Tales of Phantasia
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
|Tales of Phantasia|
|Developer(s)||Wolf Team/Namco Tales Studio
Mineloader Software (PSP)
Nintendo (Outside Japan) (GBA)
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
|Media/distribution||48 Megabit (Super Nintendo)
64-128 Megabit (GBA) Cartridge
PlayStation Portable UMD
Tales of Phantasia (テイルズ オブ ファンタジア Teiruzu obu Fantajia ) is a Super Nintendo game in the role-playing video game genre published by Namco and released in Japan in 1995, selling 212,000 copies. It is the first mothership title in the Tales RPG series and was later remade/re-released on the PlayStation, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable. While the Super Famicom version did not have a characteristic genre name, the PS1 and GBA versions of Tales of Phantasia had the characteristic genre name Legendary RPG (伝説のRPG Densetsu no RPG ), and the PSP version Tales of Phantasia ~ Full Voice Edition's characteristic genre name is Legendary RPG Embellished with Voices (声が彩る、伝説のRPG Koe ga irodoru, densetsu no RPG ). This game was originally developed by Wolf Team. It was written and programmed by Yoshiharu Gotanda, designed by Masaki Norimoto and scored by Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura. The character designs were created by manga artist Kōsuke Fujishima. A short anime series based on the game, called Tales of Phantasia: THE ANIMATION, was released in 2004.
Battle system 
In the Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS), the fight is played out on a two-dimensional terrain that usually stretches wider than a single screen width, so the screen can scroll to the left and to the right, depending on where the characters and opponents are relatively located. LMBS contains a pause menu during battle which lets the player select a spell or item. As in some fighting games, it is possible to assign items or combination moves to specific buttons as shortcuts for quick actions.
As opposed to most other turn-based systems where the player controls the individual actions of every party member, in LMBS, the player only directly controls one main character. Other characters in the party can be set to passive mode (defend only), active mode and attack (computer controlled), or the player can often force the characters to move or use a spell from the pause menu. For the titles that allow multiplayer, the other party characters can be controlled by other human players.
Tales of Phantasia begins by showing a heroic battle between four unknown warriors against an evil sorcerer and king, Dhaos, the outcome of which changed the fate of the world. The warriors were victorious, but Dhaos escaped through time. However, four different heroes are awaiting him: they seal the weakened Dhaos away using the power of two pendants, thus returning peace to the world.
Twelve years after Dhaos had been sealed away, a young swordsman named Cress Albane (Also romanized 'Cless Alvein') and his best friend, Chester Burklight, live in the town of Toltus. One day, while Cress and Chester are out hunting in the forest, the town is destroyed by a dark knight named Mars and his soldiers. Every villager is killed in the attack, including Chester’s sister and both of Cress’s parents. While Chester mourns, Cress vows for revenge. He decides he should flee to the town of Euclid, where his uncle lives; however, Chester refuses because he wants to stay behind and bury the dead first, and Cress finally decides to go by himself.
Upon his arrival in Euclid, Cress heads to the northwestern house, where his uncle lives. However, on Cress's first night there, his uncle betrays him, and he is thrown in jail by Mars. The heirloom pendant entrusted to Cress by his father, Miguel, is taken away from him, but Cress does not know of its significance in holding Dhaos sealed, nor that his father was one of the four who sealed him away.
In prison, Cress hears a voice, and the person it belongs to gives him a pair of earrings, which he uses to break down the wall of his cell. As he goes to thank the person, however, Cress sees that the individual has been impaled by a sword; he takes the blade and uses it to open the prison doors. In one of the cells, he meets a woman named Mint Adnade. She thanks Cress for freeing her and asks him to also free the person in the cell across from hers, who she says is her mother. At this point, Cress realizes that Mint's mother was the person who had helped him to escape his own cell. Not wanting Mint to learn of her death, he says that he saw no one in that cell and insists that they must escape immediately, which they achieve by traveling through the prison's aqueducts.
Soon afterwards, the party meets Chester again at Trinicus D. Morrison's house, another of the four warriors. Trinicus informs the party that he knew Cress’s parents and Mint’s mother quite well, and they once joined together to seal away a great evil. He is horrified to hear that Cress’s pendant has been stolen, and immediately runs off towards a nearby mausoleum. Cress, Mint, and Chester deduce that Mars must be there, and so follow Trinicus without his knowledge and against his will. Unfortunately, Mars manages to release Dhaos using the pendants before Trinicus and the party can stop him. With no hope of dealing with the all-powerful Dhaos for now, Trinicus attempts to send Cress, Mint, and Chester back a century into the past, so that they will learn about Dhaos and procure a means to preemptively defeat him. After killing Mars, Dhaos attacks the party with a magic spell that Chester dives in front of. So it is that Chester and Trinicus are left behind to suffer Dhaos’s wrath, with only a broken bow and a diary respectively all that Mint and Cress have to remember them by.
