About Tales of Phantasia

History

Front of the box for the SNES version

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Back of the box for the SNES version

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TALES OF PHANTASIA for SNES

Tales of Phantasia is a Super Nintendo RPG by Namco that came out in Japan in 1995. In January of 2001, the fan based English translation was released by DeJap Translations. This made it possible for us to experience Tales of Phantasia completely in English via video game emulation. Scan of GamePro previewTales of Phantasia was the first RPG for the SNES to feature a full J-Pop song and tons of voice acting. Not only that, the battle system is none like anyone had experienced before. They take place in a separate battle sequence like in any other RPG, but it plays like a 2D version of Secret of Mana. Tales of Phantasia was never officially released in North America because they felt RPGs weren't popular enough at the time and that it wouldn't be worth it. I have a scan from the November 1995 issue of GamePro (click left thumbnail to view) talking about Tales of Phantasia. I suppose a North American release was considered at one point.

Front of the case for the Playstation 1 version

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TALES OF PHANTASIA for PSX

In December of 1998, Namco re-released Tales of Phantasia for the Sony Playstation in Japan. On Christmas Day in December of '07, the unofficial fan based English translation was released by throughhim413 and Gemini of Absolute Zero Translations. However, it wasn't 100% translated. On December 31, 2012, Phantasian Productions released their 100% complete English translation. Anyway, Namco gave this PSX version a huge overhaul! Practically everything was remade: graphics, animation, soundtrack, etc. They even recreated the world map in full 3D, and remade many of the town maps! Suzu becomes a playable character, Chester has techs, Klarth gets the summon Pluto instead of Chameleon, Arche's many annoying death spells are replaced with attacking spells, Mint gets a new voice actress, new side-quests, and all new sprites for all characters! If you wish to view screen shots from this version, click here, and here.

Front of the box for the GBA version

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TALES OF PHANTASIA for GBA

In August of 2003, Namco re-released Tales of Phantasia for the Game Boy Advance in Japan. Because of the success of the recently released "Tales of" titles, Namco finally decided to officially release this game in North America/Europe three years later in March 2006 (sheesh, talk about late). This version is a mix of both SNES and PSX versions, with many features found in the PSX version in the SNES graphic package! Klarth can summon both Chameleon and Pluto, the character sprites, skills, Suzu, etc. are taken from the PSX version, and it features all new side-quests not found in either the SNES or PSX versions. If you're curious what Nintendo chose to advertise as Tales of Phantasia's highlights, click here for their commercial "fact sheet".

TALES OF PHANTASIA: The Animation

Group art from The AnimationAs most of us are into anime, it's a dream come true whenever an anime series is created based on a popular RPG. In early 2005, almost a decade after Tales of Phantasia's release, the RPG community was shocked to hear about a Tales of Phantasia anime series in the works: Tales of Phantasia: The Animation (a.k.a. the Tales of Phantasia OVA). Yup, it's true. The expectations of RPG fans have been met, this anime series is very well made and absolutely gorgeous. The only unfortunate thing about it is that it's a very short series with only 4 episodes. Well that's all I'll say about it here. I have a whole section in this site dedicated to Tales of Phantasia: The Animation, click here to visit it.

The front of the box for the PSP version

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TALES OF PHANTASIA for PSP (Japan-only)

Wow, Namco just keeps on milking Tales of Phantasia! In September of 2006, they re-released Tales of Phantasia for the Sony PSP with the title "Tales of Phantasia ~ Full Voice Edition". This version of the game is largely based upon the PS1 release, and contains completely redone voice acting which are now used for most story events. There's also new battle sprites for the main characters that are more on par with those of later games in the series, such as Tales of Eternia. The PSP port also includes a grade system, also from later games of the series. Click here to view some screen shots from the game. So is this version going to see a North American release? Hmm, unlikely! Nintendo has its greedy hands on the license for the English version of Tales of Phantasia.

Screen shots from the iOS version

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TALES OF PHANTASIA for iOS

In January '14 the iOS version of Tales of Phantasia was released. It's a port of the PlayStation 1 version. This version has touch-screen controls, achievements and leader boards, as well as voice-overs and revamped animations. You can find Tales of Phantasia in the iTunes AppStore free-to-play. The catch is that it includes in-game purchases.

Storyline

Once upon a time in a fantasy world plagued by war, a group of four brave souls challenge the source of all the evil. It seemed all was lost until one of the heroes defeated the enemy with a powerful spell. The four heroes were able to seal this great evil to be forgotten forever - or so they thought. The next scene in this story takes place years later with the children of those who sealed away the great evil. The sealing was accomplished by combining the power of two pendants. A foolish dark knight is somehow tricked into stealing the pendants, to break the seal that conceals the great evil. He defeated the heroes and kidnapped their children. With the two pendants in hand, he broke the great evil's seal. A remaining hero sends the children to another time so that, maybe, the world will have another chance. What will become of the children? How could they possibly defeat someone that their parents could only seal away? Who is the great evil and what is his purpose? Only time will tell as they venture on into several strange, yet familiar worlds.

