Console: Game Gear
Release Date: 1992
ROM Translated by: “Magic Destiny”
As I mentioned a long time ago, I’ve been planning to do a series of “gaming diaries” for a while now. Well, the wait is over! I’ve finally managed to decide which game start with! Generally speaking these “diaries” are basically just going to summarize the plot, take note of gameplay, and maybe poke fun at any issues I find with the game. I’m planning on doing a series of these, all focusing on fan-translated games; such as Moon Crystal, Grandia: Parallel Trippers, and – of course – Phantasy Star Gaiden. In doing so, I’m hoping to shine a light on some hidden jewels of retro gaming, and maybe encourage a few people to look these “old” games up – or even look into other recently-translated games that never made it to our shores back in the good ol’ days.
So, without further ado, I present Part One (of god-knows how many) of my Phantasy Star Gaiden diary. This first part will mostly just feature the first 5-10 minutes of the game, as it is rather heavy on the text. Nonetheless, I’m playing the game as I write this… so we’ll see how far I decide to go for this first little slice of Gaiden goodness.
“Long ago, the evil Cablon ravaged the Capto Planet
one light-year distant from the Algol System.
In defeat, Cablon was sealed on a colony planet
discovered by Alis, and named Alisland.
Now, it’s AW813… a time of growing unrest.
Alec and Mina are two youths from Tedo Village
who revere the legend of Alis and Odin
as told by the Elder who raised Mina, an orphan.
One day, Mina found an old artifact…
Mina: Hey, Alec! Take a look at this…
Alec: Wow! That pendant looks old, but quite ornate.
Mina: I’ll let Morg examine it later.
Alec: Yep, Dad’s due back with the Laconia ore.
Mina: He’s been gone for weeks… I’m worried.
Alec: Me too… I’m also tired of running his shop.
Tailor: Er… Excuse me… I- I need…
Mina: Oh, Alec! That poor man… He’s bleeding!
Alec: Whoa! What happened to you, Sir?
Tailor: Wa… Water… (Gasp!)
Mina: Here, Sir… Have a sip of this.
Tailor: Th-Thank you! I’m Tailor, a couturier.
Mountain bandits have been holding me captive.
This man, Morg… from Tedo… he was with me.
Both of us made a dash for it, but only I escaped.
Alec: M-Morg… You mean my father!?
Mina: What!? How did this happen!?
Tailor: Ambushed… Looking for ore… Same as I…
Are you Alec?
Here, Son… Morg sent you this…
-Got Wisdom Mirror.-
-Tailor fell unconscious.-
Mina: Wow! The Elder should here of this!
Alec: Indeed! I must act fast, too!
Elder: Oh, Alec… Your face… What’s wrong!?
Mina: Morg fell into the clutches of bandits!
Elder: Oh my! I’ve heard that those Daedalus Bandits
control robots and a lot of strange monsters!
Alec: Doesn’t matter… I’m going after him!
Elder: (Sigh) Well, see Old Rob before you go.
You’ll need a few supplies outside of the village.
-Got Short Sword.-
-Got Wood Cane.-
-Got Leather Armor.-
-Got 50 Mesetas.-
Mina: Come Alec, let’s find Old Rob without delay!
So, with that out of the way, we finally have control over Mina and Alec, and can start exploring Tedo Village in search of this “Old Rob” fellow. And I’ll just take this opportunity to say that these graphics really do not impress. I mean, even for the Game Gear, this seems a little underwhelming. But there’s more to a game than it’s graphics – so on we go! The adventure begins! Or, at least, it will after a few quick detours…
I get the feeling that whoever built these roads was more than a little bit drunk…
A missing husband is nothing compared to a mother’s concern for her sleepy son.
A sentence that basically describes every RPG ever made. Clearly, this lady get’s it!
So, after visiting what felt like every single house in town, I figure this Old Rob geezer must live elsewhere – so I try to leave town. Only for Mina to scold Alec, telling him they need to visit Old Rob first. Now, correct me if I’m wrong Mina… but aren’t you the one in front?
It turns out that Old Rob’s house was “hidden” (by which I mean, placed rather counter-intuitively) just north of the exit. By which I mean, the only way to have found him was to have gone to the exit first, because not only is his house surrounded by trees which separate it from the rest of the town, but it’s also the only building that doesn’t have a road leading to it… your only clue is a gap in the trees (which you can see in the screenshot above). So, once the pair finally stumble across Old Rob’s hidden abode, the plot can thicken – with the help of another, prettier, cutscene.
Old Rob: I’ve already heard about Morg…
Wow! Could that be the legendary Light Pendant!?
It surely looks like the one in the Old Tome!
How did you young whippersnappers get ahold of it?
Well, anyway… A prophecy reads that two souls
shall acquire the Pendant, then save our planet…
Whoa!! Could it be YOU mentioned in the prophecy!?
Find the Scroll of Truth! Check the cave, then return here!
You’ll need this. Use it to warp back to town.
-Got a Telepipe.-
Well, that escalated quickly. One second we’re on a mission to save Alec’s father… and now we’re the “chosen ones”, and we’re being sent on a completely unrelated mission to some random cave. Erm, that’s cool… I think? With that settled, Mina finally lets us leave town, and we reach the World Map – which we will explore in PART TWO!!
Will Alec find his father?
Will the game throw another random plot at us??
Will we get our ass handed to us by the first random we encounter???
Find out next week! =P