|Developer(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios (JPN)
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Phantom Dust (ファントムダスト) is a video game for the Xbox console. It was developed by Microsoft Game Studios, produced and directed by Yukio Futatsugi, director of the critically acclaimed Panzer Dragoon for Sega Saturn. It was licensed for release in the U.S. by Majesco. Phantom Dust is a pseudo-card-based action/strategy game in which the player collects skills (over 300 total) and takes missions to attempt to discover why Earth is in the condition it is. Players construct "arsenals" similar to decks of cards and then use them to do battle against other players. The game incorporates strategy and action elements in to a game that requires both mental and reflexive skill.
The Xbox Live servers no longer support Online Multiplayer for Phantom Dust, or any other Xbox Original game.
The story begins with a band of humans fighting their way to a pair of capsules suspended on an arch over an arena-like structure. A narrator describes the state of the planet: Earth is a wasteland, with its inhabitants suffering from amnesia and living underground to escape the mysterious dust that covers the surface. The Espers, a group of humans with the ability to control the dust to create a variety of skills, go onto the surface to search for the Ruins, a memory embedded into the minds of everyone living underground.
Two men are taken from the capsules. One is the protagonist, who the player controls throughout the game. The other is Edgar, found with a locket containing a picture of a woman. They find that they are also Espers and join the search for the Ruins in the hopes of finding out who and what they really are.
The woman in the locket, Freia, is an independent Esper who tries to stop the protagonist from returning to the surface. Edgar, feeling a connection with her, eventually leaves the rest of the group and joins with Freia. When the protagonist meets Edgar once again, the latter says that the protagonist betrayed him in an earlier time before their memories were lost. After one particular battle with Freia, the protagonist receives a special memory box (a data-storage device for capturing images and sounds).
From the memory box, it becomes apparent that Edgar was an astronaut who had been sent to the event horizon of a black hole far away from Earth. Upon his return, Edgar discovered that, due to his travel at relativistic speeds, the three days he had passed in his ship had translated into over 10,000 years on Earth. In this time, humanity destroyed itself, totally ending civilization as he had known it and covering the surface with a mysterious dust. Alone with his thoughts, Edgar learns that he can control the dust to a certain extent, and begins to remake civilization from out of the ashes with his new-found powers. He is eventually able to create Freia, his girlfriend at the time he had left for space, and then the protagonist, who had been his best friend. The rest of the world before followed shortly after.
Upon seeing this, many of the illusions Edgar had created were unable to will themselves to exist any longer and disappeared; the box was kept from the rest for fear of the same thing happening.
Another memory box reveals that Edgar had unwittingly embedded the image of the Ruins (the last place he had been with Freia before he went into space) into the minds of the illusions he had created, and released a massive wave of energy that destroyed most of the surface world and erased (nearly) all memories, except those of the Ruins.
After the protagonist fights one last battle with Freia, she hands over an important memory box she has found in Edgar's ship. It revealed that after some time Edgar became disillusioned and sullen by the current state of the planet and the illusions he created, deciding to destroy everything and everyone including himself. Freia was unable to stop his suicidal attempt. The protagonist arrived to stop him, with both him and Edgar dealing out a very powerful psychic blow, creating a huge crater and rendering both of them into a coma. Freia installed both of them into the capsules to keep them alive.
Freia reveals that she knows the truth about Edgar's creation of her and the protagonist, but somehow both of them did not disappear. Unfortunately, Freia believes that Edgar has no use for her and has abandoned her. The protagonist is helpless as Freia slowly disappears before his very eyes.
Upon finally defeating Edgar, and new copies of Freia and the protagonist, the player learns that, 3537 days (roughly 10 years) since his return to Earth, Edgar's human body had been unable to process the dust and eventually broke down. Before he died, however, he created a double of himself, to maintain and "restore" the world after he passed on. Humans are extinct on Earth, and only the illusions that the last human being had created carried on their tradition. However, unknown to the original Edgar, the double was a defect and ended up being a pessimistic shadow of himself, destroying instead of recreating the world. Upon learning the truth about the original Edgar, the Edgar double is also unable to maintain his will and disappears into dust.
The protagonist buries the original Edgar's remains in his ship, along with the final memory box. The final shot shows him walking off into the desert after apparently having restored the planet as the original Edgar's double was supposed to have done. However, in this final shot, the protagonist's footprints in the sand trail off, with him nowhere in sight.
There are four aspects of gameplay in Phantom Dust: interaction, Arsenal building, mission assignment within the underground city, and combat in various arenas on the surface of the planet.
Within the underground city, the player can interact with other non-player characters to learn of missions, buy new skills, arrange and alter their Arsenals, and review memory boxes recovered during exploration. Once a player accepts a mission, they may have the opportunity to take a second friendly NPC to the field, though many times, the mission requires a specific NPC.
On a mission, the player and companion are put into a field with up to two enemy foes and the match begins. Each participant generally starts with 20 health points, but this may vary for weaker foes or stronger bosses. Due to the nature of the dust that fills each field, each match is limited to 15 minutes of game time, though if either all enemies are defeated, or the player's health drops to zero, or other special conditions are met, the match can end sooner.
