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Shining Force II

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Released: 1994

Genre: RPG

Format reviewed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sonic Team

Submitted by: Neil Reive

Something is amiss in your village, the King is ill and it seems that some clutz has broken into the sacred tower and accidentally opened a gateway to the nether worlds, releasing a powerful spirit that can possess the feeble minded. To make matters worse, the king of a nearby village suddenly declares war on your town. With all the King's soldiers busy elsewhere who could help seal the tower? Yes, a group of small kids – you and your school chums.

Like its predecessor, Shining Force II is viewed from above and is split into two sections. The first part is where the main character walks around villages and goes into shops to talk to various beings, to find clues and to buy weapons. The second part takes place when a battle occurs and here every member of the group move individually, taking turns to make a move and attack the enemy in true war-game style.

As you progress through the game you will gradually recruit more members into your party, each of which have their own particular skills and strengths. Some characters like the wizards and mages are physically weak yet have awesome magical powers, whereas the warriors can take a hell of a battering and slice their opponents up with no problem. During battles, individuals will gain experience points. When their experience reaches a certain point they go up a level and are given more health points, magic points, and might learn a new spell. It soon becomes clear that to succeed you will have to use the old grey matter quite a bit.

Shining Force II is by far one of the biggest and impressive role-playing games to appear on the console – it simply oozes atmosphere and is very compelling. Okay, it may look identical to the first Shining Force, but the involving story-line and gameplay just grabs you by the jugular and doesn't let go.