The Let's Play Archive

Phantasy Star 4

by meteor9

Part 1: Part One: Motavia Academy: Fulfilling All Your Expository Backstory Needs!

Part One: Motavia Academy: Fulfilling All Your Expository Backstory Needs!

Our story opens like many an RPG before it.

With our goddamn teenage main character being nagged by his mother badass mentor.

: You'd better put your heart into it!

: So... I'm not a trainee anymore.

: From this day on, you are a full-fledged partner! Now come on! Let's go!

: It's a bit far. We're going to Motavia Academy in the town of Piata.

: Wow! So we're going to the Town of Learning!

(Oh, you Japanese and your Random capitalization Of letters.)

: I wonder what's happened there?

: Who Knows? The message said "Just come." We'll get the details once we're there.

So, they leave for Piata. This kinda bugs me. What the hell sort of mercenary operation accepts "Just come" as a formal request? Yes, don't prepare for anything. Sure, might need to find a lost cat, might need to fight an army of angry dragons, whatever. No need for preparations! Of course, this is a jRPG. The top secret mission is obviously gonna involve a whole bunch of level one encounters.

: the Academy.

: Is that all you can think about? Learning?

: Uh...wait, why is that bad?

: Get moving or I'll leave you behind!

And off they go. This is rather odd, since Chaz will never show any interest in learning anything ever again.

AW 2284. Monster attacks have swelled the ranks of those who call themselves 'Hunters.'
But as the attacks become ever more frequent and powerful, an elite few begin to wonder
what is behind this outbreak... and when and how will it all end?

Some time later...

: I'm also not cut out for this "exclaim stuff outloud that we did offscreen" stuff. Well, anyway, I've got to find her...

Conveniently, Alys is in the doorway of the room Chaz is standing around in.

No, seriously:

Either Chaz is an idiot or the game is assuming that we're retarded.

Before we acknowledge that, though, let's examine the tiny little area we've gotten ourselves lost in.

: I'm so frightened, I can't even think about my research!

All that rigamarole about learning and he's terrified of books. Great.

However, this is also a rather neat feature of the game. Just about everything has a piece of dialogue associated with it if you examine it. Obviously, blank walls and the floor won't give you much, but cabinets, books on tables, shelves, sandworm carvings, and dressers will prompt Chaz to mumble something.

: A kid like you?! Are you going to be able to handle it?

It doesn't speak well of us if even the nerds here find us to be laughable. Let's get the hell out of here.

: did you miss me? I was like three feet away.

: We have to see the principal and get the details about this commission.

And thus, off they go. There's not much else to remark on about this area. It's all...very tan, there's books, and some scientists prattle on about the series backstory.

: during The Great Collapse, the planet Parma was lost. Now only Dezolis and this planet remain.

And more!

: confusion by the destruction of Mother Brain. After that, Motavia sustained a direct hit by a fragment of the exploding planet Parma. Our civilization was almost destroyed.

So, basically, PS2 happened and society is still barely hanging on. So much for Rolf's crusade, I suppose.

Also, in the main hall,

Somehow PS1's Dr. Luveno became a god in the eyes of Palman society. I suppose the fact that he won't do anything for you until you annoy him enough times is some sort of reference to prayer?

Well, back upstairs. We gotta go hassle the man.

: I'm the principal of this academy. Let's see, you must be Alys, the hunter, and you are her assistant, Chaz.

: Forgive me, but Chaz is a full-fledged partner of mine.

(Well, that's kind of adorable. She'll heap tons of shit on the kid, but will demand that everyone else give him respect.)

: Now, let's get down to business. Describe the situation.

: appear within this academy! It appears that they have made the basement their headquarters.

(Headquarters? Not nest, not breeding grounds, no. Headquarters. They've even got desk jockeys down there.)

: I've since closed it off. So far no one's been hurt, but who knows when they'll appear again? Please, I beg you to destroy all those creatures! Ah...I'd like to settle this matter discreetly, I'm counting on your reputation, Alys.

: No problem. You can rely on us. Although, it's strange that all those monsters suddenly appeared in this academy. Usually monsters don't come into inhabited areas.

: Because of the plot shielding?

: Do you have any idea how this happened?

: Stop asking questions. I'm not paying you to think, or to come to blatantly obvious assumptions about me knowing all about it!

: Sounds solid to me!

: Just hurry up and exterminate those monsters! Don't forget, I'm paying you dearly for your services!

