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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Tale to Tell
The Tales series began with Tales of Phantasia. Unfortunately, it didn't make it over to the United States when it should've back in 1995, and that's rather sad because it is a good game. Those who played the smash hit Tales of Symphonia, will instantly notice a parallel and that the Tales series carries on themes just as Final Fantasy does.

The game begins...
Published on March 6, 2006 by S. Rhodes

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Version of A Great Game
"Tales of Phantasia" is the first game in the celebrated "Tales" series, and retrospectively this game shows that the series already had a lot of character going for it. The deconstructive elements of the plot, though more subtle than in later titles, are pleasant, showing the devastating reality of the doomed hometown and the "conveniently orphaned" teenage hero, as well...
Published on June 6, 2012 by USA LeonHeart


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Tale to Tell, March 6, 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
The Tales series began with Tales of Phantasia. Unfortunately, it didn't make it over to the United States when it should've back in 1995, and that's rather sad because it is a good game. Those who played the smash hit Tales of Symphonia, will instantly notice a parallel and that the Tales series carries on themes just as Final Fantasy does.

The game begins with Cress and his best friend, Chester, going on a hunting trip. Things start off great, but when they get home it's been destroyed, and Cress's family dies taking a secret about him with them. Cress now has to leave the village before the same forces come back. And he does so. His quest soon escalades into anything beyond his wildest dreams when he discovers the true secret of his parents and his own past. Ultimately he will go on to save the world. Your quest is also full of loveable and likeable characters. Something the Tales series has always been good at.

The game gets off to a rocky start, but it gets better as time goes on. The battle system is what's unique about Tales of Phantasia. An action/fighting style look at it, rather than the same old turn based strategy we've seen before. It's fun to battle because it's different than most RPGs at the time were. You play as Cress, of course, and you'll be able to select whether you want to control him manually or let the game control him. The surprising thing about Tales of Phantasia (and the Tales series in general) is that the AI is actually good. Unlike other games where the AI of your characters is rather dumb (say... Sword of Mana?), Tales of Phantasia has characters that may actually stay alive and look after themselves. There is also an array of special moves you an do. These moves can also be linked to your attacks.

However, there comes a point where battling feels repetitive. The game lags, so battles feel sluggish. It doesn't help that these are random battles either. There's little break to these random encounters. It's fun, but it's limited. Since this is the first game in the Tales series, the battle system just isn't nearly as fleshed out as later games such as Tales of the Abyss. It had a great concept, and it's fun at first, but after a while it gets repetitive. The game is also quite a challenge. If you want an old school RPG that serves up a challenge then by all means play Tales of Phantasia. Tales of Phantasia really delivers in terms of difficulty. Many RPGs of today babysit you to the point where you don't even have to take a moment to level up. Tales of Phantasia does not do that. You'll actually find yourself having to take a break just to level up. Most of the difficulty, however, is just due to the limitations of the battle system. It's just about impossible to dodge attacks, and some of the bosses are absolutely punishing.

The graphics and music are good though. The GBA may slowly be getting outdated, but at least the graphics still remain colorful and full of life. The music also sounds pretty good, although not as good as the original Japanese version.

The length of the game might be a problem for those who weren't RPGers in the mid 90's. This game isn't going to take you a whole long time to finish. Maybe 20 hours if you do the main quest all by itself. The good news is, like many of the later Tales game, it's got a ton of sidequests to do, and they'll keep you busy and reward you whole heartedly. Again, though, those who weren't RPGers in the mid 90's will probably find this to be a bad thing. Since sidequests are frequent, you'll find yourself forgetting what to do next. There's no quest log or ever any reminder of what to do next. Likewise, the game doesn't always tell you where to go next. When doing so many sidequests it can be hard to get back on track. So you'll end up having to talk to villagers a lot. This isn't a problem however. It IS an RPG, therefore you ARE going to have to talk to people.

For what it's worth, Tales of Phantasia is a really good game. Battling sometimes feels like a chore, but really... that's the only thing that keeps this game from being fantastic. It's great, just not perfect.

The Good
+Good Graphics
+Loveable characters
+Good storyline
+Interesting battle system

The Bad
-Random encounter rate is pretty high
-Battling sometimes feels like a chore due to some lag
-Pretty difficult for new RPGers
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Classic, February 5, 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
To start I would like to remind everyone reading this that a lot of companies are taking advantage of the GBA to re-release some of their older line-up. These games don't have all of the flashy graphics that newer GBA games have but more often than not make up for it in gameplay. But it gives those of us who grew up in that generation of gaming history a chance to re-live the classics in a more modern form. Besides, how many us still have an original NES that we need to blow on or jam something on top of the game itself to get it to work? I know I'm tired of messing with it...

Anyway, this game IS one of those classics, so don't expect great graphics. And the voice-acting, yes voice-acting, isn't that great. This game originally came out for the Super Famicom and never made it stateside. But you may know of the other titles in this series. Tales of Destiny (PS1), Tales of Destiny 2 (PS1), Tales of Legendia (PS2), Tales of Symphonia (GC) and Tales of the Abyss (PS2), this one being the first.

