Phantasy Star Online (PSO) is an online RPG title, originally released for Dreamcast in 2000. A bugfix/upgrade edition, entitled Phantasy Star Online ver.2, was released for the Dreamcast the following year. This version was also later ported to Microsoft Windows, but only released in Asia.
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II was later released for Nintendo GameCube and Xbox in 2002, featuring a whole new Episode II alongside with the original Episode I. Consequently, Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution was released for Nintendo GameCube in 2003, including a sole new Episode III with a changed gameplay formula, in the form of a card game. And in turn, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst, a port of the Xbox version, was released for Microsoft Windows in 2004 through digital distribution, featuring both Episode I and Episode II, and adding a new Episode IV, NPCs, quests, team system and server-side saving system.
The Phantasy Star Online titles are a sub-series of Sega's Phantasy Star series of games that began in 1987. With the exception of Episode III, the PSO games themselves are simple hack and slash type role-playing games where the player slays monsters, levels up, buys new equipment, etc. The online Phantasy Stars differ from the previous games of the series by offering a real-time – rather than turn-based – approach to combat, seamlessly integrating this with exploration and plot developments.
Communication between players is achieved via a combination of direct 2-line text entry, Symbol Chat and Word Select. As PSO servers support international co-operative play, the Symbol Chat and Word Select features encouraged players to attempt communication with others, regardless of language.
Symbol Chat allows the player to define a collection of symbols within a speech bubble, in order to convey an emotion or simple instruction. These symbols could then be invoked via a player-defined shortcut, or accessed via an in-game menu.
Word Select acts as a limited phrasebook, allowing sentences to be constructed through a hierarchy of menus. Once complete, a sentence is automatically translated into the configured language of other nearby players, thus bridging the language gap encountered in cross-cultural multiplayer games. (Word Select was removed in Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst)
Keyboard users can also trigger a number of gestures anywhere in the game by holding down the Alt key and pressing any letter, number or function key. Holding down the Shift key at the same time allows players to perform the gestures of the opposite sex, but only while they are in the Online Lobby.
The Xbox version (Episodes I & II) also allows voice communication via Xbox Live headset.
This is the plot-driven bulk of the game, in which a player or group of players fight through a number of levels spread over four distinct areas. Each area has a boss at the end. The four areas are (in this order) the forest, the caves, the mines, and the ruins. Upon defeating the final boss (whose name is Dark Falz), the credits roll and in some cases, an extra feature will be unlocked (eg. The next difficulty mode).
In addition to the main story, players can also take Hunter's Guild sidequests, which explores the lives of Pioneer 2's citizens, and further delve into the backstory behind the game. The rewards for these sidequests include a payment of Meseta for the job, the chance to explore the stories behind Pioneer 2's NPC residents, the opportunity to obtain special weapons that can't be found anywhere else (such as the Soul Eater), and of course, whatever weapons, experience, and Meseta you can get while fighting on these missions.
In all editions of Phantasy Star Online, normal mode is available to play at four different difficulty levels. Normal is available from the start, while Hard, Very Hard and Ultimate become available once the final boss of the ruins has been defeated on the previous difficulty.
Online Mode For Online play, instead of having the final boss be defeated in order to select a higher difficulty, there is a specific minimum experience level required to join or create a game. (eg. Players may not join or create an Ultimate game unless they have already attained Level 80) Blue Burst changes this up a bit by having level requirements set not only by difficulty, but by episode as well.
In Blue Burst, the games main story is broken down into separate missions, accessed via a special desk in The Principals Office or Lab. Each area of the game is divided into 3 or 4 missions that must be completed to progress the story. Items such as weapons and techniques are awarded after certain missions are completed. Other players are able to join the mission at any time, even if the mission is in progress or finished. (Though there are some cases where this is not possible.) The final mission in each area is a standard run through the area's levels to the boss battle, essentially 'clearing' the area and unlocking the next one (in the same style as previous incarnations of PSO).
