Christmas 1988 ....having had an Atari 2600 for so long and getting a Sega Master System a year earlier (X-Mas 87), I was the only kid in the neighborhood without a Nintendo. Nintendo seemed to have it all with Dragon Warrior and Zelda and with hints of a game called Final Fantasy on the horizon it seemed bad for us few and far sega owners. Miracle Warriors was good but not enough against all the RPG's the big N was bringing over. Nintendo seemed to have the genre in their pocket, that was.... until a little game called Phantasy Star came along.
Phantasy Star's graphics blew every single 8-bit (and a lot of 1st generation 16-bits) visuals away. The Overworld maps were bright and colorful and the combat screens were much more impressive. Both had animation in the backgrounds (the overworld maps had breaking waves, moving Antlions, and bubbling tar pits) while the enemies were animated (something most 16-bit and a few 32 bit RPG's can't say). Finally, the dungeons..... wow... the first and only well done full screen 3D style dungeons until the 32 bit systems came about.
Phantasy Star had incredible music... it never got old and you could find yourself humming the overworld theme if you weren't careful. The Sound effects were clear and crisp. It was amazing what sega could do considering the lack of an FM chip in the master system.
The Story was fresh and original (when someone complains about "another cookiecutter RPG" coming out today.... Phantasy Star was the game they all copied from). The story mixed fantasy and sci-fi themes with swords and sorcery and laser guns and spaceships. Phantasy Star is the story of Alis Landale who finds her brother Nero dying and vows revenge upon his killer the evil tyrant Lassic. The story is long and involving and never drags, and you will travel to 3 different planets all with towns and dungeons to explore. You will find 3 companions along the way, Myau a musk cat, Odin the mightiest warrior on Palma (the main planet), and Noah the sorceress. Along the way you'll fight dragons, fishmen, and even Medusa herself. You will find many different vehicles to travel across the different terrains (and planets). Overall the story is so engrossing you would play for hours on end without stopping.
The gameplay interface was great. The menus were quick and easy to use and didn't interfere with the smoothness this game exudes. Equipping was fast and item use was easy and fast. The controls were fast and commands were executed quickly and battles didn't take forever.
I know I know you're all saying I'm living in the past with this game but Phantasy Star is the most original RPG that ever was made on a console. All other RPGs borrow heavily from other titles (cookiecutter RPG's :). It did everything faster, bigger, longer and just plain better than anything else. Don't believe me? Find a Master System and a copy of Phantasy Star , a bottle of No-Doze and a pot of coffee, and about 30 to 40 hours later see if you feel the same. Overall --- 100%
BEWARE....THE ANTLIONS........(heck I'll even give the antlions 100% )