Phantom 2040 Video Game

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The Phantom 2040 video game is a side-scrolling platformer, employing Metroidvania-style gameplay. As is common with games of this style, exploration of the various locations the player visits in Phantom 2040 is encouraged, and in some cases needed for completion. The game also offers a host of additional weapons and weapon upgrades for the player to collect. Unlike in other Metroidvania-style games where such upgrades are needed to progress, in Phantom 2040 they are entirely optional, although they do make the game a lot easier to complete, especially as levels grow harder the further the player progresses into the game.

Gameplay

Phantom 2040 is divided up into several chapters, each with three “sections;” a brief introduction to the chapter and then two branching paths. Which of these paths is visited depends on choices players make, usually via dialogue options in cutscenes. Regardless of which choice is made, the player will almost always arrive at the same place at the beginning of the next chapter, however their choice may have caused them to miss items or information that would have led to a “good” ending.

Which bosses, secondary characters and locations are encountered is also affected by the players’ choice, with some events not occurring at all if the incorrect choice is made. This encourages experimentation and re-playability as players try to achieve a “perfect” run through the game.

While the game boasts 20 different endings, some of these only have very slight variations. In truth, there are four endings; perfect, good, bad and very bad. If the player earns any ending apart from perfect, they will be greeted with the message “Try Again” on the game’s end screen.

The action in Phantom 2040 takes the form of the then-common 2D platforming style. The player, as the Phantom, must navigate many varied locations jumping between platforms and environmental objects while avoiding enemies, pitfalls and traps. To help him in his quest against Maddison Inc. the Phantom has many abilities and weapons at his disposal. All physical attacks such as punches and kicks are available at the start of the game, however only a basic Blast Gun and short Inductance Rope can be used at this point. Throughout the game the player can uncover various other weapons, weapon upgrades and extensions for the Rope, to help them in their adventure. Which of these they come across depends on what choices are made throughout the game.

The Phantom has two power bars; his Spirit Meter, which represents health, and an Ammo meter, which is self explanatory. Skulls and Ammo cartridges can be collected to refill these in increments respectively, or First Aid Kits and Ammo Packs can be found to fully replenish them. As with weapons, these bars can also be upgraded so that they last longer.

If the Phantom’s Spirit Meter runs out, he will loose a life. If all lives run out it is game over. Extra lives can be found throughout the game to give players and extra try. Rare items that increase the power of the Phantom’s physical attacks, halve the amount of ammo weapons use, and increase the amount of spirit-energy Skulls provide can also be found, but these appear only particular levels and if missed can not be found elsewhere.

Plot

The Phantom 2040 video games provides a somewhat summarised and condensed version of the story of the show. While the backstory of the game is exactly the same as the backstory of the television series, it does not specifically enact any of the series' episodes but instead borrows elements from various episodes in the overarching story of the Phantom's mission to stop Maximum, Inc. from dominating Metropia.

Backstory

It is the year 2040, all the environmental disasters and the economic Resource Wars of the early twenty-first century have had catastrophic effects upon the Earth's ecological balance. Ever-increasing polarisation of wealth, along with the development of humanoid, robotic "BIOTS" (Biological Optical Transputer Systems), have resulted in a social demographic that leaves the majority of the world's population scavenging in the undercity slums while a wealthy minority live luxurious lives in towering skyscrapers. The Earth's population continues to rise, but without the resources to support them or the jobs to sustain them, they are cast onto the streets of the over-urbanised mega-cities.

The megalopolis of Metropia, a reformed and renamed New York City, is the world's most powerful city-state and within it are the headquarters of the world's most powerful corporation, Maximum Inc. Maximum's mass production of BIOTS and its influence upon the world's corrupted leaders has allowed it to shape Metropia into a cold and metallic urban centre, where technologically advanced buildings and transport systems have replaced any natural plant or animal life. Maximum's chairperson, Rebecca Madison, driven by the violent death of her husband Maxwell Madison Sr. and a desire for revenge against the Phantom who she believes killed him, has plans to construct an impenetrable fortress called Cyberville where the elite wealthy can retreat once Earth deteriorates beyond hope of restoration. Maximum's hidden underground BIOT factories are illegally constructing Maximum's personal BIOT army, which Rebecca will use to guarantee the world's collapse so that she may take control of the world through Cyberville.