And if you're into role-playing games, than this would be a perfect fit to your collection. This game provides hours of questing, summoning, mini-quests and even cooking! While not as extravagant as Star Ocean, the cooking element adds a nice twist to the healing aspect of the game. Plus the main character Cress, can earn moves while leveling up and then in turn level up those skills simply by using them in combat. Once you have mastered some skills, you will be able to use combo skills from books that are found throughout the game.

Some of the dungeons are easy to get lost in, but for the most part it moved at a good pace. The battle sequences are side-scrolling in real-time, but you can issue commands when you want while the battle pauses, also similar to Star Ocean. The other three members of your party are computer-controlled, but the characters AI can be tweaked to your liking. Like if Claus is summoning too often or unnecessarily, you can tell him to save his magic. Oh and you can switch control to whichever character you want. There are well over 100 enemies to defeat and add to your monster list and for the item collectors you get a book that lets you know how many of items you have found within the game.

So all in all I was very pleased with this title. I love to have a good, interactive story to take with me and get into. I just ordered the newest one, Tales of the Abyss for the PS2 and can't wait to see how far this franchise has come. Oh and P.S., someone tell Square Enix to take a lesson from Namco and release Star Ocean for the GBA or DS! We're still missing that one in the States!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Version of A Great Game, June 6, 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
"Tales of Phantasia" is the first game in the celebrated "Tales" series, and retrospectively this game shows that the series already had a lot of character going for it. The deconstructive elements of the plot, though more subtle than in later titles, are pleasant, showing the devastating reality of the doomed hometown and the "conveniently orphaned" teenage hero, as well as featuring one of the genre's first sympathetic antagonists, Dhaos. The combat replaced turn-based battles with something a intentionally more akin to fighting games, and the soundtrack never seems to let up, almost always pushing a full intensity angle (the signature element of soundtracks by Motoi Sakaruba, who makes his debut here.) This is a good game, and I commend you for delving deep enough into this wonderful JRPG genre to be curious about it.

But if you buy this particular version, prepare to have your curiosity punished. "ToP" when it first came out was really pushing the limits of the SNES. On that system, the game looks wonderful, but with this port, the game is punishingly bright, seriously overlit, and the graphical compression . . . imagine how "FFVI" looks on the SNES, and how much worse it looks it looks on the GBA. Now imagine a game that looks much better than that, compressed much further than the GBA version of "FFVI". Yeah, it's pretty much a nightmare. The sound also takes a punch to the gut: the vocal theme song they were able to stuff onto the original SNES cartridge is no longer present, replaced by something far less memorable. The sound effects are embarrassingly bad, and the original exciting soundtrack, though more or less note-for-note the same, is rendered blunt, dull, and uninteresting by the GBA soundcard. Tob fair, this happened to a lot of GBA remakes, but none so bad as this case. On top of that, the brand new voice acting is . . . let's not talk about it. And considering the efforts of fan translators, (there are translation patches for the Japanese-only SNES and PlayStation versions) this translation really does not hold up, especially tragic considering this was the first way many gamers experienced "Phantasia". On top of all this, the fast paced combat, already significantly slower than any subsequent version, gets laggy when the goings get crazy. Understandable given the limitations of the system, but still a mark against it.

Let's be fair: this isn't a bad game, and this isn't even an unplayable version of an otherwise good game, it just happens to be a really, really bad version of a good game, like the original SNES release of "FFIV" in the US. It's serviceable, but you shouldn't be playing it if you can play the others instead.

However, considering you could just emulate the superior SNES version, or the *vastly* superior PS1 version on any modern desktop or laptop, (I just bought the new laptop I'm writing this review on. It's pretty cheap and runs the game just fine,) *for free*, I have to recommend you play those versions instead. Now, if there were a better version you could purchase, I'd recommend that, but Namco Bandai had no right to try and sell this awful version of the game, considering that, even with the limitations of the GBA, they could've done a lot better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Phantasia: A Tale of Time Travel & Revenge, July 23, 2007
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
Reviewed for Big Boss Games By: TRC

Tales of Phantasia is a tale of the past, present and the future.

For the first time in the USA, Tales of Phantasia is gracing our shores with a quest of revenge and time travel. This is the first installment of the "Tales of ..." series from Namco.

You start out as Cress, a young boy, and his friend go on a hunting trip, only to find that when they get back that their town is in ruins and everyone is dead.

This game has been the most fun I have ever had with GBA system. Tales of Phantasia has enough action and adventure to keep you glued to your GBA for 70+ hours.

The battle system takes some getting used to. You must assign your special attacks to certain button combinations, for instance: up, down, left or right plus B or B by itself will perform the special attack that you have assigned.

You can assign the same move to all the button combos if you want to. For standard attacks you will press up, down, left or right plus the A button or the A button by itself.

You can stop the action in the middle of an attack to give your team orders. Like you notice that you are almost dead, so you stop the action to tell your healer to cast a spell that heals your wounds.

Scores:
Graphics - They are great for the GBA, 8/10.

Sound and Music - The voice acting in the beginning of the game hooked me in for the long haul 70+ hours of musical bliss, 8/10.

