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Phantasy Star Online Dreamcast

Phantasy Star Online  (abbreviated  PSO ) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game released for the Dreamcast in  2000 in Japan and early 2001 in Europe and the United States. It is often considered the first true console game of its kind. Players categorize it  like a hack and slash. it is the precursor of a whole new genre: the online console role-playing game. At the time of its release, the title was often compared to Diablo .

It is the work of Sonic Team and Yuji Naka (short biography here) . It will have a Dreamcast sequel called Phantasy Star Online version 2 which will include new game modes such as "ultimate", "challenges" and "battles". It was possible to raise the level of his character to level 200 unlike level 100 of the first PSO .

The story :

This is not the strong point of the game. The scenario is minimalist knowing that the interest of the title consists in playing it on the network.

Faced with the imminent destruction of their world, Coral2 , a very large-scale evacuation project has been developed in order to find a habitable planet: Project Pioneer . Automatic probes sent into space have discovered a planet where life was very rich. The first wave of settlers was mainly made up of scientists. They traveled there aboard the Pioneer 1 ship and named Ragol the future home of humanity. The Pioneer 1 crew's first line of business was to establish the Central Dome , where the rest of humanity could make contact with their new home.

Seven years later, the main wave of refugees finally makes it to Ragol , which the Pioneer 1 crew have been working on to make it nice and comfortable. The transport is done thanks to Pioneer 2 , a Craft-World , connected to smaller ships. Everything seems to be going well, until Pioneer 2 enters orbit around Ragol and tries to communicate with the Central Dome . A gigantic explosion on the planet cuts off all communication, and all contact with the thousands of men and women on Ragol is lost. This is where the player comes into play.

PSO dreamcast

The game system:

The player will be able to choose between skilled combatants in one or more of three forms of combat: swords and other melee weapons ( Hunters ), firearms and other long-range heavy weapons ( Rangers ), or magic summons known as of Techniques ( Strengths ).

Depending on the specifics of his fighter class, he will have to choose the right name for his hero. The name will influence their character's ID which will match their item spawn frequency throughout the game.

For example, having the ID "Redria", it will be easier to find armor or shields. If we opt for the "Bluefull" ID, we will see rods for spellcasters more often.

There are 4 levels, " Forest ", " Cave ", " Mine " and " Ruine " each with a boss at the end including Dark Falz for the end boss.

Whether in offline or online mode, the player has the choice between four difficulty levels: Normal, Hard, Very Hard and Ultimate (available only on PSO v2 ). Hard mode is available online when he has passed character level 20. Very Hard mode, when he has reached level 40. While in offline mode, he will have to finish the game at the first difficulty level to move on to the next.

Three buttons on the joystick allow you to perform an action such as a melee blow or to cast magic, which are called techniques in the game. This configuration of the joystick can be changed at any time. Regarding melee shots, sequences of three shots can be made, provided they are done in a very precise rhythm. For Techniques, they can be cast continuously as long as his magic level allows.

Phantasy Star Online Ragol explosion
Phantasy Star Online Force
Phantasy Star Online ennemis
PSO Dreamcast ennemis

The peculiarities of the pink disc:

If we rely on the GD-Rom in a hurry, it would not be a Beta . Looking at the build date,  it is indeed a prototype. The pink color is surprising.

This version of PSO does not require serial and access key. It only runs at 50hz.

It could be some kind of white label. If it had been released, it would probably have been called " Phantasy Star Online Beta " knowing that the WL known at the mention of " Master "

The hypothesis of knowledge in English:

  It's totally legit as far as I can tell. Apart from the ringcode being the same type as the usual ringcodes from PAL GD-ROMs, Sega appears to have been using a system where part of the ringcode indicates specific GD-ROM content/mastering. It's the xxxxSS part, which in your case is 0430SS. I have made catalogs with all numbers I know from PAL and JP discs. There are many gaps in my catalogs as I don't know/have all discs released. Your 0430SS fills nicely one of those. The retail PSO is 0319SS and the retail PSO v2 is 0495SS.
2) The PAL White Label "Phantasy Star Online Master" has been dumped and is exactly the same as the retail: ... f=5&t=1619
3) Your ringcode is 952-0134-0430SS. There are several white labels that have 952-XXXX ringcodes, some identical in content to retail versions and others slightly different/earlier. The best known to your disc is Fighting Vipers 2 Beta White Label, with ringcode 952-0135-0431SS. Which in my books almost certainly indicates that they were created at a similar time frame (FV2 Beta has a date of 26/12/00 on the header and is slightly earlier than the retail). 0432SS is again an unknown. 0429SS is retail Project Justice.

My theory: It appears that Sega decided to print regular non-final code GD-ROMs for 2 games (or 3, if the unknown 432 is something similar) around Xmas 2000. Most likely for same purpose as the other White Labels.
But for some reason the Phantasy Star you have (and maybe also the missing 0432...) did not receive wide distribution. Possibly scrapped and replaced with the more advanced/final code Phantasy Star Online Master, which received wider printing as a regular White Label. Perhaps if this disc had come out as a standard White Label, it would have been marked "Phantasy Star Online Beta".


Le disque démo TENTOU :

This is the " Phantasy Star Online Tentou Demo " for the Dreamcast . This disc seemed to be intended for Japanese stores in order to promote the Sonic Team game in the demo terminals. The GD-ROM plays this video on a loop. By pressing START , the video will start over.

PHANTASY STAR ONLINE TENTOU DEMO (Nov 01, Dreamcast promotional Disc.jpg

Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition :

The Network Trial Edition was compiled on October 25, 2000 while the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Online was compiled on December 6, 2000.

Sega had allowed some players to play a "network trial" before the release of the game to test the capabilities of the server.

The differences are numerous, they are in all the menus, in the magics, the levels and even in the sound effects !

Let's save the detailed analysis of the title for a future prototype version which, I hope, will have a Debug Menu.

Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition Dreamcast.jpg
Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition (Oct 25, 2000 prototype) Manual 1.jpg
Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition (Oct 25, 2000 prototype) Manual 8.jpg
Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition (Oct 25, 2000 prototype) Manual 3.jpg
Phantasy Star Online Network Trial Edition (Oct 25, 2000 prototype) Disc.jpg
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