My family was a Nintendo family…we only ended up owning a Sega after my father returned from TDY from Florida for a year. When he returned, we were the owners of a Sega Genesis. Shining Force wasn’t a game that came with the Sega…and the more I think about it, the more I think it was a game I was borrowing from a friend. I chose Shining Force for today’s blog because it provides a very different role playing experience. In most games, you play a hero who leads a few different characters against a legion of bad guys to eventually save the day and save the world. In this game, you actually control up to 12 different characters. Finally a game that allowed for an army to go up against an army.
The game mechanics of this game are very similar, and yet very different from many of the RPG’s that came out during this time. There are a wide variety of classes and character types, and you have your traditional fighters, magic users (mages) and clerics (healers). You also get centaurs, archers, dragons, gryphons, and werewolves.
At the beginning of every scenario you get a top down view of the map, so you can see your battlefield and the location of each of the enemies. You move your party members through different terrain types, which all affect movement and attempt to strategically place your characters where they can do the most damage against the invading armies. When characters are within range (melee or ranged) the screen changes and you can see your players fighting in a cinematic style. Similar to many other RPG games is that once your characters reach a certain level they can do a class change or promote up, which was cool, because then there were all sorts of newly acquired abilities.
To be honest, I have never beaten this game, but I still enjoy playing it. The only thing that I didn’t really like, was the only way to raise your characters level was to start the scenario, level up…flee, save, start the scenario again…and keep doing this until you have reached a level you want to be. Of course, it was always very nerve wracking to have to play the same scenario over and over again, since you were never sure if your party members were going to live. For example, you could move a dwarf into position where the last time this dwarf kicked ass and took names, and then the next time you played, he ends getting one-shotted. In which case you would have to reset the game and start all over.
I also never had the chance to play any of the sequels to this game. I do know that this is a game that I get the urge to play again every once in a while. I love the graphics, the animation sequences, and the story line. I also love the huge collection of hidden characters and potential party combinations. This is a great game to develop strategy skills and a great way to pass the time. I will add this as one of my favorite games, most definitely my favorite Sega Genesis RPG.