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.
Of all the lost opportunities on Sega’s part, the one that strikes a blow to the heart is that the western world only received the first instalment of the epic three-game experience that was Shining Force III. That it hasn’t seen remastering and release onto a modern mobile platform speaks volumes of the split between Camelot and Sega over this decision.
Essentially a remastering of the unreleased ‘Shining Force: Gaiden’ and the Game Gear exclusive ‘Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya’, Shining Force CD manages to bring two relatively light experiences together into a more meaty package.
Sadly after the release of ‘Sword of Hajya’, Sega decided not to translate any more mobile offerings from the Shining Force series onto the Game Gear, leaving it with just 1 out of 3 titles available. In over 20 years since its release it’s become painfully obvious that they have no intention of modifying this. Luckily Shining Force Central has a dedicated group of fans who have.
The Game Gear didn’t have a lot of RPGs in its catalogue, but those that it did produce were some of the best hand held experiences at the time, especially in the field of Tactical RPGs. The best of these are, of course, extensions of Sega’s classic Shining Force series.