STED came out in 1990 and was published by KAC. The developer was ADK (Alpha Denshi) who seems to have not really done that much other RPGs. It feels like a Phantasy Star clone in that it has a number of elements that are similar to the series. For example, the talking cutscenes look a lot like Phantasy Star. The implications of a conspiracy also resembles Phantasy Star’s dsytopia.
I’m going to talk about the beginning of the game, since it progresses fairly slowly. The main problems with the game’s translation and gameplay don’t come up until later in the game, so it’s worth it to examine parts of the game. Another issue is that due to the translation there’s a lot of chances to read between the lines, which means that you can read more into the story. Note, I am not blaming the translator at all for the translation. From what I read, the text was stored in an incredibly difficult manner to translate without knowing where each line was used.
Once you answer the distress call, your ship seems to have crashed. When you enter the nearby town, a man in a white suit tells you that everything is fine, and that he has called in the Space Army. He then vanishes. Later, he acts like nothing is wrong. However, people around the town talk about a girl named Corona.
Corona says that there seems to be a coverup going on about the monsters attacking the ship, and she thinks that the space army won’t do anything. She offers her help, and the help of her robot Gap. Gap, unfortunately, does not come with the necessary chips to fight.
After about five levels, you’re strong enough to walk to Hyu. In Hyu, there’s talk of a bridge getting constantly destroyed. Someone else greets Corona and says her brother misses her. There’s also a seemingly drunk man inside one of the houses. Here’s a good example of how the translation seems more dramatic than it is. Many people in Hyu trail off the end of their sentences. This gives a feeling of anticipation that something is wrong in the town, but you don’t know what.
Gameplay wise, you can start to see early elements of the game. For example, Gap needs a mechanic to fill her HP. Damage to limbs needs a doctor’s exam. An Inn lets you crash for a number of nights, and also has a console to save your game. It’s also pretty grindy. Phantasy Star was also grindy, but it’s not necessarily a good thing to emulate. You literally need to sleep about every two or three battles at first. Stats are determined by the player, so you can feel some improvements as you level up, but it still seems to be a slow growth. Experience is set according to your level. This also keeps people from grinding forever in early areas.
Equipment wise, it’s a bit fustrating. For example, Corona is knives and spears. Actes is guns and knives. Your hero is anything other than robot type equipment. You need batteries to recharge guns, which can get a bit tedious. For the most part, the best equipment to buy early on seems to be a spell for Corona (I got fire,) a gun for Actes, and a sword for the hero (named Usis in my game.) You could grind more to buy other items, but pushing your way to Hyu and getting a battle pack for Gap (so she can fight) seems to be a lot better.