In the past, Dhaos is still causing chaos, preparing for an imminent war against the two largest human kingdoms — Alvanista and Midgards. These events happened ninety-four years before he was sealed. In this time period, Dhaos’s evil pervades most of the world, and he even controls the prince of Alvanista’s royal family. The party learns that the only way to defeat Dhaos is by using magic, but neither Cress nor Mint can practice the magical arts — only elves and half-elves can use the powerful spells. However, they soon meet Claus (Also romanized 'Klarth') F. Lester, a summoner, and Arche Klein (a half-elf witch), who join them in their quest. Claus is a researcher of summoning (the act of evoking a magical spirit or elemental), and is thus one of the only humans who can indirectly use magic by forming a pact with the spirits via special rings and then summoning them to attack in battle. He suggests that the spirit Luna may be useful to them, so the party travels across the world to the deserts of Freyland, the depths of the ancient dwarven caverns of the Morlia Gallery, and to mountains above and caves below in search of rings and spirits to help them fight Dhaos. Along the way, they meet Brambert, leader of the elves in Ymir Forest, and learns of his connection to Arsia the woodcarver, a half-elf. The party then learns the reason why half-elves are forbidden in Ymir forest, the history of the elves' separation from the humans years ago, and Arche's family background.
After making a pact with Luna, the party heads to Midgards and succeeds in helping fend off Dhaos’s army in the conflict called the Valhalla War. They proceed to Dhaos’s castle in search of him, with hopes of restoring peace to the world and avenging the deaths of their loved ones. Reaching the throne room, an epic battle with Dhaos ensues. Unfortunately, Dhaos escapes. The party soon learns about the ancient city of Thor, the seat of an advanced ancient civilization that died out after a meteor strike. The city sank beneath the sea and is now situated on the ocean bottom 100 miles northeast of Venezia City. Claus summons one of the spirits, Undine, to bring them underwater and into Thor, which they find was not completely destroyed thanks to a force field that had been protecting it. After defeating the city's ancient civil defense system, they find a room with a time machine.
The party travels back to their original time to interrupt the resurrected Dhaos from killing Trinicus and Chester in the mausoleum, and fight him once more. This time, Dhaos is thoroughly defeated, and the cave begins to collapse in on itself, and an unconscious Dhaos. The party escapes and then decides that, with Dhaos most likely dead, they have succeeded and can part ways so that Claus and Arche can return to their original time. But at that moment, a time-traveller arrives from the future to inform them that Dhaos is still alive and is terrorizing the future. Cress and company immediately go to Thor and travel forward in time fifty years to deal with Dhaos and his minions once and for all.
Upon arriving in the future, the party learns of Thor's history: It was one of the three ancient civilizations, the other two having been Odin and Fenrir. Long ago, an event called the "War of the Ancient Civilizations" occurred, wherein the forces of Thor tried to intervene in a battle between Odin and Fenrir. At this time, it was discovered that a comet named Samier was destined to hit the planet; this is the same comet that was discovered earlier in the game to have destroyed Thor. The party also learns of the Eternal Sword, which is considered to be the only weapon capable of eliminating Dhaos once and for all. After acquiring it, the party ventures into Dhaos’s floating castle, invisible to those who do not wield the Eternal Sword. When they reach the top, they battle against Dhaos, who they learn is much more than a simple sorcerer. He is actually from another world that is trying to save The Tree of Life (Yggdrasill, or as Dhaos calls it, The Giant Kharlan Tree) from withering and dying; the Mana that the tree exudes is of utmost importance to the survival of this world, the planet Derris-Kharlan. After his defeat, Cress and the others return to the Tree, and the Goddess Martel explains Dhaos’s circumstances. The game’s protagonists come to realize that, in the end, Dhaos was merely trying to save his people; by defeating him, they had doomed his world. Finally, Claus and Arche return to their own time. Suzu, however, leaves before Claus and Arche. After the party leaves, Martel decides to form a Mana Seed and travels to Dhaos’s world to save their Tree of Life. In the Super Famicom version, Dhaos’s corpse, as well as Martel herself, both become part of the seed, but in the later versions of the game, Martel sends the Mana Seed into space including only Dhaos. In the GBA version, Mint also creates a barrier around Yggdrasill before leaving so that the Mana Seed can be formed.
Cress Albane 
Cress Albane (クレス・アルベイン Kuresu Arubein , "Cless Alvein") is the main character of Tales of Phantasia. He is a seventeen-year-old swordsman from a small village called Toltus. His voice Japanese actor is Takeshi Kusao and his English voice actors are Robert Tsonos for the game and Johnny Yong Bosch for the anime.
