Grass Assassin (Japanese: ) is a legacy monster that has appeared in many of the video games in the Phantasy Star franchise.
Although it is part of a larger family of grass insectoids, the grass assassin has had more appearances in many of the games than its related cousins, and has thus become the iconic representative of the grass killer family of monsters.
The grass family of monsters are tall, multi-colored insects that resemble preying mantises. They are commonly armed with pincer-like claws, an elongated abdomen sometimes with a horned tail, skinny legs, and a thin, streamlined body that allows the creature to move quickly. Classic versions of the monster tended to depict the assassin with a single large eye, although later incarnations gave it five distinctive eyeballs with the central eye being the largest of the whole. Despite some of the creatures having many eyes, they are infamous for having poor eyesight.
In the Phantasy Star Online universe, grass assassin was originally known as the species Locusti religisega before it was mutated by the sap of a bioweapon. The classic series never revealed a scientific term for the large bugs, however, Japanese versions of the games tended to use a two-worded naming scheme that began with "grass." On the other hand, the localized versions of the games named them some form of the word "locust," which is a family of grasshopper that are infamous for their swarming activity.
Grass assassins are simple predators in the original series. Although intimidating upon encountering them in the overworld early on in each adventure, they are unable to cast techniques. When the monsters perform their signature attack, they wind up their long arms and tilt their body sideways before shooting a flying blade at their target's general direction. As they unleash a spinning blade on their prey, they utter a characteristic screech.
The attack patterns of the assassins would become more complex when the Phantasy Star series rebooted into the online action RPG series seen today. A modern grass assassin has three simple attacks common in most of their appearances. Their ultimate goal is to close the distance between it and the player so that it can slash mercilessly with its powerful claws. If the player is too far away, the creature will charge quickly until it is within attacking distance. As it charges, the grass assassin makes a high-pitched screech, reminiscent of the bugs from the original series, which gives the monster momentary invincibility. When faced directly with a grass assassin, the creature may attempt to fix the player in place with its adhesive spray. If the player is unable to stun the creature in the short amount of time it takes for the spray to take effect, they will be stuck in place and unable to switch weapons or run away for a few seconds.
When a grass assassin is killed in combat, its children that were hidden within its body tear their way out of their parent's corpse in a desperate effort to escape from harm.
The habitat of the assassin bugs changes between game series. In the classics, the insects' native habitat was around the landscape of the ever-changing planet, Motavia.
In early builds and press release photos of Phantasy Star Online, the grass assassin was planned to originally appear in the forest area, however, this was changed to the caves sometime before the game officially released.
Phantasy Star Universe would once more change their native habitat to the planet Parum. Although the planet had many uncivilized areas overrun with foliage, grass assassins tended to reside around the ruins near Old Rozenom City.
Phantasy Star II
- See also: Random Encounters in Phantasy Star II
|Localized name||Japanese name||Translation||Proto English name|
These monsters tended to reside inside dungeons such as the Biosystems Lab and Climatrol, although locust had a tendency of surprising beginning players by appearing near Arima, the first visited city in the game.
Although none of the locusts could cast techniques, they relied on brute strength and speed in order to catch the party off guard on the first turn.
Phantasy Star IV
Locusta made a return in Phantasy Star IV. In this game, Locusta took the place of Locust as the first member of the assassin family, while Fanbite moved to the second encounter. Phantasy Star IV would mark the first and last appearance of the final form, Grasshound. The monsters are listed in the table below.
|Localized name||Japanese name||Translation|
Locusta and its related kin all resided on the same planet as Phantasy Star II, Motavia, however, the lush terrain reverted to a barren desert wasteland due to a plot point at the end of the previous game. Although the insects were updated with new idle and attack animations, their general strategy remained largely the same.
Phantasy Star Online
- Main article: Grass Assassin (Phantasy Star Online)
With grass assassin's appearance in the newest online series, the monster received an updated design to the third dimension and more vicious attack patterns than its predecessors. Although it made the transition to the reboot of the franchise, many of its other forms did not return including locust, fanbite, and grasshound. Instead, it received a new, more powerful ultimate form named Crimson Assassin.
In this version, grass assassin is now depicted with several eyes encircled around a single large eye and glowing photon claws that remain on the insect's arm when swung at the target. It is in this game that the assassin would receive its unique gimmick for screaming in pain as it dies, lowering itself to the ground while its babies scatter from its corpse to safety.
- Main article: Crimson Assassin
Crimson Assassin, the deadly ultimate form of Grass Assassin, is a considerably deadlier foe than its normal counterpart. The insect is highly aggressive, able to swing its claws multiple times in a row as well as continuously charge at its target even if they are within swiping range.
Furthermore, while the former could unleash an adhesive filament on its prey to subdue them in place, the crimson assassin's chilling spray could literally freeze its target. This would give the monster, as well as any other creatures in the immediate area, easy access to chip away at the player's health.