That went well.

: Maybe he's afraid of the monsters? I mean, they're all nerds here after all.

: Hey, mister "Oooh goody we're going to a school;" you shouldn't talk. Besides, I think there's more to it than that. Things are starting to get interesting!

You can tell that Alys has been around the block since her reaction to a huge conspiracy to hide a bloodthirsty biomonster outbreak in a major city is to go "ooh, neat!"

Well, let's just dive right into that basement then.

Only, we can't, because there's a dapper fellow blocking the way. Sure, the doorway is two blocks wide, but since he's pacing back and forth at mach one it's impossible to get by. I hope he's not smashing his head against the doorframe.

: Did we even say anything?

: You know, Chaz, a bunch of people running around with heavy weapons in an academy might have been a slight clue to him. Yes, even you could be mistaken for a respectable hunter.


: So, are you?

: You don't think we can do the job?

: No, no, not at all! I didn't mean that!

: Since we have the principal's permission, let us pass.

: Wait! Take me with you!

: Hmm. And why should we?

: I am an assistant at this academy. I work for professor Holt, who has gone to investigate Birth Valley for his research. We haven't heard from him since. So now I am searching for the professor's whereabouts!

: Birth Valley...that's that mysterious place that has been called the sacred valley of life.

(I'm still not entirely sure why it's 'sacred', regardless of the concentrated awesome that we'll find there later.)

: But what's the connection between the valley and this current monster scare? And Chaz, how the hell do you know this stuff? You can read?

: After the investigation team, led by the professor, was reported missing, the principal barred everyone from entering Birth Valley! We're trying to get information as to what's going on, but he keeps evading the issue. And then this monster scare begins! I'll bet anything that there is some sort of connection between these incidents.

: Well, it's true that there is something fishy about the principal's behavior.

: His hair was kinda weird, too.

: Given the circumstances, I feel compelled to investigate the basement myself. But come to think of it, it is a bit dangerous...

: So you were just waiting for us to arrive?

: Well, ah, yes! You catch on quick!

: I do?

: What?

: We'll take you with us for 100 meseta. I hope you weren't thinking of asking to tag along with us for free?

: Er...I can't get that kind of money from the principal.

(The academy is so bad off that the cost of a few monomates is beyond their budget. I guess that this, too, is another reference to real life and the substandard education system that seems so common these days. Visionaries.)

: That's not my problem. Now, what are you going to do?

: ...OK, I'll pay...

And thus, Hahn joins our motley crew. A quick view of our lineup, now:

Also, the Talk command is still fun.

: Hey, you've already paid, so don't cry over spilt milk.

Anyway, into the first dungeon!

Aw, look, a cute little...disgusting colon polyp with legs. Jesus.

It's more scared of us than we are of it, though. Off it goes.

Hey, monomate! The basic healing items in this game are Monomate, Dimate, and Trimate. I'd take a good Res or Sar over monomates anyday, but there's nothing wrong with having backup. Still, they'll be obsolete pretty fast.

At one point another disgusting polyp monster decided to vomit horrible acid puke all over Chaz's face. I guess they have a sense of humor after all.

And, what's this?

: I thought you said you couldn't get that much money?

: Considering that you just raided our entire finance department by opening one box...

Also, some Antidote. I really hope I don't have to explain this to you people.

Anyway, the basement is hardly a labyrinth. Go downstairs twice and you'll reach the end. Speaking of which!

It's a big-nosed squid? I hear they find them all the time off the coast of Alaska these days.

Ah well. Let's kill it.

Boss Fight! IGGLANOVA: Gamevee Viddler

Igglanova is a pretty unremarkable boss.

His gimmick is that he produces an endless swarm of minions, or, at least up to two. He doesn't attack unless he can't Fission anymore, and since Chaz can kill any underlings he spits out in one hit, the boss essentially will never attack.

If you'll notice (in the video, anyway), the only hit we took was from an underling getting off a cheap hit after the boss died, and it barely fazed Alys.

: Chaz! You need more practice. Your swing is too slow! And considering that you're wielding daggers, that's saying something!

: What? But we destroyed the monster...

: With my help. Hell, you didn't even touch the thing.

: Sorry.

: Now, Hahn? Come over here.

: What?

: What are these glass containers for?

: These...

: Hey, are you by any chance breeding monsters here? If that's the case, this monster business is no mystery at all!

