Monday, April 19, 2010

Phantasie: Won!

Well, damn. I guess I'll have to play Phantasie II then.

The ending of Phantasie came at me all of a sudden. I had intended to get in at least one more posting before I won. This is par-for-the-course in some of these older games, though, which don't telegraph their final chapters the way that modern games do.

Many of the assumptions that I made about the game in the last posting turned out to be false. First, there are no side quests--what I thought were side quests were just steps along the path to the main quest (although there is at least one dungeon that seems to serve no purpose but to provide an interesting diversion). Second, there aren't a fixed number of Black Knights. Although the game repeatedly tells you there are nine, they must regenerate, because I must have killed 30-40 of them.

In your progress through the Phantasie dungeons, you meet the heroes of the pre-Nikademus era: the dwarven fighter Kilmor, the sage Filmon, and Lord Wood. Each gives you clues, items, and passwords to help you along the path through the dungeons and, consequently, the main quest. Your progress culminates with a visit to the city of the gods, where you meet Zeus himself, and then finally to the castle of Nikademus. [Later edit: 5 years after I posted this, an anonymous reader pointed out that you don't actually fight Nikademus in this game; you fight the Black Lord, leader of the Black Knights. Every time I say "Nikademus" from here on, I mean the Black Lord. I was under this misapprehension for a long time!]

The reason I was surprised by the ending was that the game led me to believe I had to collect nine rings along the way. But when the game finished, I only had six of them. Phantasie makes the origin of the "nine rings" concept quite clear and pays homage via the name of one of the game's villains.

Shouldn't it be J. R. R. Trolkin?

The odd-dungeon-out is the interesting dungeon of the Bleebs, where you encounter a multi-colored race that offers you a series of riddles having to do with which color tells the truth and which lies. I like it when games throw logic puzzles at you like this. The Bard's Tale, in retrospect, offered some fun riddles that I forgot to mention in my postings.

This turned out to be a lie.

Some of the encounters give you at least some ability to role-play, although we're nowhere near modern games in dialog and freedom of decisions. You can choose whether to rob a jewelry store, whether to pray to or deface statues, and whether to rescue a young maiden or an old man from lava. (To be fair, though, if you rescue the young maiden you can't continue in the main quest.)

Nikademus himself is pretty tough, repeatedly casting spells that do dozens of points of damage to all of your characters. Fighters barely damage him. The only way to defeat him--like the only way to defeat a lot of other big bosses in the game--is to repeatedly cast Fireflash IV.

The cloak makes the outfit.

The game lets you keep playing after the final battle--in fact, even after the final battle, Black Knights continue to roam the land and you can go back and defeat Nikademus again. In fact, you have to go back if you want to finish the dungeon and get the final scroll.

I guess Nikademus is multi-dimensional.

I made a video of the end game--no sound this time. Final accounting to follow in another post.


  1. So did you find the dungeon where you apparently have to have a minotaur in your party to continue, or were you able to find another way in that dungeon?

  2. Yes. I didn't have a minotaur, so I went and made one. He was only Level 1, so he died pretty quickly, but the sentry at the dungeon didn't care that he was dead--as long as I had one.

  3. This amuses me greatly "Do you have a minotaur?" "Yep" *thus* "...he's dead" "So he's a dead minotaur" "....fine. I hope you die in there"

  4. Just finished playing this game myself, but not quite completing it as I did't have enough spell points to kill The Black Lord, and even my best fighter only did 1 damage per round.

    This game is probably the oldest one that is still playable, also for the younger generation, since it's not too complex and it has an automap.

    It's a bit annoying that you need to enter an Inn inside a town to equip new weapons and armour, but at least you avoid the absurd situations in Bard's Tale where you can't pick up more items (even quest items!) because your inventory is full.

    I found that STR was the most important attribute as you really are screwed if you can't equip the best weapons and armour. And a decent CON is important for wizards, since Resurrection costs 1 CON and once it reaches 1 it's game over for that character.

  5. I remember seeing ads for games like this, Questron II, and Alternate Reality when I was a kid. I wanted AR so bad--it's a little disappointing to find out that, years afterwards, how much of the AR universe was left unmade.

  6. It's been a long, long time, but if memory serves, the Dungeon of the Bleebs has two of the rings. The last ring is for sale in Olympus.

    Killing the black knights permanently in the final dungeon requires having the rings, I believe.

    Oh, and the cost of training depends in part on Charisma score and in part on race. Elves and humans with high Cha are cheap to train until you get into the really high levels; the monstrous races cost 15K pretty quickly.

  7. This post seems to be missing from the "Index of Games Played by Year".

  8. Oh dear. I've been playing this one for a while, and I rescued the young lady instead of the old man from the lava. Does this mean I have to start over?

    1. The dungeons seem to have all reset themselves. How weird. I now have two keys, and I got to rescue the Uncle. Maybe it has something to do with those pools? They said something about renewing or changing the party....

    2. Yeesh. Now they're resetting themselves every time I load the game. It has nothing to do with those changing pools. I find my party is out of order, and I have to reform it to my taste every time, dropping four characters then adding them back in the proper order. Maybe that's affecting it, but I doubt it. Anyone else run into this?

    3. I believe there's some option in the game to reset dungeons? It's been a long time.

    4. This is without using any utilities. I entered the lizardman dungeon, left, went right back in, and it was all reset. Pretty sure it's a bug.

    5. After starting a new game, I've discerned that if you leave a dungeon, explore and save another dungeon, then go back to the previous dungeon, it will be reset. So... it seems you can reset a dungeon in case you need to rescue Uncle Wood. Just visit another dungeon, and when it asks "Would you like to save?" say "Yes". Then go back to Uncle Wood and the Damsel, and rescue away.

      I guess I didn't have to reset after all. But I wasn't too far into the game anyway, so no biggie. :)


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