Episode 1 The story of episode 1 is relatively simple. When the citizens on Pioneer 2 observes the explosion on Ragol, the Principle sends down a team of Hunters to the surface to investigate what happened. You play as one of the Hunters. When you reach the surface you find all of the local wildlife to be violent and mutated creatures with few signs of normal habitation. Also, you find voice recordings left behind by Rico Tyrell in small capsules. As you continue through the forests you eventually reach the local area around the central dome. In this area you find an odd pillar with engraved markings that once activated will glow and make a quiet noise. When you reach the central dome you find a teleporter that leads inside the dome where you fight a ferocious dragon. Once the dragon is defeated, you go deep into underground Ragol where there is a series of caves filled with full-bodied mutants. Farther in the caves is another pillar like the one in the forest. Once activated, it will also glow and make a quiet noise. Deeper yet into the caves is a gigantic crustacean called De Rol Le. Originally went by the codename of Beta 776, this giant worm was created by the insane Dr. Osto experimenting on altering life forms. This creature then grew too large for the containment facility, killed all of the scientists working there and then escaped into a nearby sewer line. This creature is the reason for the mutations in the caves and forests. It injects its victims with a type of sap from its needle-like whiskers, which mutates whatever it injects. Once you defeat De Rol Le you go deeper underground Ragol into a technologically superior type of underground mine. On entering these mines robots of all kinds attack you on sight. You can then deduce that something definitely afoot because robots are normally programmed by people. In one particular mission, you end up partnering up with FOnewearl Elly Person, who is in love with someone named Calus. She ends up receiving a letter from him asking her to meet him and is currently in the mines. Elly asks you to escort her there, and along the way Elly gets messages from Calus warning her to stay out of the mines for fear of her safety. Elly gets confused about this since he wanted to meet her and now changed his mind. A couple messages later, Calus seems to be having conflicted emotions about having her come see him or having her return to Pioneer 2. Once you reach Calus, you find out he's really just an AI inside a computer. Elly still likes him even though he's not human, and Calus explains that he fears for his own safety since something is corrupting all of the machines in the mines, and he can feel the effects already taking place on him. In a last ditch effort, Elly downloads his AI program onto a disc and then shuts down the computer hosting him in the mines, thus saving him. Later on, while exploring the mines with Dr. Montague and Elenor in search of Ult, you find out there were 3 AI's created in this facility. Calus, Vol Opt, and Olga. All three were developed with the Delta MOTHER AI project Dr. Osto worked on with Dr. Montague. Due to unknown reasons at the time, the project never got completed. Calus was recently saved by Elly before he succumbed to the evil influence and the Olga AI got moved to an underwater laboratory for an unknown reason. Soon you find out the facility's robot's went out of control due to the autonomous giant AI called Vol Opt, which has control over the entire facility's machinery. Something had corrupted Vol Opt's program and used it to make the machines attack whoever entered the mines. As you continue through to a deeper section of the mines you find another pillar like those in the forest and caves. It has the same symptoms as the other two when activated. At the deepest portion of the mines you find the terminal room where you fight Vol Opt. Once the supercomputer is defeated you find a teleporter that leads to a series of underground Ruins. Before actually entering the Ruins you go to an entrance hallway. At the end of the hallway is a large door. The door will be closed if you have not activated all of the pillars that were in the earlier areas and you will have to go back to find and activate them. However, if you have activated the pillars, you can easily enter the Ruins. Upon entering the Ruins you are attacked by D-cellular lifeforms of an unknown origin. As you go deeper it is revealed to you from Rico Tyrell's capsules and several piles of wreckage that there was a once great battle between the military and a great demonic creatures. It was in this battle that Healthcliff Flowen the military commander was crippled with a living wound, a type of living entity that slowly grew on him like a leech and would eventually kill him. Later in Rico's capsules she claims that you are not actually in ancient ruins but an ancient spaceship. The spaceship was apparently made to contain a dark entity known as Dark Falz. Dark Falz is the god of destruction and is reborn at the end of every millennium. However, to be reborn IT needs a host body to possess. So IT uses Rico Tyrell's body when she goes into the ruins. Eventually you find a teleporter that leads you to the inner domain of Dark Falz. ITs inner sanctum is a large lush green paradise with a large stone podium. Upon reaching the podium the ground turns into twitching corpses and Dark Falz will appear. When you fight Dark Falz on hard, very hard, and ultimate difficulty it has three forms. When Dark Falz is defeated, you can see Rico's soul being freed.
