Today, I am discussing Shining Force in the first ever Throwback Thursday Gaming column. What is Shining Force?
No big deal, just a man wearing a cape having a sword fight with a skeleton… no biggie. Nothing to see here! Move along people!
What?! Well, Shining Force often gets compared to games like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Those games and the original Shining Force games are like the electronic evolution of Chess. The difference being that these games have even crazier characters and kick ass music to go along with it. You got your healers, your mages, your swordsmen, and your trusty leader, Max.
You want a knight like in Chess?
How about a centaur throwing a spear like a freaking javelin? His name is Ken, and he is my bro.
I played this game on the Sega Channel on the Sega Genesis, which I have previously mentioned my love for that device back in the day on this blog. It has since been released several times which I will cover the releases of the game later in this blog.
Shining Force: The Beginning
It starts off innocently…
Our hero, Max is summoned to see the King. For no reason whatsoever, the bad guys of Runefaust are trying to break the seal of the ancients and bring back the Dark Dragon. Why? Because THEY ARE EEEEEVVVVVVIIIILLLL.
Of course, this is the biggest threat to all of life as we know it. So naturally the King’s most trusted advisor advises him to send his most inexperienced soldier, Max, and a group of trainees, to defend the world.
So you are sent in a cart to the gate of the ancients. On the way, you hear the most amazing march song ever? I have to say, I think the hardware limitations of the old game consoles made the music better because the composers had to way more creative to create an ear worm.
I want to get a baton and a flag and lead a damn marching band down the street with that shit. No doubt people!
You are lead to your first battle at the seal of the ancients.
I will admit, while the gameplay is great. The “computer,” or AI as your gamers now like to call it, could have stood to use a few improvements. Thankfully, they addressed the wonky AI in the sequels to this game.
There are two parts to a battle. They grid where you arrange the players. And then the battle scene…
I must say the attack music in the battle scene, is amazing. It makes me want to pounce someone right now!
The Rest of the Game
From here on out, it is nothing but spoilers, so if you are dead set against that, get Shining Force for Steam right now!
The rest of the game keeps things going. See, unlike random encounters of other JRPGs, this game has a story for every battle.Anyone remember the circus battle?
The freaking circus battle made me cry! No wonder people want to shut the circus down. When you got a wicked bitch like the Marionette killing everyone, you gotta shut that shit down. I mean, come on, look at that, she has unlimited magic power!
But there is more to the game than just playing straight through it. There are several secrets and little Easter eggs if you explore everywhere.
One thing major players of the game loved to do was trying to master every character in the game. This took patience because some of them started off really weak. Such as Arthur…
Arthur starts off weak. But there was a technique hardcore players used where they would defeat almost every enemy in battle then use Max the leader’s spell “Egress” to retreat the battle. Then they would repeat the battle over and over again until they maxed out the characters as much as they could. You could promote every character at level 10, but if you promoted them at level 20, their stats were much better too. So if you were patient enough to do this with Arthur, you could pull off attacks such as this one my brother did many years ago…
Why would you play the game to this extent? Because before DLC, achievements, endless indy games, and Steam sales, this is all we freaking had!
More of that Sweet Sweet Shining Force Music
Have I mentioned how freaking pumped the music to this game makes? Remember how I mentioned the circus battle earlier? Well, the music to go along with it always had me on the edge…
How about going to the castle? Dude! This makes me feel all noble and stuff!
Even better, this guy made a heavy metal medley out of the best music from the game..
HOW DO I PLAY?
There are several official legal ways to play Shining Force, and several not so official and “questionable” ways to play…
LEGAL THAT ARE STILL AVAILABLE:
PHYSICAL COPIES NO LONGER IN PRODUCTION (BUT LEGAL):
You will likely have to find Used copies of these
- Shining Force for Sega Genesis console (this was the original release)
- Shining Force: Ressurection of Dark Dragon for Game Boy Advance (Remake)
- Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection for PS3/Xbox 360
- Sega Smash Pack for Sega Dreamcast
NOT SO OFFICIAL AND “QUESTIONABLE”
There are emulators on computers, cell phones, tablets, streaming devices, and if you are savvy, some consoles. In some ways, they are better than even what you can buy today because of enhancements. If you own the original game, I am told you can download the game. Although, honestly, I am about as qualified to give you advice on that subject as this guy…
Each method of getting them to work have their pros and cons. All of the methods are a bit cumbersome in their own way. By that, I mean whether it is setup, UI, or control translation, there is always some sort of barrier you have to work past. I mean say that once you get in and play, it is great. I recently tried the NVidia Shield and I loved it.
I hope you liked the first Throwback Thursday Gaming. If you have any more oddball suggestions like this game, let us know in the comments. What are your memories of Shining Force? Let us know on social media!
I plan on covering the sequels, such as Shining Force II. That game gave birth to this amazing line of dialog too…