Phantasy Star II is the second entry into the acclaimed Phantasy Star series from Sega, but it chooses to do a lot of things quite differently from its predecessor. Today it’s largly remembered for being the series’ first entry onto the Mega Drive and for its convoluted dungeon designs, but how does it hold up in this modern era?
The first instalment into the Oasis series of RPGs, The Story of Thor (known in America as ‘Beyond Oasis’) was a late release for the Mega Drive that some consider to be Sega’s answer to the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series.
The end of the original single-player Phantasy Star series was a landmark title for Sega, shipping on a specially made cart and selling for $100, an amazingly high price for a Mega Drive title at the time. Phantasy Star 4 was very much the epitome of what Sega stood for at the time. Sleek, fast and in many ways ground breaking, despite garnering mixed reviews.
The last game in the Wonder Boy series sees it dropping the ‘Boy’ and focussing instead on a female protagonist named Asha. Luckily the ‘Monster World’ title still very much applies and the game manages to pay fitting tribute to the legacy of the series whilst doing a few of its own things.
The Sega Megadrive didn’t have a massive amount of RPGs available to its users. In fact once you’d completed the Phantasy Star and Shining Force series you’d be hard pressed to find another genuinely brilliant franchise. This is where the Monster World series steps in, bringing with it a rarer take on the concept of an RPG, the RPG/Platformer fusion.
Credited for launching Sega’s successful Shining Force series but usually ignored and representing a play-style that although great would be cast aside for the series until ‘Shining the Holy Ark’ appeared some time later on the Saturn. Shining in the Darkness is an intense first person dungeon-crawling experience on the Megadrive that rivals the D&D classic ‘Eye of the Beholder’ and genuinely deserves more love than is usually receives from series fans.
Shining Force II is the third game in Sega’s ‘Shining’ series that started with dungeon crawler Shining in the Darkness on the Megadrive and continued into Tactical RPG territory in Shining Force. Logic would dictate that the first game I reviewed would be one of these two titles, however Shining Force II has a special place in my heart and I felt it was only fitting that it be the first game reviewed on this new site.