Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (Japanese: ) is the fourth title in the popular RPG series Phantasy Star, developed by SEGA. It follows events from Phantasy Star II by showing what happened to the great civilization developed in the Algo system after the demise of the Mother Brain and destruction of Parma. The game has been met with generally positive reviews since its release.
The party can move in four directions on two dimensional maps, including overworld maps for each planet. Inside towns and certain other areas, the party can travel without interruption, but on the overworld maps, randomized encounters with enemies can be triggered at any step.
Dungeons are like in the previous games, each playing a major role in the game. Some dungeons have safe entrance areas, but inside dungeons, there are random encounters, as with the overworld maps. The ryuka technique, telepipes, and saving the game are disabled inside dungeons, but the hinas technique or an escapipe can teleport the party outside.
Combat in Phantasy Star IV is turn based, with a party of up to five using attacks, techniques, skills, items and the ability to defend. The player can also use macros to issue commands to the entire party at once. Macros force the party to take their turns in the order specified, which assists in executing combos. The party can also run away from most battles.
Like other console RPGs of its era, Phantasy Star IV includes some sprite animated scenes, such as the monster sneaking away in the academy basement. It also has a number of illustrated scenes displaying comic style sequential panels, such as Alys questioning the academy director.
Characters have a number of stats which determine their effectiveness in battle. Stats are largely determined by a character's level; gaining experience in battles is the only way to increase in level. Stat gains at each level are not randomized, but differ from character to character.
HP are reduced by taking damage and increased by using curative items, skills, or techniques, or staying at an inn. Dying status is inflicted if HP reaches 0. Maximum HP increases as characters level up.
TP are expended by using techniques and increased by using the ataraxia skill or staying at an inn. Characters cannot use a technique if its cost exceeds their current TP. Maximum TP increases as characters level up, except for Demi, Wren, and Seth.
Strength increases the effectiveness of some skills, and determines base attack power. Strength increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain equipment.
Mental increases the effectiveness of techniques and some skills, and determines base mental defense power. Mental increases as characters level up, except for Demi and Wren, and may be modified by certain equipment.
Agility increases priority in combat order, increases the chance to evade many enemy attacks, and determines base defense power. Agility increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.
Dexterity increases the chance to hit enemies with attacks and some skills, and increases the chance for critical hits. Dexterity increases as characters level up, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.
Attack power increases the damage dealt by weapon attacks and some skills. It is equal to a character's strength, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.
Defense power reduces the damage taken by some attacks. It is equal to a character's agility, and may be modified by certain skills, techniques, and equipment.
Mental defense power reduces the damage taken by some attacks. It is not displayed in game, but it is equal to a character's mental, and may be modified by certain equipment.
CharactersThe main playable cast of Phantasy Star IV is as follows:
- Chaz Ashley - a young hunter and the main protagonist of the game. An all-around character.
- Alys Brangwin - a beautiful hunter who is Chaz's mentor and later partner. A speed-type character.
- Hahn Mahlay - a young scientist who works under Professor Holt. A skill-type character.
- Rune Walsh - a mysterious wizard who is later revealed to be the fifth incarnation of Lutz. A skill-type character.
- Gryz - a motavian from Molcum who moves to Tonoe after Molcum is destroyed. A power-type character.
- Rika - a numan who is curious about the world. A speed-type character.
- Demi - an android who is over 100 years old. An all-around character.
- Wren - an android who controls Zelan. A similar android type appeared in the previous game. A power-type character.
- Raja - a priest from Dezolis who has a quirky sense of humor - of which only Rika is a fan. A skill-type character.
- Kyra Tierney - a headstrong esper who treats Chaz like a little brother. An all-around character.
- Seth - an archaeologist who is Dark Force in disguise. A skill-type character.
The character who would initially seem to be the main antagonist of the game is Zio, a black magician who wields evil powers stemming from his god, Dark Force, including the ability to turn people to stone and the Black Wave.
An evil emanation of the Profound Darkness, Dark Force returns in this final installment of the original series. It is fought three times and wields devastating powers - including the ability to disguise itself as a person - Seth.
Lashiec returns, having been brought back back to life by Dark Force, in the sole aim to foil the party's plan of bringing peace to Algo and to kill the modern day incarnation of Lutz, Rune.
The Profound Darkness
The main antagonist of the whole Phantasy Star series is unveiled in this game to be the scheming Profound Darkness who aims to destroy Algo to allow itself to manifest in existence. By the end of the game, the Profound Darkness appears in physical form to break Algo and faces the party as the final boss.
Techniques in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium are magic-like abilities usable by player characters other than Wren, Demi, and Seth. Techniques expend TP for various effects, such as damaging and weakening enemies, healing and strengthening allies, and teleporting the party to safety.
- Main article: Skills in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Skills in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium are sets of limited use abilities unique to each character, having widely varying effects. The number of uses of every skill is restored to the maximum when staying at an inn, and the maximum number of uses usually increases at higher levels.
- Main article: Items in Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
In Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, each character can equip one head item, plus two one-handed items or one two-handed item, plus one body item. Equipped items improve the character's stats until removed. Additionally, a shared party inventory holds up to forty items, which do not stack. In battle, a character can use any item equipped on that character or in the shared inventory.
- Main article: Story of Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
1000 Years have passed since the events of Phantasy Star II, which precipitated the period of decline which came to be known as the Great Collapse. Life is improving once again, and old knowledge is being rediscovered. But dangerous creatures roam the landscape and a great evil is stirring. A group of protectors must rise to defend the Algo star system from this evil and those who worship it for their own ends...
