Why? Because of the size.*
Seriously, Chronsega 8 is huuuuge. In more ways than one. It is far and away the longest episode yet. And it's all due to one thing: Phantasy Star II
. For some reason, PS II
stirred up enough vitriol in me (perhaps "vitriol' is too strong) to rant and rave for an excessively long time about its shortcomings. Hell, the PS II
segment is halfway between a typical Chrontendo segment and a Let's Play.
But before I get into that, yes, Chronsega 8 is available in all its mind-numbing glory, on Archive
. As an experiment, I have put a 720p High Def version on Youtube. If you plan on watching it full screen on your big-ass monitor, this is the way to go. Purists, however, will probably still want to download the 60 fps version from Archive
. Also, this is the episode where we move into the new dual format for Chronsega: half Megadrive/Genesis and half Master System.
So about Phantasy Star II
: I'd never played the game before. I'd always heard it was one of the best RPGs ever - a game years ahead of its time. One that put its contemporaries to shame. A game so amazing that after completing it your life would be transformed forever. After watching the closing credits scroll down the screen, you would step outside, notice colors in the sky you had never seen before. The sounds of children playing in the distance would fill your heart with laughter. Suddenly, nothing in the world would be impossible for you to accomplish.Women would suddenly find you irresistibly attractive. You had become a master of your destiny -- all because of Phantasy Star II
|I hope you like massive amounts of gratuitous multi-plane scrolling.|
In fact, PS II
seemed a bit dumbed down compared to its predecessor and some of the better RPGs we've already seen. The combat is very simple; in fact it plays itself. You only have to hit the "fight" button at the start of each battle and your characters just attack automatically. Enemies use virtually no status ailments or special attacks. Battles are just "hit and heal." There are only three boss battles in the entire game: one about halfway into the game, and two more at the very end. The game world seems small and sort of empty; there are only a few NPCs of any importance. There is only one real side story, about a guy whose daughter is kidnapped by "scoundrels." The game just doesn't have any of the richness found in Dragon Quest III.
|What it lacks in richness it makes up for in vivisected bunnies.|
On the other hand, the art is pretty nice - the monsters and large and the attack animations are well animated. However, PS II
is still visually tied to its 8-bit roots. It looks like Phantasy Star
with bigger sprites and slightly more detailed backgrounds. You can't really blame Sega for this; after all, that 16-bit RPG "look" wasn't developed overnight. The music is outstanding: some of the best for the system. The character artwork is good looking, and box art by Hitoshi Yoneda is pretty sweet, though clearly derivative of the French comic artist Moebius. But mostly PS II
just feels shallow and repetitive, like a grindy, continuous slog through a series of dungeons.
|Though we did get some decent fantasy paperback style art in the US.|
I don't want to babble on about this game anymore than I already have. Though you should check out the rather thorough series of posts
over at the RPG Consoler.
We cover the Mega Drive releases from the system's launch in October 1988 to June 1989. Aside from PS II
, we have the two launch titles, both based on Super Scaler arcade games: Space Harrier II
and Super Thunder Blade
. Later in the year Sega released Altered Beast, the orignal pack-in game for the Genesis in the US, and Osomatsu-kun
, a Mega Drive original. Osomatsu-kun
is noticeable for being the first platformer on the system, as well as the first licensed game.
|Osomatsu-kun: the forgotten game from the Mega Drive's first batch of releases.|
1989 brings in the disappointing Alex Kidd sequel, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
, which inexplicably upped the Janken content. Also, Super League
, a good looking Baseball game that plays just like every other baseball game we've seen. In the US, Sega tacked on names of real sports figures to their sports games, so Super League
was released as Tommy Lasorda Baseball
. There are also a couple third party developed games based on earlier computer games, Super Daisenryaku
and Thunder Blade II
. The latter would eventually become a popular series of shoot-em-ups on the Genesis, but this game is less successful than its sequels.
A crotch shot or Tommy Lasorda's ugly mug. Not much of a choice.
On the Master System end, we have six US/Europe games from Summer 1989. Far and away the best is Westone's Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
. I discussed my love of this game in an earlier post
. But let me reiterate -- it's one of the best games on the system. Other than that we have a port of the Hot-B shooter, Cloud Master
, a horror themed basketball game, Basketball Nightmare
, OutRun 3D
, Compile's Casino Games
, and for some damned reason, Parker Brothers' port of King's Quest
|Cloud Master AKA The game where you shoot all kinds of stupid shit.|
So this is how Chronsega will continue in the future. Episode 9 will lean more heavily on the Mega Drive, as the Master System enters its lean period. First though, we have some more Chrontendo. I sincerely hope that Chrontendo 46 will arrive in a much timelier fashion. A number of factors conspired to make Chronsega 8 so late; hopefully this won't happen again.
Until then, check out Chronsega 8 on Archive