The Let's Play Archive

Phantasy Star 4

by meteor9



Last time, we'd just finished clearing monsters out of the academy basement. Apparently that'll happen when you keep monster-making tubes down there! Who knew?

We promptly set out to ask the head honcho what the deal was.

We're baaaaack!

: Were you able to defeat those monsters? And hopefully not see the huge containers breeding them?

: Yes, but there is something I want to ask you.

: What? (Don't be about the capsules, don't be about the capsules...)

: Is it just my imagination that I saw some strange things in the basement?

: Ah....yes?

: Someone keeping information from me is the sixth most dangerous thing in this world!

(I still want to know what the top five are.)

: All right already... I'll tell you what I know. You are aware of the recent outbreak of a new breed of monster?

: Oh yes. Thanks to the outbreak I'm not hurting for work.

: the origin of the outbreak, an he went to investigate... He says he discovered the remains of an ancient and advanced civilization!

: That's the most cliched of all civilizations! Do go on!

: The investigation team brought back the monster breeding capsules, and immediately set forth on their second investigative mission. But...

: Not one of them came back...

: Yes, that's right Hahn.

: And despite all this, you didn't send out a recue team and banned entry to Birth Valley!

: That's kind of a dick move, really.

: No, no! I...I was trying to send out a rescue team! But...

: Judging by your ellipses, something happened?

: At that moment, a man who called himself 'Zio' appeared before my eyes...

: Zio! I've heard of him. That fake magician!

(As mentioned in other threads, what follows is a flashback. I'm not entirely certain what could be so confusing about that since the Principal was just about to tell us a story anyway, but, just in case, there you go.)

: how are you doing?

: Who.. Who are you!?

: Moi? My name is Zio... Zio the black magician. Mmm... Do not intrude on Birth Valley. I got the place set up, like, really nice and all, and I'd just scream if someone went and messed it up on me.

: What do you mean!?

: In the future, if you ever let anyone set foot in Birth Valley...

: Such masterful craftsmanship!

: Let me make something clear, sweetie... There is no need for you to go to Birth Valley! Toodles!

(End flashback. Yeah, I know. Just figured I'd mention it anyway.)

: It's related to the research team!

: So that's why the Birth Valley situation wasn't announced, and also why you tried to keep a lid on the monster situation? An effeminate magician made vague threats of petrification? But...what is all this about? Remains of an ancient, advanced, and cliched civilization and Zio?

: It seems like these are signs of something to come. Like the plot, maybe.

: I need to help the professor! I'm going to Birth Valley!

: This is egg-laying season for sand worms, so be careful.

(Goddamn I love this woman.)

: Ah...Alys?

: We'll tag along for 300 meseta plus expenses.

(Ooh boy, next-to-no meseta AND expenses that'll never be paid. Good bargaining there.)

:! Birth Valley is to the northeast! Let's hurry!

: Hey, hey, hey, who's the main character here?

: Is it me?

: No. Now let's go!

And so, they left, skipping the entirely unnoteworthy town of Piata and proceeding directly to the harsh wastelands of Motavia.

: Maybe we should've bought a stretcher for when Hahn inevitably dies on us out here.


A short walk north brings us to this quaint looking place

: Look at that beautiful rolling brown ocean!

: You have got to be kidding me.

: Look! It's sand!

Ah, scenic Mile. There's...something wrong with most of the people here.

: And this is our newly built sand worm ranch. What do you think? Isn't it great?

: What do you do with sandworms, exactly? Can you milk them?

: I'd pay to see this guy try that, actually.

: This will attract a lot of tourists!

: Hey, maybe I actually CAN pay to see it then!

I think this guy has seen Dune far too many times. He certainly couldn't have read it; he's too young to have been able to finish the book yet.

I'm pretty sure nobody has ever finished a Dune book, actually, if all those weird ass Sci-Fi miniseries were any indication.

: I'm sick and tired of this!

Just to reiterate, this woman is sweeping the fucking desert.

I told you this place has issues.

: there was a lot of farming going on. But now, the wells and fields have all withered away...

Apparently the rolling seas of quicksand ( ) are a new occurance. What a vibrant and active ecosystem Motavia has!

One of the locals actually responds to us as if we actually started a conversation with them, at least.

