Review by cloudff72000

"A 16-bit Masterpiece that still sticks in many people's minds"

When people think of Sega, the name "Phantasy Star" always seems to pop up. Whether it was the original smash hit for the Master System, the even bigger sequel for the Genesis, or the evolved Phantasy Star Online for the current-gen systems, the name has always carried weight with Sega fanatics. In fact, of all the Sega series of games, the only one with more recognition, and games released, is Sega's mascot, Sonic. This game, though, is the creme de la creme, the best of the bunch. This game is what 16-bit RPGs are all about. Phantasy Star IV will, without a doubt, go out of its way to impress you.

Storyline: 10/10. Flawless. You take on the role of Chaz Ashley, a 16 year old hunter in the company of his mentor/partner, Alys Brangwyn. While you may start as a mercenary, investigating an outbreak of monsters in a university basement, the journey will expand beyond your wildest imaginations, taking you to three different planets, introducing you to elements from all three previous games, and tying them all together in the end-all battle for the entire star system. Put simply, once you start this, you won't want to put it down until you figure out what happens.

Gameplay: 10/10. Not a lot to the controls, really. You won't need to mash the buttons at any point, so there's no need to smash the controller. Most of the time, you'll be walking around on foot, but there are vehicles to be found throughout the game to access new & interesting areas that you couldn't normally on foot. The best part about this section is the ability to set up macros. If you set up the right series of moves from the right characters, you might discover a combination attack. Try out many different combinations, as you'll find them useful when dealing with the many enemies of this game.

Graphics: 10/10. Amazing. I was in awe when I saw some of the scenes in this game. The backgrounds, characters, and enemies were all well done. The attacks, techniques, and combo attacks also are very well done. What takes the cake, though, is the cutscenes. They look as though they were taken straight out of a comic book. I've never seen anything like it before, or since for that matter. Very unique idea that worked out well.

Sound/Music: 7/10. Not flawless, but it gets the job done. The music is varied and well-composed. The effects, while not outstanding, are distinguishable and appropriate. The only thing that can get annoying is the main battle music; if you're battling a lot, it can get a bit tedious; then again, anything can if you play it over & over & over again. Other than that, the music is pretty good. Some locations will have you just standing there, idle, listening to how cool the music is.

Fun Factor: 9/10. If you're a fanatic of RPGs, then you'll enjoy this game until the day your Genesis dies. If not, then you can still enjoy this game. Each character has his/her funny moments, but some are funnier than others. There's a lot to this game, and it will take you a while to figure out just how much there is to it. The "Hunter's Guild" quests offer some good opportunities to explore different story aspects, as well as provide a few laughs. There are even morals to be learned, if you pay attention. A very fun game to play.

Overall 46/50 = 9/10. A classic for the ages, this is one game that should not be passed up. It truly doesn't get much better than this. It's too bad that there hasn't been a re-release of this game on a current-gen system. While it was included in the Saturn release of Phantasy Star Collection, it has not been released since. A must-have for RPG fanatics, no question about it. Once you've played this game, your view on RPGs, past and present, will be forever changed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/20/06

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