Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom - Reader Re-Retroview  

Gone Medieval
by Prince Jeremy, Duke of Otterland

Easy to Medium
15-25 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Rhys, Prince of Landen, is about to marry his love, Maia, whom he found lying on a beach a few years before, with no memory of her past. However, during the ceremony, a dragon kidnaps Maia, with Rhys vowing revenge, only to be thrown into the dungeon. Nonetheless, he escapes, afterward seeking his bride and answers to her kidnapping. Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom, features a unique generation system allowing for different plot branches, yet is perhaps the weakest installment of the series.

   Combat, though, still remains a high point, with battles, on average, being very fast, and featuring typical commands such as attack, magic, item use, and escaping. The technique system is different this time around, with characters having different types such as healing and melee skills, each with a fixed TP cost; the player can make certain skills stronger at technique shops, though doing so will make other techniques weaker. Moreover, if a character has lost all HP, he or she can still use healing techniques outside of battle, though skills that can, for instance, cure poison or revive a character, can fail if their effectiveness isn't high enough. This doesn't necessarily make the game easier, as dungeons can certainly drag on, the encounter rate can be a little high, and character/enemy turn order is inconsistent at times. Overall, however, it's still a decent battle system, and is, as mentioned, one of the game's highlights.

   The interface, though, is more lamentable. The menus themselves aren't too bad, although there are some irritations such as the limited number of items each character can carry, the inability to tell how equipment affects characters' stats before buying it, the way the game makes players walk forever just to revisit certain places (faster transportation is unfortunately unavailable until late into the game), and so forth. All this, in the end, makes interaction a surefire repellent from the game.

Le Gran Titon Oh, the innuendo...

   The generation system is what mainly sets Phantasy Star III apart from other RPGs and its predecessors, although the battle system, aside from the altered technique system, largely resembles that from Phantasy Star II, and the futuristic setting is far more of an afterthought this time around, actually more resembling a generic medieval setting and somewhat making the third installment lose its distinctiveness.

   The generation system, with the possibility of four different endings depending upon whom the player allows the different protagonists to marry at the end of each generation, is pretty much the high point of Phantasy Star III's story, which is otherwise generic, a little difficult to follow at times, weakly paced, and generally not all that interesting. The links to the other Phantasy Star games are fairly weak, as well, and Phantasy Star III ends up being the least important game of the series plot-wise.

   The music is also a bit of a letdown, with some decent tracks albeit horrible quality, with the battle music, for instance, sounding far more like noise than actual music. The graphics are also disappointing, with the player's characters being invisible in combat unlike in the second installment, and a general lack of creativity since the dungeons, for one, look annoying similar, and most towns look exactly the same, even in the game's different worlds. Overall, Phantasy Star III's aural and visual presentation certainly could've been better.

   Finally, Phantasy Star III isn't a terribly lengthy game, taking somewhere from fifteen to twenty-five hours to complete depending especially on how long the player takes in finding out how to advance the game and trekking from place to place. In the end, Phantasy Star III, while an okay game in its own right, nonetheless pales compared to the series' other installments, though is partially redeemed by its decent combat system and generation system. There are, however, many issues with the third installment, and even players that enjoyed the other Phantasy Star games might be disappointed by the third.

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