According to the ESRB, this game contains: Fantasy Violence

Parents have very little to worry about. Tales of Phantasia's violence—perpetrated with swords and magic spells—is less disturbing than anything you'd find in Harry Potter. There's no bad language, and the game's sexual innuendo is extremely gentle. There's a minor crisis when the hero and his female companion stay at an inn with one bed, and there are some ingenuous shenanigans in a hot spring. After discussing each others' 16-bit figures (“You look fabulous, Mint! I'm so skinny!”; “Look at you, Chester! All that training has really paid off!”), characters of one gender wander into the hot spring room of the other, and lots of yelling and shooing ensue.

RPG lovers, fans of Namco's Tales series and videogame nostalgists should definitely pick this up. It's got a good story, fun characters, a battle system that's not shackled to a menu, CPU-controlled party members with brains, and lots of things to do. Best of all, it's 20 bucks.

Deaf and hard of hearing gamers: unfortunately, there's a multi-step music puzzle in the Tower of the Zodiac, and I can't find an online FAQ that provides the answers. (On each floor, the player must touch statues to change the theme music to whatever the floor's sign reads—doing so opens the door to the floor above). The game is accessible in all other respects.

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk grew up in a small Nebraska town called Papillion. Although she has a nonverbal learning disability that affects her visual-spatial skills (among other things), she's always loved video games. Her first game system was a Commodore Vic-20, which her mom bought at a garage sale for $20. With this little computer Tera learned to write Mad Libs in BASIC, to play chess and to steal gold from Fort Knox.

But then a friend introduced her to the seedy underworld of the Mario brothers and she spent her saved-up birthday and Christmas money to buy a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Her mom didn't like the Nintendo at first, but The Legend of Zelda changed her mind. (When Tera got Zelda II: The Adventure of Link one Christmas, she suspected it was as much for her mother as for her).

Though she graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2002 and recently learned how to find the movie theater restroom by herself, Tera still loves video games. Far from being a brain-rotting waste of time, they've helped her practice spatial skills and discover new passions. Her love of games like Kid Icarus and The Battle of Olympus led to a degree in Classical Languages and Literatures. She thinks games have a place in discussions on disability and other cultural issues, and is excited to work with the like-minded staff at GameCritics.com.
Tera Kirk

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