RELEASE DATE: 04/91 – (JP)
The eight Phantasy Star II side-stories have mostly been forward thinking wastes of time. They were initially released for the Sega Game Toshokan online service in Japan in 1991 and essentially function as DLC vignettes, with each story focusing on one of Phantasy Star II‘s eight main characters. Ahead of their time? No question. Unfortunately, the bulk of these “visual novels” feature boring stories that fail to illuminate any worthwhile characteristics of PSII‘s cast.
All of that changes with Eusis’ Adventure, the first in the series that’s worth experiencing front-to-back.
(SPOILER WARNING: I’m going through the entire game in this writeup, and there’s nothing anyone – not even I – can do about it.)
Our story begins with an explanation of Eusis’* background. He’s an orphan who also happens to be the best swordsman in his hometown of Paseo. His sword skills are so formidable that he’s yet to be beaten, even by his own instructor. As such, Eusis suffers from clinical narcissism and sociopathic tendencies. He’s a jerk, basically. A prideful, arrogant orphan, which, I imagine, is quite an uncommon thing in today’s world.
Eusis has a friend in the orphanage named Dick, a fellow who truly lives up to his name. When we first meet Dick, he’s excited about a liquor bottle he’s swiped from the orphanage director. While indulging, Dick asks Eusis to give a mash note to Shelley, a girl in the orphanage. It’s poorly written, but Eusis delivers it to Shelley as requested. Shelley thinks it’s from Eusis (who fails to mention the note’s from Dick) and is overcome with joy. While her guard is down, Eusis steals her doll and leaves, like a true gentleman. Eusis then delivers the doll to the drunk Dick who proceeds to… I’m not sure; the English translation leaves Dick’s actions up to our imagination. Eusis swipes the alcohol bottle, then bribes the orphanage security guard with it. The guard downs the whole bottle, passes out, and Eusis leaves the orphanage. Brilliant!
Next: Eusis goes to the sword training facility to best the “new guy in town,” O’Conner. He beats his instructor easily first, but his duel with O’Connor ends in a proper smackdown. His ego destroyed, Eusis runs out of the facility in shame. He walks around in the rain, asking “what is my life,” until he bumps into a fortune teller. The eerie hooded figure can tell he’s distraught and tells him he just needs to work harder at his sword training. Eusis is thrilled that working harder is all it will take to beat O’Conner. The fortune teller then tells him to go train at Uzo Island if he wants to be the best. Not sketchy at all! Do everything the creepy stranger says, Eusis.
Eusis heads back to the orphanage to ask the director if he can leave and go train on a mysterious island that’s totally not a trap. The director not only agrees, but says Eusis shouldn’t come back until he succeeds. He then funds the trip, giving Eusis 50 meseta! So the director and the fortune teller are totally working together. Also, how old is Eusis supposed to be? He seems like he’s 18, but if that were the case, he wouldn’t still be living in an orphanage, right? I know this is technically sci-fi, but rules are rules.
Anyway, Eusis pays his fare to Uzo Island and then… eight years pass! In the blink of a sentence! Eusis’ photo is quickly upgraded from haughty teen to humble, confident adult, then suddenly, without warning, he’s back in Paseo.
Eusis heads back to the orphanage, overwhelmed by nostalgia. First stop is the storage room, where he picks up a membership certificate of unknown origin and purpose. Then he heads to the director’s room, and who should be there? The director and O’Conner! So they’re all in cahoots against Eusis!
Or actually, the director and O’Connor are concerned about Shelley. Apparently, Shelley was kidnapped while looking after the orphans (?!) and taken to Myra Tower in Scion. My, this story is taking some dark turns. I initially predict Dick as the kidnapper. Jealous from her love for the orphans and fueled by the director’s cheap scotch, Dick whisks Shelley away to a mysterious tower where no one can find them… or something. But no. My predictions fail again. Turns out Dick is weeping softly in the cafeteria. He asks Eusis to give Shelley a golden box for him. Eusis takes the golden box silently and with conviction, like all strong male protagonists.
