Phantasy Star IV
Review by Vegita
"Opening line provided by Mary Shelley"
It is a dark and stormy night.
::cue shot of a sinister-looking castle from a far, just beyond the wrought-iron gates that guard its entryway.
Within the confines of this castle, Dr. Vegita is preparing his next experiment.
::using impressive computer graphics and a couple of shrunken models, we are flown over the gates and taken up close to the very top-most part of the castle, inside a tower. We look inside the window, and find Dr. Vegita in a white lab coat, with various chemicals bubbling in the background::
Tonight, Vegita will create one of the greatest inventions known to man - Phantasy Star 4 for the Sega Genesis.
''A ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha, ha haaa...hack...cough, cough...I need to lay off the smoked salmon. It's giving me lung cancer, I tell ya! Oh well. Tonight, I plan to make the ultimate RPG for the Sega Genesis! In order to create this amazing RPG, though, one must have the right ingredients.
::Vegita turns to the table of chemicals full of his ingredients, and the cartridge all of these will go into. He picks up the cartridge, sets it on the table, and opens it up, removing the top half::
''First of all, we need to have a plot. Let's see..
::he walks over to another shelf, picks up a book called ''Tried-And-True Plots for Video Games'', and thumbs through it.
''People are Revolting against an Empire, Personal Vendeta, Princess Saving...no, no I need something good. Ah, here's the ticket! Possible destruction of the planet they live on! That's good!
::Dr. Vegita tears the page out of the book, folds it up, and places it up into the cartridge:
''Ok, the planet's going to blow up. That's good, but I need to build off of that. It can't just be about the planet, can it? I need to have characters, and not just ordinary characters...I need characters that are memorable and fun to play as. Now, should I make the main character a guy or a girl?
::Dr. Vegita flips a coin. The coin flies out the window::
''Hmm...ok, I'll make it a girl for a portion of the game, then I'll make it a guy for the rest. Sounds fair. Now, how do I make people like these characters? Ooh, I know! I'll give them witty remarks, and get some anime-style pictures of them whenever something happens in the plot. Heck, if I have enough room (which I probably will, since I'm a mad scientist), I'll put in large pictures for each character all over the place!
::goes over to his table of ingredients, mixes together some potions, and POOF, out comes memorable characters and lots of neat drawings for each.::
''Now, I have the characters, and I've started on the graphics. If this is going to be an RPG, I need to have lots and lots of monsters. I can either make a whole bunch of them, or I can animate them to some extent, and palete swap them so I will have even more monsters. Yes, that should do.
::more mixing. more stuff being splashed into the cartridge, making a soggy mess::
''Ok, the monsters are well-drawn and animated, the characters are well-drawn and animated in the battles...what next? Ah yes, sound!
::Dr. Vegita opens up a bottle, sings into it a variety of tunes and wierd sound effects, then clamps it shut. He then drops the bottle into a vat of goo, which causes the bottle to shatter and its contents to mix with the goo. Vegita then takes a handful of the goo and throws it into the cartridge::
''Perfect. I did a large amount of songs (considering the capabilities of the system), and quite a few of sound effects as well. I think this is some of my better work, if I do say so myself.
::he begins to pace::
''I've got the characters, monsters, music, and really good graphics...what else does it need? Ah yes, the typical format for fighting, leveling up, getting new weaponry, and such. I almost forgot all the extra stuff that will set this apart from other RPGs!
::grabs a bunch of bottles of various mixtures and dumps them all into the cartridge::
''Now, let's see...I dumped the 'A-Typical Town Formula,' where they are full of people who always tell you what you want to know without saying anything, and have progressively stronger weaponry than the town before it...I also dumped the 'Fight, Magic, Item, Run' format so people will be able to use those in battle, with added 'Defend' and 'Special Technique' compounds...
::rummages through the bottles::
''I see I put in the 'Travel to other areas/planets' potion, and the 'Experience and Cash' idea for battles. I don't see the logic in monsters walking around, carrying money with them, but it's a lot easier than having your character get a job and work for minimum wage, so...Oops! I accidently put the 'Get a Flying Ship for Easier Exploration Towards the End of the Game' bottle in that group! Oh well, I suppose that will make the game easier as well.
::finds a few potions with his own scrawled handwriting on them::
''Ah, my own special concoctions! Here we have the 'Macro-Fighting' concept, where outside of battle you can set up a series of commands with each of your characters, so you can just select one of those instead of manually telling each character what to do (genius, if I do say so myself). And here's the 'Special Double/Triple Magic/Technique Attacks', which those jerks at Squaresoft have been itching to get their hands on. I like the idea of, if you pick the right combination, two or more of your characters can perform special attacks against the enemies by combining their abilities. Ah, how nice.
''So what am I missing? I have excellent graphics, a really good (if not excellent) plot, characters that drive the plot, sound effects and music that are great as well...I think that's all I really need! I guess I should set up the controller to fit the game, since no one wants to play games with complicated controls, especially RPGs.
::picks up a controller and fiddles with it::
''There. You have ''Menu/Confirm'', ''Cancel'', and ''Search/Talk/Confirm''. The Start button brings up the options, and the control pad moves you around. I think this is simple enough for even a child to run! Let's see if it can work!
::walks over to a panel and flips a switch. The ceiling slowly slides away, revealing the clouds above. It begins to rain, as a storm approaches::
''It's time to see if my child can run!
::he closes the game and puts it in a Sega Genesis console, directly in the center of the room. Lightning strikes the console, bringing it to life. Dr. Vegita plugs it into a TV nearby::
''Ah, excellent. This is just perfect-wait, what happened to the sound and music? Drat, it sounds terrible! Oh well, I guess it's just the system. It SOUNDs terrible, but that doesn't mean it IS terrible. It takes some getting used to but it really isn't THAT bad. Success!
Thus Dr. Vegita created an amazingly great RPG for the Genesis, called-
''Now, what should I call you? How about 'The Universe Ain't Big Enough for the Two of Us!' Naw, that insinuates that there are only 2 characters, when there are a great deal more. It's a fantasy game, and I believe this will be the final one for the Genesis...how about 'Phantasy Star 4'? Yes, that will work! People will ask me 'What is the 4 for,' then I can say 'It is for you.' It's brilliant.
3 weeks later the game was stolen by Sega and marketed without Dr. Vegita's approval.
''You're kidding, right?
''Drat! Oh well, back to the drawing board...
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/00, Updated 08/01/00
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