Episode 2 takes place after the ancient spaceship is discovered. You find yourself in the Government Lab of Pioneer 2. The Chief of the Lab asks you to go on a mission for the government to Ragol where they have found a secret Laboratory on Gal Da Val island. They want this island investigated. Before you can accept this mission though they need to certify that you are strong enough to go research the island. The Lab invented a virtual reality simulator consisting of two areas, The Temple area and the Spaceship area. If you can clear both of these simulators then the Lab deems you strong enough to go to Gal Da Val island. Each VR area has two levels that have enemies from Episode 1 and a boss at the end of Temple Beta and Spaceship Beta based on data from two previous Episode 1 Bosses, De Rol Le and Dragon respectively. De Rol Le's Episode 2 counterpart is Barba Ray, with a slightly different arsenal of attacks and resistances. The Dragon's counterpart is Gol Dragon, which sports 3 elemental breath attacks and the ability to replicate itself. Due to its massive size and the data required for it, it must be fought inside a giant computer control room and occasionally fades out and back in to add to the effect that it may be too powerful for the simulator to handle.
When you have completed the simulators you are allowed to go to the surface of the island. When you get there you end up in the Central Control Area to investigate, only to find out that the door is locked and that you need to deactivate all 3 security switches scattered about the island to open it. The island is divided up into three sections to explore; jungle, mountain, and seaside. You have to go to each of these sectors and deactivate the security switch by reaching the terminal at the end of every sector. Along the way to the terminals you fight many native and mutated creatures. You also find many computer terminals that once accessed will transmit data to Pioneer 2s Lab. You can check on this data whenever you reach a terminal from the Lab. Some of the data is about the native creatures and their abilities, but you also find voice recordings left by Heathcliff Flowen, the presumed dead military commander. You learn of how Flowen fought valiantly in battle with the military in the ancient ruins, but he was grievously wounded. He claimed that his wound was alive and that it was leeching his health away. The top scientist from Pioneer 1, Dr. Osto, treated Flowen's wounds. He said that Flowen would eventually die but that his wounds were one of a kind and asked him if he would consider donating his body to the government for testing and experimentation. Flowen agreed to it, knowing he would die one way or another and that he might as well use his body to help mankind, but as his final request he wrote a letter to his friends and family, and asked Dr. Osto to deliver it. The insane Dr. Osto never delivered it, he wanted to use Flowen's body for his own selfish purposes. He took Flowen to the underwater seabed laboratory to test and experiment with so they could create bio monsters off of his wound.
Once all of the Security Terminals around Gal Da Val island have been deactivated, you go back to the Central Control Area and the main gate will open. Past the main gate is a high security area full of robots and traps. Once you clear this area you find a teleporter that leads you to a plateau where you battle with an enormous mutant creature called Gal Gryphon. Gal Gryphon was one of Dr. Ostos bio weapons, just like De Rol Le, the crustacean from the caves that mutated the animals.
Once you defeat Gal Gryphon you get access to the Underwater Seabed Laboratory Facilities. The Seabed Facilities were an underwater research area made for the sole purpose of researching bio weapons. You find more voice recordings from Flowen and new data about the enemies that infest the Facilities. You learn more about Dr. Osto and Dr. Montague creating the AI Olga, an artificial intelligence, Vol Opt the corrupted supercomputer from the mines and Calus, whom Elly rescued 2 years prior from Vol Opt's hacking.
The new voice recordings from Flowen say how he was taken the seabed level and was starting to regret donating his body. The only conditions that he had donated his body for was that Pioneer 2's immigration was postponed and that a letter was sent out to his friends and family about his death. Dr. Osto never honored either of those requests. By the time Pioneer 2 arrived it was too late. They had come to the worst possible place at the worst possible time. The only thing that awaited them on the planet... was Hell itself. By the time Pioneer 2 arrived, De Rol Le had already escaped and had begun to mutate the animals, the seal on Dark Falz had already been weakened since it was the turn of the millennial cycle in which Falz was sealed 1,000 years earlier. The explosion that Pioneer 2 saw was Dark Falz spirit being awoken with a massive burst of energy destroying all citizens onboard Pioneer 1. A Dragon then went to nest in its remains. Rico went to investigate the explosion and fully broke the seal in the ruins, with Dark Falz taking over her body as host and corrupting the Vol Opt AI program with its dark powers causing the machines to go berserk. The creatures in the ruins were all created from Falz's D-cells, and Dr. Osto's mutant creatures begun to escape. Dr. Osto then performed the worst experiment of all... Merging Flowen's already mutated body with the Olga AI. Dr. Osto deemed this a failure and after what appeared to be a huge struggle destroying the underwater facility, threw him down the Test Subject Disposal Area. One of Flowen's recordings mentioned the disposal area as a failure site where they chucked down the failed Bioweapons down an abyss. This corresponds with his last voice recording which went as follows: "I wait at the bottom of this dark abyss for the savior of the red captive."
