(this article is just a copy and paste from wikipedia. someone familiar with the game please re-write!)
Phantasy Star Collection (ファンタシースター コレクション) is the name of two different compilations of Phantasy Star games. The first, released for the Sega Saturn in Japan in 1998, featured the first four games in the series, whereas the Game Boy Advance version, released four years later in North America, only featured the first three. The North American version was produced by Digital Eclipse. The Saturn version was later ported to the PlayStation 2 in Japan with additional games.
Each compilation features ports of the original Phantasy Star games. They are virtually identical to their original versions, as opposed to enhanced remakes. Gameplay has not been altered in each of the collections.
Gameplay is virtually similar to each of the original Phantasy Star games. Each game features overworld maps and separate dungeon areas, both with random encounters. Players control parties of characters, battling enemies and earning experience points to grow stronger. Certain characters can use different magic spells and techniques during and outside of battle. Phantasy Star's dungeons differ from the rest because they are in first-person, while the rest of the games use a top-down] style.
Although each game in the collections feature different characters and stories, they take place in the Algol planetary system, specifically on the planets Palma, Motavia, and Dezoris. In the four games, there exists a Dark Force, a common antagonist that threatens the solar system. The games also make small references to each other, such as the idolation of Alis in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium.
Its first incarnation was released in 1998 on the Sega Saturn, as part of Sega's Sega Ages series of classics that included Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, and Fantasy Zone. Although the former three games listed emerged in the West as a single compilation, Phantasy Star Collection remains a Japan only title. It included what is considered the main entries in the series, with select enhancements such as the option of playing the games in katakana or hiragana (they originally were katakana only), and an optional speed increase for party members in Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom. Due to the native resolution of the Sega_Mark_III, the original Phantasy Star is played in a frame. Omake features were also included with the game, such as exclusive arranged music, art galleries, and Japanese commercials.
The Game Boy Advance version, produced by Digital Eclipse, emerged in 2002. Unlike the Sega Saturn release, Phantasy Star IV was not included. The video games themselves were also altered in order to function adequately on the Game Boy Advance's resolution. The GBA version has a reduced number of save slots available for Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star II. The GBA version does not include any extras.
The PlayStation 2 version, Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 32: Phantasy Star Complete Collection (ファンタシースター コンプリートコレクション), is part of Sega's PS2 line of Sega Ages 2500 titles. It is essentially identical to the Sega Saturn version, but with the addition of the games Phantasy Star II Text Adventure, Phantasy Star Adventure, and Phantasy Star Gaiden, the latter two being unlocked by holding the right directional button and pressing start on the title screen. Unlike Phantasy Star Generation 1 and Phantasy Star Generation 2, none of the games have received any enhancements beyond the options included in the Sega Saturn version but therefore are available in their original Japanese version as well as their English localized counterparts.