In the Ghost Jungle (a gigantic, hidden stretch of jungle twisting through Metropia's ruins and underground), Kit Walker discovers that he is the 24th Phantom, sworn to bring an end to piracy, greed, and injustice, a role passed from father to son for 500 years. Kit's father was killed with Maxwell Madison Sr. in a mysterious toxic train wreck, and now it is up to the Phantom to stop Rebecca Madison's plans of worldwide domination.

Game storyline

The game's storyline revolves around multiple threats against Metropia. Rebecca Madison seeks to find the fabled Shadow Panther, the last of its kind, to use its blood in an infusion that will allow her to trap her dead husband's captured brainwaves inside a living body. Once Maxwell Madison Sr. is revived, Maximum will be unstoppable.

However, a rogue smuggler called Tracker has captured the Black Panther and both Maximum and the Phantom will do anything to rescue it. The Phantom succeeds first, but must decide between keeping the Panther safe in the Ghost Jungle or exchanging it to the shady information broker Mr. Cairo for the whereabouts of the Phantom's friend and mentor Professor Archer, who has been kidnapped by Maximum.

Meanwhile, Maximum is secretly harvesting rare Ghost Jungle plants with photosynthetic properties for use in particle laser technologies. Rebecca Madison is constructing a giant battleship under the façade of protecting the Political Summit, which is soon to meet in Metropia, but in actuality plans to destroy the Summit before it can outlaw combat BIOTS of any kind. The Phantom manages to warn the Summit and destroy the battleship Prometheus, but further plant shipments are being sent to Sean One, terrorist and leader of the Orbital colonies who will go to any lengths to achieve independence for the Orbital people.

The Phantom must find a way to stop both Sean One's deadly particle beam cannon and Rebecca's use of the Panther in restoring her husband's brainwaves, but there are multiple other threats to deal with in the process, including:

  • Experiments with mutants in secret laboratories below the city.
  • Massive combat BIOT factories building new, dangerous types of BIOTs.
  • A missile launch targeting a suburban area.
  • Rebecca's Madison's disturbed son, Max Madison Jr. in his virtually controlled Legion BIOT.
  • A group of telepathically mutated women called The Triad.

Differences to Series

The game ignores several important plot "twists" revealed in the cartoon. For example, in the game, Mr. Cairo is not yet completely loyal to the Phantom. Additionally, Maxwell Madison Sr, who is revealed late in the series to have been good friends with the 23rd Phantom up until his death, remains antagonistic in the game's last chapter. Sagan Cruz's allegiance with the Phantom is absent, though she is seen reporting on events within the game. Otherwise, the game's characters remain very accurate to the characters seen in the series: Dr. Jak arrogantly and enthusiastically reports events between chapters, Graft's loyalty to Maximum wavers multiple times, Maxwell Madison Jr. has the same cool and uninterested attitude, and Sean One remains coldly apathetic towards humankind on Earth.

NTSC VS PAL SEGA Versions

The story line in Phantom 2040 is presented differently in the NTSC (US) and PAL (EU/AU) versions of the game. In the NTSC version, in the options menu the player has the choice of having the games’ story presented to them in full or in summery. The full version provides cinematics between levels and dialog between characters. The summarized version gives a short bullet-point list of what happens in those cinematics.

In the PAL version, however, there is no option to have full or summarized versions of the story. Rather, in this version only the summarized story line is available. In the Options screen the story option has been replaced by the choice of what language the game's text is displayed in.

Items

Weapons

Icon Weapon Name Description
Fist.png Fists Your best and most reliable weapons; your fists. The Phantom is a master at all forms of hand-to-hand combat. Don’t discount these too son!
Blast.png Energy Blast Your basic, all ‘round blaster. This is the weapon you start your adventure with. Don’t discount it though, at it can be very powerful with a few upgrades.
Spread.png Spread Blast Bullets fired break into smaller projectiles to hit multiple enemies at once.
Rope.png Inductance Rope This incredibly useful tool allows you to not only cling to and swing from almost any surface, but can also stun enemies.
Breaker.png Breaker Very powerful, this weapon attaches itself to an enemy and then explodes.
Milliles.png Homing Missiles Heat seeking missiles that track enemies and explode on contact.
Boomerang.png Boomerang Takes out enemies and returns to The Phantom. It will travel further the longer the trigger is held.
Devistator.png Devastator When the trigger is held, this weapon builds energy, releasing a hugely powerful blast.
Wave.png Wave Gun Effectively extends the reach of The Phantom’s melee attacks
Shadow.png Shadow Panther Calls forth the legendary Shadow Panther to your aid, destroying all enemies on screen. (Does not work against bosses.)
Explosive Pellet Drop on the ground to lay a trap. Lays dormant for two seconds or until an enemy touches it then…BOOM!
SuperExplosive.png Super Explosive Pellet Works the same as the Explosive Pellet, except it sends flames in all directions
FireRetardant.png Fire Retardant Pellet Puts out any small fires. This is a good way of revealing items.
Invisability.png Invisibility A special cloaking device for The Phantom’s suite. When activated, enemies can not see you and won’t attack. It may even let you into restricted areas.
Armour.png Armour Protects you from enemy fire for a short time