Challenge mode sets all participants to a set level with set equipment at the beginning of each mission (lasting only until the end of the mission), and requires the team to reach a predefined goal in a series of specially-designed levels that are modified versions of areas seen in Normal mode. The aim is to complete the missions in the shortest time possible. New level objects can include laser barriers, buttons, and so on, and sometimes strategically placed enemies/types of enemies. If anyone on the team dies, then the challenge is immediately terminated and the team is returned to the Hunter's Guild, so teamwork is essential if the levels are to be completed successfully. Everyone starts with a 'Scape Doll' revival item in their inventory, enabling them to die once without consequence (the harder the stage, the more scape dolls you get). Once all stages have been completed, players are given a rank based on their total time, with "S rank" being the best. If they achieve this, players are awarded rare weapons which can be customized with an 8-letter name which precedes the weapon's type ("*CHOSEN NAME*SABER", "*CHOSEN NAME*CLAW", et cetera). Challenge Mode is available for Episodes 1 and 2.
This is a deathmatch mode. In this mode, players are permitted to attack each other. A team may play while being able to attack allies (as well as monsters) to create their rules, or they may play one of several predefined sets of battle rules. It should be noted that SOURCE was known as the best Phantasy Star battler of all time. As well as Omni-Slash, Izlude and Fireboy.
Exclusive to Blue Burst, this mode essentially allows Blue Burst players to play the offline mode online, complete with Episode I & II's side story quests (Blue Burst lacks a true offline mode). As of July 27, 2006 there are two official 1-player quests available for the Blue Burst-exclusive Episode 4; "Black Paper's Deal" (requires the 'Photon Crystal' item to complete) and "Pioneer Spirit".
All games in the Phantasy Star Online series are multiplayer online games.
Unlike many online RPG games, all versions of PSO before PSO Blue Burst store the player's character, inventory and other information locally on a memory card or similar storage device instead of on a server controlled by the game studio. This method of saving was required in the Dreamcast release of the game, due to the limitations of data transfer with 33.6 and 56k modems available for the console, and to allow off-line play. This makes the player data more easily accessible to hackers, and as a result, cheating is much easier in PSO than it is in many other forms of online RPGs, such as MMORPGs.
Phantasy Star Online ver.2 is a video game that was released for the Sega Dreamcast and PC on 6 July 2001 in Japan, on 24 September 2001 in North America and on 1 March 2002 in Europe. This game was intended to be released as a patch for the initial Sega Dreamcast release, Phantasy Star Online.
In contrast to the first release, ver.2 offers many new features:
Although the US servers were terminated in 2003 while the European and Japanese servers continued. Later, SoJ told existing users that the game would soon be free to play. In order to play for free however, you needed to change the default DNS information with the game's built in web browser. However, after a few months after this announcement, SoJ announced that they would be terminating their servers for all consoles on April 1st 2007. However, the termination didn't go as planned, as the server switched from offline then back online a few times before finally being taken offline permanently.
Early in the effort to run unsigned code on the GameCube, people found that when playing PSO and connecting to a server using the GameCube Broadband Adapter (one of the very few games that use this technology), a regular PC could be made to pretend it was a server, thus fooling the game. After making the connection, data could be streamed back to the GameCube. Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus was released to fix this problem. The other incentive to getting this version was the inclusion of exclusive content in the disc, while beforehand this data was only in a downloadable form. Also, the East Tower and West Tower quests for Episode II was added in the Plus version. In the normal version, those quests were only available online.
1.'Central Dome Fire Swirl' is available offline in Episode 1
2.The GBA downloads in 'The Fake in Yellow' in Episode 1 are now available offline
3.'Seat of the Heart','East Tower' and 'West Tower' are available offline in Episode 2.
4.The Episode 2 Challenge Mode is now available offline. Users who have the original release of Episode 1 and 2 can only play Episode 2 Challenge Mode while online.
