From this point on, screenshots in this journal are taken from Valis77’s longplay of Phantasy Star, available at World of Longplays and on YouTube. Of course, Valis had the common sense not to go to the optional dungeon I waste much of Days 2 and 3, and all the better for doing so, even if it means I lack screenshots for them.
After working out a snafu with the Xbox 360 save file and the game’s save state (not the last time this would happen, either), I set off to the peninsula cave, where I met a mysterious cloaked figure who told me that no one has gone into the “corner room” and come back alive. As video games have taught me to trust old cloaked men in monster-infested caves with no visible means of support, I immediately walked into the corner room to find out what the deal was. This is how video games work. If someone tells you there’s something incredibly dangerous in the room to your left, you go there immediately! The “corner room” was a donut shaped room, except in the middle of one of the passageways, I stepped on a trap floor that dropped me one level down. A few steps from there, I fell into another one, then another one.
[Editor: Kudos for making a room “no one returns from” where the trap doesn’t hit immediately after you walk in the door like you’d see in a modern game. It makes it your own fault when you keep poking around.]
Now, before I had fallen, I had noticed another hallway, which I presumed led into the dungeon without trap floors. Falling into trap floors left me with no means of escape (I had no Transers) and no idea where I was in the maze. I considered whether I should load an old save, and the game encouraged me by letting the monsters get out of hand. In the end, I bailed back to an old save. Humiliating.
Rather than go back in, I decided to try out the other cave: the one past the Evildead, which I keep saying as though that random encounter was some kind of landmark. And even though it’s not the cave [that I thought] I was supposed to be in at the time. The monsters in that cave didn’t seem much easier at first, as both caves attacked me with the oh-so-familiar groups of Werebats, but on closer observation, the northern cave was easier thanks to the non-Werebat monsters appearing in numbers. Oh, and the place was more straightforward, with no trap floors. I trudged through, and to my surprise what should I find but the cake shop! [Editor: Like I said, I don’t know where I got my poor directions!]
The cake was a totally unreasonable 1000 mes, but I found my run through the dungeon had landed me with upwards of 1600, so I bought the damnable thing and headed back to Motavia. In some order or other, I went around shopping. I bought Hvy. Furs for Myou, putting his defence closer to Odin and Alis’, and at some other point during the run I bought Alis a Crc. (Ceramic) Sword, the best weapon for sale for her at this point in the game. I’m not sure Ceramic sounds like a great idea for a sword?
Happily equipped, I went into a “dungeon” in the middle of Paseo on Motavia. Travelling through it, I gave the cake to a robot to give to the governor, and the governor greeted me in his manor at the other side. He agreed to help us kill Lassic (“Hey, I see you kids are inexperienced and unarmed, but since you gave me a cake, sure!”) and let us use the beds in the manor, which was odd because there was a free inn right outside his house…
Naturally, once my characters fell asleep they were attacked in their dreams by a “Saccubus,” which destroyed them (Alis, at least, took two hits before she died). They woke up after that (“You had a bad dream”) and never really mentioned it again.
We returned to Palma not long after that. The governor had given us a letter of introduction to “an Esper,” saying “the Esper” was in the cave of a certain name. The trouble is, I was positive that the cave he was talking about was the cave with the cake shop! Dammit! Assuming I or the game developers had gotten the two Palman caves mixed up at some point, I went back to the cave on the peninsula to the south – the one with the trap floors.
This began my hair-raising struggle to search the caves from the bottom up. Yeah, in spite of bailing earlier because I didn’t want to be trapped at the bottom, I went straight back down the trap hole. Long story short, I didn’t find the Esper, and by the time I was on the second floor I was bleeding and out of magic. I gained quite a few levels, on the plus side, and an oddly-placed Skeleton I can only assume was a fixed encounter dropped an Irn. Fang for Myou that put his attack on level with Alis’.
On top of that, Alis learned a Fire spell (useless for its cost) and Myou a Cure spell (better than Alis’ Heal) and a Terr spell that… well, you know, status condition spells are usually useless. About here, I noticed that Odin’s Needlegun seems unaffected by his attack, which is good because his attack is still terrible. Didn’t my brother say Odin was “strong”? I was expecting a heavy hitter! Oh well.
