Title: Phantasy Star Collection
Developer: Sega and THQ
Publisher: Sega and THQ
Platforms and Hardware: Sega CD as a CD and Game Boy Advance as a cartridge
Date Published: Sega CD version- 1998. Game Boy Advance version- November 26, 2002.
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

As you can see from the template above, there are actually two Phantasy Star Collections. Because the Sega CD version was released only in Japan, the US gamers dubbed it Phantasy Star Collection, disregarding the possibility a slightly different game with an identical named on a different console could be released. Surprisingly, this came true when a GBA version was released in the US. There is one main difference between the two versions: While both versions include Phantasy Star, Phantasy Star 2, and Phantasy Star 3, the Sega CD version includes Phantasy Star: End of the Millennium (or more commonly recognized as Phantasy Star 4 in America) in addition to various artwork and propaganda from the series.

After a reaffirming introduction screen, there is a selection screen where you can scroll through the titles of each game to chose which you wish to play (much akin to Super Mario All-Stars). Once the game has been chosen, it goes to the original introduction screen for the game.

The fact I don't have childhood memories tugging me along to replay these games gives me a different perception than the Sega Master System gamers from back in the day, who are this game's target audience. However, being a fan of most console RPGs, I decided to pick this GBA port.

I was surprised to find out just how old these Phantasy Stars are. The original was released in 1988. There are archaic RPG features in it, like the option to open a chest containing the money that enemies dropped after every battle, having to walk directly in front of villagers to converse, or the lack of targeting a single enemy in a group. I decided these decade old games were ported for nostalgia. Having none, I had to rely on my patience to suffer through the scrolling text battle system. I stuck at it and discovered it was very much like the early Dragon Warrior series on NES, but with a sci-fi twist instead of ye olde dragons and magic fantasy.

The gameplay works as most traditional RPGs do: walk around in towns and dungeon levels, kill monsters, earn XP and gold, find allies, buy weapons and defeat the ultimate evil that plagues the land. Phantasy Star 1 boasts of incredibly non-linear gameplay; usually only the main character's HP holds you from wandering into areas you aren't suppose to explore yet. Whereas Phantasy Star 2 expands on the first with more characters and more plot, Phantasy Star 3 is almost like a spin off piece of the series with multiple endings and generations of characters.

Historically, the original Phantasy Stars were Sega's parallel to Square's Final Fantasy. Both Phantasy Star I and Final Fantasy I were released almost at the same time as an attempt to emulate the success of Enix's Dragon Warrior. However, Phantasy Star 4 predated the first SNES incarnations of both Final Fantasy IV and Dragon Quest V.

This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.
Playing the game

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