Phantasy Star (1987)

by Ji-yeong
7 minutes read


As a trailblazer in the RPG genre, Phantasy Star combines a compelling narrative with groundbreaking gameplay elements. Its blend of science fiction and fantasy, along with a richly developed game world, make it an unforgettable adventure in video game history.


Dive into the Algol Star System in Phantasy Star, an epic adventure that melds magic with technology, set against the backdrop of interplanetary conflict. This 1987 classic is celebrated for its intricate plot, detailed world-building, and as a pioneer in the RPG genre.


“Phantasy Star” is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Sega and released for the Master System in 1987. It is one of the earliest Japanese RPGs for consoles.

The game is set in the Algol star system, which consists of three planets: Palma, a lush and green planet; Motavia, an arid and barren planet; and Dezoris, an icy and desolate planet. The system is ruled by King Lassic, who was originally benevolent but has become a cruel, sociopathic tyrant.

The story of “Phantasy Star” revolves around Alis, a young girl who embarks on a journey to defeat King Lassic after her brother dies at his hands. She traverses between planets, gathering a party of fighters and collecting the items she needs to avenge her brother’s death and return peace to the star system.

Alis is soon joined on her quest by Myau, a cat-like creature; Odin, a legendary fighter; and Noah, an Esper. Together, they explore the planets of Algol, gathering mystical weapons and armor, battling with Lassic in his castle in the sky, and finally discovering the hidden darkness behind it all.

The gameplay of “Phantasy Star” features traditional Japanese RPG elements, including random encounters and experience points. All the characters have predefined personalities and abilities, a unique element compared to the customizable characters of other RPGs of the era.

Dungeons in “Phantasy Star” are 3-dimensional, a revolutionary and impressive feature at the time. Most dungeons have multiple levels and contain obstacles such as pit-traps and locked doors, as well as rewards such as treasure chests, unique items, or essential help from NPCs located in the dungeon.

The game’s setting is a fusion between medieval fantasy and science fiction, an idea inspired by Star Wars. The team wanted “Phantasy Star” to be a unique RPG experience, so they added elements like 3D dungeon crawling, a female protagonist, and ample animation.

“Phantasy Star” was released for the Master System two days after “Final Fantasy” arrived for the competing Famicom. It was praised for its grand sense of adventure due to its advanced visual effects and deep gameplay. The battery backup system drew praise but also contributed to the game’s notably high retail price.

In 2003, a remake titled “Phantasy Star Generation 1” was released for the PlayStation 2. “Phantasy Star” is considered a landmark RPG for its use of predetermined characters and a science fantasy setting. Sega launched a series of sequels, some of which were developed by staff who worked on the original.

“Phantasy Star” is a groundbreaking RPG that set the stage for many of the genre’s future developments. Its unique blend of science fiction and fantasy, along with its memorable characters and innovative gameplay mechanics, have ensured its place in video game history.


The protagonist, Alis, is joined by three companions: Myau, a cat-like creature with magical abilities; Odin, a warrior with a personal vendetta against Lassic; and Noah, a wizard with profound knowledge and power. Together, they traverse the Algol System, facing various challenges and enemies.


Gameplay in Phantasy Star combines exploration of towns and 16-level dungeons, engaging in turn-based combat, and interacting with NPCs for clues and items. The innovative 3D dungeon view and random encounters in the overworld and dungeons add depth to the exploration and combat.


Phantasy Star is not just a game; it’s an immersive experience that set new standards for the RPG genre. Its legacy is evident in how it influenced countless games that followed, offering a blend of storytelling, strategy, and exploration that still captivates players today.

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