GSQ6: The millennium that ended

I have played a lot — a lot — of RPGs over the past 20 years. There are a few series I feel bad about having missed out on in that time, but none so much as Phantasy Star. Admittedly, the series never really had much cachet in its native Japan, which is probably why the single player iterations of the series are far less numerous than the multiplayer. But hey, if that aspect of the series had to die, Phantasy Star IV was by all accounts — including this one! — a brilliant flame-out.

12 thoughts on “GSQ6: The millennium that ended

  1. Although still playable I can’t help but feel that Sega missed the boat with proper remakes that should of been released worldwide.

    Hopefully the 3DS will give this series the proper retellings and translations they deserve.

  2. I gotta agree with you on this one, one of my favorites of the 16-bit era. With that being said, man alive this game had a nasty difficulty curve. I often found myself cruising through a dungeon, taking out most enemies without much effort, then getting destroyed in a turn or two by a random enemy. The bosses were even more volatile. All of this was magnified by the total lack of save points inside dungeons. Just had to vent about that, hehe.

    Outside of the face-slapping difficulty the game was very modern, usable vehicles that you can even fight in was bizarrely ahead of its time, the music was top-notch and the game had a very brisk pace. A welcome change from plodding around like you had a sack of boulders attached to your back in PS2 and 3. I don’t think any of the PS games got the combat system right until 4 either. What I really liked about 4 was the way your team would march around right behind you, and follow your every move, it was like a hypnotizing snake of movement and colors.

    Also, oh man when I played this game when I was a kid, I distinctly remember coming across this village with spooky music full of dead bodies. It was the first time I had seen anything of that kind in a game, and it haunted me for days. I actually cried a little bit it affected me so much. Then years later I return to the game in ROM form, and the village is nowhere to be found. Either I simply could not find the town, which seems unlikely, or the town didn’t exist in the first place. Funny how memory plays tricks on you like that.

  3. the one thing i forgot to mention is that the ending boss fight is incredible if you play Knights of Cydonia by Muse in the background. It’s like that song was made for this game.

  4. Didn’t the Sega CD version have animated cut scenes instead of the manga panels? I never got to play either version.

      • Early in development, it was planned as a Sega-CD game, with animated cutscenes, and bringing back the 3D dungeons from the original. That was scrapped pretty early on though, and they crammed it into a big fat cart instead.

  5. A truly magnificent game, and, for my money, the only one that remains really playable for any other than nostalgic reasons all these years later.

    (PSII may be sorta borderline–and it might be worth seeing through just for that brain-melting ending–but BOY does it ever hate the player with a seething fury. Those late-game dungeons; GOOD LORD.)

    I find it truly tragic that the series proper ended here.

  6. I’m playing through this right now, actually. Just got to Rykros – I think I’m pretty close to beating this thing. Really enjoying it, though!

  7. I remember reading about this in Gamefan back in the day. Of course, I never got a chance to play it then, because I didn’t have a Genesis. But through the wonders of emulation, I finally got to try it out. Awesome stuff, to be sure. It prompted me to go track down a Genesis (and Sega CD!), and I hopped on Ebay and pretty much completed my Genesis RPG collection.

    The game is definitely up there with the 16-bit greats. It’s unquestionably the greatest traditional RPG on the Genesis. The game is snappy, the story is great, and it just looks superb. I’d love to say something more eloquent here, but there’s not much I can add to the excellent write-up.

  8. I jumped straight into this game without playing the previous chapters, about 2 years ago, on the Genesis Collection. It indeed holds up very well, save for the annoyingly cryptic 4-letter spell and skill names. Even 40 hours into it I had to keep referring to a chart.

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