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Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (Game Boy Advance) review

"There are few series I have enough faith in to make blind purchases towards. So when I heard the GBA was remaking Shining Force, I was at the store the next day putting down my reserve cash. Resurrection of Dark Dragon goes so much further then I would have ever imagined, and needless to say this is one retro recreation GBA got right. "

There are few series I have enough faith in to make blind purchases towards. So when I heard the GBA was remaking Shining Force, I was at the store the next day putting down my reserve cash. Resurrection of Dark Dragon goes so much further then I would have ever imagined, and needless to say this is one retro recreation GBA got right.

The story starts out as it originally did and for those of you who missed the first one the scene opens upon the main character training with Varos, the greatest knight in the kingdom. He is quickly whisked away to speak with the king, however, and you idly follow. You walk in just to hear the end of the conversation thatís taking place, but the words Runefuast and war ring in your ears.. The peaceful kingdom of Guardiana is under attack. No one is sure why Runefauast, your docile neighbors, are invading and searching the sacred ruins but someone has to find out. With well-enlisted trust in your skills, Varos sends you out to investigate. With money in hand, and willing companions to battle alongside you, the story begins. A simple task to scrutinize supposed bandits thrusts you into a depth of apocalyptic proportions.

The plot line still follows the clichť ďhero washed up on the shore with no memoryĒ twist, the mystery behind your origins has more emphasis placed on it and Sega finally brings to light all those things left out in the original, for your main character and everyone else as well. The epilogues are a new addition to TRDD. After the chapter ends, events unfold that actually let you look through the eyes of the enemy. You watch scenes taking place in the heart of Runefuast and you are introduced to one of three new characters: Narsha, daughter of King Ramladu. Her struggle between duty and loyalty is apparent in the first few lines of dialogue and her love for her father is perceptible. Darksolís grasp on the king is too strong, though, and Narsha is exiled from the kingdom by her own dad. Mawlock--the second newcomer--appears and offers her advice on how to save her kingdom: Find the Shining Force. Oddly enough, he leaves her amidst a crowd of enemies. Thankfully and ironically another mysterious character known as Zuika creeps up, claiming he was woken strictly to aid in Narshasí struggle. Heís the third and final character added to the already abundant cast. With Zuika at her side, Narsha pushes forth quickly unknowing that the Shining Force is closing the gap as they head east to hopefully stem the raid of Runefaust.

New characters and a more involved story line isnít the only thing Sega decided to add in this rendition. Mawlock, aside from being completely mysterious, has the ability to control cards. You can start collecting them from the very start even though he doesnít join your party till later on. There are two types: Friends and enemies. The friend cards have three abilities: Copy, ability and effect while the enemy cards are lacking the copy option. Each card has unique aspects for it. Take for example Anris card. If you use the copy feature, Mawlock will mimic her look, her attack and her magic. Use the ability and Mawlock can blast an enemy with freeze, use the effect and you can attack within a range of two. Most of these cards are obtained by simply taking care of your soldiers--making sure they donít die and talking to them after every battle. The enemy cards are even easier to obtain. They are simply given up after a certain character of yours delivers the fatal blow.

The strategy was upgraded for this go-around as well. While Sega has kept the original structure we know and love, incentives have been added for being stealthy. Finish a battle within a given amount of turns and you get a reward. Sometimes itís much needed cash, other times itís a weapon that wonít be available until later on, hereby giving you an advantage.

The game play has remained structured from the original as much as possible. The graphics are still decent with only a few minor changes to attacks. The enemies have a much better design to them and the world map comes across as more realistic. The sound is fairly decent, and as hokey as this may seem the score for the boss battles is still some of the best music in a game. The controls are simple, unlike shining force 3 you know exactly where your characters standÖ literally.

While I was hoping the remake of Shining Force would take place on a more prominent system, Resurrection of Dark Dragon leaves little to be desired. Itís a far beyond decent remake of an already incredible game and reissues my faith in GBAs reintroduction abilities. This game doesnít only instill me with a sense of nostalgia but it gives me hope for the future.

Graphics: Decent, even trend setting for the GBA.

Fun Factor: The strategy element is something we donít see enough of, though redoing the same battles to level up can get redundant.

Game play: Distinct controls and easily followed storyline.

Replay Value: Moderate. There are a few things you can only get your second time around.

Sound: Well thought out score, but it doesnít differentiate much from the original.

Overall rating: 8.0/10

True's avatar
Community review by True (May 09, 2005)

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