Pick Ups

Icon Item Name Description
Skull.png Skulls Restores some Spirit to your Spirit Bar. How much depends on the size of the Skull. The flashing Skulls will restore the whole Bar.
Ammo Pack Similar to the Skulls, the size of the Ammo Pack pick up dictates how much Ammo it will provide. There is also a flashing, full restorer version.
Firstaid.png Health Kit Can be picked up and held onto for later use. Restores the Spirit Bar to full.
Ammokit.png Ammo Kit Can be picked up and held onto for later use. Will restore all Ammo.
Rope.png Rope An extension for your Inductance Rope.
Spirit Extension Expands your Spirit Bar, allowing you to take more damage.
Energy Extension Expands your Energy Bar, allowing you to carry more Ammo.
Weaponupgrade.png Weapons Upgrade Makes your weapons more powerful. Check out your Blaster to see just by how much!
PhantomHead.png 1-Up Gives you an extra chance to complete your adventure.

Enemies

Image Name Description
BIOTS These are the main type of enemy you will come across during the game, and there are many different variations. Some wield Blasters, others flamethrowers. Some will swoop down on you with jetpacks while others will ride in on hover bikes. The colour variations dictate how strong they are, with the grey being the weakest and the gold being the hardest to destroy.
Machineries Hired goons of who work for Mars and Maximum Inc, these ex-soldiers wield considerable firepower. There are two variations, green and red, with red being the strongest.
Thugs The criminal element of Metropia, they can mostly be found on the street or in the city’s sewers. Be careful, as some sport grenade launchers.
Small Spider Bots These smaller spider-like bots can be found travelling along the walls and ceilings of Metropia’s buildings, often acting as security. They can be quite tricky to overcome, and will try and knock you off whatever surface you may be clinging too from your Inductance Rope.
Free Orbitals Those that have risen up to try and overthrow the governments of Earth alongside Sean One, like him that are tall and pale. They carry huge blasters.
Mutants The result of Maximum experimenting of the homeless of Metropia with the plans of the Ghost Jungle, these sorry creatures have lost their minds and will attack anything in sight.
Drones These small bots are more for security than anything. While one Drone by itself is not much of a threat, in large groups they can be incredibly annoying.


Further Resources

  • Video Game Walkthrough - Complete walkthrough of the Phantom 2040 video game.
  • How to Play - Guide for how to play the 2040 game today.
  • Making Of - An article I did for ChronicleChamber.com in 2020 interviewing Lead Designer Brian Babendererde on the making of the game. Brian also provided a heap of goodies to share, including sprite sheets and design documents.
  • Game OST - A really great rip of Burke Trieschmann and Matt Scott’s score.
  • Sega Vs Nintendo - A really interesting comparison video of the Sega and Nintendo versions of the game, explaining why the various technical differences occur. Original video is in Portuguese so turn on closed captions if you don’t speak that language.
  • Manual Scans - PDF downloadable scans of manuals from the various versions of the *Phantom 2040* game.
  • MobyGames - A detailed collection of information about the game, including specs, box scans, at-the-time reviews and more.
  • Wikipedia - the Wiki entry on the game.
  • PhantomWiki - the Phantom Wiki entry on the game.
  • RetroArch - the recommended emulation solution.
  • Kenga Fusion - the best stand alone emulator for Sega Mega Drive/ Genesis games. Will also play games from Sega’s other consoles, the Master System, Game Gear, Mega-CD and 32X.
  • snes9X - the best stand alone emulator for Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games. Only plays SNES ROMs.