Phantasie

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Phantasie
Phantasie Coverart.png
Developer(s) Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Publisher(s) Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Platform(s) Commodore 64, Apple II, DOS, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Amiga, MSX
Release date(s) 1985
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player

Phantasie is a fantasy role-playing video game series designed by Winston Douglas Wood and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1985.[1] It was developed for a variety of systems, including the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64 and DOS.

With the popularity of the Ultima series of games catching on, Strategic Simulations, Inc. developed its own fantasy RPG series to compete in the market.

Phantasie[edit]

screenshot from Phantasie

Based on the Isle of Gelnor, Phantasie allowed a group of six characters to adventure the countryside and try to defeat the evil Black Knights and their sorcerer leader, Nikademus. Players could choose to be one of six character classes (Thief, Fighter, Ranger, Monk, Priest and Wizard) and could also choose between the races of Human, Dwarf, Halfling, Elf or Gnome. By selecting "Random" one could also choose from ogre, troll, pixie, gnoll, orc, lizard man, minotaur, and other races.

The game was notable for taking advantage of a broad mix of styles for the game: a town window which allowed purchasing in various shops, a top-down style dungeon crawl view, a top-down world map, and a separate combat window. Each character class had unique fighting styles and options and all characters could choose their strategy for a particular round in the turn-based combat segments. After a combat, experience was awarded, but the players would have to return to town to purchase their levels if they qualified.

Phantasie II[edit]

In 1986, SSI published the next part of the series, Phantasie II.[2] Again, the Dark Lord Nikademus was the nemesis. This time Nikademus had fashioned an evil orb, and with it he cast a curse on a beautiful island named Ferronrah and enslaved its people. The player's mission was to find and destroy the orb.

Phantasie II used the same graphics and fighting as the original Phantasie game, with one improvement to combat: the ability of any character class to target any enemy rank with a thrown rock. There were improvements in the complexity of quests, but little was done to innovate the series. One option which endeared many veterans was the ability to transfer characters from Phantasie I to this sequel.

The manual included in Phantasie II was identical to the one included with Phantasie, plus a small card explaining the differences. Computer Gaming World noted this was advantageous in terms of how players of the original would have an easier time getting into the game, but disadvantageous as to some particularly tedious mechanisms of both games, particularly "the infamous Distribution and Selling rigamarole." The review continued to note that characters imported from the original have their equipment removed as well as most of their gold and experience, affording only a slight head start over newly created characters.[3]

Phantasie III: The Wrath of Nikademus[edit]

Box cover of the 3rd game.
Combat scene in Phantasie III from the Amiga version of the game.

The "final" installment of the trilogy was based around fighting the evil Nikademus and finishing him for good. Released in 1987, this time Nikademus was attempting to take over the entire world and it was up to the party to stop him.

Phantasie III maintained the style of the original two and improved upon the graphics on all platforms except the DOS version. The combat engine also saw a few upgrades, adding specific wound locations, with characters now able to have their head, torso, or a limb specifically injured, broken, or removed. It was also now possible to have a more tactical battle line-up, with the ability to move characters to the front, middle, or rear of the party. The game also improved upon the spell list and added a larger variety of weapons and equipment. The game also had two possible endings depending on whether the characters chose to fight Nikademus or join him.

Computer Gaming World felt the game was a bit smaller than the previous games, both in terms of world size and time to completion, but felt the improvements to combat and training made the game a worthwhile ending to the trilogy.[4]

Phantasie IV: Birth of Heroes[edit]

This entry was a Japan-exclusive for the PC-9801 and MSX, with no English translation.

Reception[edit]

Game reviewers Hartley and Pattie Lesser complimented the Atari ST version of Phantasie in their "The Role of Computers" column in Dragon #120 (1987), recommending that Atari ST owners should "consider Phantasie as a game well-worth their attention."[5] Scorpia of Computer Gaming World called it "a surprisingly good little game, with many interesting features".[6]

Compute! recommended Phantasie II to those seeking a more traditional role-playing game than SSI's Rings of Zilfin or who enjoyed Phantasie.[7] Scorpia criticized Phantasie II for not changing its predecessor's "infamous Distribution and Selling rigamarole", including a bug with the handling of money. The magazine concluded, "Although flawed in certain aspects, Phantasie II is an interesting, and overall good, game of the RPG type" and recommended it to fans of the first game.[8][6] She was pleased by Phantasie III improving the trading interface and by the "grand ending" to the game and the trilogy,[9] but still called the game "by far the weakest in the series" and criticized its short length.[6]

Phantasie III was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #130 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars.[10]

Phantasie I, Phantasie III, and Questron II were later re-released together, and reviewed in 1994 in Dragon #203 by Sandy Petersen in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Petersen gave the compilation 2 out of 5 stars.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barton, Matt (2007-02-23). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  2. ^ Barton, Matt (2007-02-23). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  3. ^ Scorpia (August 1986). "Phantasie II". Computer Gaming World. pp. 15–19. 
  4. ^ Scorpia (Aug–September 1987). "Phantasie III". Computer Gaming World. pp. 12–13, 50. 
  5. ^ Lesser, Hartley and Patricia (April 1987). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (120): 79–82. 
  6. ^ a b c Scorpia (October 1991). "C*R*P*G*S / Computer Role-Playing Game Survey". Computer Gaming World. p. 16. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Trunzo, James V. (August 1986). "Three Fantasy Games For Commodore And Apple". Compute!. p. 60. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Scorpia (June 1986). "Phantasie II". Computer Gaming World. p. 16. 
  9. ^ Scorpia (Aug–Sep 1987). "Phantasie III". Computer Gaming World. p. 12. 
  10. ^ Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (February 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (130): 86–91. 
  11. ^ Petersen, Sandy (March 1994). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (203): 59–62, 69. 

External links[edit]