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Shining Force (Genesis) artwork

Shining Force (Genesis) review

"March on for shining victory"

Shining Force caught the imagination of many when it came out for the Genesis in '92. It sure caught mine. Having a great number of characters to send into battle against hordes of evil minions from in a turn-based combat featured in scenic-like gameplay. There was also a great variety of said characters to choose from, ranging from humans, centaurs, birdmen, and werewolves. Simply put, Shining Force had too much to offer in a genre that was still unknown by many who have played RPGs during the 16-bit era.

The graphics on the game are cartoony and at times simplified, there's not much Anime-influence on character designs and it feels more western styled than anything. Music tends to be cheery and campy to serious and engaging, depending where you are situated at the moment. There's also not much in terms of equipping items, weapons, and armor, you are limited to four slots where you can place watch updated item to do combat with. The combat itself is turn based, but you have the freedom to guide your troops around the map to encounter the enemy, but you must do so cautiously, being that marching blindly to take on such could cost you the battle. In fact, if the main character of your own side dies, the battle is lost and you must start everything anew. Having a healer near your main hero is a must at all times.

The story is simplistic enough, namely an invading army from a faraway kingdom named Runefaust is ravaging everything on its path in order to bring back a great demon that was sealed away thousands of years before the events of the game. You take control of Max, a young swordsman who was placed in charge of the Shining Force in order to stop Runefaust and its evil deeds to the land. As you progress with each battle, you encounter more allies who can be enlisted to better the chances of success. Some of them can be found easier than others, namely those who are hidden and you must search for in order to enlist.

Difficulty can be adjusted before the beginning of the game, however, there are many factors which are prominent no matter how easy or hard you set the game as. For instance, enemy AI will always go for the weakest character you have on the map, and chances are it will even get to attack twice if it means killing off said character. Another nuisance is that even when you enlist some noteworthy allies, chances are their attack will be next to nothing when you set them in the next battle and even might be killed off easily.

Unlike traditional RPGs, there is little in the ways of grinding in this game, being that the only way to do so is when you are set right into battle to continue the story, and there is no chances of going back in order to level up existing characters or newly placed ones. The best you could do is to pair a new character with a level up one to make it easier in fighting off enemies and having the weak characters get the last hit in order to gain experience and thus level up.

Yet another problem would be some maps are too much of a chore to transverse in order to meet with the enemy. Patience is a big factor here. Said battles could make you lose focus and would make you want to just rush in with the fact that your characters could take care on their own, only to find out once you reach an enemy said character would be mowed down in one or two hits. Taking advantage of what you have is the best strategy overall, that and always being grouped together for a better chance at winning a battle.

Besides its shortcomings, Shining Force The Legacy of Great Intention was a massive success for me and many, a game that should definitely be in your Sega Genesis RPG collection being that said system rarely had any RPGs during its time in the limelight, especially since some of the anthologies released later on did not included any of said series. It is a great Strategic RPG with wonderful characters and avid gameplay overall. Highly recommended.


CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (October 01, 2018)

Cpt. Retro likes old school gaming the most and grew up playing Arcade games in Mexico. He also loves talking about retrogaming.

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