Chester Burklight 
Chester Burklight (チェスター・バークライト Chesutā Bākuraito" , Chester Barklight) is an archer and Cress's hometown friend. His Japanese voice actor are Takeshi Kusao for the Super Famicom version and Kentarou Itou for all other appearances. His English voice actors are Peter von Gomm for the game appearance, and David Vincent for the animation.
Mint Adenade 
Mint Adenade (ミント・アドネード Minto Adonēdo ) is the seventeen-year-old healer of the party. Her Japanese voice actress are Satomi Koorogi in the Super Famicom version, Junko Iwao in all other appearances. Her English voice actresses are Lynn Eve Harris for the game, and Karen Strassman for the animation.
Claus F. Lester 
Claus F. Lester (クラース・F・レスター Kurāsu F. Resutā , "Klarth F. Lester") is a man with exclusive knowledge of spirits. With the aid of magical rings, he is able to summon spirits after defeating them. He is related to Fulein K. Lester from Tales of the World: Summoner's Lineage. He lives with a woman named Mirald Rune, who helps him with research into magic and summoning. His Japanese voice actor is Kazuhiko Inoue. His English voice actors are Peter von Gomm for the game and Jack Bauer for the animation.
Arche Klein 
Arche Klein (アーチェ・クライン Āche Kurain , "Arche Klaine") is a half-elf magic user. She uses a broomstick both to fly and to wield as a weapon. Her Japanese voice actor is Mika Kanai. Her English voice actresses are Helen Morrison for the game and Jennifer Sekiguchi for the animation.
Suzu Fujibayashi 
Suzu Fujibayashi (藤林すず Fujibayashi Suzu ) first appeared in the Super Famicom of the game as an NPC. Since the PlayStation version, she has become a playable character. She shares her last name with Sheena Fujibayashi from Tales of Symphonia, though they are not blood related. As in skits and alternate cut scenes it is explained that Sheena was adopted by Mizuho's chief, and thus given his last name. Furthermore, Sheena confesses that only those of elven descent can summon the Summon Spirits implying that Sheena is descended from elves. Suzu is quiet and very mature for her young age. Her Japanese voice actress is Taeko Kawata. Her English voice actresses are Lynn Eve Harris for the game and Michelle Ruff for the animation.
Development controversy and the birth of tri-Ace 
After seeing many of their games sell poorly due to a bad reputation of their parent company Telenet Japan, Wolf Team looked for an outside publisher and financier for the game (with Telenet Japan's permission). After negotiations with several companies, Namco was selected to produce the game.
The game is based on the unpublished novel Tale Phantasia, written by the game's total programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda. However, Namco changed many aspects of the game's marketing. This included changing the name of the game from Tale Phantasia to Tales of Phantasia, sparking a protest from Gotanda. Other changes included the removal of virtually the entire Dhaos backstory, changing the names of every playable character, and abandoning sprite artist Yoshiaki Inagaki's original character designs in favor of redesigns from manga artist Kōsuke Fujishima.
Game designer Masaki Norimoto was likewise displeased at how the game was positioned in its branding, and Joe Asanuma was upset that he was removed from his directing duties in favour of Eiji Kikuchi. These protests pushed the game's development back by about one year.
After the game was released, Gotanda, Norimoto, and Asanuma left Telenet Japan and founded tri-Ace. Many of the staff involved with the game and other Wolf Team members, who had backed up and defended the three during the controversy, also followed. Known members that left to Tri-Ace are Hiroya Hatsushiba, Yoshiaki Inagaki, Mari Kimura, Kenichi Kanekura, and Shigeru Ueki. The members that remained would eventually become part of Namco Tales Studio.
Meanwhile, composer Motoi Sakuraba went freelance. He began composing music for tri-Ace and Camelot Software Planning, while retaining his composing duties for Telenet Japan. He and Shinji Tamura continue to provide music for the Tales series.
Namco itself owns the copyright for the actual game, and has the rights to use the trademark. They have thus turned the series into what it is known for today.
Technical achievements 
Tales of Phantasia was the first Super Famicom game to be 48MBit in size, and was also the first to feature streamed audio voices, made possible by sound programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba. This sound engine was titled the "Flexible Voice Driver," and overcame the Super Famicom's small audio memory capacity by swapping short vocal samples on the fly. (This is also why .SPC rips of the game music for Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean frequently sound scratchy and garbled: The files only store the initial sound samples at the time of the .spc capture, rather than similarly rotating samples during the course of the song. The "Yume Wa Owaranai" song, for instance, doesn't play any of the vocals at all, and several other songs go off-tune not far into the melody.)