Each participant will start with 4 random skills selected from their arsenal, and three orbs near their spawn point representing random skills with their color representing the type of skill, such as red for attack skills, blue for defensive skills, and white for Aura Particles. The player can learn what the spawned skill is by stepping over it, and subsequently can pick up by pressing one of the 4 colored buttons on the Xbox controller to assign it to that slot; any skill previously existing in that space is removed and lost for the rest of that match. After some delay, a new skill will replace one that has been picked up at the spawn point.
Skills typically require 1 or more Aura points to activate. The player starts with minimal Aura, but can increase their maximum capacity by collecting and using Aura Particles from their spawn point. When a skill is used, the aura is temporarily drained from the player but will recover slowly up to the maximum capacity. Skills themselves fall into 5 Schools describing the type of damage or effect they do, the amount of damage that they deal or protect against. There are 6 types of skills available in the game:
- Attack skills perform direct damage against the opponent. These skill have a strength value (STR) from 1 to 10 or X amount, a range, and a trajectory or attack type (such as direct shots, falling from the sky, striking in an arc, or sliced like a sword blade). Attack are not guaranteed hits; if the opponent moves to the appropriate type of cover, uses a defensive skill, moves out of range of the attack, or simply moves out of its way, the attack will fail to hit.
- Defense skills protect the player by certain means, sometimes limited to attacks from skills in specific classes.
- Status skills can alter the statistics of a combatant, such as increasing or decreasing attack power.
- Erase skills can remove loaded skills from other players or from players spawn points.
- Special skills typically allow the combatant to alter the playfield somehow, such as by flying, teleporting, or changing spawn points for new skills.
- Environmental skills affect all combatants directly, generally restricting certain actions, such duplicating Aura regeneration speed or disallow skills that deal >3 damage, until someone removes the Environmental Crystal from the playfield.
Skills are generally one-shot; once the skill is used, it is removed from the combatant's loaded skills and lost for the rest of the match. However, some skills have two or more uses and other skills can be used indefinitely.
When an opponent takes damage, they are given a few seconds of invulnerability (indicated by a translucent appearance) which they cannot be damaged.
While manipulating and using skills, the combatants can freely move across the highly-destructible field. A player can rotate the camera as needed though they can also lock on to an enemy combat or ally as well. It is quite possible for a combatant to fall out of a field, such as falling through a destroyed floor or knocked off a ledge; the combatant will reenter battle at their respective spawn point but with a loss of 3 life points.
From the nature of combat, a player can create and adjust their Arsenal back in the underground city using existing and new skills they can earn or purchase. An Arsenal has a maximum of 30 skills and will have a limit on the number of Schools represented by the Arsenal; for example, a player will start the game with an Arsenal limited to 2 Schools.
The five Schools that skills can be categorized in are:
- Skills that use telekinesis to move objects for both offensive and defensive abilities
- Skills that use and manipulate light to the benefit of the player
- Skills that use nature and the environment for attacks and defense
- Skills that rely on psychological effects to protect the player and weaken their foe
- Skills that often consume part of the player's own life and aura for larger offensive and defensive benefits from the other schools.
Phantom Dust supports multiplayer through split-screen (on the same console), System Link or over Xbox Live, allowing up to 4 combatants to battle with an Arsenal based on their progress within the game.
|In-Game Title||Original Title|
|01 Phantom Dust [Title]||?|
|2 May 18, 1976 [Highway]||?|
|3 February 29, 2xx1 [Strange City]||?|
|4 August 31, 1982 [Palace]||Le Quattro Stagioni Op.8 No.1 "La Primavera" Allegro by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi & Minuet in A major (from String Quintet No.11, G.308) by Luigi Boccherini|
|5 March 9, 1991 [Panorama]||?|
|6 October 10, 1986 [Lane]||Kagome Kagome|
|7 July 20, 1975 [Plant]||?|
|8 June 6, 1666 [Sein]||?|
|09 Your Choice [Option]||?|
|10 Face to Face [War Mode]||?|
|11 Plastic People [Vision Headquarters]||Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)|
|12 Arsenal [Arsenal]||"Invention No. 13 in A minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach|
|13 Memories [Box of Memories]||Trois Nocturnes No. 1. Op.9 by Frederic Francois Chopin|
|14 Mac's Shop [Mac's Shop]||Russian Folks Song "Toroika"|
|15 Club Baroness ~Goodbye~ [Bar]||Habanera (aria)|
|16 Strange Apparitions [Boss 1]||?|
|17 Hallucinations [Boss 2]||?|
|18 Dream [Last Boss 1]||?|
|19 Untitled [Last Boss 2] (Unused)||?|
|20 Wanderers [Main Floor]||Greensleeves & Rêverie & Polovtsian Dances & Scarborough Fair & Sakura Sakura|
|21 All These World [Advertise Demo]||?|
|22 Yes I'm Lonely||"Yes, I'm Lonely" by Vincent Gallo|
It has received generally favorable reviews, which praise its level of graphics and innovation. It has currently been given an 8.5 on IGN, an 81 on Metacritic, and an 82 on Game Rankings. The game was also well received with Edge giving an 8/10.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|