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Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey

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Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey
SO1
スターオーシャン
Sutā Ōshan
Publisher: Enix
Release dates: 19th July, 1996 (Japan)
Ratings: CERO: A
Platforms: Super Famicom

Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey is the first of the Star Ocean series developed by tri-Ace and published by Enix, made for the Super Famicom. It is also the first game that was developed by tri-Ace. It was never released outside of Japan due to the closing of Enix's American division, Enix America Corporation. Star Ocean's plot features emotional levels between characters, a Star Trek-like story.

A PlayStation Portable enhanced remake named Star Ocean: First Departure was announced prior to the 2007 Square Enix Party event and released in December of the same year.

Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey sold approximately 235,000 copies in Japan.

Gameplay

Star Ocean features the series' traditional real-time battle system, where a group of up to four characters battle in random enemy encounters random battles. The player controls one of said characters, leaving the others to follow tactics defined by the player.

In-battle, the player also has access to special abilities, which vary from character to character, by the use of Mental Points (MP). These abilites are categorized throughout the series in Symbology and Special Arts. Symbology refers to in what other RPGs is commonly called Magic, and has a wider array of effects than Special Arts, which, in this game, exclusively consist of damage-dealing attacks, each with a different range.

Storyline progresses normally, but it is heavily influenced by the player's actions, as several different characters are available for recruit, and their same recruit influences the recruit of other characters. Also, the player's actions will influence the relations between characters. Adding to these, there exist Private Actions, which are nothing more than small cutscenes and episodes featuring two characters. In the end, several endings are available, depending on all points above.

Story

Star Ocean takes place in S.D 346 and tells the story of Roddick Farrence, a young Fellpool living in the town of Kratus on the underdeveloped planet of Roak. Roddick is part of a group called the "Defense Force", a small organization that defends the town from thieves and robbers, which is composed by himself, his best friend, Dorne Murtough and the healer Millie Chliette. One day, a strange and very contagious disease begins turning people in the northern city of Coule to stone, and Millie's father, Martoth, heads to the town to try and use his Symbology to defeat the disease, but ends up becoming infected himself. When this news comes to Millie, Roddick, and Dorne, they set off for Mt. Metorx, located north of Coule, to recover the Metorx Herb, a legendary herb said to cure any ailment. With this, they hope to cure the disease and save Millie's father, as well as the population of Coule. While climbing Mt. Metorx, Roddick and Millie find out that Dorne as contracted the virus himself, and hasn't much time before turning to stone. When they reach the summit where the herb grows, mysterious lights burst from the ground and a man and a blond woman wearing odd clothes appear before them. They introduce themselves as Ronyx J. Kenny, captain of the Terran Alliance starship Calnus, and Ilia Silvestri. The pair explains the three Fellpool that they are from another planet, Earth, and after seeing Dorne's state, they invite them to help them finding the cause of the plague, and offer them help on healing Dorne's state. Aboard the Calnus, Roddick and Millie learn that the disease was actually a bio-weapon used by Lezonia, a civilization that has waged war against the Terran Alliance. However, it is a mystery as to why Lezonia would even launch such a biological attack on an underdeveloped world.

It was soon revealed that Fellpool blood could block out the visible light spectrum of the human eye and that Lezonia had used their blood to process a special, invisible material which could give them a massive advantage in the war. However, instead of fighting with it, they send emissaries to the Alliance Headquarters and reveal that they were being forced into war by a shadowy, powerful third party with a disgust for the Federation called "Fargett".

In the Calnus's medical room, Dorne has reached petrification, and is sent to his home by his request. The group then ask the Calnus' medic if he can find a cure to the disease and the party discovers that the virus' host is a monster on Roak itself -- Asmodeus, the King of the Demon World [Daemonium]. However, Asmodeus died 300 years prior to the spreading of the disease. Despite the possible court martial that could be dealt to them, Ronyx decides to go to Planet Styx and use the mysterious Time Gate to travel back in time 300 years and recover a sample of blood from Asmodeus. Upon getting there, the Gate accepts them and they enter into the opened time warp. However, Ilia, trips prior to getting into the Gate and Roddick helps her back up, not knowing that that space would cause them to transport to an entirely different place then the the one Ronyx and Millie ended up on.

Upon reaching S.D. 46, they arrive at Kratus, a village on the continent of Muan, Roddick and Ilia start looking for their friends, searching them from town to town. After searching Kratus, head for Haute, and knowing that, in order to enter the port town of Portmith they need a special pass, they sign in for a delivery job at the local shop, being aided by Cyuss Warren, a wandering Highlander. After doing said job, the party heads for Portmith, and attempt to find a ship that can take them to Autanim. Seeing that no ship will sail due to recent recurring pirate attacks, they ask for someone to take them to the Pirates' Hideout.

After defeating the pirates, the party finds a Lesser Fellpool girl held captive by the pirates and rescue her, though she acts very rudely and runs away upon reaching Portmith. The party then continues their way to Autanim, on the Astralian continent.

Still without a clue about their comrades, the party heads to Tatroi, and from there, to Astral City. There, they meet Phia Melle, captain of the Royal Knights, who is soon accused of treason, for attempting to kill Lias, a war-hero from the demonic wars.

The party actually discovers that a look-alike impersonated Phia, so they chase the look-alike in the Astral Caves in order to prove her innocence. They then find that the look-alike is actually a monster, and defeat it in battle. They return to the castle and prove Phia's innocence. In the next morning, Phia sends a soldier to contact the party, and tell them about the lore of the Eye of Truth, a relic of the Old Race said to show whatever one wished, and its location: The Purgatorium.

