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Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (ファンタシースターオンライン エピソード1&2, Fantashī sutā Onrain Episōdo 1&2) is an online role-playing video game published by Sega for the Nintendo GameCube and Xbox. The game is an expanded version of Phantasy Star Online.
An upgraded version titled Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus was released for the Nintendo GameCube on November 27, 2003 in Japan and on September 15, 2004 in North America. This version added various quests to Offline Mode that were originally available exclusively to Online Mode, while also fixing certain bugs and exploits that could be used in the previous release, such as being able duplicate various items from one's inventory.
Its focus is online gameplay with a strong offline storyline, offering diverse online and offline gameplay. Offline mode is available for single player and multiplayer. Multiplayer split-screen mode can be played with up to four players. Playing online on Xbox required an active Xbox Live account. An Xbox Live account saved onto the system was also required in order to play offline. However, it did not need to be active for offline play. Official servers have since been taken offline, as well as the original Xbox Live server, meaning one can no longer make an Xbox Live account to play the game offline.
A new mode titled Challenge mode sets all players 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 goal 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. Each player 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 one receives). Once all stages have been completed, players are given a rank based on their total time, with "S rank" being the best. If players achieve this in online mode, the players will be awarded rare weapons which can be customized and named.
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II includes the original story along with a sequel titled Episode II. Episode II takes place after the ancient spaceship is discovered. The Chief of the Government Lab of Pioneer 2 asks the hunters to go down to Ragol and investigate a secret laboratory that had recently been discovered on Gal Da Val Island. Before leaving on the mission, however, the player characters are required to complete a pair of training simulations. The first simulates a maze of ruins, the second a space station, and both stages feature enemies based on those seen in Episode 1.
Once the training is complete, the hunters are sent to the planet's surface with the task of finding the security terminals that grant access to the facility. The search is broken up into three stages: a seaside region, a mountain region, and a jungle region, in no particular order. Along the way, the hunters come across a number of data terminals, which contain details about the new enemy creatures that they are fighting as well as several entries by Heathcliff Flowen. A military commander from the Pioneer 1 colony, Heathcliff, was injured while fighting alongside Rico and had apparently become infected by the life form that had turned the local wildlife into monsters. Believing himself to be dying, he admitted his body to the custody of one Dr. Osto for research purposes.
Having deactivated the security terminals, the hunters finally manage to get inside and begin investigating the facility, which is home to its own automated security system as well as a new set of monsters. The investigation turns up more of Heathcliff's entries, including more details on the events that led to the colony's destruction. Rather than warning anybody about the hazard the life form posed, Dr. Osto used samples from Heathcliff's wound to create mutant creatures and other biological weapons, eventually merging Heathcliff's body with an artificial intelligence and allowing it to be consumed by the wound. The result became Olga Flow, the final monster encountered in the game.
Production and releases
- "PSO Episode I&II Plus". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-05.