Phelios – Myths, Monsters, and Trying to Get Laid

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to Fantasy Shooter Month!  I kicked things off at the beginning of the week with King’s Knight, a game that turned out to be way more frustrating than fun.  Ultimately, I did have a lot of fun writing about it, and I hope you had some fun reading about it.  I’ve decided to keep the ball rolling with a much better game this time.  Keeping with the theme of shooters thinking outside the spaceship, I reached back into my Genesis collection and found THE perfect game for this month: Phelios!

Game: Phelios

Console: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Release Year: 1990

YES!  That’s what I’m talking about!  This is what I want!  Just look at that box art!  Pegasus, a knight with sword and shield, a hot, leggy blonde, several dragons, and a random floating skeleton wizard!  This is almost every Prog Rock and Power Metal album cover ever!  I seriously saw this box art and the world’s most kick ass and beautiful guitar solo started playing in my head.  My hair instantly grew past my shoulders, its majesty only equaled by its lustrous glow, and my Saturn transformed into a van with a scene of Thor slaying the World Serpent sprayed on the side.

To fully enjoy the rest of this post, please insert a Blind Guardian CD now.

I don’t want to mix my mythologies, though.  This game is based on Greek mythology, which was one of my favorite things to read as a kid.  I remember actually turning off my SNES and riding my bike to the library in order to see if I could find books on Greek mythology.  That was a very rare thing, putting down that SNES controller for a book.  Even to this day I love reading and re-reading those old stories about the Titans and the gods. So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that, in this game, you play as Apollo, the god of Poetry!

Suck on this stanza!

Now imagine how relieved I was to find that I could shoot things with sword lasers rather than lull things to sleep with iambic pentameter.  The game got better still when I discovered I could get options to help me with my killing and I could charge my sword laser for more monster-exploding goodness.

Exploding skeletons are METAL!

And all this while riding on the back of a flying horse.  Things just can’t get any better than that.  Or can they?

Yes they can!

Whoa!  That’s a lot of 16-bit cleavage you got going on there, Namco!  Now, as a kid, this here… this was something.  You kids nowadays have the internet for all your booby-viewing needs.  When I was a kid, this was rare.  If I wanted to see some boobs, I had to hope my parents fell asleep early on Friday night so I could stay up late and watch some Skinemax or I had to steal my friend’s copy of Heavy Metal.  Basically, my availability for seeing boobies was very limited when I was a child and seeing a still shot like the one above got my attention.

That pic is of Artemis.  The game’s opening reveals that Typhon, the most bad ass of the Titans (if memory serves), has stolen her.  They don’t explain why, and I don’t care because I know that the further I get into the game, the more revealing Artemis’s clothes become.  Motivation found.

Typhon, you tease!

These scenes are shown between each level, of which there are seven.  You’ll traverse the skies of many lands and see many sights on your journey to rescue the fair Artemis: mountains and grassy plains, a pristine river, and a shimmering ice cavern.  You’ll even fly over less scenic environments: inside a volcano, through a sky base, through Hades, and through the aptly named Death Dungeon.

Don’t let the name fool you.  It’s more of a torture chamber than dungeon.

The last level takes place in Gaia.  I was under the impression that Gaia was either the personification of Earth or that chick from Captain Planet played by Whoopi Goldberg.  I, however, did not ever imagine it to be outer space with floating zombie hands.

But, having seen it, I regret having such a limited imagination.

Regardless of where you’re at and how little sense it makes being there, there are always tons of things to kill, and isn’t that what we really want in life?  This game has the aforementioned zombie hands for some reason, ogres that chuck rocks, devils, dragons, skeleton dragons, and fellow Pegasus enthusiasts.  And who could ever forget about Giga and Mega?

I don’t remember them from any of the myths…

Yeah… they’re just two giant spike balls.  I don’t know why they have names.

Or why the game thought I’d want to touch them.

As you can tell, not all of the enemies are necessarily Greek Mythology-based, but at least they’re founded in fantasy, and they’re fun to fight and dodge, especially the griffin knights.  There’s a section in one of the levels where they chase you through a narrowing area.  The game speeds up as a bunch of griffin knights come at you from behind, and hitting a wall is instant death.  It’s very intense and difficult, and I loved it!  The best part is that you could strategically manipulate your pursuers and have them crash into the walls.  It’s very satisfying, watching them explode.  Why do they explode?  Because video games!

Putting on your left blinker gets them every time!

But the bosses are the best part in the game.  They’re huge:

That’s the worst Cerberus I’ve ever seen, but it is big.

They’re barely faithful to their source material (they have their names, at least):

Graiae with all eyes present and accounted for.

And they’re just a blast to fight.  It’s too bad the game thinks you’re stupid and immediately tells you how to kill each one.

Okay, game.  Like I wasn’t going to shoot there anyway.

The final boss, Typhon, is a son of a bitch.  Before you fight him, you have to collect every letter in the word PHELIOS in order to get Phelios, the sword of light capable of defeating Typhon.  Once you do this, you can charge up your sword and –

HOLY SHIT!  YES!

Now there’s a lady pleaser!  That wave of energy you see in the above pic can be shot every time you charge your attack, and it’s awesome!  I’m ready to save Artemis now!  But there’s still one small thing in the way.

Gay Devil?

That fabulous hunk of demon you see is Typhon, and he’s all up in your grill the entire fight.  He just kind of camps right in your face and tries to murder you by either shooting huge energy balls at you or crushing you with his massive Titan balls.  It takes a LOT of hits to kill him, but you’ll eventually win if you don’t suck, and then you’ll be reunited with the sexy Artemis.

HA! Premature ejaculation.

As disgusting and lame as PE is, things got even more disgusting and lame when I remembered that Apollo and Artemis were brother and sister.  I kind of wanted the game to end a little quicker after that realization.  Unfortunately, the game wants you to relish in the implied incest and makes you stare into Artemis’s eyes until she cries.  It’s very weird, but not at all unlike most of my sexual experiences growing up.

Except they weren’t with my sister.

And this goes on for a good thirty seconds.  You can’t skip it.  I tried.  The game tells you to “Be Patient.”  I’m pretty sure it’s because Japan hates us.

But I’m so uncomfortable right now!

In general, the game doesn’t like it when you try to skip its dramatic cutscenes, regardless of how dirty they make you feel.  The Engrish is a nicely added touch, though.

I’ll press all buttons if it means I don’t have to watch you make out with your sister!

We then get to see our hero ride back to Mt. Olympus with Artemis while fireworks explode in the background.  The end (thank the gods).

Phelios is an amazingly fun game, especially for being an early launch title for the Genesis.  There’s little-to-no slow down, the colors are bright, the music is fitting and pretty good, the difficulty is tough but fair, and the enemies are really cool.  The charging mechanic for your weapon is used very well and adds a lot of strategy as well as creates a risk/reward factor in the gameplay, which I love.  Any shooter fan should definitely check this game out.

The depressing part about this game is that Apollo did all that fighting and flying for nothing.  It’s not at all uncommon for gods to bone their relatives (though I don’t condone it), but, since Artemis is the goddess of Chastity, it’s pretty much guaranteed that he’s not going to get laid tonight.  Sorry, Apollo.  But let’s not let that ruin this magical moment.

U mad bro?

Thanks for your Playing!  I’ll see you all next week for some more Fantasy Shooter Month!

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