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Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

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Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Phantasy Star IV box cover art
Series: Original Series
Released: 1993
Platform(s): Sega Genesis
Other Games

in Series:

Phantasy Star
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Japanese: ファンタシースター 千年紀の終りに) is the fourth title in the popular RPG series Phantasy Star, developed by SEGA. It follows events from Phantasy Star II by showing what happened to the great civilization developed in the Algo system after the demise of the Mother Brain and destruction of Parma. The game has been met with generally positive reviews since its release.

Gameplay

Overworld

The party can move in four directions on two dimensional maps, including overworld maps for each planet. Inside towns and certain other areas, the party can travel without interruption, but on the overworld maps, randomized encounters with enemies can be triggered at any step.

Dungeons

Dungeons are like in the previous games, each playing a major role in the game. Some dungeons have safe entrance areas, but inside dungeons, there are random encounters, as with the overworld maps. The ryuka technique, telepipes, and saving the game are disabled inside dungeons, but the hinas technique or an escapipe can teleport the party outside.

Combat

Combat in Phantasy Star IV is turn based, with a party of up to five using attacks, techniques, skills, items and the ability to defend. The player can also use macros to issue commands to the entire party at once. Macros force the party to take their turns in the order specified, which assists in executing combos. The party can also run away from most battles.

Scenes

Like other console RPGs of its era, Phantasy Star IV includes some sprite animated scenes, such as the monster sneaking away in the academy basement. It also has a number of illustrated scenes displaying comic style sequential panels, such as Alys questioning the academy director.

Stats

Characters have a number of stats which determine their effectiveness in battle. Stats are largely determined by a character's level; gaining experience in battles is the only way to increase in level. Stat gains at each level are not randomized, but differ from character to character.

HP are reduced by taking damage and increased by using curative items, skills, or techniques, or staying at an inn. Dying status is inflicted if HP reaches 0. Maximum HP increases as characters level up.

TP are expended by using techniques and increased by using the ataraxia skill or staying at an inn. Characters cannot use a technique if its cost exceeds their current TP. Maximum TP increases as characters level up, except for Demi, Wren, and Seth.

Strength increases the effectiveness of some skills, and determines base attack power. Strength increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain equipment.

Mental increases the effectiveness of techniques and some skills, and determines base mental defense power. Mental increases as characters level up, except for Demi and Wren, and may be modified by certain equipment.

Agility increases priority in combat order, increases the chance to evade many enemy attacks, and determines base defense power. Agility increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.

Dexterity increases the chance to hit enemies with attacks and some skills, and increases the chance for critical hits. Dexterity increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.

Attack power increases the damage dealt by weapon attacks and some skills. It is equal to a character's strength, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.

Defense power reduces the damage taken by some attacks. It is equal to a character's agility, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.

Mental defense power reduces the damage taken by some attacks. It is not displayed in game, but it is equal to a character's mental, and may be modified by certain equipment.

Characters

Ps4characters.gif

The playable characters of Phantasy Star IV

The main playable cast of Phantasy Star IV is as follows:
  • Chaz Ashley - a young hunter and the main protagonist of the game. An all-around character.
  • Alys Brangwin - a beautiful hunter who is Chaz's mentor and later partner. A speed-type character.
  • Hahn Mahlay - a young scientist who works under Professor Holt. A skill-type character.
  • Rune Walsh - a mysterious wizard who is later revealed to be the fifth incarnation of Lutz. A skill-type character.
  • Gryz - a motavian from Molcum who moves to Tonoe after Molcum is destroyed. A power-type character.
  • Rika - a numan who is curious about the world. A speed-type character.
  • Demi - an android who is over 100 years old. An all-around character.
  • Wren - an android who controls Zelan. A similar android type appeared in the previous game. A power-type character.
  • Raja - a priest from Dezolis who has a quirky sense of humor - of which only Rika is a fan. A skill-type character.
  • Kyra Tierney - a headstrong esper who treats Chaz like a little brother. An all-around character.
  • Seth - an archaeologist who is Dark Force in disguise. A skill-type character.

Enemies

Random encounters

Unique encounters

Zio

The character who would initially seem to be the main antagonist of the game is Zio, a black magician who wields evil powers stemming from his god, Dark Force, including the ability to turn people to stone and the Black Wave.

Dark Force

An evil emanation of the Profound Darkness, Dark Force returns in this final installment of the original series. It is fought three times and wields devastating powers - including the ability to disguise itself as a person - Seth.

Lashiec

Lashiec returns, having been brought back back to life by Dark Force, in the sole aim to foil the party's plan of bringing peace to Algo and to kill the modern day incarnation of Lutz, Rune.

The Profound Darkness

The main antagonist of the whole Phantasy Star series is unveiled in this game to be the scheming Profound Darkness who aims to destroy Algo to allow itself to manifest in existence. By the end of the game, the Profound Darkness appears in physical form to break Algo and faces the party as the final boss.

Techniques

Main article: Techniques in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Technique icon in Phantasy Star IV

Techniques in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium are magic-like abilities usable by player characters other than Wren, Demi, and Seth. Techniques expend TP for various effects, such as damaging and weakening enemies, healing and strengthening allies, and teleporting the party to safety.

Skills

Main article: Skills in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Skill icon in Phantasy Star IV

Skills in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium are sets of limited use abilities unique to each character, having widely varying effects. The number of uses of every skill is restored to the maximum when staying at an inn, and the maximum number of uses usually increases at higher levels.

