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Hacks & Homebrews: Phantasy Star IV Hacks

How to Save Alys’ Life, with a Game Genie!

Recently, I wanted to revisit the Algo solar system, but I wanted to make the experience new somehow. I looked for hacks of Phantasy Star IV (PSIV), but the most interesting new mode of gameplay that I found does not involve a hack! There is a trick to keep Alys alive and part of the group for the whole quest, using only a Game Genie! For anyone familiar with PSIV, this is a big deal, because she normally dies early on, with heart-breaking cut-scenes and music!

hacks-homebrews-psiv-hacks-1The Game Genie trick works by letting us avoid the plot-points that normally lead to Alys’ death. Just two codes are needed: one to walk through walls, and one to turn off random battles. The walk-through for the trick is also needed, to know the sequence of events that can save Alys’ life! (Click here for the guide, written by someone called Kaloes.) This can all be done on real hardware but unfortunately, the cartridge will not save when attached to a Game Genie. So emulation is preferable, just to be able to save!

This trick also lets us choose who to keep in the rest of the group, so I kept all my favorite characters throughout the whole quest! Chaz and Wren are always there, while I let Alys, Rune, and Raja stay together by avoiding the plot-points that normally make them leave the group!

Although Alys normally dies on the first planet, Motavia, I found the second planet, Dezolis, offering her some upgraded weapons! First, the town of Jut sells a Laconia Slasher as its most expensive item! Later, the Garuberk Tower offers the Moon Slasher as its most valuable item!  Since Alys is never supposed to set foot on this planet, it was puzzling to find weapons that seemed intended for her, exclusively! I later realized that these weapons can also be used by Kyra, and they are really intended for her in the normal plot-line. But since Kyra was not in my group, the weapons seemed to be only for Alys! It is awesome and a little surprising that she can use these weapons, as she merges very seamlessly into the remainder of the quest.

At the end, while level-grinding in The Edge, when low on health etc., I would warp to Alys’ house in the town Aiedo, to spend the night for free. Each time, Alys kept asking the group if they wanted to take it easy for the rest of the day. It was a little touching to keep seeing her with us, and happily saying the same thing each time! Alys is the kind of girl who is always willing to jump into bed with her friends, anytime they want it!

Fighting and defeating Profound Darkness was satisfying with Alys, as if she was taking revenge for her death in the normal plot-line. It was especially awesome for Rune and Alys to pair up as old lovers to create the Blizzard attack!

Any long-time fans of PSIV should definitely use the Game Genie codes, and the walk-through linked above, to play through the whole adventure with Alys alive and kicking!

Phantasy Star IV Proper-caser

Most hacks of Phantasy Star IV are focused on ramping up its difficulty in different ways (which never really interested me), but one hack improves the text in the menus:  Phantasy Star IV Proper-caser (Click here for its page, on ROMhacking.net!). Created by a hacker known as vivify93, it mainly adds lower-case letters to menus that normally have all capitals, and this makes them much more readable! Original PSIV is also loaded with gratuitous hyphens, so here they are removed.  For example, the “ICE-DIGGER” has become the “Ice Digger.”

PSIV Proper-caser also changes a few words for clarity, or better consistency with the rest of the series. In the main battle menu, “COMD” has become “Plan,” probably mostly just because it fits the space, limited to four letters. “Plan” is also entirely more clear than “COMD,” and it’s details such as this that this hack really improves over the original. It was strange to see Rune’s “TANDLE” become “Tandre,” since I have never played the rest of the Phantasy Star series. The changes based on better series consistency are rather lost on me, but it’s still interesting to see some terms change to their earlier versions that I never knew about.

hacks-homebrews-psiv-hacks-2I had to revisit the talking cats in MYST VALE, which I was expecting to be renamed as “Mist Valley,” but it actually keeps the same name, just with lower-case letters added (Myst Vale).  As I mentioned in a Halloween Roundtable a couple of years ago, to me, this place always resembles a gathering of cat spirits who are visiting their past owners and showing them love from beyond the grave!  It even resembles dreams I have had of getting visited by the spirits of deceased pets who wanted to show me that they still love me even after their death. “Myst Vale” always chokes me up!

Phantasy Star IV Proper-caser is a definite improvement for the menus, and I would recommend it to any fans of PSIV!

A Handful of More Hacks

For the sake of completion, I’ll mention the remaining known hacks of PSIV.  They are all listed and linked on the same website linked above, ROMhacking.net.  (Click here for that list!)

Phantasy Star IV – Level 99 & Megid Bug Fix:  Fixes two well-known glitches, from a hacker known as Sixfortyfive.

The remaining hacks all increase the difficulty, in different ways:

Phantasy Star IV:  Arranged Version, also from Sixfortyfive, offers a generally-increased difficulty.

Finally, The Komrade offers four such hacks: the Hell Mode Mod, the Purgatory Mode Mod, plus an extra version of each that offer double EXP points and money collected.

Although every single hack doesn’t catch my interest, personally, it’s always impressive to see an old classic title being given new life by fans who figure out new ways to enhance it!

As Raja says in the closing sequence: “to the souls of those who sacrificed their lives for Algo: Sleep in peace.”

Menu image property of Romhacking.net.

One Comment

  1. I’m glad you liked PSIV Proper-caser! The reason Tandle became Tandre is there’s an enemy magic called Tandil, which is a mistranslation of Tandir–Turkish for “thunder.” I thought Tandle suffered the same issue and changed it. Tawn-dray (Tandre) sounds a bit more “thunder,” at least.

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