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Phantasy Star, death, resurrection and corpses
Post Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 2:53 pm
Following on from a discussion on Discord...

In Phantasy Star, you have a group of up to four characters who travel the worlds together. Sometimes they can die; in general this isn't game over, as you can travel to a church (or cast a spell) and they are resurrected.

However, this opens a question as to what happens between death and resurrection. Does the group leave the corpse where it fell? If so, what happens when they are resurrected? Does the corpse disappear as the new version comes to life, or is the new version a clone, and the world is littered with corpses of earlier versions of each character?

The latter theory matches Phantasy Star 2's manual, where instead of a church, you resurrect people in a clone lab:

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Clone Labs

Combat fatalities can be resurrected in the Clone Labs. The Clone Clown will produce an exact copy of a dead comrade, with all memory, experience, and possessions intact.You and your friends can all be cloned after battle, as long as one of you is still alive.


However in Phantasy Star 1, the script implies otherwise when visiting Tajin/Tarzimal, he says

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おお、我が弟子ルツよ。ついにラシークを倒す旅に出るか。
おや。死んでおるのか。情けない。生き返って出直すがいい。

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Ah, my student, Lutz! I see you are finally on your way to defeating LaShiec.
Oh. You're dead. What a pity. Resurrect him and then come again.

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AH,MY YOUNG PUPIL, NOAH. YOU ARE PREPARING TO FACE LASSIC?
YOU HAVE GOTTEN YOURSELF KILLED? COME, LET'S TRY ONE MORE TIME.


This seems to imply that the other players are carrying Lutz' corpse around with them, and Tajim initially thought he was alive. This seems quite disturbing - and impractical for Myau to potentially carry round three humanoid corpses.

How else might we explain this?
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 6:26 pm
And if the corpses are disintegrated? The souls still intact. When the person enter in church and buy the ressurrection the priest do regroup the body and soul of partners. Myau can carry the ashes.
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:22 pm
And I guess, why does resurrection not work for Nero at the start of the game, or any of the enemies and bosses killed throughout? It is best not to question it too closely...
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 9:52 pm
I'm not sure how much faith I would put into a Clone Clown. How does the original JP manual for PS1 describe it?
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 11:26 pm
Maxim wrote
And I guess, why does resurrection not work for Nero at the start of the game, or any of the enemies and bosses killed throughout? It is best not to question it too closely...

Good question! Other thing that i was thinking is about a person no carry the corpses but in Church it materialize again. About Nero, you is correct. Maybe a solution is think about that Nero´s mission was over and Alis and her friends not.
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2022 4:18 am
The original JP manual dances around it a bit
28798076-1572-457A-90ED-E4EA40C92DCB.jpeg (1.02 MB)
Google translation
28798076-1572-457A-90ED-E4EA40C92DCB.jpeg

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2022 5:44 pm
We have a better translation of the manual:

https://www.smspower.org/uploads/Translations/PhantasyStar-SMS-EN-manual/

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Churches
Visit a church when you want to revive a fallen companion, or find out how many experience points you need to go up a level.
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2022 1:52 pm
Purely gameplay wise, I guess it is just following the standard set by Dragon Quest II (I think the first JRPG with multiple player characters), released at the beginning of the same year. In that game, it showed the party carrying around the caskets. It's been so long that I've forgotten if PS1 shows the full team or just Alis on the walking scenes.

Though there was a Famicom RPG released called The Light of Indra, released a couple months before PS1, which strayed from the resurrection mechanic. It would actually remember where a party member died. Going to a church would only call the soul back to the world of the living, and you still needed to afterwards go back to the death site and use a spell to call the soul back into the body. A convoluted and not very fun process. (though it later gives an upgraded spell to one-step the process)
The game even played with that by having a party member join IN the dead state.
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2022 3:03 pm
Phantasy Star 1 shows all the alive party members walking around the overworld and towns in an orderly queue. Dead ones are missing, there's no corpses or caskets.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2022 4:16 am
I don't think there's an explanation that actually works. I would say that the deceased members are being carried back to the church (reminds me of Eye of the Beholder, where you can find the remains of adventurers in the dungeon that you can carry around until you resurrect them to be party members). However, if raising someone from the dead were that easy, there is no reason that Alisa wouldn't have Nero resurrected.

Seems to be a case of putting gameplay ahead of story.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:27 am
Aside from Ultima III, which had an explicit status for “Ash” instead of just “dead,” I can’t recall a party-based RPG at the time that didn’t treat dead party members as still being in the party. Even Gold Box AD&D games let you cart around elf corpses which couldn’t be raised.

Good call out on EotB, though: the resurrection of former adventurers to join as NPCs was brilliant!
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:42 am
The problem is we are thinking the death´s system HUMAN. In a fiction game this can be more or less like ourselves. For example, Miau can carry the corpses if gravitational system for algol planets change for alive, corpses, ashes in comparation with Earth but this is a speculation.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2022 10:53 am
I think the Japanese text (which I'm no expert on) offers a lot of insight.

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Oh, my student, Lutz! Are you finally going on a journey to defeat LaShiec?

To me, this could imply that Tarzimal heard someone coming and maybe assumed it was Lutz, perhaps he was busy working on something and had his back to the party, after all, who would otherwise be visiting him in such a remote place? Or perhaps he saw his ghostly apparition from a distance, not realizing he was dead.

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Oh. You're dead? Pathetic! Revive and start over.

Contextually, the master seems to have contempt for Lutz's death, which is understandable that he would expect better of his disciple.

The wiki also has this to offer:
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The original Lutz makes two cameos in the game. The first is right after Kyra Tierney is rescued, and the second is when Chaz sees the spirits of all the former protectors of Algo.

Suggesting that the dead do indeed exist in spirit form.

As to why not everyone can be resurrected, perhaps this is an ability exclusive to magic users, maybe even a skill only learned by a certain few.
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