Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II contains what is now known as the first two "episodes" of Phantasy Star Online. The first episode consists of the content found in the Dreamcast version of Phantasy Star Online (and Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2), while the second is brand new to the GameCube and Xbox.
While the core game is the same across both platforms, the online element is platform specific (that is to say, GameCube users could only play with other GameCube users; Xbox users can only play with Xbox users). This was not Sega's original intention - towards the back-end of 2001 the company envisioned an online system that would accommodate both consoles, as well as the PC and PlayStation 2, but an agreement presumably could not be reached by the platform holders.
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus was also released for the GameCube, which fixes an exploit that was discovered, allowing the console to run retail games and homebrew software by changing the DNS of the game, connecting it to a local server instead of the official servers. Other fixes included removing several item duplicating exploits and the inclusion of the online only quests to offline gameplay. This version was only released for the GameCube in Japan and North America.
Sega has closed its servers, making the games unplayable by official means. The process began with the Japanese GameCube version (2004-03-26), Western GameCube (and Plus) (2007-04-01), Japanese Xbox version (2008-01-31) and finally the Western Xbox version (2008-04-22). An "offline" mode is supported by the game, but lacks many of the features of its "online" counterpart.
Gameboy Advance Connectivity
The Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II supports the Game Boy Advance Link Cable. During several instances ingame, the player will be able to use the link cable to upload a game to the Game Boy Advance. The games and requirements are as follows:
Tiny Chao Garden: The same 'Tiny Chao Garden' minigame present in Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Pinball Party. This game is obtainable in Offline Mode by playing the quest "The Fake In Yellow" and going back to the Forest after talking with the quest's client. In the Forest, where several Rappies are gathered, would be a Chao hidden over the waterfall. Triggering this event will make a GBA terminal appear near the Hunter's Guild once the player returns to Pioneer 2. The GBA terminal will download the game to the Gameboy Advance wherein the player will start off with a Tails Chao which can be uploaded to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or Sonic Adventure DX.
The following GBA games are available from the Online Shop Quest "Pioneer Warehouse":
NiGHTS Score Attack: A short 2D recreation of NiGHTS into Dream on Game Boy Advance, the player will play through four rounds of Spring Valley. After four rounds the game will continue to loop until time runs out wherein players will be given their score and grade. Completing the online quest "The Dream Messenger" will award the player with a key item needed to download the game in "Pioneer Warehouse".
Chu Chu Rocket: A demo version of the GBA port of Chu Chu Rocket featuring only the game's puzzle mode. Completing the online quest "Reach for the Dream" with an S rank will unlock a room which will have a terminal that awards the player with a key item needed to download the game in "Pioneer Warehouse".
Puyo Pop: A demo version of Puyo Pop where the player can play the game's "Endless Puyo Pop" mode. In the Online Shop Quest "Gallon's Shop", the key item needed to download the game from "Pioneer Warehouse" will be on the floor in the Medical Centre.
A GameCube version of Phantasy Star Online, tentatively titled Phantasy Star Online for GC was one of three games announced when Sega confirmed their intention to release GameCube titles, and the first to be produced by Sonic Team. Subsequent delays saw it launch after another Sonic Team title; Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II 's Gamecube version was released multiple times on Gamecube to address several bugs and exploits that became apparent over time.
DOL-GPOJ-0-00: Known as "JP Ver. 1.0", this was the initial version released in Japan. Due to a major item duping exploit that was present, SEGA recalled this version. This version of the game had its online accessibility disabled shortly after the recall. Furthermore, using save data from JP Ver. 1.0 in other GC versions required a conversion process that made the save data inaccessible in 1.0 and deleted the player's items.
DOL-GPOJ-0-01: Known as "JP Ver. 1.1", this version was given away to players who traded in their 'Ver. 1.0' disc. This version fixed the item duping exploit that was present in the first release.
DOL-GPOJ-0-02: Known as "JP Ver. 1.2", this version introduced several additional bug fixes.
DOL-GPOJ-0-05: Known as "JP Ver. 1.3 Plus", this version was released under a unique packaging and naming, "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus". In addition to several bug fixes, this version added Offline versions of several Episode 2 quests.
DOL-GPOE-0-00: Known as "US Ver. 1.0", this was the initial US release of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II.
DOL-GPOE-0-01: Known as "US Ver. 1.1". This version of the game fixed several bugs that were present during the US version's launch.
DOL-GPOE-0-02: Known as "US Ver. 1.2 Plus", this version was released under a unique packaging and naming, "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus". In addition to several bug fixes, this version added Offline versions of several Episode 2 quests.
DOL-GPOP-0-00: Known as "EU Ver. 1.0", this was the initial European release of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II. No other version of the game had released in Europe.