I remember our Sega Genesis. I remember the box it came it, with Altered Beast bundled and pictures of all the different Genesis games on the back. It was our family console, it was my parent’s console. It was the console I played Zany Golf, PGA Tour, Might & Magic, Phelios, Ghouls n’ Ghosts and Sonic the Hedgehog on. It was the console my dad’s friend’s kid had in his room that we played Road Rash II on. It was the console I had stacks of cheat books for, and I’ll never forget the first time I activated Debug Mode in Sonic. I remember Decap Attack…
I want to say our Master System was traded in for it, but it’s entirely possible we were just renting the Master System, back when you could do such a thing. I remember promotional materials cycling through the video store my mom worked at for upcoming Sonic games, and seeing articles about them in GamePro magazine.
I still have my parents’ journal they kept when they played Might & Magic together when I was a kid. Riddles and their possible solutions written down, maps charted and item locations noted. It wouldn’t be until years later that my dad and I would finally beat the game, basking in all of its anticlimactic glory. It’s funny, I was looking a walkthrough on GameFAQs for it the other day and apparently you can beat the whole game in under an hour if you know where to go.
Interestingly, despite all my memories, actually playing Genesis games does little in the way of triggering nostalgia for me. In a way that’s a good thing as I’m able to play through this list of games with a similar mindset to how I went through the Game Boy list. In reality, I’ve only played a handful of these games, so for the most part this was all a new experience for me.
Let’s get to the monthly breakdown!
I really wanted today to be the day where I’d say “You know what? This game is actually awesome! I’m gonna sink some more hours it and it’ll be great!”
That’s not what happened.
You all know The RPG Boss You’re Not Actually Supposed to Beat™ who smashes your party into the ground just for the game to tell you “No, that was supposed to happen!” and the story continues. Well I fought that boss earlier in the game, it was ugly. Couldn’t land a hit, he killed my party in one attack, the we barely escaped and regrouped and the show went on.
Tonight I sit down for a horribly painful dungeon experience. Burnt through all my TP and healing items hoping that I could still manage the boss at the end. Sure enough it’s the TRPGBYNAStB from earlier! I think to myself, okay, this time I have to beat him! All my attacks either do no damage or miss entirely, can’t touch this guy. He then instakills my party members, one after the other. Okay then, guess it’s another fight I’m supposed to lose.
NOPE I’M DONE!
I had kind of meant for this play session to be my last hurrah for the game, but then the story went and started getting mildly interesting. The encounter rate and grindiness is still tiring, but I’m definitely starting to see the charm behind it all.
This isn’t to say I suddenly love Phantasy Star IV or anything…
The nondescript spells and items is still a major bother, and does a lot to make me not want to bother learning the intricacies of combat. I think for next I’ll break down and keep a cheat sheet nearby to try and get some more use out of my abilities. It’s earned another night or two of my time.
I had wanted to make more progress today than I actually ended up making. While I’d intended to move the story further along I just ended up spending the night in a side dungeon doing even more grinding. At least Rika is up to par now.
I have a better appreciation for the game as it is, and I really do like its means of telling its story. The problem is that I’m just completely uninterested in the story itself, and that makes it difficult to get excited about playing. I’m hoping to finish out this section of the game I’m on next time I play.
I tried to progress further into the game, only to get demolished in the next dungeon. This is somewhat upsetting as I didn’t have any trouble in the previous dungeon, so having to grind out levels seems really arbitrary. Things got a little easier when, only after consulting an online guide, I found the weapon and armor shops in the town I was in… With some financial goals set I went off to grind in the previous dungeon until I gained a couple levels and had enough money to buy all the best gear available for all my characters.
That done, the next two areas were pretty easy and I’m actually finding myself enjoying the story more than I did last time. Maybe this is because I’m not playing with a headache, maybe it’s because Rika’s awesome… I don’t know. Speaking or Rika, can’t say I’m too happy about getting her at level 1, but hopefully getting her up to speed won’t be too bad.
I’m also taking the time to learn to actually use my techs and abilities which smooths things out a bit.
I had a bit of a headache so I only put an hour into the game tonight, but I’ve got to say I’m not feeling it. Like, it’s hard because I can really see how this game could have been appealing to Genesis owners back in the early 90’s, but let’s be honest, Final Fantasy IV was out years before this game.
From a technical standpoint it just feels a little sloppy. Movement is a touch too fast and seems a little inaccurate. Pressing the action button when nothing’s in front of you prompts the ever-annoying “There’s nothing here!” message. Items and abilities are completely cryptic with no descriptions, save for items and only in a shop. The dialogue is totally cheese ball thought I really do appreciate the efforts put into giving the characters some sense of personality.
Still, I’m feeling no attachment to any of them, and very little interest in their quest. The game is functional enough that I don’t feel like it’s a burden to be playing it (yet) but its flaws are definitely frustrating.