Items

Main article: Items in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Item icon in Phantasy Star IV

In Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, each character can equip one head item, plus two one-handed items or one two-handed item, plus one body item. Equipped items improve the character's stats until removed. Additionally, a shared party inventory holds up to forty items, which do not stack. In battle, a character can use any item equipped on that character or in the shared inventory.

Story Synopsis

Main article: Story of Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

1000 Years have passed since the events of Phantasy Star II, which precipitated the period of decline which came to be known as the Great Collapse. Life is improving once again, and old knowledge is being rediscovered. But dangerous creatures roam the landscape and a great evil is stirring. A group of protectors must rise to defend the Algo star system from this evil and those who worship it for their own ends...

Walkthrough

Main article: Walkthrough for Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

Production

"Created by Team PSIV. Presented by Sega."

Major credits

Name Credits
Rieko Kodama
小玉 理恵子
Director, battle background designer, field graphic designer, object designer, illustrated scene artist
Tohru Yoshida
吉田 徹
Director, story planner, monster graphic designer, character designer, map designer, object designer, illustrated scene planner, illustrated scene artist
Akinori Nishiyama
西山 彰則
Script writer, monster graphic designer, system planner, game mechanics designer, map designer, object designer, font designer, sprite scene planner
Izuho Numata
沼田 出穂
Sound director, music composer, sound programmer, sound effect artist
Kazuyoshi Tsugawa
津川 一吉
Battle planner, monster graphic designer, battle background designer, game mechanics designer, map designer, object designer, illustrated scene artist
Yoshiaki Endo
円藤 義秋
Battle programmer
M. Hunabashi
船橋 誠
Assistant battle programmer
Tsukasa Mori
森 司
Monster graphic designer, map designer, illustrated scene artist
Daisuke Yamamoto
山本 大輔
System programmer, scene programmer
Masatoshi Shibata
柴田 昌寿
Assistant system programmer, assistant scene programmer
Masaki Nakagaki
中垣 斉己
Music composer, sound effect artist
Yoshiaki Kashima
香嶋 良昭
Sound programmer

Other credits

The cover art for the North American and European releases, depicting Chaz, Rune, and Rika, was painted by Peruvian-American fantasy artist Boris Vallejo.

Release history

  • 1993: Sega Genesis (JP)
  • 1995: Sega Genesis (NA, EU)
  • 1998: Sega Saturn, as part of Phantasy Star Collection (JP)
  • 2008: PlayStation 2, as part of Phantasy Star Complete Collection (JP)
  • 2008: Nintendo Wii Virtual Console (JP, NA, EU)
  • 2012: Steam

Reception

Critical Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Scores
Sega Retro Sega: 88%
(24 reviews)[1]
Wii: 90%
(1 review)[1]
Review scores
Publication Scores
Electronic Gaming Monthly 31/40[2]
GameFan 97%[3]
93%[3]
GamePro 4/5[4]
GameSpy 9/10[5]
IGN 9/10[6]
Nintendo Life 9/10[7]
Next Generation 3/5[8]
RPGamer 5/5[9]
RPGFan 90%[10]
99%[11]
95%[12]
95%[13]
Sega Pro 90%[14]
Sega Saturn Magazine 90%[15]

Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium received generally positive reviews. GameFan said it "is undeniably one of the greatest RPGs ever fashioned" and that the "graphics are beautiful, the music is powerful, and the non-stop original ideas make this cartridge an absolute must-own for the RPG enthusiast".[3] GamePro praised it for bringing "its fantasy world to life" with interactive environments "rich in detail", the ability to inspect background objects, the convenience of the macros and talk option, the translation, the "story sequences" that "nicely punctuate the plot", and that the "featured player in the first stage" is a woman. However, they commented that the inability to purchase multiple items at once is irritating, and were critical of aspects of the story, describing it as routine, occasionally incoherent, and at one point derogatory towards women.[4] Sega Saturn Magazine (previously Sega Magazine) said that the graphics were outdated even compared to other Mega Drive/Genesis games and that the game is incomprehensible to newcomers to the series, but that "the game succeeds by creating cinematic moments, introducing new characters and powers, and taking many weird and wonderful plot turns."[15]

The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an overall score of 31 out of 40, describing it as an "excellent" game and stating that the magic/technique system, equipment and general gameplay are all highly involving and enjoyable, but commenting that the graphics are mediocre, the music is at times irritating, and the story starts off slow paced but gets involving later on.[2] Next Generation remarked that Phantasy Star IV, "while still a good game, is years behind." They elaborated that while other RPGs were making major innovations to the genre in both graphics and gameplay, Phantasy Star IV still fundamentally looked and played the same as Phantasy Star II from five years before.[8] RPGamer gave it a full score of 5 out of 5, including ratings of 5 for story and visuals, and 4 for the battle system, interaction, originality, and music and sound.[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, Sega Retro
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium Review", Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 69, April 1995, page 35
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 GameFan, volume 3, issue 4, April 1995
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Role-Player's Realm: Phantasy Star: End of the Millennium", GamePro, issue 77, February 1995, pages 116–117
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20060218173759/hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/genesis/ps4.htm
  6. http://ign.com/articles/2009/01/02/phantasy-star-iv-the-end-of-the-millennium-review
  7. http://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2008/11/phantasy_star_iv_virtual_console
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Downhill", Next Generation, issue 3, March 1995, page 95
  9. 9.0 9.1 http://www.rpgamer.com/games/ps/ps4/reviews/ps4rdrev3.html
  10. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-4.html
  11. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-3.html
  12. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-5.html
  13. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-6.html
  14. http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SSM_UK_02.pdf&page=91
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Review: Phantasy Star IV", Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 2, December 1995, page 91

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