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The land of Rune, in the kingdom of Guardiana, has been at peace for the past 50 generations. That long silence is broken when the hordes of Runefaust, led by the evil Darksol, attack. Darksol schemes to resurrect the slumbering Dark Dragon and harness its power to control the land. The fate of the world depends of the Shining Force and its fearless leader, Max. By recruiting more warriors into the Force, Max fights to stop Darksol before the Dragon awakes. Take control of up to ten characters at a time as you journey through eight scenarios full of places to explore, sub-quests, and countless battles.
Trouble's Brewing! Gather a Mob and Stab Evil in the Face!CrimsonWizard | Jan. 29, 2013 | See all CrimsonWizard's reviews »
Shining Force is SEGA's first foray in the Turn Based Strategy genre, where you are tasked as a warrior of Guadiana to prevent the Dark Sol's resurrection of the Dark Dragon after his millennial nap. Yes, the story is a cliche storm, but it also never tries to take itself super seriously, and it focused on delivering you the player a fun adventure with some epic fights sprinkled throughout.
As a turn based strategy game, Shining Force plays a lot like Nintendo's Fire Emblem games with the difference being killed allies are not dead for good. You take turns on a grid battlefield, ripping into each other with weapons and magic, terrain can be your ally or a hindrance, and flying units can be a godsend on slow levels if they don't get shot down first. You travel across the world, occasionally slowing down the game to talk to the common folk, buy new equipment, and also search for people to recruit to your team until you finally return to the fighting. While you can grind experience using the Retreat magic to retry your current mission with higher levels, the game thankfully doesn't usually require it if you use some decent strategy. The only issue you may find which is shared with Fire Emblem is that your medic won't gain nearly as much experience sealing up that arrow wound as you do lobbing a monster's arm off. That said, the difficulty maintains a fairly consistent slope upwards, with no real spikes outside of the occasional boss fight.
In terms of graphics and sound, they are relatively good for the time. While they're aren't very many memorable tunes on the soundtrack, they also don't wear on your ears too much during a long fight. The graphics are fine with a decent amount of color used and all of your units look unique, though it also feels a bit static on the movement screen with limited animations and background effects used. However, the animations within a fight are actually rather nice, playing out sort of like a cut scene with your unit and the enemy having a quick round of combat.
Overall, Shining Force is a bit simple, but a fun game with just a few quirks owed more to the year it was released rather than anything else. It's filled with loads of cliches, but if you're looking for an entertaining romp through a fantasy setting, this game will satisfy you.
Turn-based funnairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | See all nairume's reviews »
Shining Force is a classic example of simplicity working out for the best. While strategy RPGs are a genre of games known for their complexity and brutal difficulty, Shining Force instead opts for a more streamlined design that allows for the game to be easily picked up and played by any player. The difficulty is also at the exact sweet spot that makes it challenging enough to make beating it an accomplishment while not so difficult to put people off on the game. The plot is also very straight forward and allows for players to never get lost, while sneaking in little diversions and secrets to give some sense of replayability. This is a worth addition to any strategy RPG collection.
An SRPG Classicamjsolstice | Aug. 10, 2011 | See all amjsolstice's reviews »
Shining Force was one of the few genuine RPGs on the Sega Genesis, and the fact that it's among the few Genesis games available for sale (albeit emulated) in 2011 should tell you something.
As far as SRPGs go, Shining Force is pretty basic, and the story is one we've heard a million times. There's an ancient evil stirring that only the hero can stop, so you gather your friends and go on a grand journey to stop the rebirth/unsealing/rise of the Big Bad. There's no exploration and very little in the way of secrets; the game is as linear as they come, and there's no way to go back and get something you missed later on. The game even follows a chapter-by-chapter plot, with around 5 battles each.
Despite all this, the game is still captivating. Taken by the standards of gaming when Shining Force was first released, it's a masterpiece. Though the actual battles aren't that plentiful, they grow steadily more and more complex, featuring dozens of enemies against your party of up to 11. The combat can take actual strategy, though if you remember enemy movement patterns, you can cheese the battles a bit. The game can be genuinely difficult without seeming totally unfair. The music is actually good, and actually fits the mood. Though later SRPGs would add much more complexity, this game, along with the Nintendo classic Fire Emblem, is among the building blocks for any sort of modern SRPGs. Games like Wild Arms XF, Vandal Hearts, Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy tactics were the evolution of Shining Force.
Though compared to games of today Shining Force falls behind, it's still fun to play even now, and that's the most important part. At only $2.95, it's well worth the money you pay for it.
Pros – Genuinely fun combat, and passable graphics for the time. Good music. Varied unit types with different strengths and weaknesses – more than just a 'rock paper scissors' mentality. More characters than most games of its' time, each with their own character portrait, combat graphic and map sprite. Entertaining and very easy to learn. Massive, sweeping battles against sometimes dozens of enemies.
Cons – Very basic storyline. Incredibly linear. Little to no secrets. Absolutely zero exploration. Large number of characters keeps them from being fleshed out. Very predictable enemy AI.
Pet peeves – Inability in combat to target an empty square. High imbalance in some characters' usefulness.grand journey to stop the rebirth/unsealing/rise of the Big Bad.
Shine on!GAMERamble | June 9, 2011 | See all GAMERamble's reviews »
A 1000 years ago an epic battle between good and evil too place in the world of Rune. The forces of good finally managed to overcome the enemy and the forces of evil were banished to another dimension. The gateway between the two dimensions were sealed but not before evil vowed to return in a 1000 years after gathering enough power to break through. This was a long time ago and the cities of Runefaust and Gaurdiana which was build to protect the gateway has forgotten about the past. In fact the army of Runefaust under the command of someone called Dark Sol is terrorizing the land and monsters have been sighted all over the place. It seems that Runefaust is trying to open the gate and let the ultimate evil, know as Dark Dragon, back through. You play the role of the leader of the "Shining Force", a small group of young but highly skilled warriors who have been appointed by the king to investigate the situation. It's a dark time for the world of Rune and the future depends on your actions. Looks like it's time to be a hero again. Although it has a few tough spots Shining Force is a bit on the easy side and experienced players shouldn't have too tough a time on their hands. Picking a decent party and leveling up your characters help but with the right strategies and careful planning all battles can be won. The game only has 8 chapters and it was with some reluctance ( but a great deal of satisfaction ) that I struck the final blow on Dark Dragon. Rounding off the package is the great audio while not exactly classical material provides a fitting soundtrack to the action.
Although veterans might initially scoff at the simple looking gameplay and linear game structure it's impossible to pass up the addictive lure of the battles. There are tons of secret characters for the dedicated to find making up for the lack of real exploration. While nitpickers will find faults with the game I thing it accomplished what it set out to do admirable and the pros far outweigh the cons.
"it'll be an adventure!"ArtyArt | April 5, 2011 | See all ArtyArt's reviews »
Turn-based strategy at its finest! This is a long, rewarding game for fans of the genre. The turn-based battles are a joy to play, as is leveling up your heroes. When you're not fighting, you have to advance the story in typical JRPG fashion, which can be a little tiresome. Still, this is one of the classic 16bit era strategy games, and it's great fun to play nowadays. (and adding a quick save feature to the PC port is a more than welcome addition)