Spoilers in the very first image!
Despite my less-than-enthusiastic send-off yesterday, today’s gaming was fun again, but I ultimately stopped playing before I really had, and haven’t had the urge to pick it up again. Maybe a few days away will prime me again.
I decided not to return to the tower (good choice in hindsight, it would have been a waste of time) and headed off to the man blocking the bridge. His daughter approached him, and I should mention that earlier, my character gave her a veil because so many people hate her father now that he worried they might want to kill her. Very wise. Then she didn’t take it off, and her dad stabbed her. Unbelievably stupid, and I’m blaming Rolf. Then dear old dad realized who she was and blew himself up, somehow. “This is just one of the many tragedies that have come to pass as the world falls into turmoil. Someone must save us!” From yourselves?
Ultimately heading west, I made my way to a town on the other end. Its name seemed familiar, so I checked to see if it was a town from PS1, but discovered that the only town from Motavia that was carried over to “Mota” was Piseo itself! A bit of a lost opportunity, wouldn’t you say? Another PS1 town, the one Alis and company could fly to once they got the ship from Gothic, is now an island dungeon of some sort, though. Confusing.
According to the translation, the town I’m currently in plays host to the Bio-Station that created the biohazard monsters running amok, but that was objectively untrue (the actual Bio-Station was significantly further south). Nevertheless, the locals took all my character’s a-bit-too-open comments against Mother Brain a bit personally and weren’t very forthcoming as a result. Though one old man told me something about falling into a hole to find the station’s “horrible basement”?
I teleported back to Piseo as planned, and met up with a new party member: Amy the doctor. She started in Defence position, a special tactical option I had been avoiding, and I quickly learned how strong that could be for someone like her, who isn’t meant to fight. If I could afford shields (they cost more than any other armour type) I would give her some, possibly in both hands, but it’s not really an option with my budget. Apparently she later gets a powerful staff weapon I’ve been advised to use with her, so I’ll earmark her for the game’s final party. Following the advice of the walkthrough I saw, I already have three of my final four party members! Not bad, and it will make training them much easier. Who I take for the final slot is yet to be determined – one party memeber is recommended only until some late dungeons, so I might use them for a while before shifting them out for someone better.
Personally, I’m upset at how much I’m looking at guides for this when that was 100% counter to the original plan. This game is not exactly welcoming, but I should have been more constant in avoiding them. I’ll try to do better with PS3, but PS4’s combination spells are going to be required walkthrough reading, I’m afraid. At least there’s nothing to spoil since I’ve played a lot of 4 and have seen the ending.
I started grinding to train Amy before, uh, I got bored. I decided that Amy’s defence position was protecting her enough for me to carry on and I made a break for the Bio-Station, whose door I blew open with the last of my dynamite. It turned out I was right: she was perfectly safe. Unfortunately, I underestimated one of the ant recolours in the tower and both Rolf and Nei bit the dust. I took Nei’s emergency Escapipe off of her corpse to get the other two out of there alive. Apparently you can do that. Nice touch, I’d expect a game this old to lock off the inventory of a dead party member!
Unfortunately, the game attacked me with recolours from the Biostation even outside of the place, killing Amy. Rudo dragged himself home by the bloodied remains of his fingernails and it cost me about 500 mes just to get everyone alive again. I bought some new armour for everyone (in fact, more than I needed. Should have been paying more attention) and went straight back to the Bio-Station, where I didn’t really have any trouble at all. Really, it was my easiest run through a dungeon in this game to date, except whenever I encountered those ants again.
The Bio-Station was fairly straightforward, which I say entirely in the context of Phantasy Star 2 and not in the context of any other game ever. I was lost most of the time (yes, this was “the best run to date”), but got lost enough that I found another stick of dynamite. I used this to blow open a door inside the dungeon that led to the rumoured pit drop from before, but that was only after finding my way around the entire facility and back to where I had started! You miss one turn…
One thing that helped my navigation was that I realized the “teleporters” these dungeons seemed to have are, in fact, elevators (or at the very least, the’re teleporters that function exactly like elevators). That helped my mental mapping like you can’t believe. The other thing that helped was that this dungeon was green instead of brown. My standards for quality have plunged below the crust of the earth.
The Bio-Station was filled with vats forming new monsters, and the basement was a disaster zone floored with acid spatter that I had to walk through. Looking at a map, the basement was also twice as large as it needed to be, but luckily I walked in the right direction the first try. Almost all the enemies here were recolours, it’s clear the developers really didn’t know how to get the most out of the Genesis, since this game reuses resources I’d say even more than PS1 did on the Master System. I almost got wiped out there thanks to the Mushroom enemies, one of two non-recolours, and there was also a dangerous recolour with a group attack. Yes, again: best experience to date.
I kept walking until I found myself in a dead end. After all that walking, finding a dead end was baffling, so I collecting myself and noticed that there had been a break in the perfectly identical walls. It seemed this “wall” was actually some sort of computer. I think. Like I said: practically a launch title.
I checked with the computer (knee deep in acid, and I have to stress that no RPG I’ve ever played has ever forced you to interact with something on top of a damage square). Thankfully it was just what I needed, and I got the recorder I had been charged with fetching in the first place. Relieved, I teleported out, but that only got me out of the dungeon. I still had to cross the overworld, and I didn’t have enough mana (TP) to do it! Lo and behold, the same group of biostation Locust recolours that attacked me on my last escape showed up now. Ambushed me, even! But we made it. We made it weak, completely out of TP (to the last drops, in fact: everyone had 2 when healing spells needed 3) but we were alive.