: I...I don't know anything! It's the first time I've been in this room! I've only just learned that such a thing exists at the academy! I can't think of any other ways to redundantly state this!

: Umm...

: Really, it's the truth!

: I believe you... for now.

: The principal must know about these containers!

: He must also know the connection between this and the disappearance of Professor Holt.

: Yes, let's see the principal again. C'mon, Chaz!

: Hey! Don't leave me here! I die every other turn!

We then have to walk out of the dungeon because apparently the hand-holding plot devices decided to take a break.

Hahn does almost die on the way out, somehow. Freaking Hahn.



One-dimensional villains, delusional ranchers, and boring technical crap!

Thuryl posted:

Hey there. With meteor9's blessing, I'll occasionally be chipping in with random trivia about the series that's too in- depth and/or nerdy for him to put in his regular updates. This game has a [i]lot[/i] of callbacks to previous games in the series, and I think the relatively detailed setting is one of the things that sets it apart from other JRPGs. I'll try not to spoil the plot of this game, and I'll keep really major spoilers for previous games in spoiler tags.
The town of Piata, for example, was first seen in Phantasy Star 2. Back then, it was a major city home to Motavia's main spaceport, until Mother Brain (the giant computer who ruled the world back in PS2) banned space travel. We don't see Motavia Academy in PS2, but we know it must have existed back then, because Hugh, a biologist who joins the party, was trained there. Incidentally, Hahn's character design is based directly on Hugh's, and they both learn a range of debuffs and instant-death techniques; Hugh is even more useless in combat than Hahn, though.

Those of you who haven't played Phantasy Star 1 won't know who Dr. Luveno is, or why he's called Dr. Lubetz here. It's worth pointing out right now that Sega's translators were really bad about keeping characters' and places' names consistent between different games: the planet Palma, for example, was called Palma in PS1, Palm in PS2 and PS3, and Parma in this game. We will see at least two even worse examples of this later, one of which was so bad that it spawned a bunch of nutty fan theories about a certain character's identity.

Anyway, you know how in every Final Fantasy game there's a character who exists for the sole purpose of giving you an airship? Well, in Phantasy Star 1, Dr. Luveno exists for the sole purpose of giving you a spaceship, allowing you to travel between three different planets whenever you like.

You've probably noticed by now that compared to Final Fantasy, the Phantasy Star series tends to lean more toward the sci- fi side of the weird science/fantasy mix that most JRPGs have. Instead of magic, characters from PS2 onwards use psionic techniques with goofy non-descriptive names like Foi (single-target fire attack) and Zan (multi-target wind attack). Phantasy Star 2's manual described all of these techniques in surprisingly graphic detail: the most powerful form of Gra, for example, supposedly creates a gravitational field so strong that enemies' bodies explode. Magic is used in Phantasy Star 1, but in later games it's mostly a lost art. Mostly.

If this were Phantasy Star 2, there would be something to explain here. PS2's version of poison is especially nasty: until it's cured, the afflicted character can't recover HP by any means. This is very bad if someone's poisoned in the middle of a tough fight and you don't have an antidote or a character who can use the Anti technique. Phantasy Star 3 works the same way, with the added annoyance that the Anti technique has a chance of failure. In Phantasy Star 4, they changed it back to standard JRPG poison that just makes you lose HP every few steps outside of combat.

Well, I think that's about all there is to explain so far. See you next time!

Sartak posted:

I'm playing through this vile romhack that Thuryl sent to me. The boss fights are longer and more engaging in this, because every fight is to the death. I figure since I'll be going through the game I might as well start up..

The Boss Run of Phantasy Star IV Purgatory!

This romhack is hard. Really hard. It looks like the only changes this romhack makes is to the enemy stats, so you know what you're getting into. (there are a few more changes, thanks Thuryl!) I've died about twenty times so far and I just got Rune. This is the kind of game where you save after every fight, grinding by walking the perimeter of the town with the cheapest inn. This is the kind of game where the attack command simply doesn't exist because it is not good enough. This is the kind of game where you have to take several attempts to make it to the next town, in a war of attrition, to upgrade your equipment.

This is Purgatory.

Boss #1: Igglanova
I intend to show off all the bosses for which meteor9 makes videos; if any of you would like to see anything in particular let me know so I can record it. I have no update schedule because I have no idea how much grinding will be required.

Curse you Thuryl.