Upon reaching the Purgatorium and finding its hidden entrance, the party meets the Featherfolk Ioshua Jerand. He asks for help with reaching the Eye of Truth, in order to look for his sister Erys, who was captured by the Crimson Shield. The party accepts him, and goes into the depths and riddles of the Temple.

Upon reaching the inner hall, they find three strange entites of great power: The Runes. These temple guardians order the party to leave, after granting information on the location of Ronyx and Millie. The party then heads for the Kingdom of Van via ship.

Reaching the Ionis, the party finally finds Ronyx, who introduces Mavelle Froesson to his comrades. Mavelle then tells the party her story, that she has been captured and sold by the Crimson Shield long ago, and searches him in order to avenge the death of his brother. Ronyx then says that he found out that the Kingdom of Van is recruiting, in order to face Asmodeus.

The party then heads to Van Castle, where they contact the King of Van. The King says he must test them in order to see if they are strong enough and subjects the party to a trial, which consists of defeating a monster that resides on a dungeon under the castle. The party exits the cave victorious, and the king trusts it with the story of the Old Race, known as the Muah, and the Demon World and the only tool available to enter it: The Eye of Truth. The King then entrusts Ronyx with an Emblem of the Van Kingdom and the fact that they must collet information from all royal families of each kingdom about the Eye of Truth and the Muah, as well as recieve an Emblem from each.

The party then heads to Silvalant, whose King speaks about the location of the entrance to the Demon World, which is a deserted island to south of the city; to Astral City, whose King speaks of the location of the Eye of Truth, which is the Purgatorium; and to Muah Castle, in Portmith, where it is asked to rid the treasure room of a demon that has taken residence in there, and then given a set of phrases left by the Muah.

After this, the party returns to Van Castle, and shows the four emblems to the king. Then, a Demon World messenger appears in the throne room and alerts that Asmodeus has obtained a new weapon, and has destroyed Durss with it. The party then hastes to the Purgatorium, and finds the Runes once again, who lead them to the Purgatorium Inner Sanctum.

After finding the Eye of Truth and the true story of the Muah, the party heads to the desert island near Silvalant, and finally enter the Demon World. At its entrance, they find none other than the Crimson Shield, who attacks the party. Mortally wounded, Del Argosy tells the party of Asmodeus new plan: an attack to Astral City.

Using the Eye of Truth, the party opens a portal to Astral City, and helps the Astral Knights on defending the city. After clearing the monsters, they arrange a meeting with Lias, who gives them the Bladeless Sword, a powerful weapon left by the Muah.

After the events at Astral City, the party finally heads for Asmodeus' residence on the Demon World, and surprisingly finds a huge laboratory, which could only be found in a more developed area. They wander through it and find that Asmodeus actually makes research on monsters. Reaching a control room, they find all of his research data and finally encounter the Archfiend.

After defeating Asmodeus, strange soldiers enter the room and agressively communicate with the party, willing to obtain a sample of Asmodeus' blood. The party then obtains the sample they need and return to Roak. after farewells and goodbyes, Roddick, Ilia, Millie and Ronyx return to the present, via a portal in a cape of Silvalant.

Reaching the present age, the doctor of the Calnus develops an antidote for the petrifying virus, which allows the Roakians to be healed. Surprisingly, the third force behind the scenes of Lezonia, Fargett, attacks Earth.

Ronyx is then recruited to lead an assassination mission on planet Fargett, cooperating with the Resistance force against Jie Revorse, the superhuman dictator of the planet. Reaching Fargett, the party is ambushed by Fargettian forces, but partially saved by the resistance force. Yvena, the resistanve leader, plans a rescue operation to save the captured party member, and after its success, the party heads for the Revorse Tower at Vadgupe, by using an old tunnel at a Bio-lab outside the city.

The party climbs the tower, defeating Fargettian forces as they climb higher. At the top, Jie Revorse awaits and fights Roddick and his friends. Upon being defeated, the superhuman mutates into a powerful beast, only to be destroyed once and for all.

By defeating Jie Revorse, Ronyx and Ilia take Roddick, Millie and Dorne to Roak, and return to Earth, where Ronyx is promoted to the rank of Admiral.

Development

The game was made by disenchanted developers who had just made Tales of Phantasia for Namco, and many of its features were in Tales of Phantasia as well. They left due to creative disputes, and Star Ocean features many similar ideas. The two games also stretched the power of the Super Famicom to its limits, with a total of 48 megabits of data (the most that could be stored in a cartridge). Star Ocean also used an S-DD1 chip to aid in compression of almost all graphics and map data, meaning that it effectively stored even more data than Tales of Phantasia. In the "Virtual Reality Sound System," the "Flexible Voice Driver" was again used to overcome the 64kb limit of the SPC700 chip by swapping bits of vocal samples, and a surround-sound feature was added; there were even more voices than in Tales of Phantasia (although they had to be stored at lower quality to fit within the cartridge limits). Its soundtrack was scored by Motoi Sakuraba, and its script was written by Yoshiharu Gotanda.

Music

Like forementioned, Star Ocean's soundtrack was scored by the series' main composer Motoi Sakuraba. This game features tracks with a recurring tune that would later be used for Star Ocean: The Second Story's "Star Ocean Forever".

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