: Then go to a village called Zema.

: Zima? I'm allowed to drink those, right?

: Quiet, boy.

: Zema is northeast of here. But...

: Always with the ellipses.

: Recently, it's been rumored that there's no sign of any people. Maybe they all fled at night?

: An entire village goes missing, and nobody's actually bothered to go check it out? Jeez, and I thought I was irresponsible.

: They say it's being spread by a man dressed in black!

Goddamn overzealous FF7 fanboys!

: but recently we've had a series of bad harvests and we haven't been able to send his allowance.

: What's an allowance?

: Quiet, boy.

: We've been so worried whether he has enough to eat.

: Considering that we stole all of the academy's mon- MMPH!


Oh, also, get used to seeing this a lot:

: without their permission! Barging into their homes is okay, though.

Anyway, that's enough with the local riffraff. Time for what we REALLY came here for.

No, not that. Inns and Item shops are okay, but they're not what I want.

There's the good stuff. Chaz is definitely gonna need one of those Steel Swords; once he stops missing every other swing, he'll actually be a force to be reckoned with. Alys is gonna need a couple of those pretty Slashers, too.

Anything that's one-handed in this game can be dual-wielded, thus making Alys all that more potent a killing machine.

: What about me?

Well, remember what I just said about dual-wielding?

That goes for shields, too. Granted, I forgot that Hahn already had a shield (and given how quickly he dies all the time, anyone would assume he didn't have one), but either way he now has two. He can no longer attack, but at least maybe now he won't crumple like a sheet of paper if a bug so much as looks at him.

: That's...reassuring, I guess?

: I still think we should've gotten a stretcher.

That's just about everything we'll get out of this town, really, although there's one last yokel we want to see.

: The wha?

: Oh, that.

: I could've sworn that one night there was nothing and the next day there it was. It must've been my imagination, don't you think?

: You've lived here your entire life, and now you think that the last twenty years of you not seeing a castle out there was your imagination playing tricks on you?

: There really is something wrong with this town.

We'll get the hell out of here now; there's nothing more they can offer us.

: If we're lucky the whole place will be wiped out before their idiocy stretches back to Aiedo.

: Aw, don't say things like that. What if it actually happens? How would you feel then?

: I imagine I wouldn't care, really. Now shut up and get moving.

: Hey, uh, Alys?

: What is it, walking meseta dispenser?

: If you guys are really all that bothered by me sucking at fighting, have you ever considered, oh, I dunno, showing me the ropes at least?

: Hm, fair enough.


: Alright, let's start with the basics. Before every turn, you'll see this menu. 'Command' lets you tell each party member what to do on an individual basis. 'Macro' lets you choose from one of your pre-setup order of turns. You can't set them up in battle, though. And 'Run' should be pretty obvious to a nancy-boy such as yourself.


: We're in the 'command' phase now. Normally the first action is 'Fight', which is pretty basic, but due to your weak constitution, and therefore your need to hold two shields like some sort of autistic Phalanx, you don't have the option.

: Me and Alys do, though!

: Yeah, you can visually see what you've told the rest of the party to do by checking the icon by their name.

: Um, this isn't all that complicated, really.

: Oh, quiet down, we're getting to the good stuff. The icon with blue sparkles represents 'Techs'. These are abilities that you perform by expending TP.

: See? I know the healing Tech Res, which costs 3 TP!

: Calm down, skippy. Anyway, the large red spark icon represents Skills. These are unique abilities based on the person's fighting style, and do not use TP. However, each skill has it's own stock, and once you've used it up, you can't use that skill again until you rest. My 'Vortex' skill falls under this category, and it hits a hell of a lot harder than my normal attacks.

: Well, that sounds much cooler than my own skill.

: Hey, nothing's wrong with Vision and it's Dexterity boost. Besides, you might learn more if you keep practicing. Heck, even Chaz here managed to figure out how to paralyze enemies by stabbing the ground. Of course, the fact that he figured out how to do this says a lot about his accuracy.

: Hey!

: Wrapping up, the treasure box represents 'Items'. As a hunter, I don't really trust individuals to haul around important stuff on their lonesome, so we use a group inventory in my party.

(This is a hell of a lot easier to deal with than the per-person inventories of PS2 and PS3. Why they ever changed it from PS1 is beyond me.)

