RELEASE DATE: 11/03/90 – (JP)
Amia’s Adventure is the first of eight – Lord help us, eight – text adventures based on Phantasy Star II‘s world and characters. Released exclusively in Japan for Sega’s Meganet service (and later, Mega-CD collections of the Meganet games), each adventure focuses on a single character prior to the events of Phantasy Star II.
In Amia’s Adventure, the titular character is a bounty hunter out to capture the Motavian known as Hack. For Amia, it doesn’t matter who Hack is or what he’s done: there’s a price on his head and she’s fiddin’ to collect. The majority of the game is spent looking for Hack, collecting items that may or may not be useful, and fighting the occasional enemy.
Anyone expecting traditional Phantasy Star battles and exploration will be sorely disappointed: Amia’s Adventure is an old-school text adventure, through and through. The game takes place on a single screen that includes a picture of Amia, the game’s logo, a command list (‘Move,’ ‘Use,’ ‘Look,’ etc.), Amia’s HP and arrest record, and a large section for text.
The only time the screen changes is when you encounter an enemy. The music intensifies, and the logo disappears to reveal an image of the creature attacking you. Once you highlight a weapon from your inventory and ‘Use’ it, dice emerge; the numbers you roll is the amount of damage the creature will incur, and vice versa. These battles are sadly infrequent, but they’re a welcome change of pace from the constant moving and item-collecting.
I played and reviewed Phantasy Star II years ago for this blog, but I don’t remember much of it. Who was Amia? Did she play a big part in PSII‘s story? Did I use her in my party? After doing a bit of research, I discovered that “Amia” is actually “Anna” in the English version of the game. First question answered, sort of. As I ventured further into Amia/Anna’s world, I still couldn’t remember her personality or her motivation for joining my scruffy band of nerfherders in PSII. I do, however, recall her being in my final party that took down Mother Brain, so cheers for that, Annia.
If you’re a Phantasy Star II fan, Amia/Anna and the environments she explores will probably be more familiar to you than they were to me. Thankfully, even if you’ve never played PS II, Amia’s Adventure is easy to follow. The story is simple, there are no named characters outside of Amia and Hack, and there aren’t many dead-ends that force you to start over.
As a game, Amia’s Adventure is sparse. The mechanics are bare-bones, the music is funky fresh, but repeats itself into the ground, and the whole experience can be conquered in thirty minutes if you don’t get lost.
On the other hand.
As a piece of supplemental material that complements one of Sega’s largest games, Amia’s Adventure and all subsequent PSII text adventures are beyond forward-thinking. This sort of additional content – what we modern folk refer to as DLC – is commonplace and expected now, but in 1990? Unheard of. Were it released today, Amia’s Adventure might be the sort of disappointing piece of overpriced DLC that players rant and rave about online. Regardless, I still applaud Sega for once again fumbling into innovative territory, even if that wasn’t their intent.
Amia’s Adventure: C
Sega’s Uncanny Ability to See Into the Future: A