I used the teleporter shop in town to get back to Piseo (I was lazy) and returned the recorder. I forgot to return to my house to pick up the next party member, but according to the guide I’ve been reading, I haven’t lost much. The guy there has spells that only hurt “biohazards” (living enemies) but not the robots that were going to be a bigger problem later in the game. The guide I was reading marks him as the weakest party member as a result.
Back at headquarters, the governor told me about his worries about society ever since Mother Brain took over, and had me go to the library to get the results from the recorder. The librarian/data expert concluded that the Bio-Station had started cranking out “the monster” after a power surge, and yeah it’s kind of petty to hype on an awkward pluralization, but I’m actually not sure what they’re saying. Are they referring to a specific monster, such as Nei, since the game has been implying that she was the first monster that came out of the Bio-Station? Or is it referring to all the monsters running amok? The librarian noticed the surge matched up with the troubles at “Climatrol”: Motavia’s climate control station. It seems Climatrol has recently decided to turn Mota back into a desert, and she instructed me to do something about that, handing me a card to get me into the next zone.
Unfortunately for l’il ole me, the next area of the world map was open-ended. I was finally off the rails and now I have no idea what to do. I’ve been to two towns (each with more expensive equipment than the last!) and I can at least report on what I know:
- One town, a resort “on the lake” despite there being more black void outside than lake, was filled with older men, all of whom seemed to have a hearing problem. I’m not sure what to make of this. Their dialog is so similar and so useless that it almost feels like a cliché mind control situation, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. It could just be ageism. Hah! Old men can’t hear very well! Identically!
- That wasn’t the only stereotype flying around. The occupants made several references to “Mota people.” At first I thought they were referring to themselves (“the people of Mota”) with a bit of poor localization, but I eventually realized they were referring to the “Barbarians” of Phantasy Star 1, whom I had seen wandering around a previous town. They would be “Mota people” since they actually come from this planet while the humans are from Palm(a). The Mota people had been transformed from Barbarians into, well, Jawas, in that they scavenged things for a living. Many of the resort town occupants were going to lengths to imply the Mota people just loved garbage. They were considered very primitive by the Palman standard.
- Several of the Mota People were supposed to be hanging out at a garbage dump, scrap yard or incinerator nearby whose name I was given but have now forgotten. I have yet to find it.
- There are no vehicles on Mota thanks to the teleportation system, but the Motans have a few vehicles they’ve restored. If I want to hit the water (they mentioned a jet ski), I’ll have to find a Motan dealer. The dump seems like my best starting place. Man, if the teleporters are so good, why do I have to walk around to activate them?
- Despite my joke about the black void, there is some water nearby. Apparently, there’s a tower out in the water. Based on some comments in Piseo, this may be Climatrol, since it seems no one knows where Climatrol is anymore (really?) and coincidentally, an NPC tells me that no one goes to this tower any longer!
- The second town I hit was filled with Palmans claiming to be descended from ocean dwellers. I have no idea what they’re talking about as there was no ocean-bound town in PS1’s Motavia. There was a town in the middle of a gas field, a town by a lake, and there’s a town that is now an island apparently, but… oh, forget it. It seems Mother Brain has banned these people from going into the ocean, which is apparently connected somehow to the lake. Yes, that’s what I said, and I don’t understand it any more than you. The ocean is controlled by four dams in the region, each with their own control card. I learned a lot of those details much earlier in the game, maybe even on Day 8, but they’re only becoming relevant now.
- Not many leads in this ocean dweller town. Someone mentioned the island dungeon named after a town from PS1, and an inventor mentioned a plant that used to let people breathe underwater, but that was it. He wanted to make gum out of it. Apparently. But no leads on where to find the stuff.
- I’m probably missing like two party members after finding two towns. I’ll have to teleport back to be sure.
That’s where I stand. I got a Laser Knife for Rolf and a Cannon for Rudo. The Cannon doesn’t hit multiple targets like his Shotgun but the shotgun had to go some day. I am otherwise bankrupt, with things in prices in the high thousands. Exploration is on the menu and my only substantial lead is the dump… if only I can find it. I imagine it’s back towards the resort town, since they claimed to smell the garbage. Of course, the people of the third town claimed to have the Bio-Station on their front porch…
I really didn’t have it in me to play today. I headed out and found the dump, which my characters approached post-zoom from the outside of the building even though they normally appear inside the front doors. That clued me in to the fact that I could walk around the building. Thank you gaming tropes. The back was a dungeon and I can only assume the front was something of a false dungeon, since I never found a route leading back to the front door. Goodness knows what was in there. Maybe I’ll find out later.
For now, I found the place was inhabited with unpleasant combinations of monsters I fought in the basement of the Bio-Station, including a lot of mushrooms. I eventually had to bail when Amy was killed and decided to give it a real-world rest. Also, Nei got a new move that kills her to heal someone else. Considering that that bill to revive her from death comes out to about 400 at her current level, I don’t think I’ll ever use it. Thankfully, Amy got what I think is her first group healing spell.
I also got three new party members, including the robot killer the guide recommend I keep, but I’m going to ignore him for now. It’s clear Amy needs more levels just to be functional and I don’t know if the party could hold together if I dropped anyone with experience. Once I get through a certain event at Climatrol that was spoiled to me, I’ll grind the new guy up to pace.
(Editor: But sadly, I never did. I stopped playing Phantasy Star 2 after Day 12, and my brother moved out after a while, taking the 360 with him. Today, I own the collection on the PS3, so I hope to one day return to the game with a proper Journal. Thankfully, PS had lasted long enough to give me the journal format I use today. But I did play one more Phantasy Star game…)