: Lastly, the shield icon represents defending. You'll be doing that a lot, Hahn.

: Well, uh, that was all still pretty darn basic, but I guess the lesson didn't really hurt.

: You picked it up faster than Chaz did, though. This took me weeks the first time.

: Oh, and I'm pretty sure I can freeze things by pointing at them now.

: Hm, maybe I should've inducted you instead of the brat.

: Hey...

Alright, it'll be impossible to cover any more techs and skills in-character. Just too damn boring.

For technics: Foi is fire; Wat is ice; Tsu/thu is light, or possibly lightning, but since the skill Tandle has it's own element, probably not; Zan is wind; Gra is gravity. Gra is nice because it hits all enemies. On the healing front, Res is your basic single ally heal, Sar is a group heal. Anti removes poison, Arows removes sleep from the whole party, and Rimpa removes paralysis, though it's not really worth it since paralysis will often wear off while walking around. Status techs include Shift and Deban, which raise attack and defense, respectively, in addition to others like Saner (raises agility) and more that we'll cover later.

This isn't all the techs, but it's a pretty good amount to know in the beginning. Unfortunately, all we really have right now is Foi, Saner, Shift, Res, Gelun, and Wat. I'm still trying to nail down what Gelun does; I've checked out multiple FAQs on the subject, and they seem to sway between reducing enemy-atk or enemy-dexterity. To be frankly honest, I've never bothered with the spell aside from that one Igglanova fight.

There are multiple levels of spells, too. The next level of Foi is Gifoi, for example, and then Nafoi. The Gi and Na prefixes apply to all the other element and HP restoration spells, too.

Skills are more unique, and are closely based on either weapon or magic use. Chaz's skills are mostly sword based, though they'll work with knives. Alys' skills are slicer based. Hahn's are based more on his biology background, though, so they'll rarely be damage dealers.

At any rate, I think that should cover us for now. Let's see how the party is doing.

Goddamn I love double slicers.

Wat is really freaking useful on Motavia, as most of it's overworld monsters are very vulnerable to the cold.


This trip isn't turning out too bad, actually. Now Chaz can blast lasers from his fingertips. And it also enables us to use that lovely skill I showed off in the OP:

Triblaster kicks a hell of a lot of ass. It's made from a macro of Wat+Tsu+Foi, if you remember. The tech order doesn't matter, but since they have to do it at the same time with no enemy or ally interuption, it helps to set the slowest person to move first.

Oh, and this game has a tendency to adhere to it's calculated turn order even if all the monsters aren't still there. If you kill a monster during a turn before it goes, it's turn position still exists, and can still interupt your combos. It's rather odd, and I'm explaining it rather clunkily, but it's rarely an issue so no big deal.

The game has worse bugs much, much, much later on, to the point where only the insanely bored would ever find them.


Welcome to Zema, the next plot critical area to explore.

So let's not go in and instead go south for no reason!

Ooh, hey, blue ewoks! Motavians are adorable, really.


Alright, to hell with these guys, let's go back to Zema.

Oh, well, shit.


Caves! Ruination! And the most awesomely arrogant wizard ever.

: Chaz, that's a statue. The petrified old man is over here.

: Oh. Whoops.

Thuryl posted:

There's not much to say about the plot in this update that hasn't already been covered by the game itself: Motavia used to be a desert planet back in Phantasy Star 1, it was terraformed by Mother Brain in Phantasy Star 2, and now that she's gone it's reverting back to a desert. Each game is about 1000 years apart, so it's honestly impressive that any of Motavia has stayed green at all.

The Tsu technique is definitely light, not lightning: according to the Phantasy Star 2 manual, it "concentrate[s] the light of the Algo Star System into a fatal laser beam". It's the most powerful single-target attack technique in both PS2 and PS4. Oddly enough, in PS3 it hits a group of enemies and is described as a "strong current of water", but that's one of the many reasons why we don't mention PS3 in polite company.

