switch between the Master System and the Sega Mark III soundtracks. While I think both versions have their own charm, being able to switch between them on the fly would be fantastic.

With both 8-bit style visuals and dungeon crawlers in vogue within certain subsections of the gaming community, I feel like 3D Phantasy Star could finally reach an appreciative audience. While the game has seen a remake on PS2, the original remains chock full of charm and potential.

The Sega 3D Classics line is one that will live or die based on fan support. Hopefully the series will continue to do well in both Japan and the west so we see more games in this incredible line.

What Sega 3D Classic would YOU like to see? Let us know in the comments!

All screenshots courtesy of Moby Games.

Images

Talkback

Evan_BJanuary 22, 2015

I'm playing through Phantasy Star right now on the Wii Virtual Console, and while it has moments of ambiguity and the dungeons are indeed terrible, the art style is fantastic and the setting is very novel. I would love to play is again with some of the options listed above, though I think the mapping aspect is a bit too much to ask for in a simple port- I've never seen something so extensive added to a 3D classic and that would require a lot of reprogramming on Sega's part.

I'd really love to see more sci-fi settings in RPGs, so getting a better version of this, a game that's always interested me, would be fantastic.

Quote from: Evan_B

I'm playing through Phantasy Star right now on the Wii Virtual Console, and while it has moments of ambiguity and the dungeons are indeed terrible, the art style is fantastic and the setting is very novel. I would love to play is again with some of the options listed above, though I think the mapping aspect is a bit too much to ask for in a simple port- I've never seen something so extensive added to a 3D classic and that would require a lot of reprogramming on Sega's part.

Yeah, the mapping was definitely extreme wishful thinking on my part, haha. A friend told me that he'd be happy with even just a static dungeon map on the bottom screen, which I would totally be cool with. Glad you're (mostly) enjoying the game on the Wii VC though!

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I'd really love to see more sci-fi settings in RPGs, so getting a better version of this, a game that's always interested me, would be fantastic.




Have you tried Phantasy Star IV for the Genesis? It's definitely the most "modern" and accessible of the series- very playable today!

KisakiProjectJanuary 22, 2015

I would absolutely love this.  This series is so under appreciated. I,  II & IV are amazing.  IV is honestly the best 16 bit RPG ever made and the squaresoft stuff form that time period doesn't come close to it.  This article was unexpected and great.

Quote from: KisakiProject

I would absolutely love this.  This series is so under appreciated. I,  II & IV are amazing.  IV is honestly the best 16 bit RPG ever made and the squaresoft stuff form that time period doesn't come close to it.  This article was unexpected and great.


PS IV is definitely in my top tier of 16-bit RPGs! While I think it can definitely hang with the Squaresoft stuff of the time period, I don't know if I could rate it above Chrono Trigger and FF IV, V, and VI... But there is definitely a case that could be made there! And thanks!

Evan_BJanuary 22, 2015

One of the reasons I've been playing the original is because I've heard that II and IV are some of the best RPGs ever made. I also picked up III and I'm looking forward to its differences.

I have had a great time with the original so far- though it's not my favorite RPG, there's a lot to love and it has me eager to see where the rest of the series goes.

Quote from: Brawndwarf

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I'd really love to see more sci-fi settings in RPGs, so getting a better version of this, a game that's always interested me, would be fantastic.




Have you tried Phantasy Star IV for the Genesis? It's definitely the most "modern" and accessible of the series- very playable today!

I haven't, the only game in the series I've played is the original Phantasy Star Online on Dreamcast, which I know is a very different game. Where I'm at right now, I'd much rather play RPGs on handhelds, so I'd likely play it if it came out on Wii U or 3DS. Now that I think of it, though, I have the PSP Genesis collection on my Vita, and I'm pretty sure it has at least some of them on it, but I think it doesn't have IV.

Mop it upJanuary 22, 2015

I've always thought this game looked interesting. I've considered downloading it on the Wii using the points I have leftover with nothing to use them on.

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Now that I think of it, though, I have the PSP Genesis collection on my Vita, and I'm pretty sure it has at least some of them on it, but I think it doesn't have IV.

If you're talking about the collection titled Sega Genesis Collection, it should have Phantasy Star II, III, and IV.

Quote from: Evan_B

One of the reasons I've been playing the original is because I've heard that II and IV are some of the best RPGs ever made. I also picked up III and I'm looking forward to its differences.

I have had a great time with the original so far- though it's not my favorite RPG, there's a lot to love and it has me eager to see where the rest of the series goes.

PS II is tough in a manner similar to I, but I feel it's incredibly rewarding if you see it through. III is not terrible, but it's definitely the weakest in the quadrilogy. IV is for me (and many others it seems) the high point for the series, and it's even better if you've played the previous games!

NeifirstJanuary 22, 2015

What a great surprise to read a write-up of Phantasy Star on NWR!  As you can probably tell by my username, I'm a huge fan of the original series (the Dreamcast games never did much for me). 

Believe it or not, M2 has worked on Phantasy Star in the past!  The Phantasy Star Complete Collection, available in Japan on PSN, has the entire original series, plus the gaiden graphic adventures, along with a bunch of classic M2 options like adjustable walking speed, difficulty levels, etc.  There's even English language options, but Sega chose not to bring it to the west.

Maybe this will become a 3D (or even 2D) classic someday.  Stranger things have happened.

Quote from: Neifirst

What a great surprise to read a write-up of Phantasy Star on NWR!  As you can probably tell by my username, I'm a huge fan of the original series (the Dreamcast games never did much for me). 

Believe it or not, M2 has worked on Phantasy Star in the past!  The Phantasy Star Complete Collection, available in Japan on PSN, has the entire original series, plus the gaiden graphic adventures, along with a bunch of classic M2 options like adjustable walking speed, difficulty levels, etc.  There's even English language options, but Sega chose not to bring it to the west.

Maybe this will become a 3D (or even 2D) classic someday.  Stranger things have happened.

That is a fantastic user name :-)
I ADORE the Phantasy Star Complete Collection on PS2! The versions on there are fantastic and it's available on Japanese PSN for the PS3 (alongside many other fantastic Sega Ages 2500 releases). It's maybe not the most convenient way to play the games, but worth the effort for anyone who's interested!
Fingers perpetually crossed for some sort of enhanced re-releases of these games in the West at some point!

Quote from: Mop

I've always thought this game looked interesting. I've considered downloading it on the Wii using the points I have leftover with nothing to use them on.

dooooo iiiiiit  :D

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