I continue to only vaguely understand why the colors had to be so bad in the DOS version of this game. I'll try to educate myself, but if someone wants to summarize it in a comment, I'll owe you one.
I think Phantasie is the first CRPG to introduce the convention shown in the above screenshot: hiding the map and only revealing it as you explore. No, scratch that. Rogue did that first. Well, Phantasie is the first non-"Roguelike" to do it, and the first for outdoor areas.
I believe we're also seeing the first "side quests." I received a mission in a dungeon to rescue a priest from some lizardmen. This could be part of the main quest, so I don't know just yet if it's a first. Either way, it's fun to see the elements that now come naturally in CRPGs introduced game by game.
A neat feature of the game is that as you explore new areas, you find scrolls that help explain the area, provide hints to your quests, and flesh out the stories. For instance, the scroll below talks about the cave where I am to find the uncle of Lord Wood.
Alas, it did not end well for the unfortunate uncle:
The game is progressively getting more difficult (although it hasn't really become "hard" yet), with battles against numerous tough foes, including spellcasters and legions of undead.
I have already slain four Black Knights, and from what the scrolls suggest, there are only nine of them. I suspect they do not stay dead, however. They are quite difficult to kill, and 8bitjeff's comment in my first Phantasie posting about needing the Fireflash IV spell turned out to be rather prophetic. It's really the only thing that does any serious damage.
My biggest problem at this point is gold. It costs thousands and thousands to level up my ogre fighter, dwarf fighter, and hobbit thief, and I never seem to have enough. Several of my characters are two or three levels below where they could be if I just had sufficient funds. I hope dungeons coming up bring more riches.
It's also fun, in a vaguely annoying way, to see how these older games protected themselves against piracy. The Bard's Tale would make you answer questions from the game map when you leveled up. Now as I explore the Phantasie dungeons, the game periodically stops to ask me questions from the manual, like this one:
The game makers, of course, didn't anticipate flatbed scanners, OCR, and the Internet.
That's about all there is to cover right now. I'm definitely going to continue with this one until the end.