Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Final Stats, Thoughts, and Trivia

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom is a game with a solid concept saddled with less-than-solid execution. The game was not made with the help of Phantasy Star co-creator Rieko Kodama, and the game was rushed.

The Story

The story is lacking much personality and characterization. Note how we get so much exposition in the third gen that finally explains the backstory and introduces the big bad, Dark Force. Another sign that the game was rushed?

If I was to ask you what PSIII is about, what would you tell me? Does the game really have any overarching themes? I could tell you about the themes of Dragon Age II (family and the conflict between the templars and mages) or Final Fantasy XIII (the veracity of free will), but for PSIII, the biggest theme I get is the problems brought upon by previous generations being left to the next generation to clean up. But the game never really delves into the emotions that such conflicts would believably invoke.

Remember Lyle? He actually died in gen two, but I forgot to bring it up. It was a missed opportunity to add characterization to the relatives that knew him.

The generation system is the game’s main gimmick, but the women are barely established, so the decisions can be hard to make. Heck, the princes are barely established as well!

The game would have been better if it had more cutscenes like the one at the end.

To the translators’ credit, Generations of Doom is a much cooler title than Successors of Time.

The Graphics

Really a mixed bag. The monster sprites, character portraits, and brief cutscenes are all good, but the battles and levels feel underachieving. Battles are all in first person, like in the first PS, but are barely animated. However, unlike in Phantasy Star II, the background graphics are all unique to the areas, but you never see your party. Ever. The weapon and technique animations are the only sign that you party even exists, and they’re average.

The monsters are some of my fav things about this game, although aside from serious-looking monsters like Dark Force, it’s a bit of an ironic appreciation. Some of the monsters are gleefully ridiculous, like the bodybuilders straight out of a Choaniki game. They attack by flexing their pecs. Flexing. Their. Pecs.

Seeing what new kooky monsters were around the corner is one of the better joys in the game.

The repetitive visuals of the towns, dungeons, and overworlds are a major strike against the game. Every town looks the same, only with different shop placement. All of the shopkeepers look the same, which is acceptable for most games, but it feels silly in the town where all of the other NPCs are cyborgs instead of humanoids.

There are only a few different kinds of environments for dungeons used for multiple dungeons.

In the Japanese version, clouds and the ground in outside battle screens scrolled. That sounds seizure-inducing. The ground’s scrolling was removed in the North American version.

I like the colorful character design and portraits.

The Music

There are some cool compositions in this game, but they are rendered a bit abrasive by the Genesis’ sound limitations. It kind of hurts my head to listen to it for very long, so it’s a good thing that the music changes often.

The Gameplay

Pretty average. One of the easiest RPGs/16-bit games I’ve ever played, if you just buy the best equipment available to you at the time. The game gives you more techs than you need to beat it. To my chagrin, the game doesn’t tell you what the techs DO, although Anti is fairly self-explanatory. πŸ˜›

A bit more challenge and depth to sink your teeth into would’ve made the game more engaging.

The real worst thing about this game is how difficult the navigation is. It is so easy to get lost and frustrated. Some of the PS fansites helped me find my way.

The icon-based menu system inspired the menus in Shining in the Darkness, which may be PSIII‘s greatest legacy.

Should I Play It?

If you want a slightly lulzy game with some funny monsters to laugh at, then yes. Just keep a FAQ handy, and don’t forget where you’re supposed to be going.

I’m happy that I played through the game; I just wasn’t consistently happy playing it.

This game helped me make a friend because she used an avatar of one of the characters on a gaming website that I use. That’s the best thing I can say about PSIII and how games can connect people. πŸ™‚

The Paths Less Taken

What happens if you marry Lena instead of Maia at the end of Generation One? Rhys and Lena have a son named Nial. He is the prince of both Landen and Satera, and his quest tasks him to investigate attacks on the latter. He doesn’t have any techs and specializes in swordfighting. In the end, Nial joins forces with Ryan (a rebel leader and Layan who can use Time techs), Laya, and Alair to stop Alair’s brother, Lune, from starting a war with the Orakian kingdoms.

What happens if Ayn marries Thea instead of Sari? They have a son named Sean. He is the prince of Azura, and he lives on the Alisa III until it begins to plunge into the moon. He is ordered to evacuate to Landen and is forced to leave his parents behind…

Sean can use healing and Time techs.

What happens if Nial marries Laya? They have a set of twins, Adan and Gwyn. They are the royal heirs of Landen, Satera, and Mystoke. After an earthquake strikes Landen, Adan is ordered to investigate its cause, and is accompanied by Gywn. Both siblings can use healing techs, but only Gwynnie can use Time techs.

In the Japanese version, Gwyn is named… Laya.

What happens if Nial marries Alair? They have Aron, the prince of Landen, Satera, and Dahlia. He is ordered to investigate when the royal family witnesses the Alisa III and a similar spaceship firing at each other, with the Alisa destroying the latter. Aron can use healing techs.

Kara is another variable character. If Nial married Alair, she is Aron’s cousin and grows up as a princess instead of a warrior princess. Princess! Kara can use healing and Order techs. Since that includes the instant-death tech Forsa, it kind of sounds like she gets the better deal than her warrior incarnation.

Only Rhys and Nial lack any Layan blood. You are guaranteed to have a protagonist with Layan blood by at least generation three.

If it wasn’t for their measure of Layan blood, the protagonists couldn’t have triggered the Megido tech with their anger.

Crys is ΒΌ Layan; Aron and Adan are both half Layan; and Sean is ΒΎ Layan.

I discovered a number of name differences between the English and Japanese versions. I have no idea why they changed these names the way that they did. My best guess: to reduce the number of characters needed to spell their names onscreen.

English Names

Original Japanese Names

Rhys

Kein

Wren

Searren

Maia

Marlena

Thea

Lann

Sari

Lynn

Nial

Lane

Alair

Luise

Crys

Noin

Aron

Ruin

Adan

Fuin

Kara

Luna

The Endings

Multiple endings were another hook of the game. Unfortunately, the endings themselves don’t vary much. The only variations are Dark Force’s dialog after you beat him, and who rescues the characters after they destroy Terminus. Crys’ and Adan’s endings are actually fairly similar.

In terms of shortest to longest quests:

  1. Aron

  2. Adan

  3. Crys

  4. Sean

Final Stats

Crys | LV: 17

Mieu | LV: 55

Wren | LV: 54

Laya| LV: 51

Kara | LV: Five

HP

190

161

231

142

134

TP

101

120

60

127

97

Intelligence

75

90

45

94

72

Stamina

95

80

115

71

67

Speed

131

131

114

117

109

Damage

369

350

383

256

163

Defense

357

275

320

243

141

Luck

184

113

165

168

154

Skill

105

140

109

131

129

Overall

  1. Crys: 33 points

  2. Mieu: 32

  3. Laya: 29

  4. Wren: 28

  5. Kara: 14

You may wonder what some of these stats do. I tried looking it up, but found no consensus or gameplay analysis that gave me a concrete answer. :/

In the end, I had over 300K meseta (the PS universe’s currency). Money isn’t much of a problem in this game.

Next time, I get a life – or several – in another 16-bit JRPG; one that hasn’t officially been translated into English… yet. πŸ˜‰

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