"Created by Team PSIV. Presented by Sega."
| Rieko Kodama|
|Director, battle background designer, field graphic designer, object designer, illustrated scene artist|
| Tohru Yoshida|
|Director, story planner, monster graphic designer, character designer, map designer, object designer, illustrated scene planner, illustrated scene artist|
| Akinori Nishiyama|
|Script writer, monster graphic designer, system planner, game mechanics designer, map designer, object designer, font designer, sprite scene planner|
| Izuho Numata|
|Sound director, music composer, sound programmer, sound effect artist|
| Kazuyoshi Tsugawa|
|Battle planner, monster graphic designer, battle background designer, game mechanics designer, map designer, object designer, illustrated scene artist|
| Yoshiaki Endo|
| M. Hunabashi|
|Assistant battle programmer|
| Tsukasa Mori|
|Monster graphic designer, map designer, illustrated scene artist|
| Daisuke Yamamoto|
|System programmer, scene programmer|
| Masatoshi Shibata|
|Assistant system programmer, assistant scene programmer|
| Masaki Nakagaki|
|Music composer, sound effect artist|
| Yoshiaki Kashima|
The cover art for the North American and European releases, depicting Chaz, Rune, and Rika, was painted by Peruvian-American fantasy artist Boris Vallejo.
- 1993: Sega Genesis (JP)
- 1995: Sega Genesis (NA, EU)
- 1998: Sega Saturn, as part of Phantasy Star Collection (JP)
- 2008: PlayStation 2, as part of Phantasy Star Complete Collection (JP)
- 2008: Nintendo Wii Virtual Console (JP, NA, EU)
- 2012: Steam
- 2019: Sega Genesis Mini (JP, NA, EU, AS)
|Sega Retro||Sega: 88%|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||31/40|
|Sega Saturn Magazine||90%|
Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium received generally positive reviews. GameFan said it "is undeniably one of the greatest RPGs ever fashioned" and that the "graphics are beautiful, the music is powerful, and the non-stop original ideas make this cartridge an absolute must-own for the RPG enthusiast". GamePro praised it for bringing "its fantasy world to life" with interactive environments "rich in detail", the ability to inspect background objects, the convenience of the macros and talk option, the translation, the "story sequences" that "nicely punctuate the plot", and that the "featured player in the first stage" is a woman. However, they commented that the inability to purchase multiple items at once is irritating, and were critical of aspects of the story, describing it as routine, occasionally incoherent, and at one point derogatory towards women. Sega Saturn Magazine (previously Sega Magazine) said that the graphics were outdated even compared to other Mega Drive/Genesis games and that the game is incomprehensible to newcomers to the series, but that "the game succeeds by creating cinematic moments, introducing new characters and powers, and taking many weird and wonderful plot turns."
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an overall score of 31 out of 40, describing it as an "excellent" game and stating that the magic/technique system, equipment and general gameplay are all highly involving and enjoyable, but commenting that the graphics are mediocre, the music is at times irritating, and the story starts off slow paced but gets involving later on. Next Generation remarked that Phantasy Star IV, "while still a good game, is years behind." They elaborated that while other RPGs were making major innovations to the genre in both graphics and gameplay, Phantasy Star IV still fundamentally looked and played the same as Phantasy Star II from five years before. RPGamer gave it a full score of 5 out of 5, including ratings of 5 for story and visuals, and 4 for the battle system, interaction, originality, and music and sound.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, Sega Retro
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium Review", Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 69, April 1995, page 35
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 GameFan, volume 3, issue 4, April 1995
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Role-Player's Realm: Phantasy Star: End of the Millennium", GamePro, issue 77, February 1995, pages 116–117
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20060218173759/hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/genesis/ps4.htm
- ↑ http://ign.com/articles/2009/01/02/phantasy-star-iv-the-end-of-the-millennium-review
- ↑ http://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2008/11/phantasy_star_iv_virtual_console
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "Downhill", Next Generation, issue 3, March 1995, page 95
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 http://www.rpgamer.com/games/ps/ps4/reviews/ps4rdrev3.html
- ↑ http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-4.html
- ↑ http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-3.html
- ↑ http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-5.html
- ↑ http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/phantasystar4/Phantasy_Star_4-6.html
- ↑ http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SSM_UK_02.pdf&page=91
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 "Review: Phantasy Star IV", Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 2, December 1995, page 91
|Playable Characters||Chaz Ashley - Alys Brangwin - Hahn Mahlay - Rune Walsh - Gryz - Rika - Demi - Wren - Raja - Kyra Tierney - Seth|
|Antagonists||Zio - Dark Force - Lashiec - Daughter - Profound Darkness|
|Planets||Motavia - Dezolis - Rykros|
|Locations||Piata - Mile - Molcum - Krup - Tonoe - Zema - Nalya - Aiedo - Kadary - Monsen - Termi - Ryuon - Tyler |
Zosa - Reshel - Meese - Jut - Esper Mansion - Gumbious Temple - Uzo - Torinco - Silence Temple
|Dungeons||Basement - Birth Valley - Ladea Tower - Nurvus - Kuran - Myst Valley - Climate Center - Weapons Plant |
Garubek Tower - Air Castle - Courage Tower - Strength Tower - Anger Tower - The Edge