Once I dragged myself half-alive out of the caves, Odin was promptly mauled to death by a pack of Owl Bears. I gave the game a funny look and reloaded my save, finally making it back to town to heal (I actually pushed my luck to go to the free inn because otherwise the costs would have been astronomical). I was surprised by the results once everyone was patched up: Alis’ HP had gone into triple digits, and everyone else had monstrously improved. Well, except for most of Odin’s stats.
I spent the small fortune I had acquired (3300) on two Crc. Shields for the humans (I still can’t figure out what Myou’s third “Shield” slot is for, since nothing works there), and I scrounged for a bit more money to buy Odin a Zir. Armor. Alis could use one too, but I just didn’t have the extra thousand, and Odin needed it more. I also bought an Escaper, hoping it’ll pull me out of caves in the future. I don’t want to have to crawl out of a dungeon like that again. (Editor: which as we know, it will not. I should have bought a Transer)
My plan for Day 3 is to go back to the northern cave, the one the Governor actually named, and make sure there’s no Esper there hiding next to the cake shop. It’s possible the Esper is supposed to point me to somewhere in the Southern cave. Even if he’s not, I should pull in some cash and XP, which would be nice. If I have enough money, I’m buying a Zir. Armor for Alis, and my next purchase after that will be a Mag. Lamp, which I’m guessing is an infinite use Flasher. They’re expensive at 1400 but it would be nice to never think about having to turn on the lights again. After that I’m going to try to search the southern caves from the top down, since I’m pretty sure I missed something…
Here’s me, trying not to look at a walkthrough. See how good I am?
What a disaster. I was eventually reduced to checking a walkthrough, which confirmed (after another run through BOTH dungeons) that the dungeon I’m supposed to be at is Motavia! The only reason to go to the peninsula dungeon was the Irn. Fang! Arggghhhh!! To make matters worse, I was heading towards the desert dungeon on a previous day, but decided I was going the wrong way when I was attacked by monsters way out of my league (Barbarians, but it must have just been bad luck! Crap!
So I did what I was supposed to do, went to the desert dungeon, and now I have a new party member, the Esper Noah, who’s around 12 levels behind everyone else and I’m sure as hell not going back to that dungeon to train him!
As far as plot goes, Noah said we should go to the Gothic Forest to meet a creator of space ships, a Dr. Luveno, who could only be reached via a suspicious manhole on the Palma’s spaceport. Yeah, that sounds like 80s game dev wackiness, but there was something charmingly “underground rebellion” about rooting around in a sewer to find your allies. Even if the sewer does open into an exposed, easily located and downright pastoral forest village straight out of Hobbiton, like you’d expect of sewers. Well, pastoral but wiped out. I’m reporting mixed signals but that’s what the game was giving me!
The ruined town was filled with people who were willing to trade info for First Food Colas. No joke. With these carbonated bribes, I gathered that the doc had gone crazy and had been taken to a prison to the south, or at least that was Lassic’s excuse for the arrest. I went to the prison just south of town and, showing my Roadpass (??) to the robot guard, I talked to every prisoner, eventually wheedling the Doc out of his cell. The other prisoners talked about Medusa Tower to the west, and also about a robot made of Laconian. You might remember the name “Laconian” from that pot my brother left me at the start of the game. It seems it’s a rare metal of some kind, but the prisoners didn’t mention where the robot was being kept.
After springing the doc, I found his assistant not very far away and they started building my ship in exchange for 1500 mes. I had to go goof off while they did it, and in the process I found a shrine to the southwest filled with monsters that seemed to be out of my league. When I got back, the doc told me that I can’t fly my ship – only that Laconian robot can, and, once again, I don’t know where he is!
[Editor: Travelling further south, I spotted a large patch of lava. Once again, I let my knowledge of the future corrupt the present, but in this case it was knowledge of future Phantasy Star games! I remembered how vehicles worked in Phantasy Star 4 from watching Kyle play, and so concluded that the lava here was meant to block travel to anyone without a vehicle. Whoops, you can actually walk across it! Thankfully this one didn’t hurt me much.]
So that’s where I stand. I have three options for Day 4: go to Medusa Tower, which I think is across some lava that I may need the ship to cross; go to the shrine and tough it out; or go to the desert planet and explore more. This may take a while to work out while I try to get Noah up to, well, competence.
I really wish I could find a new item shop, everyone’s wearing out of date things by now. At least I’m rolling in cash for when I finally find the shop. I did buy the Mag. Lamp, and it’s like an infinite flash except you never have to manually USE it, which is bonus convenience.