Episode IV is notable for being slightly less difficult than the other chapters of Phantasy Star Online. This is due to the addition of new, easily obtainable weapons and items that drastically boost the player's performance.
|Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition||Sega Dreamcast||Q3 2000 (Japan)|
|Phantasy Star Online||Sega Dreamcast||21 November 2000 (Japan) 29 January 2001 (North America) 23 February 2001 (Europe)|
|Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2||Sega Dreamcast||6 June 2001 (Japan) 24 September 2001 (North America) 1 March 2002 (Europe)|
|Phantasy Star Online Beta||Microsoft Windows||Q4 2001 (Japan)|
|Phantasy Star Online||Microsoft Windows||20 December 2001 (Japan) 2002 (Asia)|
|Phantasy Star Online Demo||Microsoft Windows||20 December 2001 (Japan) January 2002 (UK)1|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Trial Edition||Nintendo Gamecube||May 2002 (Japan)|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (ver 1.0)||Nintendo Gamecube||12 September 2002 (Japan)2|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (ver 1.1)||Nintendo Gamecube||29 October 2002 (North America) November 2002 (Japan)2 7 March 2003 (Europe) 14 March 2003 (Sweden)|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II||Microsoft Xbox||Q1 2003 (Japan) 15 April 2003 (North America) 23 May 2003 (Europe)|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution Trial Edition||Nintendo GameCube||June 24 2003 (Japan)|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution||Nintendo GameCube||27 November 2003 (Japan) 2 March 2004 (North America) 18 June 2004 (Europe) 3|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus||Nintendo Gamecube||27 November 2003 (Japan) 15 September 2004 (North America)|
|Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Beta||Microsoft Windows||21 May 2003 (Japan) 10 May 2004 (North America/Europe)|
|Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst||Microsoft Windows||15 July 2004 (Japan) 23 June 2005 (North America/Europe)|
|Phantasy Star Online: Episode IV Beta 4||Microsoft Windows||November 2004 (Japan)|
|Phantasy Star Online: Episode IV 4||Microsoft Windows||Q1 2005 (Japan)|
2 Contained a serious item duplication bug, fixed in ver 1.1 in Japan, and discovered before the North American and European versions were mastered. Owners of the older version have been able to ask Sonic Team to send them the updated version since 2002-11-25.
3 The GAME retail group had an exclusive deal, allowing them to distrbuite the game from the 11 June 2004 in the United Kingdom. In other European countries it was released on a different date, and sold everywhere from the very beginning.
4 Episode IV expansion pack included with the North American and European versions of Blue Burst
A couple of months before the SEGA servers (for Phantasy Star Online for the Gamecube) were shut down, Sega had announced that they will host a "free month," which would allow all users to log in, and play for free to enjoy the last month of activity.
The specifics involved that you would not be allowed to pay for, or create a new account on their servers after January 29th. Paying on the 29th allowed one to play during the month of February.
Nearing the free month, users started to notice that the free month would be only available to those who had already paid for the month of February, requiring one to pay for one month in order to get the "free month" for free. In this frustration, one user, Chaos, or possibly an elite member known as Highlander, found a method to crash any user logging into the servers, which would potentially corrupt any saved data. Users were urged to not go online by many fan sites (such as pso-world) to lessen the hardware problems users would obtain when going online. The cause was resolved to be a "crash bot," which was patched later on in the free month, running on Sega of Japan's login server. The method was later leaked after the SEGA servers went down. It involves simply sending a piece of data, known to cause a crash, while logging in. For some unknown reason, the servers allowed communication of clients during the log-in phase, which resulted in all clients logging in to be affected by this piece of data. That reasoning behind the attack had caused a small uproar, leaving users wondering what kind of server allows unmonitored communication at a critical phase when logging in.
After servers were shut down by SEGA, some un-official servers were opened. Current supported games are: Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast), Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2 (Dreamcast), Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II (Gamecube), Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II Plus (Gamecube), Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution (Gamecube), Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2 (PC) and Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst (PC). The unique thing is that these servers are free registration at no charge whatsoever (although some sites politely ask for a donation). Platforms supported are Dreamcast, Gamecube and PC. Xbox version of this game is not supported by any private server because it's integrated through Xbox Live. Since private servers are centralized, every version of Phantasy Star Online can connect to the same lobby (Some interoperability is not supported nor implemented). These servers are also region-free, so someone from Brazil using a GC version could be in the same server as someone from the US on a Dreamcast or PC.
As of late July of 2008, Sega removed the Hunter's License (HL) server from the internet. As a result of this, it is not currently possible to play Dreamcast versions other than NTSC/U v1, PAL v1 and PAL v2 online other than by using Action Replay codes to bypass the Hunter's License check. The Gamecube, Xbox and PC versions are unaffected by the removal of the server.
As of August 2008, it is now possible to host your own Blue Burst server via the Tethealla server software. You can find out more information about this software and how to host your own server at The Tethealla Server Project homepage
Why I Am Backing the ECHO's Campaign to Rid Our Streets of the Gun Menace; PM Joins Our Battle for Rhys LOVE LIVERPOOL? LOVE THE ECHO
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