Battle System

In Tales of Phantasia, you have the typical random battles like in any RPG but they're a little different. The battles are real-time yet with role-playing features (like in the Seiken Densetsu series). Each character has their own special skill. Cless (or "Cress" of the GBA version) has his real-time fighting skill, Mint can use healing magic (also called Mana), Klarth (or "Claus" of the GBA version) can summon spirits, and Arche can use offensive magic. Do you see a pattern? Cless is the only one with special fighting attacks while everyone else can use magic. At default, the characters automatically cast their magic randomly in battle but you also have the option to disable any spell from being randomly cast so you can save their TP (task points). You have complete control over Cless but you can pause the battle anytime to tell one of your characters to cast a spell or use an item.In-game sprite of Dhaos, Cless' arch enemyThere are several different ways you can have Cless attack. He learns tons of special attacks throughout the game but he can only use 4 in battle. And like with magic, his special attacks consume TP as well. If you have Cless attack while he is far away then he will run towards the enemy, hit them, and run back. If you press down while he runs then he'll stab the enemy. If you have Cless walk up to the enemy then he can attack them several times. Cless's 4 special attacks are split up into 2 categories: long-range and short-range. When Cless is far away from the target, press B to initiate one special attack and press Up + B to initiate the other. And when Cless is close to the enemy then those same buttons will initiate his short-range attacks. And to run away from a battle, get Cless to one of the ends of the battlefield and press either the L or R button (depending on which side of the battlefield it is).

My Opinion

On the Super Nintendo version

Tales of Phantasia is definitely up there with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6! The graphics and animation is so good that you'd swear you're playing a Playstation game. The songs are so good and so beautiful that you might catch yourself visiting the main screen's sound room quite often. The storyline is so interesting and involving. The battles are extremely fun! The battle graphics will make you piss in your pants. With Tales of Phantasia excelling in every area, you'll have a hard time stepping away from it. The game has one thing few SNES RPGs have: detail. If you walk toward a band in a town, the game's music will slowly transition to the band's music as you walk closer to them. As you walk through a cave you'll see lizards and bats moving around. When you walk across the side of a river or lake, you'll see your reflection walking with you. Birds are always flying by - even during battle! The songs blend so perfectly with every moment. Tales of Phantasia is just so amazing! It's overall beauty is so blissful and relaxing. I highly recommended playing it. I'll repeat, Tales of Phantasia is definitely up there with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6! Seriously. Even today I still see gaming communities raving about it.

On the Playstation (PS1) version

I'm not done playing this version yet, but so far it's absolutely fantastic. The graphics and animation are gorgeous. The remixed soundtrack is great (although I'm playing with a PSX emulator so it's not coming out perfect). In conclusion (so far), I can easily say this is the best version of Tales of Phantasia available. On a side note, everyone and their mother has been asking me where they can download this game. For starters, I have the English patch in the Downloads section. Under it I included directions on where you can download the game.

On the Game Boy Advance version

Like most SNES to GBA ports, this version is watered-down! The lesser quality is most obvious when you view the battle animations and hear the soundtrack. Tales of Phantasia's soundtrack is one of my most favorites. To hear it watered-down is a traumatizing experience! To make matters worse, they removed the Sound Menu screen. The battles feel slower. They shouldn't have used the battle sprites from the PSX version because I think they're too big for GBA's screen. They look bloated and they irritate me. The English release removed the J-Pop song and credits from the opening. The bland English voice acting doesn't get my adrenaline pumping at all. On my GBA, Martel's voice in the beginning snaps mute after two words. However, that bug isn't present with GBA emulation. Funny, you would think emulation is the one to most likely have bugs. Several aspects of background detail was removed, like birds no longer fly in the background and your reflection no longer shows in water. And then there's the usual Nintendo censorship of all hints of sex and violence. Overall, I am extremely dissatisfied with this version. The only good thing about it is that it's a portable version of Tales of Phantasia that can be obtained easily.

Other Games

DIRECT SEQUELS (Japan-only)

  • NARIKIRI DUNGEON (GBC) - Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon was released for Game Boy Color in November of 2000 in Japan. It has a turn-based battle system that look similar to Tales of Phantasia. The dungeons in the game are randomly generated, similar to the Mysterious Dungeon game series.
  • SUMMONER'S LINEAGE (GBA) - Tales of the World: Summoner's Lineage is another sequel to Tales of Phantasia. It is a turn-based strategy RPG released on GBA in 2003 in Japan, featuring Klarth's descendant.

PREQUEL

  • TALES OF SYMPHONIA (GC/PS2) - This is the title released in North America in the summer of 2004 (Gamecube only). Official sources have confirmed that it's set in the same universe as Tales of Phantasia, and fans have found many references to the SNES classic in ToS, which leads many to believe that Tales of Symphonia is set about 4,000 years before Tales of Phantasia.

CROSS-OVERS (mostly Japan-only)

  • TALES OF ETERNIA/ TALES OF DESTINY II (PSX) - In this game, Cless is featured in a cameo battle in the coliseum. The name Tales of Destiny II is only for the North American release. The real Tales of Destiny 2 released on PS2 does not feature cameos from Tales of Phantasia.
  • TALES OF FANDOM VOL.1 (PSX) - A puzzle game featuring various characters from the Tales series, including Chester, Cless, Ami, etc.
  • NARIKIRI DUNGEON 2 (GBA) - Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2 was released in October of 2002 in Japan. It features all characters from Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Desinty, and Tales of Eternia. The battle system of Nakiri Dungeon 2 is similar to Tales of Eternia's battle system, but only with three characters instead of four.
  • NARIKIRI DUNGEON 3 (GBA) - Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 was released in 2005 in Japan. Same as part 2, except Nakiri Dungeon 3 also includes all characters from Tales of Destiny 2 and Tales of Symphonia, and 2 characters from Tales of Rebirth. The battle system is similar to Narikiri Dungeon 2, except that its movement system in dungeons is similar to a strategy game.