RELEASE DATE: 01/1991 (JP)
Kinds’s Adventure is the third of eight text adventure games based on the characters of Phantasy Star II. These eight games were only available in Japan and could only be played if you had the Sega Game Toshokan cartridge and subscribed to Sega’s MegaNet service.
When we first meet Kinds, he’s an enigma. We’re informed that he ran away from his hometown at age 14 for reasons unknown. Did he have abusive parents? Was he “in too deep” with the local gangs? The game doesn’t say. He’s also obsessed with completing his psy-gun project. Once built, the psy-gun can completely annihilate robots and other mechanical creatures. Neat, I suppose, and because this is an adventure game, the weapon comes in handy later. But we never find out why he’s building it in the first place.
As his adventure progresses, Kinds morphs from a mysterious figure into a common jerk. At one point, he fixes a local bar’s air conditioner for 200 mesetas (the Phantasy Star series currency), only to have the air conditioner explode and leave the bar in flaming ruin. Kinds’ response is to flee the scene and any cops that might be trying to find him. Classy! Another example: his sort-of love interest Sue risks her life several times over to save him, but when she eventually rescues him from being tied up in a warehouse, his response is “What took you so long?” Run, Sue. Run like the wind.
So Kinds isn’t particularly endearing. As for his adventure, well, there’s not much depth here either. The first half of the game is dedicated to building the psy-gun. The second half revolves around stopping a random sleazy guy named Melville from disconnecting Mother Brain. I haven’t played Phantasy Star II in over three years, so I’m unsure if pulling the plug on ol’ MB would be a good or bad thing. Isn’t she evil? I’m not looking up my PSII review, so feel free to correct/yell at me in the comments below. In the end, Kinds decides not to oblige Melville with Mother Brain, and he gets tied up for his trouble.
From here, Kinds’ Adventure dissolves into a tedious back-and-forth trek across the city of Lume. Once Kinds is freed from his shackles (thanks to the longsuffering Sue), he “races” to the shopping district, then to his house, then back to the warehouse where he was tied up so he can get into a car and stop Melville. After he finds Melville half-dead, it’s back to the warehouse to drop off the car. Finally, it’s back to the shopping district again to wrap the story up, call it a day, and leave Kinds behind forever.
If you’ve played any of these PSII:… Adventures titles, the menu system will look familiar. Your options are Move, Look (which doubles as Talk), Take, Use, and Drop. Occasionally, you’ll encounter an enemy and enter into a dice battle. The stronger the weapon used against the enemy, the more dice are dropped, the greater potential for damage. The fights certainly break up the monotony of Moving all over the map, but they’re not enough to turn Kinds’ experience into a true adventure.
Let’s be honest: these Phantasy Star II adventures are as niche as games get. They’re not for your average game-playin’ folk. They’re for Mega Sega diehards in Japan circa 1991*. They’re for Phantasy Star II fans who don’t want to write their own Phantasy Star fan fiction, so they play officially sanctioned fan fiction instead. They’re for those few crazed individuals who just have to play and review every piece of Sega software they can get their hands on, no matter the consequences. Do you fit into any of these categories? No? Then leave Kinds’ Adventure alone, forever, and pity the rest of us.
* I love Sega as much as the next guy, but only the Sega-obsessed owned a Mega Drive, a Mega Modem, a Sega Game Toshokan cartridge, and subscribed to Sega’s MegaNet service.