The Let's Play Archive

Phantasy Star 3

by Thuryl

Part 2: Robot Rowboat

Update 2: Robot Rowboat

The outdoor music isn't nearly as good as the town music; the melody doesn't really go anywhere and there's an irritating low-pitched drone in the background. This is too bad, because the slow walk speed means we're going to be hearing this music a whole lot. Anyway, let's use that Monitor we found and see where we are!

The white dot at the top of the upper-left circle is us. Each of these three circles is a world. Seems like there's a lot of empty space on that map, doesn't it? Hmmmm.

Come to think of it, what are these worlds? Phantasy Star 1 and 2 were both set in the Algo solar system, with three planets: the fertile planet Palma, the desert planet Motavia, and the ice planet Dezolis. Between PS1 and PS2, Palma was urbanised  and then blown up , Motavia was terraformed and Dezolis was stripmined, but none of that explains why our world map now seems to consist of one desert world, two green worlds and no ice world. How is this game connected to the setting of the previous two? There's eventually an explanation for what's going on here, but by the time you find out you'll probably have stopped caring.

Anyway, our current goal is to head south to Yaata, which is that black dot below us. It's not a particularly long walk.

Along the way, we run into a Chirper. If you've played PS4 or PSO, you recognise this little dude as a Rappy. Whatever you call him, he's not much of a threat: he can use a physical attack for 1-2 damage to one character, or cast Gra (a gravity technique) for 2 damage to the whole party. He has 10 HP, and Rhys does about 9-12 damage with each knife, so he'll usually die in one hit. Also, his attack animation, like about 50% of the enemies in this game, consists of moving down slightly and wiggling from side to side. It's a pretty big letdown after the detailed animations of the first two games.

The battle system is pretty much a standard JRPG one, except with an awkward interface. You select one of those icons in the lower right corner: the upper left icon engages autobattle until you cancel it, the lower left icon makes the party fight a single round of combat, the upper right icon lets you select a command (attack/technique/item/defend) for each character, and the lower right icon lets you try to flee. One nice feature that wasn't available in PS2 is that if you're wielding two weapons, you can choose to attack a different enemy with each of them.

We get 1 experience point and 1 meseta for killing the Chirper, which is about as much as it sounds like.

It's also possible to run into Eindons, these fat little horned lizard things. They have 12 HP, they can poison you, and they drop 4 meseta instead of 1. Being poisoned is annoying, but it's still not actually dangerous if nothing is hitting us hard enough that we need to heal.

Anyway, we finally make it to Yaata.

The townspeople here have some more information for us. According to old legends, people used to be able to fly; there's a town called Ilan across the bridge; the Layan people had strange powers and could create monsters, but nobody in living memory has seen one and some people believe they're all dead by now.

We could get Hunting Knives at the weapon shop to upgrade Rhys's damage, but I don't really feel like grinding for 1-10 mesetas a fight until I can afford them.

There's also some new armour available that we can't wear. Could we be getting a new party member soon?

"Cyborgs are good luck charms, if you ask me."

Finally, there's this guy. As we learn from another person in town, this old man owns a boat, but he'll only set sail with a cyborg on board. Now, where the hell are we going to find a cyborg?

Well, here's that bridge the townspeople were talking about, a little to the east of Yaata. Maybe if we head south and ask around in Ilan we can get some more help.

On our way, we run across one of these odd little structures. There are a few of them scattered around the map, and right now their purpose is obscure.

Eventually, though, we get to Ilan. There's only one person with interesting dialogue in the whole town, but he tells us exactly what we need to know.

"... northeastern forest. The woman never blinked!"
"She never blinked? Well, that proves she's a Layan witch! I have to go hunt her down and rescue Maia!"

For some reason, the game decides that now would be a good time to taunt us with equipment that we won't be able to afford until well into the next generation. In case you're wondering, an "emel" is the equivalent of a shield, except that shields are used by men and emels are used by women. Emels were in PS2 as well, so this particular bit of weirdness can't be blamed on PS3.

"Ndl" is short for "Needler", which can be used by most Orakians and hits a whole column of enemies but for pretty poor damage; "Slr" is "Slicer", which also hits a whole row of enemies for somewhat better damage but can only be used by Layan women, so even if we could afford that Force Slicer it wouldn't do us any good.