Gameplay ? Battle system is perfect. Puzzles were tough enough for you to rejoice after you figured them out, 10/10.

Overall ? The most enjoyable game to grace my GBA, 10/10. Perfect score! Run don?t walk to get this game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Play the original if you can!, April 8, 2008
By 
M. Diaz "Smoke" (St. Amant, LA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
It is fun. It is different. It has an interesting story. It seems great except for a couple of things. For one thing the combat is laggy. Sure you can get used to it as you play the game, but if you sit down and actually play the original for the SNES, or watch videos of it you will see how completely different the combat feels and even looks compared to this one. The characters look dubbed down from the original game. Actually the entire game looks worse than the orignial. Did it have to be tha way? I mean is the GBA incapable of matching the graphics of the SNES? I doubt it! That's why i feel like this game was rushed and not taken care of. The developers had time to add extras, but did not have time to make the game look and play as good as the orignial? Cmon now. If you haven't played the original you won't even care about all of this. I am telling you though, if you want to really play the first "legends of" game, then go out of your way to download an emulator and play the original game in all it's glory on your home computer. Or even better, buy yourself a famicom and buy the Japanese import. You can read translation guides for the guide of the internet as you play to see what is going on. Even that I believe would be more genuine then this sad rushed game.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Port! What took so long?!, April 5, 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
Tales of Phantasia really should have been exported when it was originally released. However, releasing it for the GBA has really been worth the wait. (Thank you, Nintendo, for re-releasing so many great games from Atari-SNES for the GBA! I love you!)

Had it been released originally, I would have definetly snatched this up. Considering all the kids (now adults) I knew at the time who also played RPG's, I know that this would have been ranked as one of thier favorites.

Just to prove my point, I called the friends I could get a hold of and told them to buy this game. They're pretty enthusiastic. ^_^

Don't listen to the young'uns who can't handle anything not rendered in 3D: Tales of Phantasia may not be the most gut-ripping, jaw dropping, adrenaline pumping game around, but it makes up for it in pure fun and good old-fashioned 2D RPG goodness.

Add voice overs, nice (and cute) main character sprites and animations, decent music, good graphics (wonderful for the time it came out; aged pretty well!) and real time battles to the mix, and you start wondering why more games didn't use this formula. It really brings the story and the games itself to life.

the game itself can get a little buggy--

-occasional pops and skips in the sound in some areas at one point of the game

-pressing the A button in front of an NPC didn't do anything, once. Left, came back, worked the second time.

However, I'm a forgiving person. Porting things to the GBA isn't nearly as clean a process as people seem to think it is. It also wasn't nearly enough to stop me from playing.

5 stars, for being impossible to put down for the past 3 days.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great then, and great now, June 20, 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
Tales of Phantasia spawned a whole series of games back in the 90's, though it never reached the kind of household name popularity like Final Fantasy or even the Mana series. That aside, Tales of Phantasia lives again for the GBA, and be glad it does, for it was great then, and it's still great now. Playing as a teenager named Cress, you are on a pretty standard RPG mission that features pretty standard RPG elements. Don't knock it for that though, considering this was originally first released back in the early 90's, and despite many of the RPG cliches, Tales of Phantasia is still fun to play. The game's battle system isn't the typical turn based style either, but instead a real time, action themed style that puts you in direct control of Cress. This, along with the incredibly lengthy quest, imaginitive dungeons, and plenty of secrets and side quests, are reason enough to pick up Tales of Phantasia. The only downsides to the game are the incredible amount of random battles, and the game's graphics really show their age. All that aside, Tales of Phantasia is a smashing, classic RPG that is worth picking up for your GBA if you missed out on it when it first came out, and it's lengthy quest alone will make RPG nuts happy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTABULOUS!!!, March 24, 2006
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
This is a great game! You can battle monsters without the use of menus. Cool! You can equip weapons, shields, accessories,etc. that you have. Pretty good, right? You can also cook stuff that restore health and mana points(points needed for skills). This is very similar to "Tales of Symphonia", which is excellent. The gameplay is good. So is the sound. The graphic is a little no good,but it doesn't really affect the game that much.

This game is worth the money. Check it out at once!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL MASTERPIECE!!!, April 20, 2006
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
This is a great game! You can battle monsters without the use of menus. Cool! You can equip weapons, shields, accessories,etc. that you have. Pretty good, right? You can also cook stuff that restore health and mana points(points needed for skills). This is very similar to "Tales of Symphonia", which is excellent. The gameplay is good. So is the sound. The graphic is a little no good,but it doesn't really affect the game that much.

This game is worth the money. Check it out!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Game. Must have beat it a 100 times ..., July 2, 2014
This review is from: Tales of Phantasia (Video Game)
Great Game. Must have beat it a 100 times or so, It really just boils down to the main story line. now i liked the battle system, the characters, items and free roaming the map, but it takes a long time to level up even when battling the high bosses. but i give it 5 stars. anyone looking to buy this game i would recomend it.
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Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia by Nintendo (Game Boy Advance)
$69.99
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