Phantasy Star II
and Sword of Vermilion
. Phantasy Star III in particular has a brilliant intro and opening story which really catches you.
Rant: I always felt that the Final Fantasy series was too highly praised and the games were pale in comparison to Phantasy Star as far as playing experience goes. Too much story and guidance being forced onto the player in ridiculous acts and interludes throughout the game, and too little is left for the player to discover on his own. The image I have of Final Fantasy is plain, with younger and younger heroes, with bluer and bluer hair and bigger and bigger swords on their back for each one of the 37 or so sequels they've spat out so far. What a crap game