Format reviewed: Sega CD/Mega CD
Developer: Sonic Team
Submitted by: Scott Reed
I don’t play too many pre-32bit RPGS. I find it hard to be immersed by chibi sprites and have great difficulty relating to generic stereotypes and feminine blonde elves. I didn’t know until recently that the core Shining Force series were ‘strategy RPGS’* I just thought they were bog standard RPGs. Shows what a luddite I am.
I like Phantasy Star because it tries to do something other than revel in the swords and sorcery norm for the genre. Shinning Force has no intentions of doing this and revels like a pig in, well, y’know. And therein surprisingly lies its charm. Having decided to embrace swords and sorcery they go the whole hog. Throwing in every mythological beast and plot point it can dig up and just being done with it.
Shining Force CD remakes two of three Game Gear titles in the series and does so very well. The animated heads during dialogue look fantastic. It also makes it one of the longest games in the genre. Presented to you as two ‘books’ both are standard fairytale fare – a milf queen in an eternal sleep and a boy’s quest. Obvious though they are, they’re an entertaining ‘read’ each.
What I find worth much more of a mention is that all its menus are laid out as animated as icons (there are little text boxes too). The icons made the whole menu system much more user friendly for my Windows-warped mind and most under 25s have Windows or Mac –spit- warped minds I think I can safely say it makes it much more accessible.
It’s kind of hard for me to recommend a top down RPG but if I did I’d recommend this. What I do like is letting Zelda fans play Shining Force and watching them mumble ‘it’s alright’ in a defensive manner. They’re right, Shining Force CD is alright. And there’s no elves** of questionable sexuality.
*Strategy – moving your characters before/during the turn based battles
**Yes I know Link’s not actually an elf.