Rather than run to the airport and head to Scion, Eusis jaunts back to the training center to spar with his old instructor. Naturally, with eight years additional experience, Eusis decimates him. As thanks for getting beaten, the instructor bequeaths Eusis with a tape that unveils a new “phantom” technique, known as the Tendou Zanhaken. Eusis then flies to Scion and stays at an inn where he listens to the tape. Listening is all it takes: the Tendou Zanhaken technique is now his, with the disclaimer that using the move “consumes the user’s strength.” Eusis might not heed to the arrogance of his youth anymore, but a sly smirk still crawls over his face. We’ll see about that, Zanhaken, he thinks. We’ll see.
The streets of Scion are lonely, save for a weapons shop that requires both a membership certificate (yes!) and 400 mesetas (no!) to acquire the Light Sword. Eusis wanders the streets, eventually finding trouble near Myra Tower. He makes short work of said trouble, and helps himself to trouble’s wallets. Many bodies and much currency later, he returns to the weapons shop, one Light Sword and a stick of dynamite richer, but morals very much in question.
No matter. The dynamite neatly blows open the entrance to Myra Tower, a maze that hearkens back to previous Phantasy Star II side-stories. As in the previous vignettes, you’re forced to wander the tower, get hopelessly lost, and eventually find the necessary items before you can progress. Once you grab the Gold Key (open Dick’s golden box and get Shelley’s doll!), the Card, and the Laser Gun, Eusis is free to move forward.
And who should he find? Shelley, brainwashed and beautiful, rushing towards him with a sword. Get him Shelley! He stole your doll and gave it to creepy Dick all those years ago! After a sad one-sided fight, Shelley crumples to the ground, broken. Eusis gives the doll to Shelley and she remembers everything, including her identity, the doll, Eusis, and her kidnapper.
Eusis runs up the stairs and shoots his way into The Final Room. O’Conner’s there, cackling wildly. He says he did all of this so he could finally destroy Eusis once and for all. Seems O’Connor’s got plans of world domination, and, well, having Eusis around would hinder those plans. The Final Battle in the Final Room commences. Eusis tries on the Tendou Zanhaken for size, and all the dice come out to play. One of these Zanhaken attacks does 100+ damage, but deals 20 HP to Eusis. O’Connor’s attacks are no slouch either, usually dealing 25-40 HP depending on his dice rolls. O’Connor’s no match for the technique, however, and he is quickly cut down.
Eusis is ready to kill O’Connor, when Shelley bursts into the room commanding him to stop. Cue the soap opera organ for another shocking twist! Can we get a clip of an organ in here?
Thanks. Turns out, Shelley actually came with O’Connor of her own accord. She’s an agent of the Motavian government and O’Connor is the governor-general of Motavia. She proclaims to Eusis that this was all “a charade to draw out your true power.” O’Connor, breathing heavily after his defeat, explains to Eusis that plans had been made eight years ago to make Eusis his successor. But Eusis was too arrogant, so O’Connor knocked him down a notch, with the hopes that he would mature and grow stronger. O’Connor even enlisted all of Eusis’ closest friends to make it happen. Just then, Dick, the director, and the fortune teller burst into the room (no Kool-Aid Man, though, shame). The gang’s all here.
O’Connor then explains that the kidnapping ruse was Eusis’ final test, to see if he was worthy to be an agent of Motavia. Eusis passed, O’Connor asks if he’s ready to be an agent, Eusis accepts, and… scene.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you understand why I had to share all of Eusis’ Adventure‘s plot points. This is hands down the most bonkers and best of all the Phantasy Star II adventures thus far. Every character is memorable. The story is ludicrous and filled with twists and turns. And everything wraps up really nicely, with Eusis’ story leading into the events of Phantasy Star II.
And now, a deep sigh of relief. Six down, two more to go.
COMPARED TO OTHER PSII STORIES: A
ON ITS OWN: B
* (The name “Eusis” is awkward to write and sounds like “useless” when spoken aloud. The translators – who otherwise did a fantastic job here – should have stuck with his official name, Yushi, or even Rolf, as the character is commonly known as the West.)