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Shining Force

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Released: 1993

Genre: RPG

Format reviewed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Climax Entertainment / Sonic Software Planning

Submitted by: Neil Reive

Nintendo had Zelda, PlayStation had Final Fantasy, but Sega had an RPG just as good (if not better) as any of them with Shining Force. The game was released on the Mega Drive over here in 1993 and features turn-based strategy gameplay with a traditional fantasy theme storyline.

I remember seeing this for the first time and thought that it was absolutely brilliant. A total non-RPG player at the time, this game completely converted me. The epic story and exploration sections are played out in real time, while the battle sequences are turn-based. The player explores the game world via a slanted overhead view, while the one-on-one battle sequences are viewed from a third person perspective.

The graphics are well defined and colourful, suiting the game perfectly. Sound is well accommodated: appropriate music plays during specific emotional scenes, while the actual sound effects may be sparse, but are effective non-the less.

Not the first in the Shining game – that being Shining in the Darkness – but certainly the first major entry in the series. Two sequels followed, as well as many side stories and spin-offs – which added to the greatness of the series – but they could never recreate the feel of playing Shining Force for the first time.