Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Part One: Orakian My Brain

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom

Japanese Title: Successors of Time: Phantasy Star III

Developer/Publisher: Sega

JP Release: April 21, 1990

North America Release: July 1991

United Kingdom Release: 1991

When I was a child, I liked to reread this Prima Games strategy guide that collected two-page guides, tips, and codes for several dozen Sega Genesis games that were popular in the early ’90s. Among these were Phantasy Star II and PSIII. I was interested in PSIII because its premise promised three generations of storylines to play through, with branching paths and different characters depending on which hero chose which love interest to take as his wife at the end of each generation. I later read in magazines that PSIII was considered the black sheep of the franchise because of its gameplay differences and how it shared little in common with Phantasy Star and its sequel. The story of why and how it became a black sheep is due at the end of this LP. :3

I did not get to play any PS games until I got the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection in 2009. I started a playthrough of PS, which is on hold after getting… maybe halfway through it?I started a game of PSII, which is also on hold. Then, in summer 2010…

August 8, 2010: I decided to skip ahead to PSIII. It’s WAY easier than the other two, and I made good progress.

The game’s backstory is rooted in a conflict from a thousand years ago between two factions. One was led by the swordsman Orakio; the other, by a sorceress named Laya. Eventually, they grew weary of fighting and were supposed to meet for an armistice, but they mysteriously disappeared. The Orakians and Layans cut off all communications and travel between their worlds.

Years passed, bringing us to the present. Rhys, the crown prince of the Orakian kingdom of Landen, found an enigmatic woman named Maia washed up on the shore. Two months later, Rhys and Maia were set to be married – but on the day of the ceremony, a Layan dragon spirited away with Maia. Rhys set off on a journey to rescue her.

Maia and Rhys

Early on, Rhys hears of a woman who stood unblinkingly by the lake in northern Landen. Rumors spread that she was a Layan. Rhys went to the lake to investigate.

Our first party member is the fiery red-clad cyborg Mieu. She tells Rhys that she has been waiting for 1,000 years to serve a true descendant of Orakio. She could have done so much in that time…

Mieu is one of two party members that are a part of all three generations’ parties. This is helpful because Rhys’ descendants start off at level one, so Mieu is consistently strong backup. 🙂

August 9, 2010: Sure seems easy to level up in PSIII. But I’m lost. 😦

This will be one of the themes of this LP. -_-

August 11, 2010: A journey to the west.

We found a town inherited by cyborgs! But all the salespeople in the shops look exactly the same…as they do in all of the other towns. In fact, all PSIII towns look the same, except for the terrain. Were all 16-bit RPGs this generic, and it just never bothered me before?

The battles are a step back from PSII also. It’s a throwback to PSI.

In PSIII, you never get to see your characters attacking enemies in battle, unlike in PSII. This was more excusable in PSI because it was a Sega Master System game, and some of the sprites were impressive. But in PSIII, some of the sprites are downright goofy-looking.

It’s kind of a shame that you never get to see your characters in battle because the character designs are actually kind of cool.

We met Wren, another cyborg, and he joined the party.

While Mieu has solid physical strength and healing and “order” techniques, Wren is much more of a heavy hitter and has melee and “time” techs (which provides buffs).

Techniques are handled in unique ways in PSIII. I found myself rarely messing with techs except for the healing ones. There is also a feature where you can modify the power and success rates of techs on a grid, but I never bothered with it. I was annoyed that the game does not explain the attributes of techs on any of the in-game menus. Perhaps the characters I wound up with favored melee attacks instead of techniques.

Then, we found someone resembling Mieu wandering the desert. I thought it might have been a graphical glitch, but we caught up with her. She babbled something about Orakio’s sword.