Anyway, we've got all we can from this town, so it's off to the northeast we go!

The monsters to the east of Ilan start to get genuinely dangerous. That ridiculous-looking thing on the right hand side of the screen is a Moos. It attacks by flapping its mouth open and closed and can hit a bit harder than a Chirper or Eindon, but the real threat is its Foi (fire) technique, which hits a single character for 10-12 damage. A pair of them could wipe you out in a couple of rounds if you're very unlucky.

And that fat purple thing is a Glowtoad. It hits fairly hard and can poison Rhys, so it's probably worth carrying some Antidotes as well as Monomates for this trip.

"Tell me what you've done with Maia, you damn Layan!"

"I am a combat cyborg, designation Mieu type. I have been waiting for 1,000 years for you. Only a descendant of Orakio can command me."
"Oh, so that explains the whole not blinking thing. Cool! I always wanted my own pet robot!"

Mieu starts out at level 1, but she's already a very respectable fighter. As you might have noticed, she also has Technique Points, which means that unlike Rhys she can use techniques.

Even though Mieu is a robot, the game treats her just like any other party member: she can even be poisoned. (The translation calls her a "cyborg", which would make sense, but in the Japanese version she's just an android.)

Compare her stats to Rhys at level 6: she's already as fast as he is, and her other stats will catch up soon enough.

That Claw she's using is an excellent weapon, hitting almost as hard as both of Rhys's knives put together. (Don't be fooled by the "Damage" rating on the screen there; it's misleading.) We're going to buy her a second claw as soon as we get back to town.

A little to the south of where Mieu was waiting, we find this building.

The music in here suddenly makes the outdoor music seem less bad: that's right, it's got more fucking bells in it! Let's see what happens if we step on that strange blue platform.

"Only Layans belong in Laya's palace! Begone!"

Well, so much for that. Time to head back to Yaata and show off our new robot.

But first, now that we have a party member with techniques, it's time to show off how Technique Distribution works! Like many things in this game, it's an interesting idea marred by clumsy implementation.

First, you choose a character and a kind of technique. There are 16 techniques in the game, divided into four sets of 4: Heal, Melee, Time and Order. Mieu can use Heal Techniques, which cost 5 TP and do what the name suggests, and Order Techniques, which cost 1 TP and can be used for various effects in combat.

The Heal techniques are Res, Gires, Rever and Anti. Res heals a lot of HP to a single character, Gires heals about half as much HP to the whole party, Rever has a chance to revive a dead character with full health, and Anti has a chance to cure poison. Technique Distribution allows us to strengthen the power of some of a character's techniques at the expense of others: techniques that damage or heal will do more damage or healing, and techniques that cause or cure status effects will have a greater chance of success.

See that pattern of symbols? There's a blinking crosshairs in the middle of it which we can use to shift the pattern around. At the moment, we've moved the crosshairs all the way into the upper left corner, strengthening the Anti technique but weakening Res. Anti has an annoyingly high failure rate if you don't distribute a lot of points into it, and Res is almost always inferior to Gires, so I'm happy with this setup for now.

The Order techniques are Fanbi, Forsa, Nasak and Shu. Fanbi raises one character's attack power by a decent amount, Forsa has a chance to instantly kill an enemy, Nasak has a chance to kill the user and fully heal the rest of the party (if it fails, the user doesn't die but nobody gets healed), and Shu increases one character's defense. None of them are really essential, but Fanbi is pretty good for boss fights so I've just gone ahead and maxed that out.

I should note at this point that a lot of the techniques have had their effects changed since the previous game. Res, Rever, Anti, Nasak and Shu all do pretty much what they did in PS2, but Gires used to just be a stronger version of Res (the multi-target version was called Sar), Fanbi used to drain HP from the target and give it to the caster, and Forsa lowered robotic enemies' accuracy. It's bad enough having made-up words for spell names without having their meaning change for every game.

Also, the pattern of symbols gets larger as you level up, so you have to redistribute your techniques every few levels if you want them to stay allocated the way you want them.

Well, that's enough rambling on about techniques for today. Next time: we go on a boat ride!