Speaking of elements, PS4 has a whopping 14 different elemental attack types: there are 8 elements for damaging attacks (wind, radiation, fire, gravity, cold, light, electricity and holy power), there's one type for status effects, and then there are 5 different elemental types devoted solely to different instant death attacks (some only affect monsters, some only affect machines, a few affect both). Major elemental weaknesses are pretty uncommon (and usually obvious, like nearly all machines being weak to electricity) and elemental immunities are even rarer, so all of this complexity doesn't make a huge difference to gameplay. At least it's better than Phantasy Star 1 and 2, which didn't have elemental types at all, so your Fire spell or Foi technique would do just as much damage to a fire-breathing dragon as it would to a snow-dwelling ape.

This incredibly comprehensive technical guide says that Gelun reduces the target's attack power. I'm inclined to believe it.

There's also another prefix, "Sa", which indicates a multi-target version of a tech. PS2, for example, had both Ner and Saner techniques, which raised agility on one character and all of them respectively; PS4 just has Saner, because when would you ever waste a turn raising the agility of just one character?

While we're on the subject of differences between PS2 and PS4, dual-wielding used to be a lot more powerful. In PS2, wielding two weapons meant that you could actually attack twice per round; because of this, Rolf (the main character) was arguably better off with two knives than a single sword for about the first half of the game (although two knives were usually more expensive). In PS4, the attack power of both the weapons you're wielding is added to your base attack power, but you only perform a single attack. On the bright side, this means that a weapon+shield combination doesn't completely gimp your attack power like it did in PS2.

So ends another episode of Thuryl's Unnecessary Background Information Theatre. See you next update!

Seiren posted:

Ah, Phantasy Star IV.

Very easily my favorite RPG series(to this day, even), despite the recent lackluster titles.

Anyway, I, like Thuryl, am extremely well-versed in classic Phantasy Star lore, so I'll toss in my input from time-to-time. Like if you miss any obscure combination attacks. I think it would be nice if you did a combination-attack montage as more of them become available, but before a certain major plot point, and then one more when everything is available to you.

I'm seeing questions about it already, so I'll answer: Gelun (Jellen in PSO and PSU ) is a Hahn-only tech (for how 'useless' people claim he is, he sure has a lot of unique techs nobody else gets) that decreases the attack power (or tries to, anyway) of the entire enemy party. It works on Biomonsters, but I haven't checked to see if it works on Androids (we'll be seeing those after the next scenario)

When it works, expect to see the 4s and 5s you'll be seeing up until you get to Molcum/Krup wilderness areas to turn into 1s.

Now that THE MYSTERY IS SOLVED....I'd like to say I prefer my Slicer-users to wear shields too. You sacrifice like, 5-10 damage (which is negligible, even this early in the game) to turn 15 damage into 1s and 2s. I'd say it's very much worth it, as Alys will rarely ever kill something in a single toss. The other members will still have to play clean-up, unless you're much stronger.

Oh, and I'll do my damndest to try and make a link to PSO and PSU references whenever I can.

But for now, let's get to know the characters so far~

Chaz Ashley Chaz is a good kid. He's young, full of ambition, and enjoys learning (although he can be quite dense at times). His swing is too slow (for daggers). He's also the main protagonist of the game, and we're stuck with him through the entirety of the game. It's a good thing, too, as he's pretty strong physically, and is the only one to learn 'Light' based Techs...along with a few miscellaneous techs such as the *Res family, Anti, and Rimpa. We don't know much of his history yet, but it'll come in due time. In time, circumstances will say he must grow up quickly, and from then on, Chaz is an indispensable member of the group.

Alys Brangwin There are no adjectives for how unbelievably great Alys is. In fact, I'm not even going to type out a description as nothing is good enough for her. Except the tea she's drinking, and by extension, the mug and saucer.

Hahn Mahlay Ah, yes. Hahn. That guy everyone loves to hate, because of how unbelievably easy he falls in combat. Hahn hails from the village of Krup, where we'll meet a 'special someone' in his life, as well as his family, who run the Weapon/Armor store. Of course, Hahn's father is less-than-pleased that he'd rather go off AND LEARN THINGS rather than take over the family business making and selling CARBON-FIBER based gear. Despite his history and relative weakness in combat, he's among the most useful support characters to have on your side, with a large variety of Biomonster-specific techs, the only Dexterity booster in the game, and the *Res and *Wat families of techs. Sadly, he'll never grow to his full potential, because we'll lose him in short order.

And I still have more goodies, but they'll have to wait until we meet new people. :)