The original game soundtrack was composed by veteran composer Motoi Sakuraba, as well as Shinji Tamura; these two have been the primary music composers for the Tales series since then. Sakuraba and Tamura both have cameo appearances in the game. A player can meet Sakuraba several times in the game's different timelines and can get him to play the game's theme song on a piano, and the player can also view a recorded live performance of Tamura's concert. Singer Yukari Yoshida also appears in the game's later stages, and talking to her not only allows the player to listen to the game's theme song, but also includes an in-game advertisement for the song's CD single.
Also, there a few vocal tracks associated with the game or anime:
- "Yume-wa Owaranai" (夢は終わらない?, lit. "The Dream will not End") – First heard in the Super Famicom version, it was featured in the original animated opening to the PS1 remake (this opening was reused for the PSP port). It was performed by YO-MI (PS1/PSP versions) and Yoshida Yukari (Super Famicom version & GBA versions). The Super Famicom version was arranged by Hiroya Hatsushiba.
- "Hoshi-wo Sora-ni" (星を空に?, lit. "A Star in the Sky") performed by Yoshida Yukari. This is the PS1/PSP ending.
- "Yume-no Hate" (夢の果て?, lit. "The Dream Ends") performed by Masami Suzuki. Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION's opening song.
- Prière (“Prayer” in French) – performed by Masami Suzuki. Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION's ending song.
Yume wa Owaranai was removed from the western GBA versions.
Screenshots of typical battles:
PlayStation version 
Tales of Phantasia was remade three years after its Super Famicom release, for the PlayStation (PS1), selling 769,000 copies. The remake was released only a year after the second game in the series Tales of Destiny had been released. The remake runs on an enhanced Tales of Destiny engine and benefits from all the enhancements and refinements to the gameplay it had to offer. For example, Chester, who relied on brute force in the Super Famicom version, was given nine TP-consuming moves, which carried over into future versions. Also carried over from Tales of Destiny was the voice-acted face chats (skits), but now the user simply needs to push select on the world map to see them, rather than stand still for awhile on the world map as in ToD. In addition, it gave birth to many new features still seen (and being improved upon) in modern Tales sequels today, such as cooking, and titles. As in Tales of Destiny, the player has the ability to control any party member (as well as take Cress, the hero, out of the fighting party, something Tales of Destiny didn't allow with Stahn Aileron and his team). Many other changes, such as adding a fully animated anime style opening sequence, new sidequests, new spells, a new summon, a new playable character, and a more player-friendly battle encounter rate were also added. The audio was remastered at a higher quality with additional channels.
Game Boy Advance version 
In 2003, Nintendo released a Game Boy Advance port of Tales of Phantasia, selling 314,000 copies. This was the third version of the game, combining various elements from both the original Super Famicom iteration and the PS1 remake: the sprites and battle graphics were based on the PS1 remake, but the opening sequence, map and field graphics were directly recycled from the Super Famicom version.
The graphics of the European release of this version were brightened in comparison to the Super Famicom release, to compensate for the dark screen of the original Game Boy Advance, which was not backlit. The North American version's colours were not altered in this way.
All releases of the Game Boy Advance version feature a number of additions that were made for the PlayStation remake, but were absent in the Super Famicom original, such as an extra playable character, and the ability to combine two or more edible items into a single new one with different properties through cooking. Conversely, the opening song found in the Super Famicom version was removed, and the music is slightly lower in quality.
The Game Boy Advance version was the only version to be localized for North America (translated by Bowne Global Solutions) and released on March 6, 2006. Separate translations were made soon after for a European release.
PlayStation Portable version 
A port for the PSP called Tales of Phantasia ~ Full Voice Edition was released in Japan in September 2006 developed by Mineloader Software, selling 136,000 copies. This version of the game is largely based upon the PS1 remake, and contains completely redone voice acting which are now used for most story events. This version also features new battle sprites for the main characters with less exaggerated proportions, closer to those of later games in the series, such as Tales of Eternia. The PSP version also includes a grade system, also from later games of the series.
Tales of Phantasia X 
A fourth version of the game for the PlayStation Portable that is different from the original PlayStation remake. It was rebranded as Tales of Phantasia X (テイルズ オブ ファンタジアX Teiruzu obu Fantajia X ), pronounced Tales of Phantasia Cross, and was released together with the remake of its sequel, Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon, as part of Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X in 2010.
|This section requires expansion. (March 2009)|
The Game Boy Advance edition received mainly positive scores in the United States with a metacritic.com score of 76 based on 29 reviews.
References and notes 
- "Tales Central information page for Tales of Phantasia (Super Famicom)". Tales Central. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "Tales Central information page for Tales of Phantasia (PlayStation)". Tales Central. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "Tales Central information page for Tales of Phantasia (Game Boy Advance)". Tales Central. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "Tales Central information page for Tales of Phantasia (PlayStation Portable)". Tales Central. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "Tales of Phantasia GBA metacritic score site". Metacritic. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- Tales of Phantasia official North American website
- Tales of Phantasia (OVA) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia