• Phantasy Star 2 for Sega Genesis
Phantasy Star 2 is an RPG by Sega, released for the Sega Genesis in December of 1988. It was one of the first RPGs for it. Phantasy Star 1 left such a good impression on RPG fans that many purchased the Genesis JUST so they can play this sequel. Many were disappointed when they found out that the famous 3D dungeons from part 1 weren't included. To my knowledge, Phantasy Star 2 is the first RPG to have a main playable character die halfway through. The only other RPG I've known to do this is Final Fantasy 7 with Aeris. And I hope these two games remain the only ones! It broke my classic gaming heart to lose them.
• Phantasy Star Collection for Sega Saturn (Japan only)
In April of 1998, Sega released the Phantasy Star Collection for their Sega Saturn in Japan. It's a compilation of Phantasy Star 1-4. As a bonus it also includes some official art from the games. Unfortunately, this game was only released in Japan. For some reason other websites like GameFAQs are listing a US release. Trust me, it's a mistake. If you don't believe me go do an eBay search.
• Phantasy Star Collection for Gameboy Advance
In November of 2002, the classic gaming community was shocked with an unexpected release of the Phantasy Star Collection for the Gameboy Advance. This was compiled by THQ; they purchased the rights from Sega. Unlike the Saturn version, this does not include Phantasy Star 4 (perhaps THQ couldn't afford to buy its rights). It's a shame because Phantasy Star 4 is the segment most people prefer. And because this Phantasy Star Collection is for a portable system, they added a nifty global save feature, allowing you to save the game at any time. Although I've heard it's a bit buggy and can cause the game to crash. As you can see on the scan of the box, the character they chose to highlight was Phantasy Star 2's Rolf. :) It suggests Phantasy Star 2 is the best of the trio (and I agree).
• Sega Ages 2500: Phantasy Star Generation 2 (Japan only)
Phantasy Star Generation 2 is a remake of Phantasy Star 2 released in Japane in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. It is volume 17 of the Sega Ages 2500 series. Sega Ages 2500 is a series of budget-priced, retro-themed releases by Sega, released for the PlayStation 2 console in Japan. These releases were primarily remakes of classic arcade titles with modern 3D graphics and new gameplay features, but also included 2D remakes (the Phantasy Star games) and ports (Virtua Racing, Bonanza Brothers). Anyway, Phantasy Star 2 got a MASSIVE overhaul with Generation 2. The graphics and music were completely remade. And might I say sir, the new graphics are AWESOME. The new battle animations are especially impressive. Unfortunately, Generation 2 was only released in Japan. Click here to view a zipped collection of 19 screen shots (919 KB). I also have a Generation 2 movie in Art/Media.
• Sega Genesis Collection for PS2 & PSP
In November of 2006, Sega released the Sega Genesis Collection for the Playstation 2 and PSP. Again, the classic gaming community was shocked with this unexpected compilation of greats. It's a hefty collection that includes 24 games: Sonic 1 & 2, Sword of Vermilion, Vector Man 1 & 2, Virtua Fighter 2, Altered Beast, Ecco the Dolphin 1 & 2, Shadow Dancer, Kid Chameleon, Comix Zone, Golden Axe 1-3, Ristar, and more. Ah, but what makes this collection worthy of mention here is the fact that it also includes Phantasy Star 2-4! Yep. Ain't that sexy? In addition to the games, this collection has bonus material, like trailers and interviews. Although I don't know if the bonus material contains anything for Phantasy Star 2-4.
• Phantasy Star 2 for iPhone
In July of 2010, Sega released Phantasy Star 2 for the iPhone and iPod Touch for $2.99 US. It's the same classic game. All that they did was overlay buttons over it for the touch display. Click here for some screen shots.
Note: Users of Android (the iPhone's big competitor) don't have to concern themselves about a special release like this because they already allow video game emulators in their market, and the available Genesis emulator is pretty good.
The events in Phantasy Star 2 take place approximately 1,000 years after Alis and her party defeated the evil Lassic in Phantasy Star 1. You play as Rolf, an agent in Paseo (the capital city of the planet Motavia), who has been assigned by the governor to investigate a recent accident that occurred at the Bio-Systems Lab, that has caused monsters to appear all over Mota. Eventually he and the other companions you meet throughout the adventure will be drawn into a grand struggle to save the world.
The battles could've been more exciting if there was actually more than one background. Most of the music is the typical bleeps and blops Genesis music, although some tunes can be catchy. The overworld theme sounds like the opening of a cheesy 70's show. Just like any other RPG from the late 80's, there's barely any dialogue so don't expect a complex storyline.
One of the things that makes Phantasy Star 2 stand out is its long, tedious dungeons. Heh, yes. ALL of them are long and tedious. What makes them difficult is their simplicity; every twist and turn looks like the other. And through the confusion you have to endure the usual bombardment of tough random battles. Like Dragon Quest games, you need to do quite a lot of leveling up in order to survive your dungeon ventures. You'll probably be coming back to my maps section for help very often. The Ikuto Dungeon is probably the most difficult I've experienced in any RPG. You have to coordinate through a series of pitfall holes.
Heh, it sounds like I'm bashing the game. No really, I do like it. Phantasy Star 2 is so strangely entertaining. The graphics may not look so great, but some of the monster art is quite impressive! I'm talking almost Chrono Trigger quality here. As an RPG from 1989 it had some pretty intense moments in the story! It's a far jump from games like Final Fantasy 1 NES. What I found most impressive was that the game had several animated sequences. For example, when Lutz awakens. Back then that was something really neat to see, because the most action competing RPGs had were sprites bumping into each other. And the game also has a few gorgeous illustrations.
So would I recommend the game? Sure, I would recommend it to fellow classic RPG enthusiasts. Phantasy Star 2 is a shining example of the glory of late 80's RPGs, possessing features and feats that inspired better RPGs in the 90's.
I purchased Phantasy Star 2 used through mail order from Funcoland in '97 or '98. I remember it was really difficult for me. After the first dungeon I said "Screw it!" and printed out maps from The Phantasy Star Homepage. I remember what I enjoyed most was Rolf's kick ass arsenal of techniques. I never beat the game. I'm pretty sure I got up to the Guaron Dungeon, then I lost interest. I finally got around to beating the game way late in November '07. As I said in my opinion, I think "strangely entertaining" best describes Phantasy Star 2.