The story begins when the mysterious Dark Knights wipe out the village of Totus in search of two magical pendants, which are needed to awaken an evil sorceror. Fortunately, Cress and Chester, two youths from the village, are hunting when they attack, with the pendants in their possession. Returning to find their village wiped out they swear to avenge their families and set out on an epic adventure.
Tales of Phantasia combines traditional role-playing elements with an exciting battle system requiring both strategy and reaction speed. This battle system, featured in the Tales series since the game's original launch in 1995, allows players to strategically place and command a group of up to three characters, before taking direct control of the star of the game, Cress. Once the fight has started the player executes attacks and casts spells as they would in an action game, while the computer AI controls the rest of the group. The emphasis is placed on Cress, but a tactical choice and placement of allies can make the difference between success and failure.
As with most titles in the role-playing genre, Tales of Phantasia allows players to enhance and improve their characters in order to prepare them for the game's tougher challenges. As the player defeats opponents and completes challenges they earn experience points and accumulating a certain number will cause the character to 'level up', gaining more hit points and new abilities. As well as gaining levels, players can purchase and find new weapons and equipment to increase their character's statistics.
In addition to the usual upgrades, Tales of Phantasia contains a unique cooking system, a revolution in the role-playing genre when the game was first released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. Players can collect rare and unusual ingredients from around the world and combine them to create food and potions to aid their characters in battle.
The game is a hybrid of two different versions of Tales of Phantasia, combining the best features from both. It utilises the map and field graphics from the original Super NES game, but with the enhanced battle animations and sprites from the game's later remake.
The expansive world map in Tales of Phantasia will see players explore villages, caves, forests and fortresses while searching continents for a way to destroy the evil sorceror. The game is based on a huge multi-directional field map, which players guide their party around. When players walk into specific locations on the map the game allows them to enter that area and explore it in detail.
With twelve different "Tales" titles now available in Japan, 2006 will allow you to re-experience the original game that launched the series. Tales of Phantasia launches in the Uk on 31st March 2006 for the Game Boy Advance at the estimated retail price of around £30.
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